Monday, August 30, 2010

Don't worry about that look a little tired.

I had a post ready to go this morning with just a few refinements, but after opening my browser upon arriving at work, I came across a gem of a story I just couldn't pass up. My home page is set to Yahoo as the default (don't judge), and one of the lead stories today is about power napping being a new employee perk for a lot of corporations.

That's right...sleeping at work.

Roll me over and paint my backside purple because I have now heard it all.

Now, I don't know what culture/country/planet you hail from, but this Southern boy had to laugh, and I apologize if I offend. Sleeping at work is as foreign a concept to me as...say...pork rinds are to someone in the Middle East. I'm sure they're equally perplexed at how and why we would do such a thing to swine. I'll go out on a limb and guess sleeping at work is also a foreign concept to that region of the world...but that's just a guess.

I can't help but try to imagine what our founding captains of industry would have to say on the subject. Exactly what reaction would an aspiring executive receive if he had marched into Henry Ford's office in 1914 and presented data from a study that concluded a nap at work would make his workers more productive? After all, Mr. Ford had already astonished the world with his 'wage motive' philosophy by paying his workers $5 a day wages, more than double the industry norm. How about adding a few hundred sleep pods for a post-lunch nap just for good measure?

Wonder how the principle investors and executives at Pacific Union Railroad and Central Pacific Railroad would have felt about a little snooze the afternoon of May 10, 1869 before driving in the last 'golden spike' that completed the country's first transcontinental railway reducing coast-to-coast travel from six months or more down to a week? If daily napping had been standard operating procedure for that project, they'd still be working on it!

Just think of DOT project going on where you live today...

Finally, NAFTA is paying off for this country. We give our neighbors to the south good-paying production jobs, and they give us the afternoon siesta. Gracious!

Several years ago, I was visiting a fellow Chamber of Commerce member at his office. When I arrived, he was both aggravated and frustrated because a representative from the Department of Labor had just left the premises.

Tony C: Who in the world pee'd in your corn flakes?
Prez: Stupid...just (bleep) stupid!
Tony C: (chuckling) What's going on to have you this riled?
Prez: The Department of Labor rep was just here because of a complaint. We fired a guy last week for sleeping on the job, and now I have to give reason.
Tony C: This is a Right to Work state. You can let anyone go anytime for any reason.
Prez: Apparently not (bleep) sleeping on the job! It was the second time the guy had been caught asleep at his machine.
Tony C: At his work station?!
Prez: While in (bleep) production!
Tony C: So, what did the rep say?
Prez: We challenged his unemployment benefit claim because he was fire for cause. He wanted to know the cause, so I gave him our internal documentation. He looks over it and then asked me what our company policy was concerning sleeping on the job.
Tony C: (now gut-laughing) So what is your company policy on sleeping at work?
Prez: Laugh it up! I don't see the humor myself. I told him we all (bleep) sleep whenever and wherever we (bleep) want around here! Siesta time is company time!
Tony C: I take it he didn't appreciate the sarcasm?
Prez: He wanted to actually SEE our (bleep) written policy on sleeping at work. Sleeping at (bleep) work! What the (bleep) has this (bleep) country come to?! A written policy for (bleep) sleeping at work!

I emailed my friend a copy of the article today. Just to let him know how innovative and cutting-edge his company really was back then...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Let's have a give away Friday!

It's time once again to bare my soul to you guys. That's right...I'm once again disclosing my Most Played List on iTunes. Also, it once again comes with a give away! Paint me generous on this warm day in August.

But there is a catch...

You know you're daddy always told you nothing in life comes free. While I could dispute said proverbial wisdom with a slew of free stuff examples, it's never been the place of this blogger to make any one's dad, mom or any other relative look obtuse. One should always respect their parents despite the oft discovered errs of unfounded knowledge later in life.

But I digress...

So, here's the deal. Below is the list of my 25 Most Played List circa August 20, 2010. While I was quite humiliated by my first list back in November of last year (see Happy Thanksgiving), I was none the less honest about the line up. To win today's give away of a $25 iTunes gift card, all you need to do is list your Top 10 played on your mp3 player of choice in the Comments section of this post or on the post link on my Facebook profile. You'll have to leave your name and email address below if your not a blogger so I know how to identify you. We're all on the honor system, and I'd hate to dispute (and therefore disqualify) someone like say, Dave Tevdt, for listing ten classical hits from the Best of Bach to make himself look more enlightened.

Not that Dave would ever do something like that...

Okay, here's my Top 25 Most Played List (laughing aloud is considered rude):

1. Clumsy- Chris Rice
2. I Go To the Rock-Aaron Jeoffrey
3. King of Glory- Third Day
4. Train in Vain- The Clash
5. Back in Love Again- LTD
6. A New Hallelujah- Michael W. Smith
7. Hold Us Together- Matt Maher
8. I Am Free- Promise Keeper
9. The One Thing- Paul Colman
10. Landslide- Fleetwood Mac
11. Seeing Things- Black Crowes
12. 100 Years- Five for Fighting
13. Got to Give it Up- Marvin Gaye
14. Let's Go- The Cars
15. Listen- Collective Soul
16. Hearts and Bones- Paul Simon
17. Fly- Sugar Ray
18. Give Them What They Want- 10,000 Maniacs
19. Washed By The Water-Need to Breathe
20. Our God- Chris Tomlin
21. Limelight-Rush
22.White Sandy Beaches- Brutha Iz
23. All I Want to Do- Sugarland
24. Bright Side of the Road- Van Morrison
25. Poor, Poor Pitiful Me- Linda Ronstadt (Thank you Lord for it not being Donny Osmond)

Feel free to call out anyone you suspect of fudging too. Nobody likes a snitch until prizes are involved, then it's everyone for themselves! Just so you remember why I was humiliated in November:

Yes...I reset my counter after that. Comment and win a $25 gift card! I'll pick the winner by letting the teenager guess a number between 1 and however many comments there are next Friday (August 27) after randomizing the list (so you aren't penalized for being first or last).

Good luck!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Don't talk about my mama, my religion, my politics...oh, and Walmart!

I'm convinced Walmart has displaced the weather as the #1 subject for a conversation ice-breaker. Where the conversation goes from there can, however, be all over the be careful before you step through that door!

Last week, I posted a self-reflective piece about my Saturday morning shopping trip to Walmart and the inevitable situation of running into old friends. Apparently not on top of my sarcastic, self-deprecation game, the post provoked a plethora of diverse comments, remarks, emails and Facebook messages. My weekly visitor hits spiked to 368, even more than my apparently controversial Michael Jackson posthumous comments last year. Walmart bigger than Michael Jackson! End of times my friends...end of times.

For the record, I love running into people at Walmart, at church, in the street, at soccer games, at the gas station, in restaurants, in the yard...shew, get the point? I'm usually the reason people can't get through their shopping trips quickly or leave church immediately after services. Just ask Mrs. Tony C who's seen me talk to a complete stranger at the grocery store for 10 minutes about the advantages and disadvantages of buying store brand items and any possible connections to store brand product marketing and the New Age movement (just expect an eye roll or two).

I did have to laugh at some of the reactions and remarks (but not yours by the way) and how opinionated people really are about the world's largest retailer. The typical comments about the evil empire that is destroying our nation's economy by pushing all the 'Made in China' items didn't surprise me...though somewhat on a tangent of the subject matter. But hey, that's most of most of my post anyway.

What did surprise me were the few that jabbed at me for making Walmart out to be some kind of bad place. I received an email and a Facebook message that pointed to all the negative media attention Walmart receives, but the fact remained that the mega store was the way their family stayed in budget. Wow! Those caught me a bit off guard.

Ironically, a post on Yahoo Finance today concerning the subject of product popularity features Walmart. I don't typical venture into the cesspool of opinion in the comments section of these articles, but after last week, I felt the urge to see what consensus opinion (uh...right) on the subject might be. Wow...again! It's amazing at the diverse, sometimes adamant, opinions people have about Walmart! Who knew discount warehousing could be so polarizing...

As I'm writing this, there are a number of follow up post ideas rolling through my schismatic seeking mind to bring a Rodney King voice of reason to it all.

People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along? Can we get along? Can we stop making it, making it horrible for the older people and the kids?...It’s just not right. It’s not right. It’s not, it’s not going to change anything. We’ll, we’ll get our justice....Please, we can get along here. We all can get along. I mean, we’re all stuck here for a while. Let’s try to work it out. Let’s try to beat it. Let’s try to beat it. Let’s try to work it out.

Rodney King, May 1, 1992 on the third day of L.A. rioting

So true brother true. What good are falling prices in the face of civil unrest and mega market disparity?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The spotlight will most always show your true colors...

There were two stories from yesterday that I absolutely can't let slide by without comment.

First, there's the flight attendant that apparently lost his mind, proceeds to curse the passengers on his flight in a tirade over the PA system, pulls the emergency lever on the forward door releasing the slide, grabs two beers and deplanes by going down the slide, across the tarmac, out of the airport and to his home.

That's where authorities arrested him on a number of charges. If cowardly stupidity were a crime...this dude does life.

In a profession were cool under pressure is an absolute requirement, Steve Slater doesn't make the grade. He's the type of crew member that rushed to launch in a lifeboat not a fourth of the way full while the Titanic slowly slide beneath the waves with hundreds aboard who didn't have a chance at a lifeboat. I guess for him it's every man, woman and child for themselves George Costanza style.

Unfortunately, many are regarding him as a modern day hero. Bet those people would feel differently if they had been on US Airways Flight 1549 that went down in the Hudson River that cold January day last year and Steve here had been one of the flight attendants. True color...

Then there's the subtle message this guy projects for his generation of, ahem, men...

If you watched the entire video, his girlfriend even tells him she's afraid of getting hit by a foul ball! Sure enough, she gets nailed, and he bails on her like scalded dog. True colors...

Dude doesn't even give her the ball she has so rightfully earned. He's more worried about his hat being cranked sideways and backward on his head for the cameras. If I'm this young lady's dad, I'd punch him square in the nose the very next time we met. No warnings or apologies either.

Is chivalry truly dead? I think the concept of chivalry is often limited in definition by most people to mean courteous behavior towards a woman, but chivalry goes much, much deeper. Courage, honor, justice and willingness to help others were all marks expected of the medieval knight from where the word is derived.

I see none of those attributes on display in these two examples pulled from the headlines of yesterday. I'm actually embarrassed for both of the guys, and I hope they are embarrassed too. Maybe both will use this Warhol 15-minutes of fame to self-reflect and realize the need for a change.

God knows I've been there myself...

Monday, August 9, 2010

I might need some new old friends...what aisle are those?

Don't you just hate noisy, meddling people? Most of my friends should know I'm a very private person. Sure, I may plaster my opinions on this small, insignificant blog for the world wide web to see…if they can locate it. Yes, I'm a social media junky posting regularly about what I'm thinking, doing or eating on Facebook and Twitter. Okay, I've spent nearly every fall Friday night for sixteen years blabbing on and on across the airwaves while broadcasting high school sports many times straying far from the matters of the game. Still, I value my privacy and really don't appreciate people prying around trying to create a crack in the defensive fence just to take a peek inside Tony C world.

Just this past weekend, I started out early Saturday morning to knock out the weekly shopping trip for food and staples. Wouldn't you know it, I ran into an old friend at Walmart who just fired question after question at me like one of those tennis ball practice machines. I'd volley a question back, then lob, and occasionally smash one. Sorry. Poor choice of analogies on my part. I don't play tennis and my terminology is debilitatingly limited. Anyway, the exchange went on forever and wasted a good 15 minutes of my shopping time. And what was with that hug and wish for blessing at the end?! Please…if you really cared about me that much, surely you could have found me in the past 20 years or so since I saw you last.

Naturally, a few isles over brought another discount warehouse homecoming. Don't these people have better things to do? This particular person I almost always see when I'm at Walmart, so the awkward approach and initial shock of it all wasn't there, and the face time was limited too, since it was only an updating from the last inquisition. Apparently, she's been gawking at my Facebook pictures because she went on and on about my cute toddler. Hey! I live with her…I know she's cute!

The dairy section was a regular reunion rodeo with a married couple and another old friend already engaged in reminiscing and waving me over to join upon sighting. The couple has been married since right after high school and still flaunt their 'never-ending love' like marital superheroes are something. Hate that. I was just a late-bloomer so please give me a break. Besides, Pete here is recently divorced, from what I hear, and doesn't need to be wallowed in your blissfulness and moral fortitude.

How are you? How have you been? Aren't you married to Mrs. Tony C? Isn't she expecting again? Another girl?
Does that powered fiber stuff you have there really work? Blah, blah, blah…my stinking head might explode!

Don't you people have Facebook?! It's all right there! Well…everything but the fiber thing. Whatever you want to know about me is conveniently packaged like a press release or dossier for public consuming! I just need some sour cream for Pete's sake...

No, I didn't mean you Pete…are you still working at Eastman? I hate to hear that bud, I'll keep you in prayer until you find a new job. Dude, I heard about your divorce. I know it's tough, but life goes on and might even be better off. Let's stay in touch. Here's my cell phone number. Call me anytime.

I'll be right back there next Saturday. Maybe I'll bump into a new old friend I've not seen in a while. That would be a refreshing change….dear Lord, what am I saying?

And don't even get me started on those talkative people at church that cause me to be the last one to leave every Sunday after services...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Happy Friday!

I've got a best of Tony C Today up at Kingdom Bloggers today. Be sure to check it out and the other four Christian bloggers' post for the week.

New video blog coming soon...I promise. Have a great weekend with God all over it!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Please stop the bus here...I want off now.

Okay...I'm going to vent a little today.

Just a few post ago, I wrote about my teenager and her love of soccer. She started high school today but has been practicing with the varsity soccer team all summer. According to all indications, she stands a pretty good chance of making not just the team...but the starting 11 on varsity.

So why would I be upset about that? I'm actually quite proud of her because I know she has worked very hard. Last week, however, she left a two-a-day practice about an hour early to attend youth worship services at church. Word has it...that wasn't very well received by coaches.

Now here comes a public confession. During discussions about leaving the practice, I actually tried to talk her into staying and missing a single night of church. She wouldn't hear of it, so I picked her up, and she changed clothes on our way to church. I know the pressures and commitment required to play and excel in high school sports, but I momentarily lost my focus on the bigger picture. I'm very ashamed of that fact and will back her decision to put God first in all matters from this point forward.

Paul tells us in Romans 12:1-2 to not be conformed to this world. Ironically, that was the exact message from my pastor last night at services as he stomped all over my toes. Like me, he's a big sports fan and former athlete too. However, sports were not the priority in his home growing up, and he has conveyed that in a number of messages. Despite my mother's greatest efforts and example, I can't say the same about my home while I was growing up. Now, I'm not going off on some tangent and blame that fact on the path my life would later take because that would be complete hogwash. I personally know a number of people where God was no where to be found in their household growing up, and each has lead a very spirited walk with God since coming to salvation. My choices in life have been just choices.

I told my Sunday School class just yesterday that we don't understand persecution as Christians in this country. Sure, there are subtle forms of persecution, and I pray my daughter is not about to go through one of those. Let me get back to not conforming to the world though. Sports are king in our country. We idolize and try to mimic our favorite professional athletes and teams by clearing our calendars to watch them on television, paying outrageous prices to attend sporting events, and by buying the products they endorse. I've admitted I'm as big a sports fan as you'll find, and unfortunately, I've become a conformist.

Do we have to forgo sports to properly serve God? I don't think so. But when sports at any level from Pee Wee baseball to Super Bowl Sunday supersedes or interferes with drawing closer to God or being obedient to His will, we find ourselves on a slippery slope that may start with just a warped sense of priority but lead to growing ever farther away from Him. Count me out!

Tonight, Mrs. Tony C and I are going to have a talk with the teenager about letting go and letting God take over her situation. I have a few good examples of famous athletes that philosophy seemed to work out for in the short and long run. Pretty sure this guy will be in the conversation...

Please pray for my daughter and that whatever happens brings glory and honor to God.