Tis the season to be musical

Now that the spirit of the season has begun and people have trampled each other just a mere hours after the Turkey has settled, it is time to embrace the true meaning of the holidays through the words of music of the classics as song by some of the most beautiful singers of the last few generations.

Enjoy this medley of songs that remind us of childhood, family, charity, giving and peace.

Ding Dong Ding Dong

P.S. – Don’t forget the cranberry sauce

Holiday Play List


Letter to my unborn child

Dear Emma,

Each night when you were all snug in your bed with Mr. Peeps, I read you a story. At the time, I took comfort that you just felt comfortable to hear my voice before you went to bed and as your eyes faded into the night, you never forget to whisper “I love you” to me. That was our time and I always held it close to my heart. Those stories meant something more than a way to ease you to dreamland. They were filled with strength, courage, morals, compassion and love. These values I hope you will carry with you all your days.

I know I told you that I would always be there for you and I will. Each time you feel scared or confused, close your eyes and the memory of me with give you the security to carry you through the difficult times.

Sometimes you may think you hear my voice in the wind. You will. I will never leave you side.

You are my world and I hope you give as much love to your children as I to you. Times have changed dramatically as you have grown into this world. Technology is an integral part of your life. Communications are becoming void of emotion and relationships need to be the cornerstone of all that is real.

We would always say “the good old days” or “times were easier back in the day” You never had the chance to live without your smartphone, computer, tablet, WII and other modern toys. Growing up, the streets and the parks were our game console and the neighborhood was the only world we knew. We could hear pins drop at night and see every star in the sky. Flowers and trees weren’t virtual. We didn’t want 3-D, we just wanted to touch everything. Curiosity and imagination gave us all the fuel we needed to be anyone or anywhere we wanted.

That is the magic of the stories I told you. It took you to a place that no game can ever match, your mind. You are blessed with the most wonderful piece of technology. The ability to dream and create is such a wonderful gift of which there is no price.

You are going to have to work hard. With continued population growth and limited career opportunities, you will fight every day to stay on top. Competition is coming globally from all directions as social media has given everyone the chance to gain virtual stardom and step on your chance for continued development.

I loved every job I ever had, but the most rewarding role of my life was loving every moment with you. A day never went by without the thought of seeing you every night rushing through my head. You were my muse, my inspiration.

I don’t want you to every stop succeeding but never let a game system or IPad replace a hug and a story.
Greatness is defined by moments but also by the influence we play in others lives.

As your children grow, they will look to you. They will receive peer pressure and they will try to find their own independence, but as long as you teach them well and let them know how much you love them, they won’t stray far.

My generation started feeling a sense of apathy and uncertainty about faith. I know you saw it too, but you turned out amazing. Watching you grow and embracing the earth, recycling, volunteering and treating everyone equally makes me believe that as I pass on, you will continue to stand up for the foundation of the things that are truly good in this world.

Artificial intelligence is a truly amazing feat with the potential to stretch the limits of possibility but love, compassion and something as simple as a hug can carry a weight much stronger than any robot.

I will never leave you, but you will be on your own now. Looking in your eyes, I always saw the inner strength you possessed and I knew that you would achieve greatness.

I will never stop looking down on you. Let your children have the toys that are now a part of every moment of our lives, but show them the wonders of the world and give all of yourself to them.

I love you sweetheart

Vinyl in the Digital World: Nostalgia vs. Technology – Vote Today

Remember when life was simple…

What did we do before the internet?

I remember waiting on line for hours to get tickets to a Guns N’ Roses Concert…

I can download the albums for free…

I’m sure you have heard or even said these phrases. Are we contradictory or just pretentious as we yearn for the old and embrace the new? There are a few of us including myself that houses some vinyl, a VCR and one or two old school lunch boxes. Do I own an IPod? I do, but I inherited it from a relationship divorce. I am still slightly in play. I am writing this blog on a PC and thus to the fine folks at Brother, I am sorry for not using a typewriter to pen my words to my avid readers.

We live in a new age, one that started with a 30 second spot by Macintoch in 1984 or was it Jules Verne in the late 1800’s. One may never know, other than Al Gore who penned the term “information superhighway”. No matter how we divvy the teams, a war rages on between the traditionalists and the new generation.

Gear up your Dungeon’s and Dragon’s Warrior gear because Call to Duty is geared up with a lot more than wands and magic dust.

Tonights bout lineup includes:

Bejeweled vs Rubik’s Cube

Star Wars vs Avatar

Farmville vs Monopoly

Tour of Duty vs Frogger

Rhianna vs Madonna

Reagan vs Obama

Free Love vs politically correct

I spent time with my friends vs I texted my friends

Michael vs Justin

Cosby and Mash vs The Office and Modern Family

Camcorders vs Flip

Commodore 64 vs Macbook

Quite a lineup card for tonight. The odds are set, place your bets and vote.

If you had the chance to spend one year in 1984 or 2010, what choice would you make?

Let’s let the readers decide. Place your vote and let us know which is better – Nostaligia or Technology

Then or now!!!!!

Round one

The Rich Roots of Diversity – This Day in History: Ellis Island Closes Its Doors

Fifty-six years ago today, the small utopia just off the coast of Manhattan and New Jersey closed its doors six decades and twelve million dreams later. Ellis Island was the processing center to a new life where immigrants stepped foot on American soil and were greeted by Lady Liberty.

It was an opportunity to start over. Entering into a melting pot of diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds, millions began a journey that future generations have continued with each breath of freedom.

Nearly 40 percent of American’s today can trace their roots to an ancestor who took the ultimate sacrifice to leave their homeland behind in hopes that they and their future families could have a better life.

Enjoy this historical walk through Ellis Island provided by History.com.

Provided by History.com

Full link:


On this day in 1954, Ellis Island, the gateway to America, shuts it doors after processing more than 12 million immigrants since opening in 1892. Today, an estimated 40 percent of all Americans can trace their roots through Ellis Island, located in New York Harbor off the New Jersey coast and named for merchant Samuel Ellis, who owned the land in the 1770s.

On January 2, 1892, 15-year-old Annie Moore, from Ireland, became the first person to pass through the newly opened Ellis Island, which President Benjamin Harrison designated as America’s first federal immigration center in 1890. Before that time, the processing of immigrants had been handled by individual states.

Not all immigrants who sailed into New York had to go through Ellis Island. First- and second-class passengers submitted to a brief shipboard inspection and then disembarked at the piers in New York or New Jersey, where they passed through customs. People in third class, though, were transported to Ellis Island, where they underwent medical and legal inspections to ensure they didn’t have a contagious disease or some condition that would make them a burden to the government. Only two percent of all immigrants were denied entrance into the U.S.

Immigration to Ellis Island peaked between 1892 and 1924, during which time the 3.3-acre island was enlarged with landfill (by the 1930s it reached its current 27.5-acre size) and additional buildings were constructed to handle the massive influx of immigrants. During the busiest year of operation, 1907, over 1 million people were processed at Ellis Island.

With America’s entrance into World War I, immigration declined and Ellis Island was used as a detention center for suspected enemies. Following the war, Congress passed quota laws and the Immigration Act of 1924, which sharply reduced the number of newcomers allowed into the country and also enabled immigrants to be processed at U.S. consulates abroad. After 1924, Ellis Island switched from a processing center to serving other purposes, such as a detention and deportation center for illegal immigrants, a hospital for wounded soldiers during World War II and a Coast Guard training center. In November 1954, the last detainee, a Norwegian merchant seaman, was released and Ellis Island officially closed.

Beginning in 1984, Ellis Island underwent a $160 million renovation, the largest historic restoration project in U.S. history. In September 1990, the Ellis Island Immigration Museum opened to the public and today is visited by almost 2 million people each year.

Veteran’s Day 2015 – Thank you for your proud dedication and sacrifice

Today is a day of reflection and love for hundreds of thousands who have served or waited for their loved ones to return home from domestic and foreign lands.

It is a day we all experience in a different way. For some it is filled with sadness of the loss of a loved one or happiness because of the sacrifices made to preserve freedom throughout the world.

Whether you reflect on this day in silence or cheer, take a moment to remember. Remember the honor, dedication, sacrifice and commitment.

As a history major in my undergraduate days, I had the honor of studying under some of the most knowledgeable academic minds on the topic of history of the United States and foreign nations. I have taken that knowledge with me as I continue to see the world around me.

Each day, I wear the military dog tags of my father. He is still healthy and vibrant and I value every moment I spend with him; but I display it with pride for the dedication and commitment he gave to his family and his country. I may not have been born at the time or even a thought in his mind but I know somewhere in Europe, he thought about his future and now that future is the present and I am a very important part of it.

When I think of Tim and Necia and their three children, I cannot get sentimental at the story of their love. Two Air Force specialists who met in basic training, fought for the lives of others thousands of miles away and found their way into each others arms amid bloodshed and tears years later. Now as I see the unconditional love they provide to their children, I can only smile and embrace how I am fortunate to have them in my life as well.

To Dad, Necia, Tim and some many more that have affected our lives, thank you. I will continue to keep you in my thoughts and my life.

The Marcus Effect: Finding Satisfaction and Value in any Job

How does one find value in their job? That is a question that has been studied, analyzed and reported on for hundreds of years. As the scope and look of jobs change, the variables of work change, but the one common denominator will always be the same: You/Employee/Associate/Team Member…..

Is value measured by ROI? Is it measured by your salary? Perhaps by the performance results in your assessment? For some it is a commission check while others find value in their benefits and/or vacation time. Some feel the number of hours worked in a week will translate to value while job security is critical to others. We can continue listing personal value choices until we run out of data storage space for this piece but value can be simplified to a number of key elements.

  • Value and personal work satisfaction does not translate directly to the level of seniority or responsibility in the organization
  • Personal satisfaction is as important if not more important than performance assessments, wage, and rewards/recognition
  • The level of commitment one puts into their role has positive correlation to job satisfaction levels
  • If an employee is happy with what they are doing, he/she will give more effort and feel more dedicated to the job and the company
  • “Giving 100%” is not a cliche but a way of life

At this moment, many of you are wondering why I have titled this installment, The Marcus Effect?
Marcus is a hospitality maintenance technician whom I met in Myrtle Beach and now resides in the Charlotte area. Marcus is a very talented and versatile professional with exceptional knowledge of home repair, plumbing, cleaning and general maintenance. That alone should provide him job security and value with the hotel and its guests but Marcus goes beyond the traditional elements of a job description and takes a personal interest in his guests. To Marcus, the hotel guests are an extension of his family. Does he invite them home for Thanksgiving if they are alone and away from family? No but he would.

What differentiates Marcus from the rest of his staff is the incidentals he performs beyond the scope of his role.

1.) If a co-worker had an emergency he would work a double to cover or even an overnight shift
2.) If a guest needed a ride to a restaurant or the airport, he would take them
3.) If a guest appeared sad in the lobby, he would tell a joke or provide comfort and company
4.) If a cup of coffee was near empty, he would offer to refill it. Of course coffee is free in the lobby.
5.) He always puts a guests needs ahead of his own. If he is on a break and an emergency arises, he will suspend his own free time.
6.) He shows genuine interest in his co-workers families and their well-being

What would spur on this type of extraordinary behavior from a maintenance technician.

Does he believe in the mission of the company?
Does he believe in the value he provides to the customers/guests?
Does he believe his behavior will lead to a promotion?
Does he believe in karma and is hoping all this will lead to better things for him and his family?
Is he just happy?
Does he love the pay and benefits?
Is he the type that is good-natured?
Does he want to be challenged and diversified in his work activities?

All of the above, but so much more.

I heard a comment once “There are no bad jobs, just bad workers”

If you owned your own company would you want one administrative assistant that worked 150% of the time and loved his/her job as that attitude extended to customers, colleagues and suppliers or ten CEO’s that worked at 50% capacity and had a negative persona extending out to its customers and shareholders? That is a very interesting question. Rather unrealistic but it poses room for thought.

What has made my friendship with Marcus flourish is that I was around for the birth of his daughter, I have been invited to stay with his family when I have been in town and I have even stored my car there while on business travel. Couple that will a joke when I need one and a level of dedication that you traditionally do not see in most friendships or business relationships and you have a gift. He possesses warmth that has no separation between work, family and life. He is who he is: A truly dedicated human being who believes in the good of others and the desire to help others.

In the workforce, there have been studies on what motivates employees. Is it money, benefits, value added, level of responsibility or opportunity for career growth. All elements play into ones decision to join a firm and to stay. What drives Marcus is the knowledge each and every day that he is positively affecting the lives of others. What he loves a great deal is that each day, he meets new people from various places bringing with them cultural elements and lifestyle differences. No matter what they social status or way of life, he adapts and greets with a smile.

To me, Marcus encompasses all the soft elements of what I look for in an employee. If I could hire ten of him or even just one, it would make my company a better place to work.

When you look at your own job, regardless of how others view it, if you are satisfied and adding value, you can’t ask for more than that.

To Marcus and the Marcus Effect. I hope we all feel it now or someday.