Balls of STEEL!


I have a bit of a problem with heights. To be more precise, I have a fear of not being in control of the height. I have no problem with flying for instance because while I’m in the plane I feel safe that I won’t “Fall” out. But if you put me near an edge of a cliff or on a balcony of a tall building that doesn’t have a caged in fencing to protect me from falling off I get anxious and completely freaked out.

About 12 years ago a friend of mine lived on the upper east side and while at a party one night at his place he invited us to the rooftop. Pretty cool, we were having some cigars and having some fun. No problem. He asked me if I wanted to see a nice view of the city from the other side of the roof and I said sure. Well, what he didn’t tell me was that I had to swing over to the other side of the roof by dangling my feet over the edge of the roof and swing over to the other side. This required a very simple task really. You literally would sit down on the edge of the roof and flip your feet over to the adjacent corner of the roof. The building was about 50 stories high by the way. He of course did it by jumping up on the edge and swinging his whole body over in one swoop. I told him that there was no way I could do that. After a long debate and I guess because I was drinking a bit, I decided to go ahead and try this and luckily I am here to talk about it today. I sat on that edge and swung over to the other side. The view was nice, but I don’t know if it was worth the effort to see it. It was by far the most fearful thing I’ve ever done with regards to heights and my logic in doing it was purely to try to combat this problem I have. Well, it failed. I still have the fear and when I think about this story today I say to myself “what the hell was wrong with you that day, why did you even put yourself in a situation where you could have literally died”.

You ask why I’m even talking about this today? Well I saw a video yesterday that reminded me of that day and figured I’d blog about it and share that story, but more importantly wanted to share the video(s) I found on this russian kid. He calls himself Mustang-Wanted. To me he is completely crazy, but to him and many others that are fearless of things like this it must be somewhat normal or maybe even a rush. He says in one of his videos that he does feel fear, but he’s simply learned to overcome it. Simply for some I guess.

As for me, I can barely watch these videos without my hands getting clammy and my heart racing. I kind of envy people who have the ability to do this but I think he is completely nuts and has no regards for his life by doing what he does. One small mistake and its over.

Then again, who am I to judge right? I’m sure he enjoys this “Hobby” as much as I enjoy a round of golf.

Anyway, here are some links to some of the videos that I saw that literally made me queasy simply watching them.

He’s also on Facebook – Mustang-Wanted Facebook Page

How do you deal with heights? Anyone else have this fear?

The “Sleepover” Story


Ok, so my daughter had a sleepover last night at our neighbors house. It wasn’t her first sleepover, it was technically her third. The first time counts but not as much because it was at her Aunt Karen’s house. You know, familiar person and surroundings, etc. Although it was a very big step for both Abby and her crazy parents that can’t breathe without her.

The first “Real” sleepover was a few months ago at a neighbor’s house that literally lives 4 houses away. Ilyssa and I were waiting for that phone call at 9-10pm of a desperate little girl asking us to come get her so she can come home. But that phone call never came. My wife texting our neighbor periodically until bedtime to make sure she was safe and sound asleep. And even after that we still thought we would get a phone call at 1-2am….but we didn’t. We woke up the next morning to find out that she didn’t want to come home and she still wanted to stay and play a while. So the ice had been broken….she can handle staying over without Mom and Dad.

Is this the beginning of losing her? I can’t take it…..

The sleepover last night was at our neighbors house that is 2 houses away in our Cul-de-sac. The event was planned days in advance and leading up to it Abby was very excited. She was packed early that morning. While packing (5 bags mind you) her mom told her that she needed to downsize a bit. The biggest items are usually the stuffed animals that she “Needs” in order to sleep. Well, mom went shopping and gave daddy the instructions to help her pack 1 bag and get ready. So, we proceeded to do so. The dilemma came when we got to the stuffed animals. So we compromised with a lot of pain in between, but she was allowed to bring her unicorn, her panda and her puppy but needed to leave the rest home. She cried a bit and stormed out of her room with one of her favorite bears. She came back moments later (without the bear) and just a bit teary eyed. I asked what she was doing and she said “nothing, I’m ok now”. I left it alone and we finished packing.

Moments later, the neighbors were knocking on the door and was one her way.

Most parents would be excited about this and begin to rejoice the freedom and some peace and quite. But I usually get a little sad because I won’t have my little buddy around and of course I need to always be entertained like a 5-year-old. My wife was still out, but we decided that we would go out to dinner as we had this bit of freedom. So I proceeded to our bedroom to get dressed for our date when I stumbled across this on our bed.

In case you can’t read the purple writing on the tablet, it says “Mommy can you take care ove my teddy bear, Love Abby”


I literally got teary eyed when I saw it. I think it may have been the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen Abby do on her own like that. When my wife saw it she felt the same way. Needless to say, Ilyssa slept with the bear that night. I was luckily not on the couch….

As for Abby, well while I sit here writing this post she is still at our neighbors house. It’s now after 11am and she just called us to ask if she can go to the mall with them this afternoon. I know it’s inevitable that your kids eventually begin to separate from you a bit and become independent, but no one ever said you have to like it. Although I am extremely proud of her and happy that she is having a good time, I still miss her dearly and can’t wait for her to come home later.

Are we getting sicker or is it just a coincidence?


Is it me, or does it seem like sickness is worse this year than ever?

Every time you turn around there is someone either sick or getting sick. I know that this year the flu was a bit worse than other years but even common colds, sinus infections, ear infections, etc. have taken its toll on everyone. And every time you go to your doctor an antibiotic is normally prescribed.

Is it just coincidence or is there something happening?

I don’t remember this much sickness when I was a kid, and I certainly wasn’t sick as much as a kid as I am now (granted I am getting older, but still). Chicken pox back in the day meant several days spent at home in front of the T.V. wearing oven mitts on your hands and taking oatmeal baths. Now it means mothers rushing their feverish, itchy babies to the hospital. Getting the flu meant staying out of work, eating chicken soup and getting lots of rest. Now, you call your doctor and mention symptoms of a flu and you’re required to come in for blood work and a flu test, and end up with an antibiotic to boot (which will do nothing if the infection is viral).

One might blame the health and well-being of our country. Let’s face it, the fast foods and the lack of exercise doesn’t help matters much. And lets not forget the smoking, drinking and drug use either. However, are those things truly to blame for our illnesses? I mean, I’m sure they deserve at least an honorable mention, but is there another culprit out there?

Antibiotics are prescribed for almost every cold, sinus infection and other common ailment and as a result, our immune systems are becoming weaker and weaker. Our bodies no longer know how to fight diseases on our own. They rely on these antibiotics, which our bodies (and the diseases themselves) become immune to. Then each course of antibiotics must be stronger to achieve the desired results.

Doctors today hardly ever counsel you on how to get healthy again with natural treatments. There is no reason healthy people should be treated with antibiotics, steroids or dozens of other commonly prescribed meds for mild illnesses.

Or is there?

What if…by making us believe that we cannot get better on our own without the help of antibiotics, they create business. More people come in for doctor’s appointments, more people get lab tests and more people fill prescriptions. The meds seem to help or the illness runs its course, there’s really no telling, and then we attribute getting better to our recent doctor’s visit.

In turn, we become more reliant on our doctor and the prescribed medications to make us well again every time we are sick. The problem is that the antibiotics become necessary over time, because the immune system no longer knows what to do without them. I’ve been saying this for years but now it’s really starting to sink in more and more as the years go by.

So as we go on, doctors will continue to prescribe more and more antibiotics when natural remedies would work just fine, if not better, and our immune system becomes weaker. Then we continue to rely on the doctor every time we get sick, which in turn creates long-term residual income for the doctor in lab tests and appointment fees. Is this all just a coincidence? Or is the healthcare industry making us sicker (or at least not helping us to get better naturally) in order to turn a profit?


Are you ready for your Fantasy Baseball draft?



If you play fantasy baseball, you know the feeling.

It’s draft day, and you’re giddy. Yes, its spring, so you’re automatically happier. There is something special about this day.

Today you could be just like the KC Royals (the owner that makes all the wrong decisions) or have as much chance as the NY Yankees (the owner that doesn’t even need the money, but simply flaunts it). On this day, there is promise. You’ve done your homework, you have a pretty good idea how the first round is going to play out, and you’re going to kick some ass.

It’s your year!

I’ve been in a league now since 2002. The league is with the same guys (give or take a few new teams that come and go) and we have had the same format. It’s a 5×5 Rotisserie mixed league. I’ve won the league twice and have cashed a few times but it’s not about the prize money. Of course it helps keep you interested, but with us it’s mostly about bragging rights. Who has the best system for drafting?, who is the best manager throughout the season?, who makes the best trades?, who picks up the best players from the waiver wire? etc.

The best part of our league is the draft. We rent out a section of a bar in lower Manhattan and we all come with our laptops, iPads, Cheat Sheets, and highlighters prepared to draft our teams. We have some nice food prepared for us, we have the NCAA Tourney games on the big screens (as we usually do our draft purposely around March Madness because we can’t get enough sports….) and of course the open bar for 5 hours. We even get a draft board that we have set up on the wall to keep visual track of our draft.

The first couple of rounds of the draft go fairly smooth, then it becomes a little chaotic. The screaming and yelling if you take to long to make a pick, the mocking of course is also a big part of the fun. Everyone else’s picks are terrible in your eyes. The worst part of drafting is when you have your eye on a certain player and the guy that drafts before you in the order takes him on the round you wanted him. Wow does that hurt! And it seem to happen so often. The later rounds are critical and are usually the toughest to draft. This is where your homework pays off the most. If you know about that sleeper, or if you got the inside scoop on some last-minute news it could payoff big here.

In the end you look over your team and proudly brag about how good you drafted which starts some early chatter that turns into side bets with other team owners on who will have a better team this year.

Then we all look forward to opening day which not only starts the season off but usually coincides with nice weather, golf rounds, pools opening, and all other outdoor activities we’ve been patiently waiting for.

My draft is on March 22nd this year. Can’t wait!



Educating our children…don’t take away their creativity!


I saw this guy live a few years ago at an IT conference and his talk still resonates in my mind. I’ve since watched it several times and have also seen his most recent talk on Ted as well. Equally impressive. His first talk on Ted is most watched TED talk worldwide.

His philosophy and thoughts on education have made me think twice about how to raise my daughter through her years of schooling that are yet to come. He makes valid points on how we, as a society somehow have managed to “educate our children out of creativity”.

He argues that we need to stop having reform or evolution in education, but rather we need to have a revolution in education.

I hope you spend a few minutes to watch these two TED talks. If you have children, I urge you to watch and listen. His presentation skills are great, he uses humor to break things up and makes watching him extremely entertaining and wanting to hear more.

Here are the links to the two TED Talks he’s had:
Schools Kill Creativity
Bring on the learning Revolution

Some of my favorite quotes from his talks:
“Creativity today is as important at literacy, and we should treat it with the same status”
“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original”
“Creativity as I define it, is the process of having original ideas that have value”
“Human communities depend on a diversity of talent, not a singular conception of ability”

There was no way I was leaving this one out of my blog. He’s on the “A” list.

Millionaires, Billionaires…Trillions?


Last night I heard this news:
Joe Flacco (QB Baltimore Ravens) signed his new contract Monday worth $120.6 million over six years. He will receive a $29 million signing bonus, $52 million in guaranteed money and $51 million over the first two years of the deal.

It got me thinking about how many millionaires there are and then how many billionaires there are in the world. I also learned the other day that Mark Zuckerberg lost about 3 Billion of his total net worth this year (according to Forbes). This “Loss” leaves him a mere 13.3 Billion this year. Crazy right?

So I did some research to see how many Billionaires there are in the world, let’s drop the millionaires out of the equation to make this a little simpler. There are currently 1426 Billionaires in the world that have a combined net worth of 5.4 Trillion Dollars.

How much is a Trillion Dollars? Well, it’s easy to say that but do you really know how much money that is? Let me try to explain that with some more research I did on the subject.

Let’s measure a Trillion in numbers
1,000 = one thousand
1,000,000 = one million
1,000,000,000 = one billion
1,000,000,000,000 = one trillion

Let’s Measure a Trillion in Time
If you count backward, then:
1 million seconds = 12 days ago
1 billion seconds = 31 years ago
1 trillion seconds = 30,000 B.C. (1 Trillion seconds is longer than ALL of recorded history)

Let’s Measure a Trillion in Height
If you stack a trillion-worth of $1000 bills together, then:
1 million dollars = 4 inches high
1 billion dollars = 364 feet high
1 trillion dollars = 63 miles high (give or take a foot or two)
Note that this is a STACK, not laid end-to-end.
Also, if you stack one trillion one-dollar bills it would reach 68,000 miles in space!

How Much Is A Trillion Dollars?
If you spent $1 million dollars a day from the day Jesus was born until now, you would only have spent about three-quarters of a trillion.

If you laid one trillion one-dollar bills end to end, it would make a chain from the earth to the moon 200 times. One trillion dollars would stretch nearly from the earth to the sun. It would take a jet flying at the speed of sound, reeling out a roll of dollar bills behind it, four years before it reeled out one trillion dollar bills.

If a person’s salary is $40,000 per year it would take:
25 years to earn $1 Million
25 Thousand years to earn $1 Billion,
25 Million years to earn $1 Trillion

The budget for the entire state of New York is $124 Billion. With just 1 Trillion dollars you could run 8 states the size of NY. The population of California is 34 Million. One Trillion people would equal 29,500 Californias.

One Trillion dollars today would allow you to buy Coca Cola, Apple, IBM, Bank of America, Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Motorola, AT&T, as well as Exxon Mobil and still have enough left over to live comfortably on just the interest from the billions left over…not to mention the profits these companies generate.

With one Trillion dollars, you could buy 50 aircraft carriers such as the USS Ronald Reagan and outfit each of them with 45 of the newest fighter jets (the F-22 Raptor) and pay for the crews to run them.

One Trillion barrels of oil would fuel the ENTIRE WORLD for almost 35 years!

So, are you getting the idea now of how much money this is? So think about this concept now. If the 1426 Billionaires joined forces and literally used ALL their money minus say $1 Billion each to keep for themselves, they would be able to do so much good in the world and still have plenty of money left with that 1 billion to not only live comfortably but accommodate their families to live comfortably forever!

It’s probably not right for me to imply that these folks should share their wealth, especially with people who didn’t earn the right to have it. Let’s face it, most of these people earned their money by working for it somehow. I also don’t want to blemish the fact that most of these folks do give away a considerable amount of money to charities and good causes.

I’ll close today by saying that if I ever join the ranks of Billionaire status. I promise that I will launch a campaign with the other members of the elite billionaires club to try to pitch my idea.

Oh, and now we can say “Poor” Joe Flacco is not even a consideration with his measly 100 million dollar contract….


Would you want to live to be 114 years old?

Misao Okawa receives a certification from an official of Guinness World Records in Osaka, Japan

Misao Ookawa was born in 1898! She was recognized as the oldest woman alive! Can you even imagine that? – See Reuters article
I’d say it’s pretty hard to imagine, so I dug a bit to see what I could put together and give this some perspective. First, here’s a list of inventions that occurred during her lifetime. Most of these we take for granted everyday. She lived without them…patiently waiting for them to arrive as she lived.

Some added trivia before we go on – The oldest living man is 115 years old and he is also Japanese. In fact, Japan has the most living centurions on the planet. I think they’ve figured out the secret to longevity. We should eat more rice! 

1900: the Zeppelin is designed, an airship
1901: Radiotelegraph service is instituted for the first time in Hawaii
1902: neon lights invented, AC and refrigeration
1903: the Wright Brothers first flight in a heavier-than-air craft
1905: Einstein’s Theory of Relativity published
1906: Will Kellogg introduces corn flakes
1907: the Lumiere brothers invent color photography
1908: gyrocompass invented by Sperry
1909: instant coffee invented
1910: Edison shows the 1st talking motion picture
1911:  Kettering invents the 1st automotive ignition system
1912:  LifeSavers candy introduced
1913:  the modern brassiere and crossword puzzle are invented
1914:  gas mask invented in time for WWI
1915: Pyrex invented
1916: Model T Ford prices fall to $360 — half the 1911 price
1917: stainless steel invented
1918:  modern zipper invented
1919:  short-wave radio invented
1920: Band-Aid invented
1921: 1st robot designed
1922: insulin invented
1923: Garrett Morgan granted patent for the traffic signal
1923: Clarence Birdseye introduces frozen food
1924: spiral-bound notebooks first appear
1925: Baird’s mechanical TV demonstrated
1926: Robert Goddard’s first liquid fueled rockets tested in Auburn, MA
1927: Farnsworth’s electronic TV demonstrated
1928: Fleming discovers penicillin; Schick patents the electric shaver
1929: Zenith Radio starts year as lowest priced stock on NYSE — ends year as highest priced stock due to demand for its radios; Paul Galvin (later president of Motorola) invents the car radio
1930: Scotch tape invented at 3M; first jet engine designs
1931: electron microscope invented
1932: good year for photography: Land invents the Polaroid process; zoom lens and light meter are also invented
1933: stereo records developed
1934: first magnetic tape recorders for broadcasting
1935: Dupont invents nylon; radar first developed; beer is canned the first time
1936:  Colt’s revolver patented
1937:  photocopier invented
1938:  ballpoint pen and Teflon invented
1939:  Sikorsky’s first helicopter flown
1940: Jeep designed
1941: aerosol spray cans developed
1942: turboprop engines designed
1943: synthetic rubber invented, along with the Slinky and Silly Putty; Cousteau co-develops the Aqualung
1944: synthetic cortisone developed
1945: atomic bomb developed and used
1946: microwave oven invented by Percy Spencer
1947: Schockley-Brattain-Bardeen invent the transistor
1948: Velcro and the jukebox invented
1949: prepared cake mixes introduced
1950: Diner’s Club introduces first credit card
1951: Super Glue invented; so is first video tape recorder
1952:  first bar code patent issued; first diet soft drink developed
1953:  transistor radio invented at Texas Instruments (TI); radial tire developed
1954:  oral contraceptives invented; Ray Kroc starts franchising McDonald’s
1955:  tetracycline & optical fiber invented
1956:  first use of computer hard disk
1957:  Fortran developed
1958: Noyce (at Fairchild Semiconductor) and Kilby (at TI) both submit patents for integrated circuits
1959: important to generations of girls — the Barbie Doll is introduced
1960: halogen lamp invented
1961: Valium invented
1962: audio cassettes developed
1963: pop-top cans
1964: BASIC computer language; permanent-press materials
1965: Astroturf; Kevlar; soft contact lenses
1966: electronic fuel injection developed for cars
1967: first handheld calculator
1968: Douglas Englebert invents the computer mouse
1969: ATM invented; bar code scanners developed
1970: Alan Shugart (chairman of Seagate) invents the floppy disk
1971: Intel’s 4004 is first microprocessor design; dot-matrix printer, VCR and LCD displays also invented
1972: first video game — Pong — invented
1973:  gene splicing invented; Ethernet networking invented at Xerox; BIC develops disposable lighter
1974: Post-it Notes and liposuction invented
1975: laser printer developed
1976: ink jet printing invented
1977: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) invented
1978: Visicalc spreadsheet introduced for PCs; first PC models appear
from Heathkit, Apple, Radio Shack
1979: Walkman invented by Sony; roller blades developed; Seymour Cray
designs the supercomputer
1980: vaccine for hepatitis-B invented
1981: IBM introduces the PC and MS-DOS appears for the first time
1982: human growth hormones genetically engineered
1983: soft bifocal contact lenses introduced
1984:  Apple Macintosh popularized the graphical interface; CD-ROMs invented
1985: Microsoft brings out Windows 1.0
1986: Microsoft’s initial public offering (IPO); first disposable camera introduced
1987: disposable contact lenses invented
1988: Doppler radar invented; first patent issued for genetically engineered animal issued
1989: first HDTV broadcasts in Japan
1990: Tim Berners-Lee develops protocol for both World-wide web (WWW)
and the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)
1991: first digital answering machine
1992: smart pill invented
1993: Intel introduces Pentium family of 32-bit microprocessors
1994: first Internet audio broadcast from Interop, Bluetooth
1995: DVD invented; Java language launched by Sun Microsystems;
RealAudio broadcasting introduced
1996: WebTV introduced
1997: gas-powered fuel cells developed
1998: Viagra developed
1999: is formed and the search engine goes into beta test publicly
2000: mapping of human DNA completed
2001 – AbioCor Artificial Heart, Wikipedia
2002 – Wireless Headset
2004 – Facebook
2005 – GPS commercialized
2006 – YouTube
2007 – iPhone
2008 – The Retail DNA Test
2009 – Retinal Implants for the Blind
2010 – The iPad is released
2011 – The Stark Hand – Bionics
2012 – Google Glass

Ok, next. Check out this 10 minute video of events that occurred over the last 100 years that she lived. It’s seriously incredible to try to wrap your head around how long this lady has been around: Click Here

And finally, I want to list just 5 Achievements that I would love to see occur for the next 100 years or sooner.
1. The end of all Wars. A peaceful coexistence between all races and religions and having no International boundaries.
2. Elimination of all hunger, Poverty and Unemployment.
3. Funding to be no problem for all worthwhile sciences
4. The ability to control or somehow alter weather to benefit agriculture and to prevent disasters.
5. The Solar System to be “occupied” by Humans throughout with numerous scientific bases on Moon, Mars, and moon’s in Saturnian system. The beginning of  humanity living and venturing out to the Stars.

I think I would love to live in a world like that, but I don’t think I want to live 114 years!


Turning 40


This week I had a few friends turn 40 so I figured I’d share some of my thoughts about my experience with turning 40 and what I’ve learned throughout my 40’s now that I am also nearing my next milestone birthday.

I wholeheartedly believe that life truly begins at 40. I am living proof. My girlfriend (now wife) Ilyssa threw me a surprise 40th birthday bash. We soon followed that up by getting married a few years later and wasted no time in having our daughter in 2006. So, you can see how my life truly did begin at 40.

In my 40’s, I discovered that huge debacles in life don’t actually kill you. It’s OK to fall down. It’s OK to make mistakes, It’s OK to take risks. You will live another day and you will be fine. Your 40’s are when you will begin to see glimmers of what will become your wisdom. In your 30’s you’re having a variety of experiences. You’re scrambling. You’re putting pieces of your life in place. In your 40’s, those pieces start to form into a finished puzzle of knowledge about who you are and how life works. I had multiple experiences in my 40’s that ranged from getting married, having a child, living abroad, taking huge risks, and dealing with many problems. They all somehow mold together to make you wiser and mold you into the person you will be as you enter into the second half of your life. Being 40 makes you feel “Seasoned”.

So my friends that are turning 40 this year….don’t sweat it. Embrace it!

I’ll end with a few 40 jokes to hopefully make you smile today:
At 40, you get two invitations to go out on the same night, and you pick the one that gets you home the earliest.
At 40, every time you suck in your gut, your ankles swell.
At 40, I realize that I was built for comfort, not speed.
At 40, your idea of weight lifting is standing up.
At 40, it takes longer to rest than it did to get tired.
At 40, conversations with people your own age often become a duel of ailments.

And finally, feel free to use this line….
“I’m not 40, I’m 18 with 22 years experience!”

Happy 40th Birthday my friends!