The Generosity Project

Last Christmas season, I thought it would be nice to try out a little mini-project that had been percolating in my brain for a few years. Unfortunately, I got a late start on my idea and it never really had the chance to get rolling. Well this year, I have given myself and any other participants plenty of lead time, and I’d like to ask you again if you would consider being involved.

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What “Bruce Wayne” Taught Me About Generosity

Some people in this world make insane amounts of money, but billionaire industrialist and Gotham City playboy Bruce Wayne takes personal income to unimaginable levels of insane. Wayne is filthy rich, to be sure, but there is a side of Mr. Wayne and his globally-dominant Wayne Industries that many people do not see: The Wayne Foundation, his generous philanthropy organization. I got to tour the Phoenix offices of Wayne Industries this week, and I am going to leak a few very interesting secrets about the legendary Bruce Wayne (SPOLIER: Bruce Wayne is merely a secret identity for a well-known superhero).

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Go Ahead: Judge Your Neighbors

Everyone who truly loves Christmas also loves to see neighborhoods decked-out in true holiday spirit. As we walk/drive/sleigh through each year’s winter wonderland of lights, we see homes with decorations that fill us so full of Christmas Spirit that we could swear we are one carol away from bursting.

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Firefight at The Distant Light

I could barely breathe. The dank summer air, mixed with the smoke of cheap cigarettes, made my lungs burn. I grew up in California and wasn’t used to the oppressive humidity of the Southern summer nights.

Whiskey bottles were piling high in front of me, but I wasn’t drunk. To the people who crowded this hole-in-the-wall bar on the west side of downtown Atlanta, I looked like any other roughnecked boozer trying to drown his Saturday night in cheap liquor. No one suspected that I was working undercover for the FBI, tasked with bringing down a family-run crime ring that had the local police chasing their tails for years.

As luck would have it, three of the four brothers heading the organization were in a corner booth, growing louder and more intoxicated by the minute. It was like a nest of the baddest men in the state. I called the District Attorney to let him know that tonight was the best chance he’d ever get to bring down the Ferrera family.

I slid the Blackberry back into my pocket and fingered the handle of the Glock 22 stuffed in my waistband. In five minutes, federal agents would storm the place, and things would get dicey. The bartender, Charlie, poured me another shot of whiskey, and I pounded it to help take the edge off.

Then I heard a woman singing.

The lame rockabilly band that had been playing earlier was gone, and a beautiful woman had taken their place. She played a beaten-up Taylor guitar and sang a haunting version of the Beatles’ “Blackbird”. She was wearing a plain, black dress that fell to the middle of her thighs, perfectly framing her amazing long legs. She seemed oddly overdressed considering the venue, but she held herself with an air of confidence that she was destined for nicer venues than the “Distant Light”.

This woman had it all. She was tall — about 5’9″, amazing figure, dark hair, green eyes. I felt my temperature starting to rise as I imagined what it might be like to be with such a beautiful woman. Just one look, and I was a bad mess.

Suddenly, I heard the sirens, and everybody started to run. People were jumping out the doors and across the tables. The Ferrara brothers had drawn their weapons and began shooting out the windows. I ran to the woman in the black dress, held out my hand and said, “Come with me.”

On our way to the back door, I drew my weapon and began firing back at the table where the Ferrara brothers were now barricaded. My pistol was pumping in my left hand, and she was ahold of my right. I told her, “Don’t be scared,” as we made our way safely to the back alley.

Years later, I’m still amazed at what I had to endure just to be able to spend my living with the long, cool woman in the black dress.

Writing out of my comfort zone, thanks to Erica and the Summer Writer’s Series over at

I don’t know what “classic rock” will mean to you when you are my age, but “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” by the Hollies is something I consider an epic piece of classic rock gold in the year 2012. We may not always agree on music as you grow up, but I do hope you will look this song up one day and think of your old man as you listen.

Career Potential

Parents like to dream big for their kids. We may dream about our child one day becoming the doctor who discovers a cure for cancer, or the first astronaut to step foot on Mars, or an inspiring teacher who touches the lives of countless children, or perhaps an entrepreneur who creates amazing technological innovations. But sometimes, our kids demonstrate specific talents in other areas, and our dreams come face-to-face with another potential reality.

And we shudder.

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Disneyland Vacation Planner

With Summer quickly approaching, many families are now making their vacation plans. Well, if you’re thinking about taking the crew to Disneyland (or any other amusement park) this year, I would like to offer a FREE, customizable resource that you might find helpful. In preparation of our trip last year to celebrate Harrison’s 3rd birthday, I created a handy-dandy Disneyland Trip Planner.

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Live a Life of Exposure Therapy

Everyone has a phobia, and most of us have quite a few. I hate to break it to you, but even Chuck Norris is afraid of something. When we come face to face with our fears, our response can be anywhere from mild discomfort to all-out panic. But what would happen if we decided to take just one fear, and attempt to conquer it by intentionally exposing ourselves to it? Crazy? Maybe. But I’ll tell you from experience, the payoff can be huge.

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Remembering Mrs. Meadows

Last week, my high school English teacher passed away. Her name was Mrs. Janice Meadows, and she had a very unique and tremendous impact on me because she not only taught me how to write, she also instilled in me a deep desire to write well. I couldn’t let her passing slip by without giving her due credit for the role she played in my love for writing.

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Trash Talking

All my life I have been involved in sports. For the past year or so, I have had the opportunity to play in a city recreational basketball league. I have a good time getting some much-needed exercise and participating in a constructive, competitive event each week. But one thing that I do not enjoy is the incessant trash talking.

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Attack the Friends You Love

Jason Palmer, a good friend of mine since college, turned 35 this year. According to the Unites States Constitution, he is now eligible to run for the office of President of the United States. I don’t know if Jason has a plan for seeking public office, but just in case he does, I thought it might be nice to get out ahead of the mainstream media and alert the public to the dangers of a Jason Palmer presidency:

Having longtime friends is one of the greatest joys in life. But that doesn’t mean you have to vote for them.