Losing a piece of my childhood

On October 12th, 2017 we lost a person that had a very special place in my heart and one who played an huge role in making me into the person I am today.

Michael Maggiulli passed away in his sleep at the age of 54. Mike was a very loving and giving person as you will see from my story. We lost touch with each other after high school for a few years. We would then re-connect a few more times through the years but grew more and more distant as our lives went entirely into different directions. He always remained my very first best friend in my heart and I am sure that he kept me in his heart as well. We have many memories and great times together as kids and we were literally inseparable. His parents were my parents and mine his. We were like brothers.

My life with Mike started when I began 5th grade at St. Hedwigs. I came into the school as the new kid, was pretty introverted and kept to myself. I used to be picked on by many kids and somewhat bullied (by today’s standards at least). It was not an easy time for me of course but I was managing. Mike was one of the “Cool” kids in the class. A bit of the class clown, good looking kid and he had his buddies that he would hang out with in class. One day (I’ll never forget it), Mike came to my rescue in the school yard and fended off a few kids that were picking on me. He asked me my name and we started to talk. He asked me to meet him after school and we would ride home on our bikes together now that we knew that we only lived about 10 blocks from each other. Then he asked me if I wanted to hang out with him at his house and play some basketball. I was thrilled that someone “cool” like him was taking an interest in hanging out with me, so of course I said yes. Well my life literally changed from that day forward. I was no longer that kid that people picked on or bullied. I was becoming one of the “Cool” kids. I am sure it took a bit of of training, and Mike was happy to oblige with making that happen. I remember him talking to me about getting new clothes, changing my hair style (yes I had hair at one time). We used to talk and hang out for hours listening to rock and roll, playing pool in his basement, and riding our bikes all over town. We started a friendship that I would cherish for the rest of my life. Who knows how my life would have shaped up if it wasn’t for that pivotal moment in my life. Mike helped me. As I am sure he did with many people that crossed his path in his life.

I didn’t tell this story to many people. It was something I kept with me all these years. I did thank him many times (even as kids) for what he did. But I don’t think his parents, cousins or even many of our close friends from grammar or high school know this story. I was compelled to write about it now as a way to celebrate the person that he was in my life and to share with anyone that reads this that may have known Mike to understand what kind of a person he was and how he impacted me.

You’ll be missed my friend, may you rest in peace. I know a day will come when we will meet again.


Helping someone you love when they lose someone they love

During my life I have lost a number of people that I loved. I’m all out of grandparents, I tragically lost my sister, I’ve lost aunts and uncles and dear friends. And almost going on 2 years now, I lost my Mother.

It recently started to hit me that now that I’m over the age of 50, coupled with the multiple dealings I’ve had throughout my life with loss that I should be somewhat of an expert on what to do and say when someone in my life experiences a loss. My wife lost her one and only Aunt this week. Of course I am here for her, I am trying my best to comfort her, be her best friend and I believe I am doing all the right things to console her. But let me make this clear: I am still never quite sure what to do.

No one ever is. It is very heartbreaking to watch someone you love lose a loved one, and you are left feeling hopeless. What can you do, as one person, to ease their pain, to give them comfort through such a terrible time, what is the “Right” thing to do?

One thing I do know for sure is this: The WRONG thing to do is to do nothing at all.

When someone you love dies there is an incredible void that is left and the truth is that many acts of kindness get lost in the sadness of it all. I probably can’t tell you who sent me cards or flowers when my mother passed away, but I can tell you that each time I went to the mailbox there was love and kindness waiting for me and my family.

As my wife is dealing with this loss, I am sure she will not remember how some of the things that got done got done. But I am sure that things will get done by the people in her life that came to help her when she was going through this tough time.

I often say when cooking that the most important ingredient for making a meal taste great is “Love”.

Well, I promise you this: If you reach out with Love and Compassion you are doing the right thing. When someone you love suffers a loss, everything is “The right thing to do”

Call them, send them a card, bake them some cookies, help clean up. And continue to do these thing even after you think that they are “Ok”

People treat grieving people like babies and try to avoid questions and mentioning the awful thing that just happened. Sometimes people try to even avoid the grieving person altogether just in fear that they will say or do the wrong thing that will send that person into tears. The problem with that is so obvious and we all miss it – A grieving person needs to be allowed to be upset. They need to hear the name of their loved one and be allowed to do whatever they need to do with friends and family around them to support them.

As for me, I will do my part, as best as I know how to comfort my wife and family through this loss. Aunt Linda was 72 years old, she was a kind lady, had a great love for reading and animals. She loved her dog. I don’t know much about her life, but I am sure she did some amazing things. She always used to mail me newspaper clippings of sports articles that related to the Jets or the Mets, sometimes just to rub it in my face (being that she was a Yankee fan). She will be missed. Ilyssa has a small family by comparison to mine. Aunt Linda was her only Aunt. There is never solace in saying that you have other Aunts and Uncles of course, but losing the only one you have must be quite hard. I’ll always be here for you Ilyssa.

The Giving Pledge


Back in March of 2013 I wrote a blog post about Billionaires, I mention in this article that if I ever joined the ranks of billionaire status that I promised to form a club.

Millionaires, Billionaires…Trillions?

Well, unbeknown to  me at the time there was already a movement started called “The Giving Pledge” that Warren Buffet and Bill & Melinda Gates started.

This week on 60 Minutes I watched a segment on it. Here it is for anyone that wants to see it.

The Giving Pledge on 60 Minutes

My take on this….

a) I think its a phenomenal cause and I give credit to these folks that are pledging to do this for the better of humanity. If that’s truly the reason they are doing it.
b) There are many people that criticize this in a number of ways. The fact that the pledge is not a legal binding commitment for instance, or that there are other superseding legal binding clauses in their wills that don’t obligate the members to donate half their wealth after death.
c) There are critics that say that they are doing it as a tax shelter. Or that many of the billionaires are simply still donating to their own philanthropies and just using the Giving Pledge as a public relations vehicle.
d) There are 1426 Billionaires in the world, only 150 or so are participating in this effort. Although the Giving Pledge is growing year over year with more billionaires, one has to wonder if it’s for the right reasons.

What do you think?

I think that in the end, I want to keep a positive outlook on all this and I hope that they are all in it for the right reasons. I will still repeat the same thing I said a few years ago in my previous blog post. If I ever join the ranks of the Billionaire Club, I will lobby to get them to join a club that has these good intentions. Combining wealth for the greater good.

I’ll probably blog on this again in a few years. Let’s see how they progress. And maybe by then I’ll have won the billion dollar jackpot!

The difference between impossible and “nearly” impossible…

Is as big as any difference we encounter. All we need is ‘nearly’ and we have completely transformed the problem–changing it from one to avoid to one to commit to.

Here’s the hard part: having the ability to see (and to announce) the ‘nearly’ part.

Almost every breakthrough comes from someone who saw “nearly” when no one else did.

I hope this inspires you….

Losing a bet might get your name changed?

NZPoker-1024x576 This is a good one. Figured I’d share to make you laugh a little and to remind you that you should never make silly bets when drunk!

A Dunedin man has changed his name to the longest legally allowed, after apparently losing a bet five years ago.


The 22-year-old man from Normanby is now legally known as ‘Full Metal Havok More Sexy N Intelligent Than Spock And All The SuperheroesNewname Combined With Frostnova’ – just one character shy of Department of Internal Affairs’ (DIA) 100 character limit.

A message on an online body building forum, written by someone describing themselves as a friend of the man, said the name change was the result of a lost poker bet and the man realised his drunken consequences only when his passport expired.

DIA Births Deaths and Marriages spokesman Michael Mead said the change of name was registered in March 2010.

The name met the requirements of naming rules and the applicant paid the fee and completed the form correctly, he said.

Mr Frostnova could change his name again any time by completing the form correctly and paying the $127 fee, Mr Mead said. The process takes around eight days.

Under Birth Deaths and Marriages rules, new names must consist of one surname, and one or more other names, unless religious, philosophical beliefs or cultural traditions require the applicant to have only one name – in which case the applicant is required to provide a letter of explanation.

Names may not be accepted if they cause offence to a reasonable person, are unreasonably long, or without adequate justification include or resemble an official title or rank.

In 2008, Family Court Judge Rob Murfitt publicly criticised some parents’ choice of names, after he ordered that a girl named Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii be taken into court custody so she could change her name.

Names can also not include numbers or symbols.

Rejected names in recent years include Majesty, King, Knight, Princess, Justice, Anal, V8, 89, Mafia No Fear, Lucifer, full stop and *.

In 2007, a New Zealand couple tried to name their child 4Real Superman but were turned down because it contained a digit.

They settled instead for just Superman and continued to call the child 4Real unofficially.

Credit to New Zealand Herald – Click here – to see article.  

Superbowl Fun Facts…

1Big money
Just how much money can a Super Bowl bring to an area? Try $150 million! That includes all the money spent by fans, sponsors, media and other visitors in the Indianapolis area last year. Cha-ching!


Are you ready for some … food?
Make sure you pick up some extra bleu cheese dressing to dip the 1.23 billion chicken wings fans will be eating on Sunday. That actually adds up to more than 100 million pounds of chicken wings.


Hey buddy, can you spare a job?
In the past 20 years, 17 Super Bowls have been won by the team that hails from the city with the lower unemployment rate.


Healthy lifestyle?4  Vegetables at a Super Bowl party? That’s right! In fact, the healthy treat is the top food eaten in homes during Super Bowl. Of course, we all know they taste better when someone brings some dip.


Stay home
When it comes to watching the Super Bowl, nine out of 10 watchers are going to be at a home — either their house or someone else’s. That’s a lot of Super Bowl parties.


Make it delivery Some people have to work on Super Bowl Sunday, including the Domino’s Pizza delivery guys. The company estimates that it will deliver 11 million pieces of pizza to hungry viewers.

7Worth the gamble?
Betting on the Super Bowl? You bet! Nearly one-third of U.S. adults are likely to bet on the big game with men outnumbering women who decide to put some cash on the line. But be warned: 92% of those surveyed said they’ve actually lost money gambling on the Super Bowl in the past.

8 I dip, you dip, we dip
Dips are a favorite among Super Bowl snackers with 32% saying they plan on eating some form of the snack. Whether it’s spinich dip for veggies or cheese dip for chips, it’s not a true Super Bowl without the dip.


Where to go?
What would you give up to actually go to the Super Bowl? A vacation would be skipped by 23 percent of those surveyed, followed by an important work responsibility (21%), the wedding of a close friend or family member (20%), the funeral of a loved one (19%) and the birth of a child (15%).

10Chomping on chips It takes lots of spuds to make the 11.2 million pounds of potato chips that fans will be munching on in front of the television during the big game. But all those chips come with a price. Those many bags of chips will account for 27 billion calories and 1.8 billion grams of fat. Those grams of fat all up, too — it’s equal to four million pounds of fat nationally. Maybe the veggies aren’t a bad idea.


Holy guacamole
What goes well with chips? Guacamole! That would explain the 8 million pounds of avocados football fans will be mashing up to dip their chips in.



It’s a dog’s life
Hot diggity dog! That’s what fans said in 2009 when 55,200 hot dogs were served at the stadium in Tampa Bay when it hosted Super Bowl XLIII. But there’s no word on which condiments fans preferred.


Take out
It’s not just the pizza delivery guys who will be ringing doorbells. It turns out that roughly 48 million Americans will order takeout or delivery food from a restaurant instead of cooking up grub at home.


Turn on the TV
You won’t be alone if you’re watching the Super Bowl on TV. Of the 10 most-watched programs in U.S. television history, nine of them are Super Bowls. In fact, last year’s Super Bowl tops the list with a whopping 111.3 million viewers. The rematch of the Giants and Patriots claimed the top spot from the previous year’s Super Bowl between the Packers and Steelers that brought in 111 million.

15Keep it poppin’
It’s going to take a big microwave to pop up the 3.8 million pounds of popcorn fans will be munching on. Let’s hope your house doesn’t smell like burnt popcorn the next day.


Snack attack
Unfortunately, all those snacks add up. The average fan will consume 1200 calories and 50 grams of fat from snacks. And yes, that’s just snacks and not meals on the big day.


Beer sales
All that food needs to be washed down with something. Will you be picking up one of the 51.7 million cases of beer sold to quench Super Bowl fans?




Not your normal fare
Some fans will be including some not-so-normal football fare for their Super Bowl spread, including apple slices, macaroni and cheese, and Chinese food on the list of what they’re serving.


The salty Super Bowl treat will be served up in enough homes and bars to equal 4.3 million pounds consumed by fans.



Grilling time
Get your jacket and scarf ready because Super Bowl Sunday is the most popular grilling day of winter with 62% of owners firing up the grill — even if it means they have to shovel a path to get to it.


It’s getting nutty
Football fans are nuts for nuts. Whether it’s peanuts, cashews, pistachios or any other nuts, 2.5 million pounds of the salty snack will make its way to our snack tables.


Tortilla Chips
It’s not just potatoes that get the chip love. Tortilla chips also get some respect at the Super Bowl snack table with 8.2 million pounds of them consumed by fans.


No matter how much we eat, it’s going to be quite a feast. In fact, the Super Bowl is the second highest day of food consumption in the United States after Thanksgiving.


A day later
Don’t worry if you feel a little sick after your gluttonous partying. Antacids sales are expected to increase 20% on the day after Super Bowl. So at least you can commiserate with others.