Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 - A Year In Review

It is in our understanding of history and a reflection on our pasts that we better prepare ourselves for the future.  As we approach only one day remaining in the year that has been 2010, this naturally becomes one of those times for reflecting once again on what has transpired in the past year.

The traditional song that is sung in the welcoming of our New Year as the clock strikes midnight tonight is "Auld Lang Syne".  The lyrics for this tune (of the first verse and chorus, which we typically hear) are:

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

If your first thought is, even after reading these lyrics, that you have no idea what they mean, you probably aren't alone.  It is interesting to begin with a rhetorical set of questions, namely should old relationships be forgotten, not remembered, and the days of time gone by with them.  The chorus promptly refutes the point by giving a cheer to those very days of times past including the "cup of kindness" (in other words, a toast) in fond memory that we should not forget.

I won't lie in saying 2010 wasn't exactly an easy year personally.  It won't be a year upon which I will look back years from now and think "I really want to remember 2010" because it simply won't be true.  Not that the clock magically ticking from 11:59 PM on 12/31/2010 to 12:00 AM on 01/01/2011 will be as simple as turning a page in a book, it does change the chapter of our lives metaphorically.  We chronicle our very existences by the years we live, from the year we are born until the year we die.  What happens in between is dramatically different for each and every one of us.  No two people have the same story ... and that's what makes life interesting.

I wrote my last blog entry primarily as a reflection on my wife's passing in August and how I felt at the time.  Admittedly, this holiday season, the first without her, has been tough.  I don't feel the Christmas spirit, I haven't really enjoyed the parties / events I've attended, and the moments alone just aren't the same without her.  I remembered going through life as a single person in the first half of this past decade, and I didn't expect to find myself here again so soon.  If I'm being completely honest, despite the struggles of marriage, I really did want "until death do us part" at some distant point in the future, when I fully expected to be the first to go someday.

This year wasn't just about the passing of my wife, but I would be lying if that event wasn't the most defining moment in it.  Only a little over a month ago, I also watched the passing of my wife's grandfather, which happened roughly two weeks after I wrote my last entry.  His passing was less unexpected but no less sad.  He passed away in his 80th year (born in 1930), which feels so much different than my wife's passing in her 31st year (born in 1979).  The more difficult part of his passing was the long journey of Alzheimer's Disease that preceded it.  He suffered with the disease after a diagnosis that came earlier in the decade (roughly 2002 or 2003, before I had met the family).  I am comforted knowing that I spent a lot of time with this man, even in his declining years, and stuck in his memory for a lot longer than I ever expected (into 2009 at least and to a lesser degree in 2010).

There actually were some positive moments this year, so let me look back at those things for a while.  I was employed for the entire year for the first time since 2007 (which seems rather pathetic in hindsight, as I had a job for about 8 months in 2008 and 2009 was just plain ugly to be truly honest in bouncing between multiple short-term contract jobs).  I attended my first ever Cincinnati Reds' Opening Day (and the subsequent Opening Night as well, which I have attended in the past) ... when I unexpectedly scored a Club seat (after buying two view-level seats for Jen and me previously), both my wife and mother-in-law got the chance to go, too.  They saw the Findlay Market Parade while I was giving a presentation over in Covington to "earn" my way there.  Thanks, ATR, for your generosity.  This logically led to a Reds' season that just pleasantly exceeded my expectations, as Deb, Marge, and I (my treat) went to the NL Central-clinching game over the Astros in late September.  Truly a magical moment with the Jay Bruce walk-off home run (despite what happened subsequently in the playoffs) that will be an indelible mark in my memory.

I won't even begin to approach the year as a whole when it comes to just about everything, but I do think there were some memorable highlights  (particularly in the "extracurricular" activities).  How about those Saints?  The long-time laughingstock New Orleans organization of the NFL (notably once the 'Aints) won the Super Bowl over the favored Indianapolis Colts.  Although I honestly was rooting for Peyton and his Colts going in, I didn't mind seeing Drew and his Saints pull off a heartwarming win.  My UD Flyers won the NIT (I know, most would say who cares), but at least they won some post-season tournament of some significance.  The San Francisco Giants won the first-ever title for the SF incarnation of a Giants franchise that hadn't won a World Series since their days in New York.  All-in-all, it was an interesting sports year for the "underdog" in general, despite the fact the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA title (no shock for the second-most winning basketball franchise all-time).  Even the NHL featured a return to glory for the Chicago Blackhawks, who hadn't won a title since 1961.  Memorable for his absence was Tiger Woods' failure to record a professional golf title in all of 2010, first time in a full season for the former #1 golfer (now #2).  I won't be surprised to see him not only win multiple times in 2011 but to recapture his #1 ranking with relative ease.

In non-sporting highlights, this could be termed the political year of unrest, as Congress will be changing hands following a mid-term election of a majority of Republican candidates.  The House control will shift back to Republican control, and local congressman John Boehner will take over as Speaker of the House in January.  President Obama faced a number of challenges, although unemployment finally appears headed in a positive direction by year's end.  Taxes, budgets, Tea Party unrest, etc. will be highlights (or lowlights) of 2010.

I might come back for a bit more "prolific" view of the year, but too many other sites do that thing.  They can profile people like Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) over at Time or Julian Assange of WikiLeaks infamy (who will probably be a fairly prolific figure for some time).  I could pay tribute to so many celebrities who passed in 2010, notably (in this author's opinion, in no particular order) Leslie Nielsen, Lena Horne, Tony Curtis, Bob Feller, Sparky Anderson, Don Meredith, Gary Coleman, Blake Edwards, Irvin Kershner ("Empire Strikes Back"), Greg Giraldo, George Steinbrenner, Dennis Hopper, Rue McClanahan, Barbara Billingsley, Dixie Carter, Eddie Fisher, JD Salinger, John Forsythe, Lynn Redgrave, Merlin Olsen, Peter Graves, Robert Culp, Tom Bosley, and Teddy Pendergrass (although I could mention even more).

Thursday, November 04, 2010

What Happens When You Take Time Away ...

Time alone has given me a much greater ability to reflect lately. My wife, Jennifer (better known as Jen), died unexpectedly just a little over two months ago. Jen and I met over six years ago, in March of 2004, shortly after I moved to Cincinnati from Lima. We didn't meet in a particularly "conventional" way for that time period, using the website eHarmony to be matched. A friendship and bond was made and is one I didn't expect to happen as quickly as it did.

I am not using my blog to reflect on the experience of dating, the time of engagement, the wedding itself, the years of marriage ... because in the greater reflection of time, it all feels like it happened almost instantaneously. From the first real date we had on April 2, 2004, until the last day my wife was alive on August 21, 2010, so many things happened. Personally and professionally, I started jobs, I ended jobs, I had bad stretches of unemployment ... my career with oftentimes little direction. Jen's career was stable right up to the point of our actual time to be married, but then her teaching life was never the same again in finding a full-time position after being non-renewed without a valid reason. I continued to work in mostly engineering capacities while she had to accept the role of substitute teaching. I knew her heart wasn't in the work (not having a class to call her own), but she did it anyway, building great experience, learning new things, and endearing herself to so many people.

This school year was going to be different. In the effort to push forward with her Masters degree and to get back into a potential full-time role, she was planning to babysit the children of teachers she knew from the elementary school. Unfortunately, this never came to pass, as school started the week after Jen's death.

I don't know where life was going to lead my wife, but I know she would have finished her degree and become an amazing teacher in special education. I don't know where our life together was going to lead, given my own work track record and not being the husband I wish, in hindsight, I could have been. My own self-reflection of marriage had nothing to do with faithfulness (as we were nothing but faithful to each other) but of my poor ability to be a better communicator of my needs, a poor listener of her needs, and to be a more effective partner in the relationship.

I took for granted that life could be so short, that things could literally change overnight. There was no chance to say "goodbye" because I never expected there to be a need. We both went to sleep, only I awoke and she did not. To this day, I still don't know what took her from me, but all I know is that she's gone.

I questioned the meaning of life before my wife passed, and I question it more now. I question why events like these happen with no reason. Is life merely a game of "chance" and any moment could be our last? The sad but true answer seems to be "yes" ... any moment in time *could* be our last. Something as simple as "live like we're dying" takes on a different meaning now ... although I'm not moving any faster on the "bucket list" or to accomplish major tasks any faster. Death may be imminent or it might be distant ... I really don't know. None of us knows the day it will end because we each have a different clock. Some clocks run longer than others. Some clocks seem to break unexpectedly while others run seemingly without fail.

Habitually, I tend to ramble, and this entry is probably no different than most I have entered. The only exception is that this one comes at a different point in life, where my perspective on things has changed fundamentally. I don't view the world the same today as I did only 11 weeks ago, and I find sadness and doubt where I thought I used to find joy and solace.

I am sure that I will regain the footing that I feel I have lost. I am sure that things will move forward and I will move with them. Realistically, I don't have a choice. I could live in the past or move forward to the future -- the choice seems an obvious one even if it is hard to do. I am honestly not certain what future I want or what goals / aspirations I have other than simply taking each day as it comes, opening myself to opportunities that present themselves, and not closing myself off to what life might bring. I don't think that Jen would want me to live that way because she herself said she aspired to a life of "no regrets" even if there certainly were regrets along the way. Now, I have to learn to do the same.

To paraphrase and close, this new journey has to begin with a single step ... even if there is no particular destination in mind, enjoy the ride there.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Living by the Rules of Warren Buffett

Rules That Warren Buffett Lives By

by Stephanie Loiacono
Tuesday, February 23, 2010

provided by

Warren Buffett is arguably the world's greatest stock investor. He's also a bit of a philosopher. He pares down his investment ideas into simple, memorable sound bites. Do you know what his homespun sayings really mean? Does his philosophy hold up in today's difficult environment? Find out below.

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"Rule No. 1: Never Lose Money. Rule No. 2: Never Forget Rule No. 1."

Buffett personally lost about $23 billion in the financial crisis of 2008, and his company, Berkshire Hathaway, lost its revered AAA ratings. So how can he tell us to never lose money?

He's referring to the mindset of a sensible investor. Don't be frivolous. Don't gamble. Don't go into an investment with a cavalier attitude that it's OK to lose. Be informed. Do your homework. Buffett invests only in companies he thoroughly researches and understands. He doesn't go into an investment prepared to lose, and neither should you.

Buffett believes the most important quality for an investor is temperament, not intellect. A successful investor doesn't focus on being with or against the crowd.

The stock market will swing up and down. But in good times and bad, Buffett stays focused on his goals. So should we. (This esteemed investor rarely changes his long-term investing strategy no matter what the market does.

More from Yahoo! Finance:

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10 Things Millionaires Won't Tell You

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Visit the Banking & Budgeting Center

"If The Business Does Well, the Stock Eventually Follows"

The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham convinced Buffett that investing in a stock equates to owning a piece of the business. So when he searches for a stock to invest in, Buffett seeks out businesses that exhibit favorable long-term prospects. Does the company have a consistent operating history? Does it have a dominant business franchise? Is the business generating high and sustainable profit margins? If the company's share price is trading below expectations for its future growth, then it's a stock Buffett may want to own.

Buffett never buys anything unless he can write down his reasons why he'll pay a specific price per share for a particular company. Do you do the same?

"It's Far Better to Buy a Wonderful Company at a Fair Price Than a Fair Company at a Wonderful Price"

Buffett is a value investor who likes to buy quality stocks at rock-bottom prices. His real goal is to build more and more operating power for Berkshire Hathaway by owning stocks that will generate solid profits and capital appreciation for years to come. When the markets reeled during the recent financial crisis, Buffett was stockpiling great long-term investments by investing billions in names like General Electric and Goldman Sachs.

To pick stocks well, investors must set down criteria for uncovering good businesses, and stick to their discipline. You might, for example, seek companies that offer a durable product or service and also have solid operating earnings and the germ for future profits. You might establish a minimum market capitalization you're willing to accept, and a maximum P/E ratio or debt level. Finding the right company at the right price -- with a margin for safety against unknown market risk -- is the ultimate goal.

Remember, the price you pay for a stock isn't the same as the value you get. Successful investors know the difference.

"Our Favorite Holding Period Is Forever"

How long should you hold a stock? Buffett says if you don't feel comfortable owning a stock for 10 years, you shouldn't own it for 10 minutes. Even during the period he called the "Financial Pearl Harbor," Buffett loyally held on to the bulk of his portfolio.

Unless a company has suffered a sea change in prospects, such as impossible labor problems or product obsolescence, a long holding period will keep an investor from acting too human. That is, being too fearful or too greedy can cause investors to sell stocks at the bottom or buy at the peak -- and destroy portfolio appreciation for the long run.

You may think the recent financial meltdown changed things, but don't be fooled: those unfussy sayings from the Oracle of Omaha still RULE!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Jesus was a Gemini? So says Aussie astronomer, others

Jesus was a Gemini: Computer predicts the past
Wed Dec 10 2008, 07:45

has been tinkering with his computer and worked out that Jesus was not born in December, but June.

Dave Reneke, former chief lecturer at the Port Macquarie Observatory in New South Wales, used complex computer software to map the night sky as it would have appeared over Bethlehem 2,000 years ago.

He said that he can pinpoint the date of Christ's birth as June 17 rather than December 25, according to The Times.

Reneke said that the only celestial conjunction way back then that looked like a Christmas star appeared in June, not December.

He said that Venus and Jupiter became very close in the year 2 B.C. and they would have appeared to be one bright beacon of light. While this is not definitely the Christmas star, Reneke said it is the strongest explanation for it he had seen.

This would mean that the Wise men would have said that Jesus was a chatty Gemini rather than a more materialistic, sex-obsessed Capricorn.

The bible never mentioned that Jesus was born on December 25. That date was decided by the early Roman church when it was desperate to attract worshippers away from the much older Mithras cult, with which it seemed to be having an intellectual property dispute.

Mithras had a virgin birth, in a cave or stable on December 25. He had twelve companions, performed miracles, was dubbed "the good shepherd," "the way, the truth and the light,” “redeemer,” “saviour,” “Messiah." He was identified with both the lion and the lamb. His worshippers held secret ceremonies that included a baptism to remove sins and a sacred meal of bread and water and specially consecrated wine. µ


Original content re-posted from:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Zodiac "Significance" of Being a Gemini ...

A Short Insight into the Mind of a Gemini ...

Your element: Air
Your ruling planets: Mercury
Symbol: The Twins
Your stone: Aquamarine
Life Pursuit: To explore a little bit of everything
Vibration: Intense mental energy
Gemini's Secret Desire: To be ahead of the crowd

In ancient Greek mythology, Gemini's ruler - Mercury - was the light-footed messenger of the gods who darted back and forth across the heavens delivering news, which might explain why those born under the sign of the "Twins" are always on the move; thirsty for knowledge and new experiences. Terminally curious and sometimes even mischievous, Geminis are multifaceted souls who enjoy knowing a little bit of everything but generally not too much about one particular subject. It's the variety that is the spice of their lives!

In Astrology, Geminis have also gained the reputation of being the incessant talkers of the zodiac. Those Twins that don't have the 'gift of the gab' are usually talented writers or have a special interest in foreign languages. In love, they look for a partner who can keep up with them mentally and physically! And, to quote Oscar Wilde, "there's one thing worse than people talking about you, that's people not talking about you." Whether Geminis like it or not, people are usually "talking about them". Together with Scorpios and Virgos, they are a sign that is often discussed, dissected, and sometimes even put down by the other signs of the zodiac. Sometimes this is a subtle form of jealousy by others, because Geminis do lead very unique and unusual lives. The Gemini personality can appear mysterious or detached to others and therefore they are often misunderstood and unappreciated for the talents they offer to the world at large.

Another reason Geminis evoke so much interest is many born under this sign are multidimensionally talented. In money matters, some Geminis are very adept and quick at making it ... and spending it too. Many Geminis are involved in international financial wheeling and dealing. They love the adventure and game-playing involved in out-thinking other people. Gemini's can be very haphazard about their financial affairs too, with many of them ending up in divorce courts mainly because their partners have become tired of living on the edge of a financial precipice.

Well, there you have it ... I'm either a genius or a crazy person. A financial wizard or a financial flop. Not a bad description in total, to be honest ... quite insightful.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tiger Woods Makes Public Apology for Trangressions (2/19/2010)

Reposted in its entirety from the Associated Press. All original content available at:

Associated Press
February 20, 2010

Apologetic Tiger Woods unsure of return to golf


AP Golf Writer

Somber, composed — and vulnerable — Tiger Woods faced the world and said the words out loud.

"I cheated."

"I am deeply sorry."

"I understand people have questions."

What Woods did not do Friday was answer a couple of the biggest: What really happened? When will he play golf again?

Missing his smile and aura of invincibility, Woods made another apology for cheating on his wife — this time a televised one — without revealing the scope of his infidelity or his future on the PGA Tour.

Woods spoke in a hushed room at the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse filled with his closest associates. He stumbled a few times as he read a 13 1/2-minute statement in which he acknowledged he's been in therapy following string of affairs.

"I have made you question who I am and how I could have done the things I did," Woods said.

Woods' wife, Elin, did not attend his first public appearance since he crashed his car into a tree outside their home three months ago, setting off shocking allegations of rampant extramarital relationships.

"I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated," Woods said. "What I did was not acceptable."

Woods alternately looked into the camera and at the 40 people in the room, raising his voice only to deny that his wife ever hit him and to demand that the paparazzi leave his family alone. Beyond that, there were stretches when Woods — with his formidable business empire — could have been reading from a tough corporate report.

He entered the room alone. When he finished, he stopped for a long embrace with his mother, Kultida, who said she whispered in his ear, "I'm so proud of you. Never think you stand alone. Mom will always be there for you, and I love you."

Regaining trust and support from everyone else might not be so easy.

Woods already has lost two corporate endorsements — Accenture and AT&T — and he has gone from being perhaps the most famous athlete in the world to a punch line in night clubs and on talk shows.

"It's now up to me to make amends, and that starts by never repeating the mistakes I've made," Woods said. "It's up to me to start living a life of integrity."

Woods left therapy on Feb. 11 and has been spending time with his two children and his mother — but not his wife — in Orlando, according to a person with knowledge of Woods' schedule. The person, not authorized to release such information, spoke on condition of anonymity.

Woods did not say how much longer he would be in therapy, only that "I have a long way to go."

Pool photos were released Thursday of Woods hitting golf balls on the practice range.

"I do plan to return to golf one day," Woods said. "I just don't know when that day will be. I don't rule out that it will be this year. When I do return, I need to make my behavior more respectful of the game."

Just as unpredictable is the future of his marriage. Woods said he and his wife have started discussing the damage he has done. "What we say to each other will remain between the two of us," he said.

Elin's father, Thomas Nordegren, saw Woods' confession but wouldn't comment and her mother, Barbro Holmberg, declined to say whether she watched at all.

After an embrace with his mother, Woods hugged the two women who sat on either side of her — Amy Reynolds, formerly of Nike who now works for Tiger Woods Design, and Kathy Battaglia, who is Woods' administrative assistant at ETW Corp.

He made his way down the front row and greeted others — his chief financial officer, Web site administrator, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and Notah Begay, who played with Woods at Stanford and withdrew from the PGA Tour event in Mexico.

Begay said Woods had a long, tough recovery ahead of him — not only at home, but before thousands of fans behind the ropes.

"It's a little bit harder than making a swing change," Begay said.

Woods remained composed throughout the statement, pausing briefly before the first of several apologies. At times, however, he looked into the camera almost on cue.

The only employee not on the front row was Bryon Bell, his friend from junior high who now is president of his design company. Mark Steinberg, Woods' agent at IMG, sat in the last of three rows with 14 PGA Tour executives.

"He's an American hero. And he's had his issues," Finchem said. "My personal reaction was that his comments were heartfelt. He clearly recognizes that there has been serious impact to a wide range of individuals and organizations."

Some of the eight players at the Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona watched the coverage before the third round.

"From a guy that's done a lot of tough things in golf over the years, it was probably one of the most difficult things he's ever had to do," British Open champion Stewart Cink said. "And it was something probably that's going to help him along the way of healing."

Only a few journalists were allowed to watch Woods live, but the confession became a major TV moment. All the networks broke in to show it — an implicit comment on Woods' importance in popular culture. Television ratings double when he is in contention, which has happened a lot on his way to winning 71 times on the PGA Tour and 14 majors, four short of the record held by Jack Nicklaus.

Nicklaus watched the announcement, but a spokesman said he would have no comment.

Most of the associates left the room when Woods finished speaking. Among those who stayed were Mrs. Woods, who rarely gives interview but in this case said, "I would like to talk."

She said her son has a "good heart and good soul" but made a mistake. Mrs. Woods, raised in Thailand, also claims the media showed a "double standard" by keeping the sex scandal in the news for so long.

"Some of media, especially tabloid, hurt my son bad," Mrs. Woods said. "He didn't do anything illegal. He didn't kill anybody. But he try to improve himself. He try to go to therapy and help. He change that and making better. When he go do all this thing, he will come out stronger and a better person."

As his Thai-born mother sat with arms folded across her chest, Woods said part of his rehab would include a return to his Buddhist faith. Woods said his mother raised him as a Buddhist, and he practiced his faith "until I drifted away from it in recent years."

The companies that have stuck most closely by Woods, Nike Inc. and Electronic Arts Inc., reiterated their support. Said EA Sports president Peter Moore: "It was good to see Tiger address the public today, and we're supportive of his focus toward family and rebuilding his life."


AP Sports Writer Bob Baum in Marana, Ariz., Associated Press writers Antonio Gonzalez in Ponte Vedra Beach, John Rogers in Los Angeles, and AP Retail Writers Ashley Heher in Chicago and Sarah Skidmore in Portland, Ore., contributed to this report.

Tiger Woods during a news conference in, Friday, Feb. 19, 2010, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Tiger Woods leaves the room after a news conference Friday, Feb. 19, 2010, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Tiger Woods pauses during a news conference Friday, Feb. 19, 2010, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Tiger Woods pauses during a news conference Friday, Feb. 19, 2010, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Tiger Woods speaks during a news conference Friday, Feb. 19, 2010, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Tiger Woods, right, greets fellow Notah Begay III during a news conference in, Friday, Feb. 19, 2010, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Tiger Woods, center, greets, from left, golfer Notah Begay III, PGA Commissioner Tim Finchem, and Woods' Web Site manager Rob McNamara, during a news conference in, Friday, Feb. 19, 2010, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Amy Reynolds with Nike is at right. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Tiger Woods pauses during a news conference Friday, Feb. 19, 2010, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Tiger Woods arrives for a news conference Friday, Feb. 19, 2010, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

oTiger Woods speaks during a news conference in, Friday, Feb. 19, 2010, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Listening, from left, are Kathuy Battaglia, Kultida Woods, and Amy Reynolds. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Tiger Woods during a news conference in, Friday, Feb. 19, 2010, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Chart shows the top 10 words used in Tiger Woods(tm) statement

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Lawyers Bad Drivers? The *Worst* Drivers by Profession (Top Ten List)

As a service to my "loyal" readers, occasionally I come across something that strikes me particularly interesting and/or funny. This story definitely qualifies for both. I attempted to quote directly where applicable to give credit to the original author's content.

"Lawyers Top Worst Drivers List"

By Nadeem Muaddi

"According to a recent study, 44 percent of attorneys and judges -- more than any other profession -- claimed to have been in a prior driving accident when comparison-shopping for auto insurance.

More from U.S. News & World Report

» Best Car Deals for February

» How to Find Cheap Car Insurance analyzed the accidents people claimed and the professions they listed when applying for car insurance online. They published their findings along with a list of the Top 10 Most Dangerous Drivers by Profession.

Beating out groggy truck drivers and even NASCAR racers, financial professionals came in second. According to VP Sam Belden, it’s because these types of professionals have the attention span of a gnat. He said, “Professions that demand multi-tasking – being on the phone, moving fast on a tight schedule – are prone to more distractions and, from there, more accidents.”

On the other hand, government workers came in third -- and they’re not exactly known for their high- pressure schedules. Dog groomers made the list, as did the barbers and stylists who groom their owners. Let us know if you can figure that one out.

Interestingly, the least dangerous drivers by profession were athletes (with 17 percent) and homemakers (24 percent). While it’s true that homemakers can be distracted by a van load of unruly brats, Beldon said most people who drive with kids “tend to take their time and use greater caution.” He also stated that “[h]omemakers and athletes also tend to be off the road during rush hour” -- when most accidents occur.

And, though athletes were among the safest drivers, their coaches were found to be some of the most dangerous on the road.’s complete list of Top 10 Most Dangerous Drivers by Profession is below."

1. Attorney/Judge

2. Financial professionals

3. Government worker

4. Bartender or Waiter

5. Business Professionals

6. Dog Groomer

7. Marketing/Advertising professionals

8. Barber/Stylist

9. Coach

10. Nurse

Interestingly enough, I qualify as #5 on this list (no surprise to me given my ADD tendencies and inability to focus on anything longer than five minutes sometimes). My parents (both) qualify as #8 (since both are hair stylists - dad a barber and mom a beautician), so I guess the fact that all of us have been in at least one (or more) accidents in our lives in not that shocking anymore (LOL).

My wife, btw, has an occupation (educator) that apparently DIDN'T make the list, so thank god for that. My insurance rates would be worse than they already are. ;-)


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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Re: Cincinnati in Vanity Fair article ("A.A. Gill Responds to Cincinnati")

I guess I was "suckered" into crafting a response to this Vanity Fair garbage, but, if you check out the link above, you can see my personal comment on this attempt at sarcasm and humor from columnist A.A. Gill (a Scottish "critic" without merit).

"Why take the time to respond to an insipid piece of drivel once again making light of our "country bumpkin" status here in the Midwest? I guess this response might tell you how I feel ...

Since A.A. Gill is a pompous ass, he might as well flaunt his egotistical status for all the world to see. You see, Mr. Gill, your Vanity Fair "full and honest dialogue" is more proof of East Coast bias and the foolhardy belief that you're better than I am. Your education is better, your upbringing is better, and your fine New York City attitude is far superior to what my Midwestern background could EVER provide me. You claim to like "sarcasm" in the sardonic sense of taking a "loving look" at my city of residence ... yet, like so many other unintelligible writers for meaningless publications, you mistake wit for pomposity.

You, Mr. Gill, don't really deserve a response because, as is clear from the multiple responses provided before my own, you are a craver of attention. Your ego is driven by your sense of self-righteousness, and, simply put, I feel sorry for you more than needing to defend my own city.

NYC is NOT better than Cincinnati. You and others may think it is ... but maybe making the Forbes list of "Most Miserable" cities does make you superior in every way. NYC made #16 on the list of the Top 20 (where the Ohio city that did make #1 was Cleveland, not Cincinnati). Oh wait, did I forget that Chicago (#10) made the list, too? That's right, two major cities on the list ... but, interestingly, Cincinnati was nowhere to be found. We must not be nearly miserable enough to warrant inclusion. There's always next year!"