Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Benchwarmers

I am fascinated with the phenomenon that separates highly successful people and the bench warmers in life.

I saw that quote on another blog earlier today. I too have had the same question running through my mind for the last year or so. I even sort of touched on it when I added this entry to the blog back in July. http://johnstonteam.blogspot.com/2007/07/have-you-ever-seen-tree-or-plant.html

I agree there is a phenomenon that happens. What I can't find is the key that allows for it to happen. For those of us who don't have the natural instinct, can it be learned? Where do you find it? How can one tap into it and make it a useful tool rather than an unknown phenom.

The quote was written by a person who has the ability to pick up the tool and use it. Yes, I'm sure they cultivate it. Yes, I'm sure that there is hard work involved. Yes, well you get my drift.

I cultivate many good characteristics in my life. I work hard. Yet I've never experienced the phenomena. The Guiding Light has never came down and touched me or illuminated the way.

There's another element that falls into all of this. Those who have experienced the phenomena seem to hold those who don't in a second class citizen status. Look at the openning sentence. It's sucessful people vs benchwarmers. Think about what they are saying. Or more importantly, how it appears to have been said.

Those lowly Benchwarmers are the people who turn out faithfully everyday and execute something meaningful. In sports, they provide the role of scout team. In business, they do the work that assembles, provides quality control, ships or greets. Many are not slackers and often put in 120% of the days requirements. They take pride in their contributions. They put out a good quality product.

But they are missing one element in life. The Phenomena.

For those of you who have found or were gifted with the Phenomena, share with us how it is found and better yet, how to cultivate it. I would love to hear from you. Reply to this page or email me @ johnstonteam@gmail.com

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Doing The Dave Ramsey Thing

I was doing a blog search using the search term Dave Ramsey. As I scanned through the search results, I noticed a phrase that caught my eye. It has many variations, but the core of the phrase seems to be "we're doing the Dave Ramsey thing".

Something about that drives me nuts.

I think the reason it drives me over the edge is because it infers that what they are doing is a fad or a phase. Doing something to change the course of life events, in a short term, cavalier manner. It didn't matter what it was. It was just something. The phrase seems to indicate the person writing it lacks commitment.

I know that sounds judgemental. Maybe it is. But I have seen so many people go off on this tanget on that with only half a heart and give up or burn out before the postive effects can take root and grow.

Doing the Dave Ramsey thing is more than just picking up a book or listening to the radio show. To have it work, one must really make it a part of their value system. You must embrace it. Nuture it. Set goals within it. Envision yourself making progress and seeing the finish line. Otherwise, like with a diet, you soon return to your old ways and find yourself flabby both in body and wallet once again.

Making it part of your value system requires something more than just making it a passing fancy. It requires tradeoffs that aren't easily accepted by common society. You don't become a monk, or as Dave says collect lint and only come out on triple coupon Thursday, but there will be times you are out of step with the peer pressure of friends, family and co-workers.

The key is to be wise enough to not put people off. You must creatively learn to say you no longer do things that make you spend money you cannot afford to spend. You've got to be able to verbally illustrate your dreams that your lifestyle may lead to in words that is enticing to those you are speaking to. Otherwise your seen in the same light as the person who just gave up booze, cigarettes or the latest person to find God. Ever met a reformed alcoholic, smoker or sinner? Not pleasant is it.

Even as one completes Baby Step 2 (all debts paid except for the mortgage), choices and tradeoffs must be made. There will be repairs and replacements. There will be retirment savings to fund. College educations to save for. Inadequate insurance coverage must be addressed. The move from the first two Baby Steps to the latter Baby Steps requires the shift from tactical to strategic thinking and actions. It may sound complicated, but it is an ongoing learning process. It's growth. But it's growth that will take a lifetime.

Don't just do the Dave Ramsey thing. Make the life change that will permanently make your life change for the better.

If you're interested in seeing the hits that I found, do a google search in blogs for "dave ramsey thing".

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Woody Hayes


But everyone in the Shoe remembers and reveres the high priest who stormed the sidelines.

Wayne Woodrow Hayes, known to millions as Woody Hayes ruled the Shoe in the glory days.

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Woody was larger than life. He could charm one moment. Explode the next. He was a student of history. He loved historical metaphores. As shown by the picture, in a short sleeved shirt in the midst of a snow storm he'd prowl the side chalk line, plotting, scheming and directing his teams.

This note is not to edify or destroy the man. I personally never knew the him. I do remember watching him on his Woody Hayes TV show in the 60's and 70's interview his players. I remember people loving to hate him. But after his career ended, he was fondly remembered by players and fans alike. That is a legacy.

Today I drove by the cemetary where Woody was laid to rest. I thought I would drive in see if I could find his tombstone. You'd expect something amost extragant. Yet it was very modest.

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Nothing more to really say. I can only salute a legend. Woody, thank you for the memories.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Did I Leave Talk Radio or Did Talk Radio Leave Me

I discovered talk radio in the early mid 1980's. Well maybe that's not quite right. I do remember listening to various talk shows on WBZ out of Boston, WJR in Detroit and some other shows both local and on the clear channels. WLW and WBNS locally had Sally Jesse and Bruce Williams from Talk Net.

Local radio station WCOL 1230 affiliated with ABC's talk radio and made it a 24/7 offering. That was my mid 80's discovery. And it was short lived. When the format was pulled by ABC, I truly missed hearing the format.

At the time, many friends used to tease me that I was so conservative that I made Reagan look like a New Dealer.

Then I began hearing about conservative talk radio in the 90's. I heard about a fellow by the name of Rush Limbaugh from my then father in law. Rush wasn't carried locally, but at lunch I would go to my car and pull him in from either Dayton or Cincinnati. I loved the show. So much so that I listened through the hiss, crackles and pops to hear the show. When you make that kind of effort, it sort of shows how far you would go to get what you want.

Eventually his show made it to the Columbus airwaves. Others soon followed. Barry Farber, G. Gordon Liddy and others began to grace the air. At first, I was in 7th heaven. But as time went on, I began to lose my interest. The hosts had somehow disconnected from me and my values. While I was conservative, I wasn't the "stuff it down your throat conservative". The 'embelish the facts to fit an outcome" conservative. A red meat needer.

There was a time when prior to audio streaming I would listen to hosts on scratchy far away signals. And some of the more "exotic", to be polite, hosts were sought out in the 90's on shortwave radio. I listened as their programs faded in and out on a circa 1940 Zenith Floor model radio that had the shortwave band on it. Robby Noel, Karen Bixman, Chuck Harder (profiled earlier), Tom Valentine and others bought time on the WWCR and other shortwave stations and beamed their ideas around the world. Not that I bought into those hosts values and beliefs, but talk radio, even the looney side of it, spurred me to think beyond just my environment, values and self.

As Bill Clinton and his team took the White House, I became concerned. No, not that I loved Clinton. It was quite the opposite. But there was something about talk radio that wasn't just conservative vs liberal and who would win in the battle in the arena of ideas. It was that even if Clinton were right on an issue, he couldn't be seen as being right or successful. Even on that one topic or issue. Everything had to be discredited. Sure it hurt Clinton, but did it help the Country? I don't think so and that's not good.

At the time, a gentleman who wrote a financial newsletter that contained a large amount of political commentary, wrote in the newsletter that even if their accusations against Clinton were wrong, it was important to keep team Clinton occupied and off balance so they couldn't be successful even in the things the news letter editor believed in.

If it were limited to ideology, I could understand. But he was writing about the doing everything possible to discredit to leader of the free world. This President couldn't be successful whether he was doing what was good for the country of if it was not the proper course. Either way, destroy him.

The newsletters contents and thoughts frequently made it's way to talk radio shows.

That deeply concerned me.

In addition, while Bill Clinton did lie under oath about his affairs with Paula Jones, those issues were unearthed by people working to discredit the President over his sexual affairs and lack of fidelity. They would claim it was about the rule of law, while denying it was about sex. Yet the underlying issue was the sex. Their investigations of his sexual escaped is what lead to the lying under oath issue.

The cause of the depositions where the lying under oath took place were caused by the search for his sexual misconduct. They were deeply disappointed the country wasn't more shocked and outraged about the sexual revelations and wondered why there wasn't a bigger disire to remove him for office. The guy was a cad. In their world, get rid of him.

Yes, Clinton's personal life was deeply disgusting. And yes, those who sought to unearth and expose it were just as disgusting. But they couldn't win the argument of ideology, so they sought to destroy him through his sexual indiscressions. And my fear wasus in the process.

As the 2000's unfolded, the war in Iraq began and continued, I became even more disappointed at talk radio and conservative talk radio in general.

Let's take Iraq as an example. I deeply believe had this war been executed as it has been to date and the results were the same, but the occupant of the White House was a democrat, conservative talk radio would have been lambasting the democrat President and their use of the military. The pass and passes the current administration has received and continues to receive would not be there. There would be no talk of "if you don't support the President, you don't support the troops". There would be a lot of talk against a democratic president not having a plan for after the invasion. For not making a factional group of people play well together in Iraq. For allowing Al Qeda to further instigate anger in a fragile area. For all the things that Vice President Cheney voiced in 1994 about why it wouldn't be wise to take down Saddam.

I read a blog writing by Phil Boyce, program director of WABC radio. He says that the most popular talk rado hosts are talking about what is important to talk radio listeners. But by that analogy Jerry Springer, Maury Povich and other trash tv shows are programming to what's important to tv audiences. Maybe instead they all are hitting the LCD of both mediums?

Also this writing is not to let liberal talk radio off the hook. While I've not taken them on as much as I have the conservative hosts, I have just as much heartburn listening to them as I do those who I more closely identify. The desire to destroy at all costs is high. And while that may be good for developing and maintaining an audience, especially if you strike a chord with the listeners, it doesn't mean it's what's needed to improve society. It doesn't matter whether you're Rush Limbaugh or Randi Rhodes, Sean Hannity or Ed Schultz.

Maybe I'm not alone. Through the years, Talkers Magazine compiles numbers of talk radio hosts and their listenership. Through the years, Rush is down from a once purported 22 million to about 13.5 million. The 22 million figure was Rush's. The first Talkers stab at the data was 18+ million. But still, that number is now down to about 13.5+ million listeners per week from their estimated peak of 18+. Through the years, almost 5 million people no longer tune in. Has talk radio become the next Detroit? Will talk radio soon become living corpses like GM, Chrysler and Ford?

I don't have an answer. I just no longer seek out hosts, listen to scratchy or fading signals. I seldom turn my radio in my office on unless there is breaking news.

It at one time was my workday companion. Now it's just a dusty article in my office.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hard Luck Charlie

In the early 1990's, the small radio station in the town I lived in began carrying a slate of talk radio hosts from a network called the Sun Radio Network. The anchor host was a man by the name of Chuck Harder. He ran a show called "For the People."

At first, I sort of liked Chuck's show. Chuck was a populist. He swam against the stream. I sometimes am a contrarian, so it was easy to hook into what he was doing. He seemed to be out to assist the little guy. His program had tips and tricks to conserve consumption and how to allow the little guy to get ahead when the big guys were keeping their thumbs on them.

But over time, the show became nothing but depressing.

Chuck somehow got in bed with a group of people who ended up taking over his network. I believe it was the Liberty Lobby. Whether they ousted him or he went off in a snit, I've never quite determined. Anyhow, from there he moved his radio show from Tampa, Florida to White Springs, Florida where he renovated the Teleford Hotel that he purchased and quasi refurbished. Some of the work done on the hotel was quite unique. Other parts of it were not as well done. He created another network called the The Peoples Radio network and began once again to broadcast his show from the hotel.

White Springs was something of a unique town. It had moss covered trees. It was South Georgia in Northern Florida. It was almost Mayberry like, except there was an air of poverty, hard luck and no hope.

He began a "For the People" membership program that included the opportunity to stay in the hotel and dine in the dining room on old fashioned cooking. Done on a shoestring, it was, shall we say a unique setting. Not terrible. Just nothing to write home to mom about. Those who loved Chuck would have enjoyed it. Those who didn't see Chuck with rose colored glasses probably would have returned to the interestate and found food and shelter somewhere else.

Chuck again got in bed with another group of people, the UAW, and once again was in problems with his new business partners. He again lost his network.

It was funny that a guy who was dispensing advice on how to not let the guy who has the upper hand get the upper hand kept falling into their traps. It was then that I coined the name "Hard Luck Charlie".

Chuck was also a believer in all things Y2K. And all of the were cataclysmic. His shows in the days and weeks following the calendar change were not pleasant for him. A large portion of his advertising prior to January 1, 2000 was for survival type gear all aimed for when the power grids went down as the clock ticked midnight. Most of the gear was now deemed worthless by his listeners who felt betrayed and cheated. Chuck held his ground, but it was not a pretty sight.

Unfortunately, as I listened to his show off and on from the 90's to the early 2000's, I became terribly depressed. Chuck had a way of taking elements of truth and trumping them up. Making the facts fit his outcome. When I gave up the show, my outlook improved and my life began to excel again.

The station that carried Chuck went off the air and he was no longer heard in my area. However, in mid 2000 while traveling in Florida, I told my wife that I needed to see if I could find "Hard Luck Charlie" on the air to see what his latest problem was. He didn't disappoint. There was a horrible problem with his van now handicap retrofitted that he now needed due to an issue with his legs.

As time has gone by, Chuck's station count has diminished considerably. He at one time had about 300 affiliates, second only to Rush Limbaugh. He now is down to a handful, if that.

His problems with maintaining ownership of his networks, his Y2K issues, the election of President Bush (many Harder listeners would look past something President Bush did but would have been breathing fire had it been former President Clinton or another democrat) and yes even consolidation have hurt his show considerably.

It's sad. I at one time looked to him as a unique and needed host and personality. Because of his lack of foresight, his over hyping of Y2K and other issues, he and his show have become shells of themselves.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Signs, signs. Everywhere signs.

They were everywhere. Lining the streets near the courthouse. About 50 in all. Manned by men, women and children. In addition at least three trucks circled the downtown streets. Panel trucks with placards of very graphic, some would even say grusome pictures.

The signs depicted aborted fetuses. As did the panels of the cargo trucks.

The presenters of the art was a group that called themselves Missionaires to the Preborn. Their mission is to shock the public with their graphic pictures into the conclusion arbortion is wrong.

Oddly, I've never heard of this group before. Locally, I'm familiar with a group that does similar work, the Midwest Chapter of the Center for Bioethical Reform. That group is located in the Columbus suburb of Westerville.

Maybe Missionaires to the Preborn figured that Mark Harrington and his Center for Bioethical Reform was not having the necessary impact in the area and needed a little help getting the message out?

My guess is both groups enjoy the media coverage that such displays generate. As of this writing, it appears that the news organizations either weren't given a heads up or found other things to cover. There was nothing on the television news nor anything mentioned in the local daily paper. Usually something of this nature draws the news media like moths are drawn to a flickering flame.

In addition to the media exposure, the other purpose with such an in your face display, is that groups who do this seem to enjoy "the fight" as much or more than the outcome they claim to hope for. It's almost as if they are itching for an argument, or someone to become so agitated with the displays to maybe throw a punch.

You know what I'm saying. Many conservative commentators believe the Jesse Jackson's and Al Sharpton's really deep down don't want the cause to be won because it would deprive them of their ongoing 15 minutes of fame. I've concluded it is likely the same with the groups who proudly display the graphic images.


I can't speak to their impact. The group was handing out pamphlets with more graphic pictures and writings explaining what they were trying to achieve. Some people readily accepted the pamphlets. Others turned them away. Who's to say how many agreed with the tactics and how many were being polite by accepting the handouts?

The people who knew me and spoke to me about the program were not impressed, even though they may agree abortion is a poor choice. Others were upset and dismayed that the demonstrators had involved children in holding the pictures and posters in place.

Were the folks from Missionaires to the Preborn sucessful in Columbus? While I'll never know for sure, I doubt they changed many minds to their way of thinking. My guess is more were repulsed than converted.

Sometimes God needs people representing Him with better public relations skills.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

The Big, Big Fair



The picture is from the Columbus Dispatch website. It shows the midway of the Ohio State Fair with the beautiful skyline of downtown Columbus in the background.

The Columbus, Ohio area has been my home for over 50 years. In general, I really like this area. While I'm not thrilled with the dreary winters, there much to see and do within driving distance. And while our skyline doesn't match that of New York City or Chicago, it's still majestic and still ours.

The Ohio State Fair has been a Columbus staple for many years. For me it has meant a midway full of thrilling rides, many not even found in theme parks. One such ride is the zipper.



The key to enjoyment of this machine is that it rotates much like a ferris wheel. The cars are on a chain track that travels in the opposite direction that the super structure is turning. When a car reaches the end of the super structure, the car tumbles. Because of the different directions the car is turning, the sensations of thrill are overwhelming.

While driving along I-71, I didn't see this unique and stomach churning machine on the fair midway, but it's been there in the past and is one of the few places that has had one of these machines taking riders.

The Ohio State Fair lore would not be complete without a mention of former Governor James Rhodes and fair manager Billy Inman.



Governor Rhodes made the fair a cornerstone of his 16 years in office during the 60's, 70's and early 80's. All governors since have had to don a stetson hat and spend the night in the junior fair sheep barn, whether it was really what they wanted to do or not. During the Rhodes administration, it was always a battle between Ohio and Texas as to who had the largest fair, with each year after year pointing to statistics that would prove one fair larger than the other.

As for Billy Inman, we'll just let his short tenure as fair manager fade into the sunset.