Little League WS Heroics, Blasts from My Past, Appropriate (IMHO) Statuary

CURTISS teeball

Curtiss is now ‘Capt. Curt’ and a Blackhawk helicopter pilot, but thank God for cameras that can save memorable moments in our lives.

After enjoying the last of a small bag of succulent, chocolate covered strawberries generously sent home with me after a Sunday steak dinner, I‘m shot-gunning (topically, not literally) what came to me last night while watching Texas beat Michigan 5-1 at the Little League World Series.

That the Southwest team whacked back-to back-to back home runs in the 3rd inning had everyone– including the announcers—jazzed. As a grownup, one might think the field isn’t actually that big, but as a participant, yanking one out IN THE WORLD SERIES isn’t something those young men will ever forget. Had to love the 3rd base coach, giving skin to the kid who tomahawked a high hard one for final homer and saying, “Yeah, you oughta be smiling about that one!” especially since he’d just gotten into game as a pinch hitter.

Hell, I still remember the first play of my Pop Warner football ‘career’, under the lights at Saratoga. The center neglected to snap the ball on first sound as planned, but we came back to the huddle saying, “Hey, our helmets are better than theirs!” because when we fired off, the other guys sounded plastic-y.  I’ve never forgotten that Bobby Massaroni didn’t get to play because he was ¼ pound under the minimum. (Shout outs to other players Jim Schermerhorn, who expressed interest in the LLWS, Bob Houlihan, who I see on FB on a regular basis, and Steve Lussier, wherever he is.)

Since I‘m tripping down memory lane sports-wise:

  • Going to my nephew Curtiss’ tee ball game (#4, above, with Dave walking behind him) and laughing with everyone else when batter hit a grounder right to him at first base and he couldn’t see it, because he had the glove in front of his face and didn’t take it away while moving head side to side.
  • Brother Dave, after being told by scorekeepers that this was the 10th batter, shocking the ladies by (kiddingly) saying, “Shhh, maybe we can sneak another one in.” Volunteering to umpire a game in flip flops and tank tee (plus the pad), calling my nephew Spencer out on a third strike after he told me (during an injury time out) the previous strike hadn’t actually been in the strike zone. I’ll always chuckle about that one.
  • Several years later, I snapped a picture of Curtiss’ only hit of the season while on vacation in NY. He was thrown out at second by a mile moments later, because the next batter took a pitch when the hit-and-run was on.
  • Nephew Ryan, coming in to pitch when his team was behind like 8-1, and holding other team down while our family– including my parents, his brothers, parents, dog, and eventually all his buddies from other games, because their game took so long– came back to win.
  • Interviewing a long time Little League administrator, Circuit Judge Harry Fogle of Clearwater, FL, who felt participation meant actually playing. As a member of the International Rules Committee, he stumped long and hard for what became a tenet of the game, “because a kid doesn’t learn the value of an activity like baseball sitting on the bench, although it’s a different story later on.”
  • Umpiring softball in Florida, and asking about a particular stand-alone fence in left field, which was an HR, but could also be caught for an out. Inquiring about the usual 10-run ‘mercy rule’, one player said with a wink, “Yeah, but this is against the Methodists.”

On an unrelated front, I was impressed by the statue erected to Napoleon at Waterloo when my brother Steve and I were in Belgium for his exchange brother’s wedding long ago. It’s a lion with its paw on a small globe of the world, atop a 300-ft. high mound of earth that *definitely* stands out when almost all of Belgium is flat as a table.

You might recall Napoleon LOST at Waterloo, so I guess it meant enough to everyone else that they immortalized the event. (FYI, someone had just recently spray painted one side of the monument in protest.) My take on statues: Some are legit, and bless Gettysburg for standing firm on not taking any of theirs down. That particular three-day struggle of a battlefield is the epitome of what the Civil War meant to this country, capped by Lincoln’s immortal ‘Gettysburg Address’. Certainly not a tweet, but memorable to the max.

‘Old School Interviews’ – One on One, When You *Knew* Face Time Counted


Sometimes you wonder, beyond all your skills, how much more time and effort it’s going to take to get back on the smooth, fast job track.

There’s no guarantee that yesterday’s walk-in interview was as ultimately successful as I would like, at least I haven’t heard ‘You’re the man!’ by 10 a.m. I presented my various abilities regarding the administrative-sales hybrid position I had learned about to the decision maker, and got a decently hearty handshake after 15-20 minutes of the owner-Boss Man’s time though, and that’s tough to beat nowadays. Ask any car salesman about two hours with a ‘one-legger’ who wants to discuss an incredible deal with the not-there wife about the difference.

The job-seeker who actually gets such an opportunity should 1) thank God, or whatever entity/Universal force they believe in, 2) lay out your best case as well and succinctly as possible, and 3) send a follow-up note (vs. an e-mail!) recapping some high points and acknowledging thanks for the time and chance to present yourself. Having gotten up close and personal attention, you *don’t* want to blow it because they’re too busy to check the inbox for two days, or an e- somehow goes into Spam folder. Many gurus will tell you this, believe it.

Having decided to drive 31 miles to take such a shot, after recruiter indicated he was kind of clueless about how to deal with ‘old school’ type—and probably my resume, because he’s essentially a millennial-aged IT and finance guy—I’m taking time after filling out another online form and sending a couple e-s in follow-up to companies from a job board to make a point.

The recession pretty much blew away the walk in a door-impress the Boss Man-get a job-become Successful scenario many probably saw in a movie, especially if 40 is anywhere on your radar. When sooo many were looking for ANY job, recruiting firms became the way to deny seekers access to the boss’ time. A certain frustration crops up daily knowing that, whatever your conglomeration of skills are, not being a super-techie, having zero chance at becoming a home run hitting sports legend, or (probably) winning the lottery, means having to rely on someone who might have been a twinkle in someone’s eye when you got a college degree near the end of last century.

‘Bob’ told me twice I presented myself well, and that he appreciated fact I’d been able to find his company’s front door. He asked questions and listened to answers—“I don’t see that on your resume,” “It doesn’t fit on one page. Expectation (if sent vs. presented) is there’s enough to raise your interest, then I’d hope to tailor extra information if we got an opportunity to meet,”– even if one or two indicated I lacked something pertinent. Having asked about his company’s ‘footprint’ (area worked in, which was 200 miles), been able to relate ABCs of skills to the reality of position he’d discussed with a recruiter, and told him enough about current website–‘no testimonials, but your competitor only has one, and its negative’, or the spot for a blog had a two year old date on it– showed a definitive interest on my part. It’s impossible to deny how powerful that is in person vs. anything else.

There’s more to do of course, because only one result counts in sales, and that’s someone signing something that equals agreement (and you get paid). For one day though, hell, even 20 minutes! it’s no problem to be happy about having a great chance to present Glenn Shorkey to an honest-to-God decision maker.

Cycling shoes as a deciding factor for a next job? It sort of happened before…

3 riders on tour

These three led from first part of day until maybe four miles from end. Anyone else feel that sense of impending doom when *everybody* looks like they’re gunning for you?

The last couple weeks– including appreciation of a four day 4th of July holiday– have been a period of joy, energy, and appreciation of upcoming changes. Watching team and individual efforts from the Tour de France– and raising my personal mileage as result– has been an inspirational fact. When you talk about goal setting, surviving climbs that are 20 degree walls at the very end of 200-plus kilometer rides has *got* to beat making 20 cold calls or two hours of phoning potential clients.

The coverage has been excellent, including how several well-known riders had ‘cracked’ on climbs in the Pyrenees or Alps. ‘Crack’ doesn’t mean out of the race, more that a rider ‘lost their form’ and wound up back in the pack (peloton) instead of on the lead. Some of the climbs have legendary dimensions akin to the baddest bull in the rodeo: You may not want to ride it, but when the day comes, your options are ride or go home.

Last Friday morning, I had the misfortune to ‘crack’ my laptop on the well-known ‘Blue Screen of Death’. While not as painful as a high-speed, 26 bike pile up at the Tour, getting a bad drive replaced had me seriously worried about all the information I might lose, and it sure hampered my ability to follow up leads by sending samples and resumes for several days. After giving the unit to a techie, I blew off the rest of the morning to ride eighteen glorious miles in 90 degree heat, and gained a small but significant positive by discovering a new pair of Nikes fit superbly in my Miyata’s ancient rat trap pedals. The knowledge of how my pedaling efficiency had increased probably won’t affect my ability to illuminate work experiences to an interviewer, but it was a useful physical fact for every future ride.

A long ago physical fact stuck in my mind though, about walking with a ‘funny’ stride for the second interview that became my first job out of college. One seldom knows what extra factor makes the difference to a recruiter, but telling that VP about my funky walk as a result of thighs rubbed raw by cotton shorts during a 15k road race *did* get me the job. What he really wanted to know was, could I walk in anywhere and talk well enough to get results for the twenty cold call situation the regional rep position was predicated on. When I finished telling him all the things I’d done wrong as training, beyond wearing those shorts that created uncomfortable ‘strawberries’, he just said, “Okay, good story. Let’s get lunch.”

My Nike’s and well-rounded thighs might not earn the You’re Our Man! response I’d appreciate hearing right now regarding new employment, but stranger things have happened…

About the Tour: There are 21 ‘stages’ that can be won before one rider– probably Chris Froome, who has worn the maillot jeune (yellow jersey) most of the Tour– sips champagne on the Champs Elysee in Paris Sunday. It’s legitimate that recognition for best Under-25 rider, best Climber-Man of Mountains, team time trials, and frequent extra points for ‘sprinters’ who get to certain points first makes it something besides an all or nothing race. It makes a difference to be thought the best at something– Salesman of the Quarter anyone?– even if being a good domestique brings a decent level of respect in the cycling world.

The featured TV picture above shows three riders who are about to be swallowed by the main group (peloton) after 217 km. of substantial effort, having broken away even before the first kilometer marker, and leading this particular stage the entire time. Many of us know the feeling: You bust it day after day, doing as many of the small and necessary steps as possible, and hopefully you have the ability to dig deeper for special or difficult moments that come up. Froome seems to have that working well, for these three, that’s not how it worked out.

Dad’s Sneakers Have Cut Their Last Lawn, His Watch & Ring Go Onward, But the Pen was Personal

dadssneakers-penIt’s 90-plus degrees in Charlotte, and the humidity is brutal, so I’m glad to have done all the yard work yesterday. At post-church donuts and juice today, I smiled while telling a couple youngsters that my Dad always said, “There’s no reason for me to worry how hot it is when I have four boys to cut the lawn.” He said the same thing about shoveling snow from the sidewalk and 150 ft. of driveway, but that’s a truth I didn’t bother to impart.

Being the only brother Dad’s size, I’ve made it a habit to wear something of his on a daily basis the last four years. I like his hounds tooth jacket, sometimes it’s a pair of well-stretched socks, often it’s one of many primarily green tee shirts. Mom didn’t think Dad looked good in green, so while he didn’t have green dress shirts, he loaded up on the tees.

His sneakers fit in my rat traps for cycling, and everyone has a pair of beaters to do the lawn with, so they got used at both work and play. Three weeks ago the toes came un-stitched while doing garden maintenance for the Missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresa’s group), and I brought a fistful of dirt into the house, so post-lawn cutting, Fathers Day became a good time to retire them, and some Adidas have stepped into the work role.

There will probably be ten million memories shared about fathers today. I was fortunate to have Waldo Francis Shorkey in my life until just after my 56th birthday, and I was grateful when Mom gave me his ring, and my brother Mike found the band on his watch too small for his wrist.

The pen, ahhh! that was truly special. Once he was unable to handle bigger pieces of wood to make secretaries and such (a blue ribbon in the Florida State Fair) we gave him a drill press to make smaller projects, and on vacation in Tampa, I asked him to make one with me. It took me three hours over two days to create the curved, slightly fatter grip I desired, sand it with five progressively finer grains, then polish and wax it.

At the end, Dad stated, “Glenn, you’re the worst I ever worked with!  Ryan (my youngest nephew) would have done two pens in that time.” My answer: “I’ve never done anything like this before Dad, and all I wanted was to work on something with you and have a great souvenir of the event. I got what I wanted.”

As proud of that pen as I was, I must have lost it by letting a customer sign with it when I was working at Belk. Yes, dammit! for stupidity, but the memory of making will never fade either.

dads pen

Trump as Ozymandias in ‘WATCHMEN’: Iffy Tactics for Hero to Maximum Bad Guy


Its almost certain that I’m zeroed in on DTs attempt to grind US (my opinion, shared by many in lots of places in the world) into shambles through weird and vindictive methods. It seemed so reasonable (an inaccurate word for DT, but…) while catching ‘WATCHMEN’, a movie about superhero types.

Without going into entire story, the most gifted of the group financially & brain-wise, Ozymandias, offers the world FREE ENERGY as a result of his efforts in technology with another group member, Dr. Manhattan, who is an all-powerful, well, energy being (*serious* lab accident). It turns out, these major new plants are actually meant to blow up, killing many many millions. What this character wants, is to draw the world–specifically Russia-US which are teetering towards mutual destruction (movie is set in Vietnam era, includ. Nixon)– into a shared hate of ONE PERSON: the blue energy being.

Rich rich hero-type and, well, all-powerful, freaky blue energy-being, logically understand killing maybe 100 million in order to back away from mutually assured destruction of world is better choice.

Beyond the moral negative that a wave of his hand splat! and bloody scattering in the snow of an exceptionally vocal WATCHMAN– who insisted the world needs to know rich brain guy actually did unbelievable deed– the plan works out.

My premise: DT gets the hots for things from watching stuff on TV. He didn’t want to always just be the TV Fired Guy, and he proved he was better than a mess of other Repubs (shudder, Cruz). He must have seen this movie too, and wants the whooole world to know he’s going to do something amazing to them. All he needs is blue being’s cooperation for how to duplicate his energy, and after tweaking negatively, BOOM! the world becomes the world he sees as better.

Long way for the punch line, but destroying tens of millions of lives most of us know because he’s able to, just so more people know he’s The Bomb, that’s the same reasoning of that super-hero who ends up as maximum bad guy. In this explanation, Blue Power (Repubs) is given to ultimately evil-doer, who does worst kind of dirt to people everywhere, and they haven’t got a chance of stopping the big hits from coming.

Admit to Satisfaction with a Manly-Man, Sweat of the Brow, 50-hr. week of Effort


This week was alllll about the physical effort, and while I’m satisfied about doing the deeds, equally important was getting paid, because economics-based changes from previous time priorities/activities is what I’m about right now. I’m committed to similar full-time effort– with likely overtime– for several more weeks; I’m also aware of the beating considerations coming for that creaky left liability of a knee…and workers comp. And y’know, there’s that uncool tug at the top of spine thing at times, too…

This week was alllll about the physical effort, and doing the necessary deeds included a 3rd floor walk-up because the elevator wasn’t inspected. A $50 tip definitely counted.

On a Sunday full of rain, yardwork has been eliminated from To Do list, ditto washing my silver Hyundai, Bullitt2. I’m thinking of a cigar after late dinner of shrimp in red sauce on linguine, because yeah, that affirms a level of reward for a Manly-Man ‘by the sweat of your brow’ 50 hour week of effort. All the gurus say rewards are important—believe it.

Monday and Tuesday were definitely an up-close and personal view of how the moving industry works, eleven hour days of pack and lift and unpack. Job #1 was pack-moving parts of home for senior community move, #2 was a full truckload (a sweet 85 degrees), and we took pride in beating the time-crunch boss had regarding a trip to Vegas. Trust me, getting OFF the street level work as soon as possible is my Real Deal, and I’m sure boss (Scott) doesn’t want to be loading/unloading in June-July-Aug. any more than I do.

Two network events worked well mid-week, especially a FOCUS (Fellowship of Communities Uniting Seniors) luncheon Wed. While somewhat touchie-feelie for my taste– and speaker wound up leaving minimal time to chat with others because everyone ate first– I got that ONE CONTACT that makes networking events worth attending. After quick table-by-table introductions at very end, lady comes over and, because I’d mentioned ‘my 2nd book becoming a speeding bullet of a movie’ as part of the jabber session, she’d recognized my name as someone her buddy always talks about having written a book. Small world! Attagirl! for Brittany Kearney for a full house on her home turf at Golden Living.

Chris and I wound up with significant windshield time at end of week, driving to far end of 74 *twice*: Leland was a 413 mi. round trip— using my Hyundai– to unload a lady whose stuff came on truck from the CT end of this operation. The ELEVATOR hadn’t been inspected in new place, which required carrying everything up to 3rd floor. Nice people, $50 tip worked fine, but I was glad that was the last real hump for the week.

Friday was literally getting paid for just being there. We picked up four boxed sofas in High Point on a NAVIS contract, and super-friendly shipping manager literally ran them onto our truck, we strapped them in and headed to Wilmington. Toughest part of whole operation was finding the factory for pickup, because the address was wrong. Nothing spectacular about the 3 1/2 hours of NC scenery, but in Wilmington, Chris had those boxes on the dock in no time flat, and we were back in truck for 4 hr. drive back. Easy peazy, and all on overtime rate. Hello again, Newcastles…

Overall, with OT and tips, it was a $800+/wk., and it’s been a while since I hit even that kind of number with a real estate check. Yep, I’m liking the prospect of regular paychecks again A LOT. I’m also excited about attending the Queens Cup Steeplechases next Saturday, a favorite, high quality social event where I am 5-for-5 having a great time over the years.

Does any of this concern DT and North Korea vs. my own economic persistence?

Not a bit.

Loading up on Karma Doesn’t Mean You Get the $500,000 Listing (but…)

author-sunr providYesterday I did a speaking engagement at a senior community that went very well for everyone, served up a third sauce and meatballs dinner for Charlotte Fire Department Station #14 crew, made a contribution to an autism walk, and today I’ll be clearing tables and schmoozing for maybe five hours with the crowd (we served almost 700 last year) that figures to attend my Men’s Club group’s annual fish fry. (Ed. Note: Stopping to pet the doggie, who probably wants to be let out.)

Which actually means nothing to the Universe in my pursuit of the $500,000 listing that would make me feel 90% better than having three much smaller potential buyers just getting into the credit application process, BUT…that doesn’t mean I’m backing off doing good.

It’s not that I wouldn’t luuuuuv to enjoy some anticipation of a commission check that would come with having such a house listed-sold-moving towards a closing date. The reality is, small moments of Goodness don’t usually translate into paychecks—SERVICE does. One of those smaller buyers just had a third child arrive, and they’re going to need a place with more room to raise a family. Two others survived those rough years of recession, when just staying close to paying bills was a legitimate goal, and those ooops! moments when they dipped under water because of a hospital bill or unfortunate decision are still part of their financial picture.

Getting a chunk of $500k, yes, that would improve my personal situation significantly. Getting on the phone, following up with, touching those who might become clients—or who KNOW OTHERS that might have need of my expertise– that counts a lot more than being nice to the dog though.

Last night, I met ‘the brother’ (fire fighters are clearly a brotherhood) at #14 who is a successful ten-year realtor, and there is essentially one of those in every station, even if most aren’t at his level. If I’m lucky, the guys who agreed my meatballs were moist and delicious might speak well of me when home buying comes up at the next block party, because I *know* Eric won’t miss any opportunities from up close.

The Truth has always been that people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. Those little old ladies who said my 40-minute talk was very interesting don’t have any houses to sell. Having recently written a Value Proposition I was proud of because it accurately reflected who I am and what I do, being True to those core values means walking the talk. It wouldn’t *HURT* if the Universe was paying attention, but…