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  • Aspire » Other

    25 May
    Photo by Justin Day via Flickr

    Photo by Justin Day via Flickr

    818 Hot dogs every second, that is the estimated number of hot dogs consumed in the USA on Memorial Day!   For the most part, America views Memorial Day Weekend as the official beginning of Summer, weeks before the actual solstice date in June.  And, even with all the American flags flying, the significance of the day can easily be understated.  But it wasn’t always that way.

    The History and why we remember…

    Memorial Day has roots that reach back to the early 1860’s.  First known as Decoration Day, it was a day to honor the men & women who died during the Civil war.  As one might predict, both the North and the South have separate events that stake claim to the first time it was observed.   However, it did become as annual event and for nearly 100 yrs. Memorial Day was celebrated on May 30th; a date chosen because it was considered an optimal date for blooming flowers.   This was important because those blooming flowers could then be placed on the gravesites of the men and women as a way to honor and remember their sacrifice.

    By the early 1900’s another tradition was established with the treatment of the American Flag on Memorial Day.   The flag is raised half-staff until noon, this is to honor the (now) more than 1,300,000 people who have given their lives in service of their country; our country.  At noon the flag is raised to full staff.  This is to honor all of those who served and are among the living in our country.  Many view it as a proclamation of hope by all Americans that those lives lost, were not lost in vain.

    I have a neighbor who lost his only brother in Vietnam.   He doesn’t need a history lesson about the significance of the day.  Memorial Day for him and all those who have lost a loved one while serving have their permanent reminders of the special meaning this day holds, why it is a national holiday.  For them, the importance of Memorial Day is as real as it gets.

    When the business impact arrived…    

    In 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.  That set the stage to move Washington’s Birthday, Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day, Labor Day and Memorial Day all to Monday.  And the 3 day weekend was born (at least for all the gov’t employees)   It was another 4 years before the Memorial  Day was officially moved to the last Monday of May in 1971.  Of this group, Veteran’s Day only remained until 1978, but that is another history lesson.

    With Memorial Day firmly planted on the last Monday, it allowed for travel that may not have been logistically possible when there was only 1 day to accomplish it.  It allowed additional time to prepare for Memorial Day Parades and Military Honor Guard events.    But, planned or not, the 3 day weekend created an economic boom for our country.  Family gatherings, short vacations, trips to the lake, taking in baseball games or other sporting events, all became more practical and accessible with the extra day added to the weekend.   This year, 37 million Americans are (were) expected to travel during the 2015 Memorial Day Weekend.   And all of those things require people spending money.

    You may or may not be involved in a business that directly benefits from all the travel, food, other services that see a major uptick over Memorial Day.  But know that simply by participating you are helping the economy of our great country.  That in itself is an acknowledgment of respect to those who made the ultimate sacrifice so we can all enjoy this day.

    Finally, if you have never attended a Memorial Day event consider taking one in, despite all its imperfections it will make you a little prouder to be an American .  And, if you simply find yourself standing over a grill with your favorite cold beverage in your hand, doing your part in contributing to the 818 Hot dogs being consumed every second, remember all of those who gave their lives to make your moment possible.

    As always, please feel free to share any comments in the space below.

    Chris Steinlage Kansas City Business Coach

    23 Oct

    Chris's truck after the break-in

    It is one of those things you think only happens to people you don’t know, but this past week it happened to me. It was midday, between 10:30AM and 11:45AM, in broad daylight. Through the tinted rear windows of my pickup, someone spied my briefcase and decided they needed it more than I did. And just that fast I said goodbye to my laptop, my portable scanner, a digital recorder and other personal items.

    I don’t need to remind myself of the obvious, you shouldn’t leave a briefcase setting in a parked car, but the meeting was only supposed to last 90 minutes and it was the middle of the day! What was the risk? It wasn’t the first time I have experienced an auto break-in, shortly after I graduated college I learned not to leave $2.00 in quarters visible in the console between the front seats. Those 8 quarters cost just under a $100 (the window repair).

    During the years I owned my construction equipment dealership, I had at least three memorable events where thieves or (would be thieves) went after tools and equipment at the dealership. In one incident our crook was surprised around 5AM, by a semi-truck driver preparing for an early morning delivery. Prior to the driver arriving at the dealership, this bandit was using a forklift to literally pile brand new pedestrian trenchers ($7,000-$10,000/ea) on top of each other on a trailer. He also had loaded a large air compressor on the back of his flatbed pickup. When the truck driver spooked him, the coward sped out of the yard and the cargo on the truck bed rolled out into the street as he whipped out onto the boulevard. He never ended up getting a single machine, but the damage he caused to the machines was pretty significant. But we scored it a victory for the good guys.

    In round two, I wasn’t quite so lucky. We had a few small machines that were powered by a 25 HP Kohler gas engine. One Monday morning I arrived at the dealership to find 6-8 brand new machines setting in the equipment row without their engines! This time the crook(s) accessed the lot through a small fire hydrant access gate towards the rear of the property. Each engine was worth about $2,000. After that, I spent about $10,000 on a perimeter monitoring system, which I must say seemed to throttle down my issues with break-ins.

    Maybe I was overdue. I know there are millions of laptops and portable devices stolen every year, and many of you reading this have probably experienced it first hand, so I am not alone. But it was the first time it happened to me. I just hope the crook really needs the couple hundred dollars he is going to get hocking my stuff. Maybe I should have posted a big sign by my truck offering $1,000 for the prompt return of the stolen items and started shouting the same. If he was still in earshot it would have been a great way to increase his ROI about $800 and I wouldn’t have had to go through the process of changing all my passwords, account numbers, and electronics!

    There are several options to track computers if they are stolen and now that it’s happened to me I have been motivated to seriously consider that option. I am pretty good about backing up my hardrive and we use google apps so most of my information will land back on my new laptop. And the pity party I was having over the ordeal was promptly halted and put into perspective by a caringbridge post about a friend the following morning. There are worse things to deal with.

    With the holidays just around the corner I thought sharing this would be a good reminder for all of us to not leave valuables in your car. If you do, don’t leave them in plain sight. Don’t make your vehicle an easy target. And regarding your computer(s), if you don’t have a good plan for backing them up, the time to start one is not the day after your hard drive crashes or gets stolen.

    If you would like to share any thoughts or ideas on this please do so in the space below. And if by chance someone offers you a screaming deal on a 10 month old Toshiba L755-S5167 SN SZB165364W…please give me a call.

    Chris Steinlage   Kansas City Business Coach

    16 Jan

    gavel  photo by Sam Howzit

    I had the ‘opportunity’ to participate in Jury duty last week.  It was the 3rd time in the last 10 months that I had been called, but the first one that actually went to selection.  If you haven’t gone through the process before, you receive a notice in the mail and they have you call in the Friday before your date to find out if you need to show up that following Monday at the courthouse. 

    Because my previous experience had been a non-event, I didn’t really clear my schedule other than that Monday…and unfortunately I had a pretty full week planned.  At least until I actually got selected for a jury!  Everyone will tell you their theory or favorite way to get out of being selected (including wearing red because it implies you are assertive, which attorneys don’t like).  In this particular situation, I’m not sure it would have mattered – the court was very aggressive with reasons why jurors should be excused, and even most that were excused were sent to another courtroom that was still short of jury candidates.  End result -  I was on a live jury for the first time.

    Here’s what I learned from the ordeal overall:

    Read More…

    06 Oct

      photo by Noodle93

    Do you know the origin of the word cliché? (from a Seth Godin post):

    In printing, a cliché was a printing plate cast from movable type. This is also called a stereotype. When letters were set one at a time, it made sense to cast a phrase used repeatedly as a single slug of metal. "Cliché" came to mean such a ready-made phrase. The French word “cliché” comes from the sound made when the matrix is dropped into molten metal to make a printing plate.

    Who knew the word came from a sound effect?  Great information for your next party! 

    I was thinking about clichés this afternoon – I was listening to the audio book of The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (fantastic, powerful book – I’ll write more on it later) and he had some quick thoughts on the importance of those well used (perhaps overused) statements often called clichés. 

    In his opinion, clichés became overused precisely because they have a powerful meaning – that doesn’t mean you should avoid them, just use them in the right way…especially if you’re talking with kids, because they haven’t heard them before!

    Read More…

    14 Aug

    So you know that a trend is becoming mainstream when people start making fun of it and doing spoof Broadway musicals about it.   Social Media is certainly ripe for satire and the clip below does a great (and very funny) job of bringing out the really silly things people do.  It’s very well done!

    Check out Web Site Story – an homage to the classic musical.

    See more funny videos and funny pictures at CollegeHumor.


    If you have trouble with the video above – go to CollegeHumor to see it there.

    Shawn Kinkade   Kansas City Business Coach