The Soundtrack of My Youth

27 Sep

Drivin’ N’ Cryin’, an Atlanta-based rock band and the soundtrack to my Roswell, Ga., youth, was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame this weekend.

Local bands that captivate during one’s formative years always hold a special place in a person’s musical memories. Somehow DNC went even beyond that level, with the bassist’s mother having been my mom’s long-time hair stylist and then the 30-year-old band providing me the opportunity for my debut rock video appearance!

[Don’t blink around the 3:44 mark!]

STATS OF THE WEEK: Just the Way the Ball Bounces

25 Sep


The number of 4th quarter comebacks by the Falcons’ Matt Ryan — most by any NFL QB since the start of the 2008 season — after he led Atlanta back from a 10-point deficit to a 24-20 win against the New York Giants on Sunday. As dearly departed Yogi Berra famously said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”


The number of consecutive starts not including a win for Atlanta Braves starting pitcher  Shelby Miller after a “quality start” but another loss versus the Mets on Monday. The Braves’ only All-Star — yes, that is correct — hasn’t won a game since May 17th, when coincidentally he came within one out of a no-hitter against the Marlins. In 19 of the 23 games, Miller has given up four or fewer earned runs.


The number of passes completed by Georgia QB Greyson Lambert in the Bulldogs’ conference home opener. Out of 25 attempts! The former UVa. signal-caller set the NCAA single-game record for pass completion percentage (96) against the not-so Gamecocks of South Carolina.

STAT OF THE WEEK: “Right-Sizing”?

14 Aug
Braves: fire sale or fired up?

Braves: fire sale or fired up?

  • Following seven straight quarters of slumping sales across the nation, McDonald’s will shed a net 59 locations this year. It marks the first time in 45 years that the high-profile fast-food restaurant chain has shrunk.
  • Sesame Street, the 45-plus-year-old children’s TV show that attracts more than 6 million viewers across 150 countries each week, will cut its episode time in half as part of the Emmy-winning program’s move to HBO.
  • With the latest trade of third baseman Chris Johnson, my Atlanta Braves now have all of THREE players (!) remaining from their 2014 opening day 25-man roster.

Social Media to BLeeve In

24 Jul
To celebrate the 10-year anniversary (this weekend!) of the engagement of me and my wife and the 20-year anniversary of (or, at least, Acronym, the marketing agency), I feel compelled to engage my loyal followers and always lovely visitors.
Hope you social media types find the following helpful in your pursuit of a happy medium:
  • Engage, don’t sell. The latter is what sales & advertising are for.
  • News posts are great “filler” to keep your feed flowing and also a chance to take an issue forward with an expert add-on comment.
  • Give Credit! This shows you’re selfless, and it’s a great way to gain new followers and get your posts shared.
  • Activate your posts with hash tags so more people can find your content.
  • Gregariousness: It’s called social media after all. Folks will think of you more if you’re active & accessible.
  • Events: a never-miss opportunity to show you’re present, engaged and adding to the dialogue and thought leadership.
Just remember: when you share, you show you care, but don’t dare overshare!
Social engagement with a nice ring to it: We celebrated in the surf on July 25, 2005, after she said yes.

Social engagement with a nice ring to it: We celebrated in the surf on July 25, 2005, after she said yes.

Yes to Nostalgia

30 Jun
Pardon our progress and my nostalgia: our house expansion project proceeds amidst small reminders of our family’s original loving location.

Pardon our progress and my nostalgia: our house expansion project proceeds amidst small reminders of our family’s original loving location.

As not only Independence Day, but also a fun-packed family reunion approaches, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic. Actually, there is no bit part for me when it comes to that feeling.

And, apparently, it’s going around: my father’s cousin and the de facto family historian posted on Facebook that June 29th marked two family wedding anniversaries (including hers), two birthdays (including her second grandchild’s 21st) and the date of a dear uncle’s passing (just 30 minutes before the aforementioned grandkid’s arrival).

“After a decade of study, nostalgia isn’t what it used to be — it’s looking a lot better,” reported the New York Times.

From anti-regret platitudes to Don Henley’s summertime hit, we’re taught or told to always face forward and seize the day. Did you know that nostalgia was even considered a disorder for a long while after the term was coined in the 17th century? (A Swiss physician sought to connect soldiers’ mental and physical ailments to their wistful wishes to return home — in Greek, nostos for home plus algos for pain).

Nostalgia does have that tugging-at-the-heartstrings component. It’s seemingly unavoidable for me. In the last month, I’ve rediscovered a 25-year-old typed motivational letter from my high school football coach that alternated between scripture and Shakespeare, heard my brother’s best friend growing up tearfully eulogize his father, basked in the afterglow of my 2-year-old giving me a hug and saying “thank you, Da-Da” after I told her I loved her during our family’s favorite beach walk in North Carolina and revisited the beautiful campus chapel where my wife and I got married.

In many ways, nostalgia can seem almost unfair though. Even the good memories are tinged with sadness because we realize we can’t go back. But, according to multiple studies, the positive effects of nostalgia abound — to the nth degree!?! — from counteracting loneliness, boredom and anxiety and literally making people feel warmer to even providing existential and evolutionary advantages.

“Experience it as a prized possession,” Dr. Constantine Sedikides at the University of Southampton told the Times. “When Humphrey Bogart says, ‘We’ll always have Paris,’ that’s nostalgia for you. We have it, and nobody can take it away from us. It’s our diamond.”

STATS OF THE WEEK: Sky High Fi-nancials

29 May

Even when things don’t quite add up, they still really add up:

  • America’s three biggest banks — JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo — collected more than $1.1 billion in overdraft fees in the first quarter of the year.
  • Unilever CEO Paul Polman told the Washington Post that the total salary bill of his 175,000-person company, which counts Ben & Jerry’s, Dove, Hellmann’s and Lipton among its 400 brands, is less than the bonuses just paid out to the financial industry in London.
  • The, um, generous, albeit a bit one-sided, Koch Brothers plan to dump a mere $900 million on the 2016 presidential election.


30 Apr cross

A couple of times I realized in the presence of my neighbor that I was wearing the bank logo-ed ball cap he graciously gave me before the bank fired him. There’s a family ski video that now serves as an embarrassing reminder of a college-era New Orleans trip that, well, didn’t go quite as planned. For years, the 14th tee box at our home golf course featured a dimple-marked cooler from when my uncle unfortunately hit a different type of water ball.

Of course, not all is humorous or ironic. There are the deeper, painful reminders like the emotional scars of a tragedy forever linked to the holiday season. I think of a wonderful Florida man who must pass the house of his deceased younger brother each time he enters or leaves the family farm…

Since November, my sister’s hair stylist has been murdered, my cousin’s family friend has passed away at the age of 39, his sister-in-law’s mother has succumbed to a very rare and fast-acting form of cancer, our preacher’s son has been diagnosed with Stage IV brain cancer, and, most recently, the brother of my best grad school friend lost his battle with depression and other personal problems.

Sometimes I’m amazed that folks can even get out of bed in the morning.

Question: How much of our thankfulness is based on the blessings in front of us versus the knowledge of our deliverance from past trials and tribulations? If you look to the greatest symbol in the world, the pleasure and pain, the up and down, the yin and yang are inseparable.

An unattributed quote I found: “Gratitude is a constant attitude of thankfulness and appreciation for life as it unfolds. Living in the moment, we are open to the abundance around us and within us. We express appreciation freely. We contemplate the richness of our life. In life’s trials, we seek to understand, to accept, to learn.”

I’m thankful for family, the innocence and wonder in my daughters’ eyes, those friends and even strangers who offer hope in a smile or tender touch, and especially for God’s ultimate reminder, there front and center at church.


[EDITOR’S NOTE: Rest in peace, Andrew Ethridge, who passed away 12 days after this post.]



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