Sunday, November 24, 2013

A little advice

 

Polonius’ Advice to Laertes

Hamlet I, iii, 55-81
 
 
LORD POLONIUS
Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for shame! The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail, And you are stay’d for. There; my blessing with thee! And these few precepts in thy memory See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue, Nor any unproportioned thought his act. Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar. Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel; But do not dull thy palm with entertainment Of each new-hatch’d, unfledged comrade. Beware Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in, Bear’t that the opposed may beware of thee. Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice; Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment. Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy; For the apparel oft proclaims the man, And they in France of the best rank and station Are of a most select and generous chief in that. Neither a borrower nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend, And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. This above all: to thine ownself be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

This Bully Business

Bullying consists of three basic types of abuse: emotional, verbal, and physical. It typically involves subtle methods of coercion such as intimidation. Bullying behavior may include name calling, verbal or written abuse, exclusion from activities, exclusion from social situations, physical abuse, or coercion. Since the early 2000s, attention has steadily increased on addressing this problem in schools but headlines have recently focused on the National Football League.   

Richie Incognito, Jr. of the Miami Dolphins was suspended indefinitely for allegedly harassing a teammate. Before the NFL, he played college football at Nebraska. He was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft and also played for the Buffalo Bills during the 2009 season. In 2012 he was honored with an invitation to the Pro Bowl. This news story is still unfolding and includes the culture of professional football. We’ll hear more before all is said and done. 
Inside the context of pro sports it isn’t hard to imagine this behavior getting out-of-control. The media spotlight will find similarly high profile activity within corporate culture soon enough. It is a serious problem when there is a perceived imbalance of power. Add pressure to succeed and desire to fit in and you have a recipe that can result in an explosive combination of human interaction. Bullying often takes place in the presence of a large group of relatively uninvolved bystanders. A bully creates an illusion that he/she has the support of the majority and instills the fear. Unless the bully mentality is effectively challenged, in any given group, in early stages, it becomes an accepted, or supported, norm within a group.  

Therein lies the opportunity to put a halt to it. Speak out! It is easier said than done of course, when you see it happening in a corporate boardroom. But is it important. It is the right thing to do. Incognito cases of camouflaging problems to disguise unacceptable behavior between associates in the workplace can have extreme and dire consequences. Be on the lookout and do your part to stop it.    

Friday, November 1, 2013

Be a Part of the Solution

According to some experts, after three years at the same job, you've learned 90 percent of what you're going to learn there. So even if you're satisfied with where you are now, switching jobs can help you gain important new expertise and skills. Furthermore, the days of the 30 year gold watch employee are long gone. Churn is happening as businesses assess the needs of their organizations.

As a veteran of advertising, marketing and communications business I have noticed an unfortunate consequence of changes in the nature of human resources. Companies expect loyalty but increasingly it isn’t a reciprocal expectation. More is asked of fewer individuals. No guarantees.

Increasingly the job life cycle goes in three phases.

1.      Being a part of the solution. (S)

2.      Being a part of the problem and being a part of the solution. (P/S)

3.      Being a part of the problem. (P)    

Phase I (S): It generally works like this. As you join an organization you have undoubtedly navigated the employment process, recruitment, assessments and interviews. You get an offer and (hopefully) you are determined to apply your talents to solving problems. You want to make things better. You can see as an outsider, as you study the company, that you can be instrumental in change. You see yourself as part of the solution.

Phase II (P/S): After a while, It could be a year (It could be six months), you realize that the solution is more difficult to obtain than you first imagined. You face the facts that some systemic issues have evolved over time. Rather than make yourself stark raving mad, you conclude that you must work within the system, no matter how dysfunctional. You tell yourself that playing along for a while will allow you to affect change from the inside/out. So essentially you are making peace with being a part of the problem (part of the time) while focusing on being a meaningful change agent – part of the solution (part of the time).

Phase III (P): Like a drug you find that being a part of the system is easier. You feel more secure. You might even admit it. You are fearful and are making decisions based on job security and fitting into a culture.

It’s too bad. Being a part of the solution is more satisfying. It’s really too bad that being part of the problem is safer. But chances are you still aren’t gonna get a gold watch!   

Phase I (S) Solution; Phase II (P/S); Phase III (P) Problem.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Third Annual HBE Memorial Alumni Golf

October 5, 2013 - a celebration of The Third Annual Ted Brown/Jack Kennedy HBE Memorial/Alumni Tournament at Creve Coeur Golf Course





Saturday, October 5, 2013 – This is the third year in a row we gathered to remember those who could be with us, those unable to make it and those who are no longer with us. The weather forecast was promising scattered showers but it only deterred the 36 who showed up to play for 20 minutes or so before play resumed after the course cooled. Bill Wagner of SM Wilson earned low-net honors and will take care of the traveling trophy until next year.  (Scott Florini of New Ground finished just one stroke behind Wagner.) Larry Quarrels was the long drive champion. Tom Deyot and Ron Olech got closest to the pin on holes #9 and #2 respectively.

A touching moment was the serendipity of a cell phone call to Frank Cipolla (in town as owner representative for the Ballpark Village construction) from Mary Ann Kennedy (Jack Kennedy’s wife). Mary Ann happened to call to see if Frank was going to be home as Mary Ann and caregivers would likely be traveling to his part of Florida. Frank reported that in fact he was in St. Louis in honor of Jack and others at our annual event. (A sweet irony that her call came just as Frank was negotiating hole #1 at CCGC).

Creve Coeur Golf Course was our private club for the afternoon and most lingered afterward to share in the distribution of prizes, beverages and a few laughs. George Ryll traveled the greatest distance to join in the fun (from Sabastian, Florida).

Special Thanks to the committee members responsible for planning and communication (Mitch Miller, Frank Cipolla, Wes Morgan) and to Suki Majesky who helped get this tradition started.  We enjoyed the company of current HBE employees Fred Scott, Tony Augustine, Mitch Miller, Don Pickens. Mike Sims of Watlow Electric joined us a ambassador from the Thursday night league. (Watlow’s league is usually night in front of HBE).

Special thanks to Jerry Petry (with vintage AB product as judged by born on dates), Charlie and Coann Lee (with choice cigars), Lyle Forgy, Joe Voss, Ed Ragelean, Wayne Zimmerman, Byant Conant, Peter Conant, Geoge Robin, Paul Tchoukaleff, Bill Field, Alan Friedman, Jeff Boock, John Paulauskis, Scott Menkes, Rick Schaefer and all of those who were with us live or in spirit.

Mark your calendar for October 4, 2014 when we will do it again. (We’ll have to remind Bill Wagner to bring back the traveling trophy.)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ezekiel 25:17

The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Morgan Family Nuggets


Once upon a time, long ago in a land called Lakewood,

there lived a family called Morgan.  

We had everything!

We had cars (including a Lincoln Continental and two Cutlass Supreme Oldsmobiles).  The Wasmers finally won the Lincoln because they had the wherewithal to keep up with spare parts. Rod Varney’s vintage Impala looked out-of-place on our driveway but Mike Blake’s Corvette Stingray (rescued and refurbished from the family junk yard) looked pretty cool. So did Greg’s Triumph MG (until he totaled it). By the way, Normile Insurance must have loved the Morgans)  

We has cameras (and all the Kodak film we ever needed) and carrousel projectors galore. The cameras were on loan from Morgan Studio and shot images in 4 by 5, 2 ¼ X 2 ¼, 35 MM, Slides, Color and B&W.  

We had Bicycles (mostly Schwinns – they were repaired and tires were checked every Spring at the Schwinn shop on Detroit Street). We also had a portable gadget bike with little wheels. (Ridiculous.) Dad bought that bike when he saw it advertised in a newspaper. When the novelty wore off he gave it to me. I hated that bike. Often, the bikes were lost and stolen but because they had Lakewood license stickers – more often than not they were recovered. My son Ben took a Yellow Schwinn with a Lakewood license dated 1982 to college. That bike was older than he was but he was happy to have it. (Until it was stolen, of course. Miami probably doesn’t routinely call the Lakewood PD to check on status of stolen property. (The bike was an antique!)

We had sporting equipment - Tennis racquets (mostly Jack Kramer Autograph models), Footballs, Rawling’s Baseball Mitts, Bats and Baseballs (for hardball or whiffle ball play). Golf clubs – a closet full of mismatched sets. We had basketballs too. The garage had an inviting hoop and net. It was a good idea to lift the garage doors though so you don’t break any more garage door windows. (As many times as I saw Dad fix a broken window panes – I never mastered the art of getting the glass cut to size and the putty just right in such a repair). We had Hockey Equipment too. (Mom and Dad were not ALL IN for Hockey like they were for Golf and Tennis…Something about ice time at 2 a.m. made them a little suspicious I think).  Touch Football games in the front yard were almost always the same deal:  Dad passes to Greg, Touchdown,  and “BANG!” Game over. Tommy Murphy wasn’t the only kid to declare that it unfair to have Mr. Morgan as QB and referee. (But he might have been the most emphatic. “It just isn’t fair!” He’s say.)


We had Musical Instruments: a trumpet, a guitar, a banjo, a drum set and a baby grand Piano. (No one in our family has any musical talent. Except Greg – But I ask you - Do drums really count as a musical instrument?) Funny – Dad has a morning wake up song that went like this: “Wesley Morgan played the organ. His father played the drum. His mother played the fiddling sticks and they all went rum tum tum.”

We had garden tools and two lawn mowers (but zero gardeners). We had plenty rakes and snow shovels too.  And a leaf sweeper. And a wheel-barrel. We even had one of those edgers you could trim where the grass meets the driveway.

We had a mountain of Tonka trucks. They came in handy if you needed to throw something up at the Buckeye tree in the front yard to get a Frisbee unstuck. (Those are sturdy, well made trucks.)  

We had cap guns and rolls and rolls of caps. (Most of which would be bashed with big rocks or carpenter hammers on 4th of July weekend. What is the fun of a “pop pop pop” when you can risk hearing loss much bigger ka-booms? This only satisfied the quest for noise until we figured out the black market for firecrackers and M-80s.

We had closets full of practical outerwear. We had boots (galoshes), rubbers, hats, scarves, mittens, gloves, coats for snow and rain. Windbreakers and sweaters (the ugly sweaters we got for Christmas - we wore on paper routes before sunrise – never to school).    

We had records. LPs of Broadway shows like Oliver, The Sound of Music, The Music Man, Judy Collins (Clouds), comedy albums like Allen Sherman’s Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda and the First Family album with Vaughn Meador and company that lampooned the Kennedy Family at the White House. Lynn had a bunch of 45’s – the Beatles, Beach Boys, The Turtles (Happy Together), Petula Clark (downtown) and Nancy Sinatra (These boots are made for walkin’).

We had a Ping Pong table in the basement which was great (if you wanted to play Rob (again) or if you, instead you just wanted someplace for you and your friends to put their six-packs of Stroh’s 3.2 beer.

We had Silver - Crazy amounts of silver goblets, tea pots, trays, bowls, flatware (forks, spoons, knives), so much so that we asked a housekeeper (Anna Benson, Annie Avery, or Estelle) to polish the stuff. The housekeeper did the laundry too for all those kids.  Estelle was the best at ironing shirts. Anna had gang green and lost a leg, Annie Avery got Cancer (she was a woman of faith). They were a part of our family and a part of our family routine. (Nobody made a better Fried Balogna Sandwich than Anna Benson.)

We had Uncles – Phil and Al on Mom’s side and John, Andrew and David on Dad’s side. Uncle David is still with us (Maybe he is the greatest of the great. Too young to be a part of WWII. He is the surviving member of our parents generation. Which, in a way is poetic, because maybe David cared the most about staying connected with all of us.)

We had great parties – Parties for weddings, parties for wakes (Grammy Lawton’s was a fitting celebration for that 100% Irish Catholic side of our family). She passed away when  I was in 5th Grade (I remember because I was hard at work on a report on the great state of Alaska as the house filled up with friends and family as a show of sympathy.) And St. Patrick’s Day was legendary (Mom and Dad loved that holiday).  Cast Parties, Parties for the Lakewood High School football team (players and coaches). And, of course, a number of parties when our parents weren’t home. (Those always with a degree of risk.)

We belonged to the Cleveland Yachting Club and had a big boat (29’ Chris Craft with a flying bridge) – Did we have as much fun at the Beverstocks? I don’t know. I do know no-one in our family learned how to sail – except maybe Sundance in the “Wee Bobbie” dingy he had for a time. Tom Bernard was more of a true sailer. None of the Morgans wanted to be on the swim team either (although we did compete occasionally for CYC).  Once, Dad swam two lengths of the pool underwater to show that he could. And in spite of belief to the contrary the official charge number #836 (with which you could sign for food – billed later to your account) was used sparingly but is probably closed now.

We had charge accounts – If you need sporting goods or a smart outfit for Lakewood High…Just put it on the Morgan account at Charlie Gieger’s. And Rosie’s Wine House was quick to respond when the bat call went out for 15106 Edgewater Drive. Morgan Studio accounts at Bonfoey’s Frame Shop. Kohler Brothers for hardware (anything from Dowl Pins which would be cut down for Bonne Bell Lipsmackers package design options to plywood and nails to make room for more production space at the studio).

In spite of it all, We were frugal in many ways.


·       The Tom Schmitt Shell account was not a frivolous one. Upon determining the need for oil an attendant might ask “Want the good stuff Mr. Morgan?” the response was “No, put the cheap stuff in.” (He was not convinced a premium oil was going to add any life or value.) 

·       The guy that sold us firewood came to the door one winter. Dad asked “How much?” The answer, “$125 a cord Mr. Morgan.” To which he responds “Fine, give me $100 worth.”

·       Family haircuts came wholesale with Dad working the buzzer. 

o  Rob even tried to cut his own hair once with a “Hair Whiz Gizmo” – a TV offer I think or maybe something mom bought at Super X. Dad tried to fix it but even he agreed when Mom said he could stay home from school if he wanted – at least until some hair grew back.

 We lived in a big house – a lot of square feet. When we were little, the living room consisted in about 30% no-fly zone. Eventually we earned permission to sit in guest area couches. That bit of history was lost on my 2 year old Lindsey (obviously because of bad parenting) when she insisted on standing on a coffee table. It was the same year (1984) when Boston College QB Doug Flutie threw a Hail Mary pass that beat the previous season’s national champions  the U of Miami. By the way Bernie Kozar was the Miami’s QB on the losing end of that game,  

Morgans have talent (lots of it). A few notable examples 

·       Sundance had the most potential. He played football at St. Ignatius until he broke his collar bone. Sundance is now studying dramatic arts.  He is a well known character in New Orleans (before and after Katrina). If you are in N.O. look him up. He can teach you to focus on the zen of recreational tennis. 

·       Lynn knows how to sell – If you think you need new eye glasses – she’ll convince you that you need two pair. Zsa Zsa has made some choices that confirm the adage “the truth is stranger than fiction.” 

·       Dan is a visual artist and a master of social media. Dan is the ultimate connector. He is as comfortable hanging out with Little Steven of Bruce Springsteen’s e-street band as he hosting an event for emerging artists at Tower Press or Gallery 22. He is Truly a blend of commercial artist and fine artist. Mom often said that you need to account for the fact that Dan is just sooooooo sensitive).

·       Greg has used his degree in Education (originally because those classes had more girls) as a strategic platform for a career in Commercial Real Estate. He is a mentor and coach for Real Estate Lives. He is President of the American Red Cross in Tampa. He has the ability to host audiences of 250 or more. (Ask him about his version of Jeopardy.) Mom used to say Greg was such a savant that he fixed the vacuum cleaner when he was just 3 years old. (I just cannot bring myself to believe that often repeated bit of information from Mom. Puhhlease.)   

·       Rob is the Morgan with the humility and credibility to manage someone else’s business. (Really the only Morgan I would describe this way.) He is the BEST.  As the youngest (in any family) you get to witness the mistakes of your older siblings. You can also avoid the traps. Somehow Rob knew his success was going to be a product of hard work. (ROBO - you are remarkable more because of your effort than your potential. I know – a bit of a backhanded compliment but I think it’s true.)
 
·       And Wes… Dad and Mom used to call me the philosopher. Mom identified me as “oldest of the four boys” (almost like Sundance and Lynn were part of another family experiment). I’ve worked for a dozen advertising firms, and four corporations. (But enough about me – How did you like my last movie? …I am currently reinventing myself – stay tuned.)

Our experience was not unlike most families. But with parents like James O’Connell Morgan and Mary Francis Lawton Morgan shaping the storylines you have a legacy that is something quite remarkable. 

MOM:

We are an ensemble cast.

We knew that one day,

The performance would be your last.  

You were great Mom; it was your way.

On to the future, with regard for the past.

The show will go on.

Thanks Mom.

We will go on.

 

DAD:

We are the dreamers of dreams 

And we cherish each moment as it goes by.

Life is too short but the legacy lives in the gleams

Of Sons and Daughters who wonder why

The great man passes.  

Murph was right: It isn’t fair.

The great man passes.

Bang! All of us were there.

 

Wesley A. Morgan morganwes@aol.com 314 402-1202

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Bang!


Game Over. Or so it seems.
Tommy Murphy is outraged;
“It isn’t fair” he screams.
Once again the result is staged,
Yet we execute each play:
Run, cut, fake and catch the Pass.
Another Cereal Bowl in the books on a fine Autumn day
With time left over to go to 5 o’clock Mass.
 
In the cold grey dawn,
The rules are never disputed.
Like Kennedys on the lawn;
Roses are red, Weeds are rooted,
In the end it doesn’t matter if you win.
All the world is a stage;
The play is the thing;.
The best of times at such an age.
 
It’s how you play the game you see;
No effort goes unrewarded, stay on the field.
What happens under the Buckeye tree,
You think isn’t fair but in time it may be revealed;
In Shoreway seminars to and from Edgewater Drive,
Or in Reading the newspaper before you arrive,
Or between those hours - Nine until Five.
Between the hours of nine and five.
 
Type, Keyline, Flap and Tissue,
Caxton Building loading dock
Delivered right, that’s the issue.
East Side, West Side all around the clock
Attention to production and design,
Annual Reports arrived last night.
Photography and Illustration with a fine line
Because of Jim, the job is done right (and on time).
 
We are the dreamers of dreams 
And we cherish each moment as it goes by.
Life is too short but the legacy lives in the gleams
Of Sons and Daughters who wonder why
The great man passes.  
Murph was right: It isn’t fair.
The great man passes.
Bang! All of us were there

To Mom: The Show Will Go On.

Race to the moon, civil rights, protests in the news.
A New year’s noise on copper-bottom pot and pans.  
Sloppy Joes served as chairs rattle loose screws.
The times they are a changing. We’re making plans.
Black & White programming of political views
Swimming lessons, coloring books and Kool-Aid stands.

 
Church keys opening Shasta flavored pops.
Little theaters and museums of the arts.
Stainless steel counters with built-in stovetops.  
School clothes filling up shopping carts.
Historic sites, parades and hometown teams.
After school the Stooges, cartoons on television starts.
Barnaby, Captain Penny, Jingle-ling, Holiday themes.

 
A Baby Grand piano, trumpet, banjo, drums and guitar.
Sterling Silver, Bunnykins, Royal Daulton Figurines,
Screwdrivers. Cigarettes. Makeup. Jelly Jars.
Time, Newsweek, Life and Look Magazines.
Board games. Sparkling wine. Martinis. Chanel Number 5
Steak and SauSea Shrimp at dinner in the pantry nook.
The remarkable and mystical Edgewater Drive.
"Do your homework. Kitchen is closed. You know I hate to cook."

 
Backyard sunning for a Coppertone tan.
Extensions a plenty, never far from a phone.
Reading a book and drinking Coke from a can.  
In the Wonderful World of Ohio you’re never alone.
Cedar Point, Sandusky, a Summer cottage rental.
The Football Hall of Fame, Mystery Hill and Firestone;
Buckle up and away we go in the Lincoln Continental.
But first, “No ice cream in the car. Finish your cone.”
Ordinary things, of which we become sentimental

 
“I’ll do anything for you kids - as long as you remember.”
Silver goblets, meat loaf, tuna casserole, chicken soup,
Hough Bakery cakes from Spring until September.
On a continuous loop.
The birthdays, they come and they go.
We remember the routine and the ordinary.
How did she know?
A life lived and a life extraordinary.

 
Read, Enunciate, project, pronounce
Improvise the method. The talent is a fact.
Study, debate, articulate and announce.
You must believe, if you think you can act.
There are no small roles. You’ll stand out among the rest
Listen to the words and listen well,
“Oh honey, you always know what’s best.”
When to pause, when to gesture, you can always tell.


To Dream the Impossible Dream.
Everything is rehearsed: scene by scene.
Coffee cup and saucer: Black. No sugar. No cream.
The play is a hit, but what does it mean?
Acting, directing and winning your heart.
The final curtain. Bravo! The audience is for you,
“Always do your best. Understand. Play the part.”
Carry on and excel in everything you do.

 
Thunderous enthusiastic applause.
As cheer and joy arise.
The audience approves without pause.
Good to know, but not a surprise .
Prepare and be ready for your que  
Face each day. The show must go on.
You know exactly what to do.
House lights go up and suddenly you are gone.  

 
We are an ensemble cast.
We knew that one day,
The performance would be your last.   
You were great Mom; it was your way.
On to the future, with regard for the past.
The show will go on.
Thanks Mom.
We will go on.