Archive for December, 2006

Remembering Sparky…

You know it occurred to me I should write about my friend Don Sparks.  I knew Sparky pretty well.  We worked together for 10 years and we maintained our friendship after we parted company ways.  During the last couple of years we purposely stayed out of touch because our companies became competit ors.  I was certain I did not hear from him because he never would do anything from a business standpoint that would even begin to appear as inappropriate.  I got an email today from a business acquaintance that Sparky passed away last Friday.  Don was 53, and I didn’t even know he was sick. 

Sparky, as do we all, had a few idiosyncrasies.   Don was very meticulous.  He had a place for everything and kept everything in it’s place.  It was a treat to put a travel or golf bag in his trunk.  His trunk was spotless.  He would even put down a towel to put your bag on.  You were not sure if it was to keep your bag clean or keep his trunk clean.   Needless to say, it took Don longer to complete some task than it would other people.  So he just worked harder at it and put more time into it.  But when it was complete you knew it was well done.

I remember when Donna and I were working out of the St. Louis Schumberger regional office.  I was the technical support engineer and Donna was helping out as a secretary and receptionist.  Don and the rest of the sales force was in town for training and golf.  It was time for lunch and we were a little short.  Don promplty pulled a 20 dollar bill out of his wallet and gave it to Donna and said “lunch is on me!”

There are a few other classic Sparky stories.  One involves having the toll to go through the tunnel from Windsor to Detroit.  I was not there but have heard the story so many times it seem like I was there.  Don always tried to be prepared and always practiced safe and defensive driving. Very defensive.   Not having the change for the toll booth was completely uncharacteristic.  None of his passengers had the toll either.  So needless to say as the traffic lined up behind him with horns honking, Sparky got out of his car and walked over to another booth to make change.  Horns still honking he returned to his car, paid the toll and then calmly checked his rearview mirrors twice before putting his car into drive.  I guess you had to be there.

 Sangamo sponsored a golf outing every year in Lima, Oh.  We would invite about 20 customers from Detroit Edison, Consumers, Cincinnati Gas and Electric and other clients from some of the Investor owned utilities in the Michigan/Ohio area.  A staple of these events would be the traditional drinking of the Ft. Mitchell martini.  A Ft. Mitchell martini is a lot like the lyrics from an old song from the rock group “Audience”.  Audience had an album from 1969 that contained the lyrics “one wife will make you crazy, two will make you dead”.  Well anyways, two Ft. Mitchells might kill you.  You would take one part Stoli’s, one part Beefeaters, two japeleno stuffed marinated olives and a little of the juice from the olives as vermouth.  You can see why one would make you crazy and two would make you dead.  Stolis and Beefeaters are not top top shelf, but they are better brands.  One year it was Sparky’s responsibility to get the vodka.  What happened will for every go down in Sangamo/Schlumberger history.  You see, Sparky purchased a bottle of POPOV.  I guess you could say he was being a good steward, but there are some things you just don’t compromise.  I am sure to this day that there are many who when they think of Sparky will remember that day and think “POPOV”.  I do and I was not even there!!

But as you go through the seasons of life, you often look around and take note of what your peers are doing.  3 out of 4 of my classmates that went to the same high school I went to tried out for football, so did I.  After high school graduation, I was not particularily motivated to go to college, but as my friends started to prepare to leave, it occurred to me I needed to sign up and start school somewhere.  So what do you do after graduation?  My daughter Lisa and her best friend Kim (that tall drink of water) both graduated in the last year.  Both are engaged to be married this year.  Do you remember when you made freinds by meeting your kids parents?  You were all at the same events, soccer practice, school events.  Do you remember the first 50th birthday part you attended that was for a friend and not for a relative?  Have you ever had lunch with two people (clients) that have had heart bypass surgury?  Well, I must be off…

Merry CHRISTmas!!!

 You know it occurred to me that someone might mistakenly stumble onto this page, so I thought I would put something pleasant up to look at.  If you would like to look at some photo’s of our trees and a few snaps from our groups Christmas party, just click on the photo or click here!

Here is wishing you a Merry Christmas and a hope that all will understand and come to know the reason for the season…

Holidays renew pain of divorce

When he was in the third grade, his parents divorced.

He remembers sitting there with his brother and sister as his parents asked them where they wanted to go for Christmas — Mom’s or Dad’s?

The answer was obvious: They all wanted to be with Mom and Dad.

Only Mom and Dad weren’t together anymore, and Mom and Dad were hurting so much, feeling so much anger — they couldn’t work out the issue of where to spend the holidays.

“These were two of the kindest people to me,” he said. “I really mean that. But they still gave us (the kids) questions that we should not have faced at that time. There was so much tension… ”

If I go with Mom, does that mean I don’t love Dad as much? Or will Mom think I don’t love her if I go with Dad? Dad left our family, and if I don’t go to his new house for Christmas — maybe he never will come back for me.

“I suggest that the parents work this stuff out between themselves, and do it away from the children,” he said. “Don’t throw the burden of picking one over the other for Christmas on them.”

The divorce was more than 50 years ago, but the man still feels it. He is on his first marriage; his children are grown, but his heart still aches for those in the middle of a divorce.

The man is Knute Larson, pastor of The Chapel.

“This time of year, it’s so easy to beat yourself up with your own failure and how what you had is lost,” he said. “There is a lot of guilt and anger, and it can come out.”

Some counselors suggest the divorced parents still buy presents for the children together — so it doesn’t become a contest of one parent trying to outspend the other to impress the kids.

According to the 1990 census report, as many as 52 percent of marriages will end in divorce. In a 2004 survey of 3,614 adults 18 or older, George Barna Research discovered that 35 percent of married, born-again Christians have experienced divorce — identical to the figure for married adults who are not born again.

The common 50 percent statistic is the product of people having multiple marriages, some surveys showing that as many as 60 percent of second marriages fail. Regardless of the numbers, divorce is a fact of life for so many in churches and temples, or out. Some of them need an invitation, a place to go, especially at this time of year.

Churches such as The Chapel have divorce recovery groups. Some churches are afraid to tackle the subject, fearing it might sound as if they are encouraging divorce, or they just don’t want to deal with this fact of life.

Author Bill Butterworth (New Life After Divorce) told Christianity Today magazine that recently divorced people often feel like “second-class citizens” and “damaged goods,” especially in religious settings.

It’s critical to remember that there are some real screwballs in the pews, and they will say incredibly dumb things. Not all people are that way, but the most vocal tend to be those with the least compassion.

“Most people go through guilt around a divorce, especially when it’s fresh,” said Larson. “There are three kinds of guilt. The first is what we place on ourselves, which is usually destructive. The next is what others place on us, and that’s not good, either. There is guilt that comes from God, if we walked away from what God wants us to do.”

Larson believes the last part can be constructive, if we change what is wrong and remember that God is ready to forgive, to welcome us back — even if others (in church, family or otherwise) continue to reject us.

When Jesus talked about not judging, it usually was in the context of dealing with wounded people. And those who are divorced are feeling pain right now, and everyone needs to remember that.


Terry Pluto can be reached at terrypluto2003@yahoo.com. Sign up for Terry’s free, weekly e-mail newsletter “Direct from Pluto” at www.ohio.com.

If it doesn’t fit, must you, uh, quit? The story continues…

You know it occurred to me.  I once had a co-workers who’s favourite tag line was ” Well, If I don’t see you again, so what?  His name was Savage, Milt Savage, not Phil Savage.

More and more it looks like that is what Phil is going to have to say to Romeo, too.

Everybody hasn’t quit on Romeo Crennel, but it looks like many of the Browns have.

There are old pros around like Joe Jurevicius, who considered coming back here to be almost a sacred trust.

There are guys like Kellen Winslow Jr., eager to make their names in the league, hungry to win. He has been underused, but he is not under-motivated.

 Overall, though, it looks like so many Browns are mailing it in that you wonder, given the size of the players in the NFL, if bulk rates are available at the post office.

Sunday in Baltimore could present the last meaningful chance for Crennel and his team to rescue each other. The final two games are “so what?” contests outside the division.

If Anderson gets the start he deserves, the Browns could get a real read on his ability. The Ravens placed Anderson on waivers, whereupon the Browns claimed him. So Baltimore will have a scouting report on him. It’s not as if he’s going to ambush the Ravens with a better arm and quicker reads than Frye, which is how he surprised the Steelers.

It’s not as if the Ravens’ fierce defense is going to wait for Anderson to make a mistake, either, as did Kansas City.

But it is a long shot for the downtrodden Browns to beat the Ravens. A loss would make the first time ever a franchise that had a lot of pride a long time ago failed to win a single division game. It would give Crennel an aggregate 1-11 record against AFC North opponents.

Overall, though, it looks like so many Browns are mailing it in that you wonder, given the size of the players in the NFL, if bulk rates are available at the post office.

Sunday in Baltimore could present the last meaningful chance for Crennel and his team to rescue each other. The final two games are “so what?” contests outside the division.

If Anderson gets the start he deserves, the Browns could get a real read on his ability. The Ravens placed Anderson on waivers, whereupon the Browns claimed him. So Baltimore will have a scouting report on him. It’s not as if he’s going to ambush the Ravens with a better arm and quicker reads than Frye, which is how he surprised the Steelers.

But it is a long shot for the downtrodden Browns to beat the Ravens. A loss would make the first time ever a franchise that had a lot of pride a long time ago failed to win a single division game. It would give Crennel an aggregate 1-11 record against AFC North opponents.

Can anyone survive such a record in his biggest games?

The Browns have been blown out twice in their past three games. Both were against division rivals, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Both games were unwatchable unless you were paid to be there and write about them.

Players who talk very good games (This means you, Braylon Edwards) drop passes. The defense gets blown off the line. The players make feeble attempts at tackles further downfield.

Worse, there seems to be open dissension on the team. There is no quick fix for such poison. Although the forced resignation of offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon was hoped to be a cure-all, it is obvious now that the problems run much deeper than that.

It is very hard to get modern pro athletes to buy into the idea that the team comes first. Bill Belichick (Hey, who knew?) has done that in New England. Gregg Popovich did it in San Antonio in the NBA.  Joe Torre has done it with the New York Yankees.  Crennel is from the Belichick coaching tree, but his behind-the-scenes work has not been sufficient to change the players’ habits.

He is also so honest that he is coming off as bewildered. He says things like “I don’t know how that happened,” “I can’t explain that” and “I have to figure that out” in his news conferences.

The front office wants to sell stability after so many years of chaos. But when players quit on a coach, it is hard for the same man to get them back.

So Romeo, if we don’t see you again, well, “so what?”

Plagarized from Bill Livingston of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, italics are MINE…

Vote for Romeo!!!

How one week can change things!!!.  Just one week ago they were calling for Romeo’s head on the chopping block, under the guillotine, with a basket ready to catch his head as it was lopped from his broad shoulders. 

Today, Romeo Crennel is one of three nominees for the Week 13 Motorola NFL Coach of the Week Award.

To vote for the Browns’ head coach, click here.

He earned the nomination for leading the Browns to a 31-28 overtime victory over the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday.

The Browns overcame a 28-14 fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Chiefs on a 33-yard field goal by Phil Dawson. The Browns’ comeback was all the more impressive due to the fact that it was led by backup quarterback Derek Anderson, who had taken only one NFL snap prior to the game. Anderson took over for the injured Charlie Frye and completed 12-of-21 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns.  He also ran for 44 yards, including a 33-yard scamper to set up the game-winning field goal in OT.

Before Sunday’s game Anderson had never thrown an NFL pass, yet he led the team on two fourth-quarter touchdown drives and an overtime scoring drive to help bring the Browns the win.

Romeo had it planned that way along or so it seems, (not)… 

The following is taken from Romeo’s Monday press conference.
“I don’t know where he came from but he showed up and did a good job for us,” Crennel said. “Having never thrown a pass in an NFL game to be able to drive down and get two scores and have the game-winning drive, that’s big for a guy.
So it seems that in football, sometimes it is more important to be lucky than good.  So today, please vote for Romeo for coach of the week…

« Previous entries