Wanda

Keeping with the Academy Awards theme this week, my best friend Armand (Known him since kindergarten) recommended that we cover the incredibly funny movie, “A Fish Called Wanda“.  A Fish Called Wanda is a 1988 crimecomedy film written by John Cleese and Charles Crichton. It was directed by Crichton and an uncredited Cleese, and stars Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline and Michael Palin. The film is about a jewel heist and its aftermath. Kline won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Otto.

The film was an enormous critical and commercial success. Kline received wide acclaim and won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work.  Cleese and Crichton received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Crichton was also nominated for Best Director, and Curtis received nominations for Leading Actress at the Golden Globes and BAFTA awards. Michael Palin won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Role. In 2000, the readers of Total Film magazine voted A Fish Called Wanda the 37th greatest comedy film of all time.  In 2000, the American Film Institute ranked the film 21st on AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Laughs, its list of the 100 funniest movies ever made. This film is number 27 on Bravo‘s “100 Funniest Movies”. It is also included in the Reader’s Digest “100 Funniest Films” list.

Looks like I need to do some research on the film’s funnier than this one.  More content for the blog!

There are some classic lines and scenes from this movie as well.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Wanda: [after Otto breaks in on Wanda and Archie in Archie’s flat and hangs him out the window] I was dealing with something delicate, Otto. I’m setting up a guy who’s incredibly important to us, who’s going to tell me where the loot is and if they’re going to come and arrest you. And you come loping in like Rambo without a jockstrap and you dangle him out a fifth-floor window. Now, was that smart? Was it shrewd? Was it good tactics? Or was it stupid? Otto West: Don’t call me stupid.  Wanda: Oh, right! To call you stupid would be an insult to stupid people! I’ve known sheep that could outwit you. I’ve worn dresses with higher IQs. But you think you’re an intellectual, don’t you, ape?  Otto West: Apes don’t read philosophy.  Wanda: Yes they do, Otto. They just don’t understand it. Now let me correct you on a couple of things, OK? Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not “Every man for himself.” And the London Underground is not a political movement. Those are all mistakes, Otto. I looked them up.

Archie: I used to box for Oxford.   Otto: Oh, yeah? [Otto quickly picks up Archie’s gun, and points it at himOtto: I used to kill for the CIA.

[Otto dangles Archie out a windowArchie: All right, all right, I apologize.  Otto: You’re really sorry.  Archie: I’m really really sorry, I apologize unreservedly.  Otto: You take it back.  Archie: I do, I offer a complete and utter retraction. The imputation was totally without basis in fact, and was in no way fair comment, and was motivated purely by malice, and I deeply regret any distress that my comments may have caused you, or your family, and I hereby undertake not to repeat any such slander at any time in the future.  Otto: OK.

Thanks to both Wikipedia and IMDb for making this post possible and for letting us relive one of the funniest movies ever.

Webman

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It’s Strictly Business…

Why do I have to watch The Godfather whenever it is on TV?  Scanning the channels last night and sure enough, on A&E, there it is.  Don Vito, Michael, Sonny, Clemenza, Luca, Tessio and the rest of the Corleone family.  What is it about this movie that is so riveting?  It is not like I do not know what is going to happen, nor I am a big fan of blood and guts spewed all over the place, but I continue to be fascinated by the story.  And get this, it is the 40th anniversary of the first Godfather movie.  1972, geez, that seems like a long time ago.  Like the great bands of the 60’s and 70’s, some things just withstand the test of time and the Godfather is one of them.

When I tuned in last night Luca Brasi was about to have his final meeting with Sollozzo in Bruno Tattaglia‘s bar.  We know what happened here.  Clemenza: It’s a Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.

Within the family we have the impulsive son, Sonny, the son that has never fit in, Fredo and of course we have Michael, the son that wanted nothing to do with the family business but once he committed to his father, he never looks back.  Michael: [to the Don, quietly] Just lie here, Pop. I’ll take care of you now. I’m with you now. I’m with you.

So many great lines, so many interesting relationships.  The acting in this movie is incredible.  Francis Ford Coppola did an awesome job with the lighting, the pacing, the story, the sub-stories and of course the emergence of Michael as the Don.  Al Pacino is a fine actor but there is no performance in his career than this one.   Not Scarface, Donnie Brasco, Dog Day Afternoon or any other movie he made.  This is his best work.  How could he possibly top this performance anyway.

So many great lines in this movie.  Here are two of my favorites.

Michael: [speaking to Carlo] Only don’t tell me you’re innocent. Because it insults my intelligence and makes me very angry.

Peter Clemenza: Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.

A&E will be playing the movies this weekend.  I am sure to be watching yet again.

Webman

Sunglasses at Night

Looks like many people will start wearing glasses soon.  Not because their eye sight is deteriorating, not because the baby boomers are getting older, not because lasik surgery has been discontinued but because we will be able to use sunglasses now instead of our smartphones.  What?  I am just getting the hang of this smartphone thing and I can already move on.  Not totally, but once you read this, you might say, COOL, I need a pair of those.

In an article published in the New York Times recently, people who constantly check a smartphone for bits of information will soon be able to retrieve most of that information from a pair of Google-made glasses that will be able to stream information to the wearer’s eyeballs in real time.  The glasses will use an Android-based operating system and look like a pair of Oakley Thumps.

The glasses will have a low-resolution built-in camera that will be able to monitor the world in real time and overlay information about locations, surrounding buildings and friends who might be nearby. The glasses are not designed to be worn constantly,but will be more like smartphones, used when needed.  The glasses would tap into a number of Google software products that are currently available, but will display the information in an augmented reality view, rather than as a Web browser page like those that people see on smartphones.

Apparently Apple is working on a product as well.

I wear my sunglasses at night So I can so I can Watch you live and breathe your story lines
(And) I wear my sunglasses at night So I can so I can Keep track of the visions in my eyes
While she’s deceiving me It cuts my security (has) She got control of me I turn to her and say
Don’t switch the blade on the guy in shades, oh no Don’t masquerade with the guy in shades,
oh no I can’t believe it You got it made with the guy in shades, oh no
(And) I wear my sunglasses at night So I can so I can Forget my name while you collect your claim
And I wear my sunglasses at night So I can so I can See the light that’s right before my eyes

Sunglasses at NightCorey Hart

The glasses will have a unique navigation system, one that uses your head to scroll and click. They will send data to the cloud and use things like Google Latitude to share location, Google Goggles to search images and figure out what is being looked at, and Google Maps to show other things nearby.  Privacy hounds will have a field day with this one.  Now they are going to track whatever we look at.  Gentlemen, this could be a real issue.

So get ready for the next thing everyone.  Soon you will see everyone in glasses rolling their heads in all sorts of new ways to scroll and click.  I wonder what will happen when you roll your eyes?  🙂

Webman

Time for You

Moving way to fast for me.  Every week is just flying by.  So much to do and so little time. So much time taken up on things we do not want to spend time on.  Being stuck in traffic, waiting in line at a store, another meeting, another conference call, another powerpoint presentation, getting to the airport one hour early, waiting for you luggage, dealing with yet another incompetent customer service rep, having to do something over because the person you asked to do it did not get it done properly or just doing it yourself instead so that you know it would be done right.  (I think we all do this).  Waiting for that follow-up call from your job interview.  Networking on Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Words with Friends, Apps, News, You Tube, Bloomberg, Google, Yahoo, ESPN and more.  There are only 24 hours in the day, do we really have the time to spend on all this stuff that adds no real value to anything or anyone.

Some insight from Pink Floyd to start your morning.  Back to my point shortly.

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over,
Thought I’d something more to say.

Time – Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd

Time management is really difficult and yet it is so important.  How many times have you thought “what the hell did I get done today?”  If is wasn’t for that stupid meeting I would have executed my plan.  Why did I even attend that meeting?  I just spent 3 hours watching a movie I have seen 4 times.  Should I really be watching the SVU marathon?  How many times have I seen this episode of Chopped or Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.  (I am getting in a little dig for one of my daughters here 🙂 )

Here is the headline for you.  Take control of your time.  Stop blaming everyone else for your lack of time.  Eliminate the following sentence from your vocabulary “I did not have enough time.” You do have enough time if you plan it properly.  Many years ago I learned a technique called Stop, Start and Continue.  List the things that you spend time on everyday both at work and at home.  That is a long list isn’t it?  Now focus on how much time you are spending on things that you really want to do.  Hmm, not enough of that time is there?  No because most of our time is spent on the wrong stuff.  Put your list into the three buckets of what you should Stop doing,  what you should Start doing and what you should Continue doing.  Now be really hard on yourself, stop a lot of stuff and try to free up just 1 hour per day.  Not easy is it?  May not be easy but find it and start doing something you want to do with that hour.  Awesome isn’t it?  You just took control.  Well done!

Use this technique on a regular basis as new stuff you should not be doing will always creep into your day.  Start with setting aside that one hour per day for you.  Try to make it  1 1/2 hours next week.  Take control of your time and stop making excuses.  You always have enough time if you use it properly.

Start today -Time is on your side, yes it is – Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones.

Enjoy your time.

Webman

Play Ball!

Spring training begins.  The start of a new season.  From April to November, baseball is our game.  Finally the folks on the MLB Network will actually have something meaningful to talk about.  I can start watching again.

The Webman loves baseball, always has and always will.  In my home town of Mt. Vernon, NY I played in the Junior Minor Leagues, the Minor League, Little League and the Babe Ruth League.  I was a pitcher, catcher, third baseman, shortstop, basically played any position where the manager needed a player.  I remember these days fondly.  I had the privilege of playing with many great players and had terrific friendships with  my teammates and many other players in the league.  My father became very involved when I was young and he ended up dedicating much of his life to youth baseball, running the leagues for 34 years.  He had an amazing impact on so many people and kids, I still hear from folks about the impact that he had on their life.

My dad’s influence lives on today at Brush Park, where he spent just about everyday of his adult life in the summers.  The town recognized him a few years ago and named the fields after my father.

I am very proud of my father and miss him.

The game of baseball has changed so much over the years but the essence of the game has not changed at all.  About a year ago, the MLB network played Don Larsen’s 1956 perfect game from Yankee Stadium.  For those of you that are not baseball fans, this is the only perfect game to ever be thrown in the World Series in the history of baseball.  I watched the game and the one thing that was absolutely the same was the passion, skills and strategy that is a part of every major league game.  The simplicity, the harmony, the beauty of a game that looks just like the game today.

One of the areas that has changed the most is the pitching game.  Years ago the pitchers basically took the ball and went out to pitch 9 innings.  Today, with the exception of the best pitchers in the game, like Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, C.C. Sabathia and a number of other front line starters, the pitching game has become a game of specialists.  Most starting pitchers pitch 6 innings and then turn the ball over to the 7th inning specialist, the 8th inning specialist and the 9th inning specialist, The Closer.  Within these last three innings there are also sub-specialists, such as the lefty specialist, the righty specialist, the speed specialist, the curve ball specialist, the sinker specialist and the off-speed pitch specialist.

Here is a great graphic on how much the pitching game has changed:

Today the leader in complete games in Roy Halladay with 66.

In order to compete in the game of life, you need to change what you are doing.  You need to adapt to the changing times and remake yourself continuously.  You cannot be who you were, you cannot do the job the way you used to do it, you need to change or you will be no longer be successful.  Learn something new, tackle your fears, volunteer for something you have never done before.  If you do not try new things, how would you ever know if you are any good at them.

Yes the world is changing rapidly.  Grab a glove and get in the game 🙂

Webman

While You Were Asleep…..

We know how tough the economy is right now, with unemployment rates being high, the cost of goods and services escalating; when did a martini start to cost $15 or $12 for a glass of wine, $8 for a beer or a gallon of gas at $3.69.  These costs go up $0.25 here, $0.50 there until one day you look at your bill and say “Holy shitake mushrooms Batman, I just paid $12 for a glass of wine!” WTF?  Then of course there is my annual favorite, the fact that natural gas is always in short supply every winter in New England.  Every year winter comes and every year there is a shortage?  Hmm, is there something going on here.

You betcha!  (What ever happened to that Tina Fey look alike anyway?) We are bombarded by the government and the media that there really is no inflation, that productivity improvements have kept costs down, that technology keeps making items more and more affordable.  Well here are the headlines for you.  We have been squeezed by the ever growing gap between real wages, defined as the income of an individual after taking into effect the impact of inflation on purchasing power.

Here is what has happened to real wages in the US over the last 10 years.  A 39.8% increase but lagging well behind the increase in expenses as you will see below:

Look at the increased costs of Energy, Medical Care and College Tuition and Fees.  Energy cost increases have been just staggering and are likely to get much worse over the next few years.  Medical costs, up 60% over the time period, but once we build in the reduction in coverage, the increases in deductibles, the co-pays and the amount covered by procedure, the impact on your wallet is far greater than what is represented in the graphic.  And how about education costs.  If you have kids, you know the pain here and every year it goes up, never down.  Right there with the increase in energy.

So here is the problem; quality of life.  With all of these costs continuing to escalate, regardless of how great a budget manager you are, as the allocation of the pie continues to shift to these necessary expenses, the remaining funds for that vacation, savings account, new car, clothing of just enjoying the little pleasures in life goes down, resulting in more stress in finding ways to increase income/cut costs, less frequently going out with friends and family and overall less fun.  And this chart does not even include the increase in federal and state taxes, property taxes and all of the other consumption taxes that we pay.

These trends are very well established and continuing.  For many Americas they have already passed the breaking point and for many others the breaking point is on the horizon.  “Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you are my only hope.”  Princess Leia

“There has been a great disturbance in the force.” Obi Wan Kenobi

How do we stop this madness?

Webman

High Quality People

There are so many people that flow through your life, but when you think about it, so few go the distance.  What do I mean?  You know, the folks that are there with you through thick and thin, or the people that you meet professionally that whenever you think about them or contact them it is like you spoke to them yesterday.  The people that you respect, admire, that admire you; the people that you have gone into battle with and experienced success or failure, but that left an indelible mark on your life.  On the personal side, these are the people that you can trust with anything, the ones that you know without question if you called them at 2:00AM, they would be there as quickly as possible, regardless of whether you spoke to them last week or last year.  On a professional/personal side, the people that just get stuff done; no whining, no complaining, no what’s in it for me, no BS.  Just straight up, what is it going to take people; put me in coach people; what else can I do people.  These are “your peeps”, your go-to folks.

These people have at one time or another been very important to your success, have helped you to become the person you are, have helped you achieve greatness, have provided you with a new perspective, have assisted you in time of trouble, have created awesome solutions for you and helped you accomplish celebratory goals.  You know who they are!

I have been very fortunate to have many great folks as a part of my life.  Of course that starts with family, but today I would like to give you some examples of people that are not in my everyday life but those that are just awesome every time we engage.

I have three best friends from kindergarten, Armand, John and Jamie.  So I have known them for about 95% of my lifetime.  No age giveaways  here!  They have all led very successful lives with wonderful families, had business success and many individual accomplishments.  They have changed over the years, as we all have, and have become conditioned by their own life experiences.  They have matured into responsible adults (they will never admit that) and have their own large circle of friends and acquaintances that we all have today.  But the one constant is that we have an inseparable bond, one that was forged at a very young age, one where trust and admiration was built over many, many years.  During that time we spent more time with other people as well, but we always re-engaged.  We shared many incredible experiences at that very impressionable time of our lives.  We do not talk as often as we should, but when we do, it is like there has been no gap.

During my professional career, I have had the privilege of working not only with the best and brightest but also with people that care about me on a personal level and are always there to provide me counsel, advice, a new contact or forge the way for a new career opportunity.  Many of my former co-workers became CEO’s of both large and small businesses, successful investors, board members and industry leaders. A great example of this is my former CEO, Paul.  So many times over the years I have reached out to Paul for counsel, guidance and  career advice and he has always provided me with honest insight and perspective.  When I am looking for a new opportunity, he is one of the first people I call, not only because he is so well connected, but because he listens, learns and takes direct action to support my goals.  Whether it is merely an introduction, or it is an opportunity to work with him, he has always provided an honest and highly responsive approach to support my goals.

One final example for today is my friend and co-worker Alejandra.  I had the pleasure of meeting Ally in 2011.  She is an awesome web designer by trade but more importantly, is one of the highest quality people that I have known professionally.  Ally’s philosophy to work and life is “Put me in coach, I will do whatever is necessary to get it done.”  She is the proud mother of three children, expecting a fourth now, a tireless worker, extremely creative and she always keeps her eye on the prize.  When I ask her for her opinion, I get it.  When my idea sucks, she tells me it sucks, but of course offers an outstanding alternative.  When there is a tight deadline on a project, she provides you with the guidance and insight to get it done at the highest level of quality.  We are working on a project together right now that is just awesome.  I have not known Ally long, but I am a very good judge of character.  And she is quite the character 🙂

There are so many people that I could have written this blog about.  Upon reflection, I am really amazed by how many terrific people I know, that I can turn to whenever I need them, that can provide me with the thoughts and perspectives that I need to either accomplish a project, find a new opportunity or make a difference.

If you have not spoken to some of these great people in your life recently, pick up the phone and call them today.  They would love to hear from you!

Webman