SINATRA’S ALL-TIME FAVORITE ARTIST CELEBRATES 91 YEARS.  You know this man!   Why it’s Anthony Dominick Benedetto who was born on August 3, 1926.  He celebrated his 91st birthday yesterday.  We know him as that Great Master of the Ballads, Mr. Tony Bennett.

No other vocalist  has captured the heart of the public for as long as this Crooner who experienced his first Hit in 1951 with Because of You.  As Wikipedia states, “It started out gaining popularity on jukeboxes (I remember them, do you?)  then reached #1 on the pop charts and stayed there for ten weeks selling over a million copies.

1951-2017.  Count ’em up.  That’s 67 years on stage with a mic in his hands, with an orchestra behind him making music that people love to experience.   In the last ten years he has become famous for duets, with All-Star performing artists the world over.   He is particularly known for his duet album with Lady Gaga.  When I first heard them sing, “The Lady Is A Tramp” I knew I wanted to purchase the album.  It’s a favorite.  I will listen to it often in the car as these two knock it out of the park with electrifying vocal chemistry!

So, what does this man think about himself?  In his own words he said, “I get up and boy I can’t wait to paint (his favorite  past time) and study music and keep learning.   I just love it.”  He goes on to say in another statement, “I love entertaining people. I strive to make them feel good.”

Well, he made Mr. Sinatra feel  good enough that mid-way in Tony’s career,  Sinatra identified Mr. Bennett as his favorite vocalist.  He is in my Top 5 all time vocalists.  Think about it.  Here is an entertainer, who in his 91st year, can stand before an audience and deliver a musical lyric with phrasing, breath control and the engaging energy of love that in one word is …extraordinary.   He knows what it means to bring artistic beauty and elegance to every ballad he sings…even when its I Left My Heart in San Francisco…which he just has to sing at every performance.  His audience won’t let him off the stage!

I salute this great American vocalist.   He embodies inspiration with his life calling…making music.  He has said, “I never want to retire.”   I hope he doesn’t.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Bennett.


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WHO? WHAT? IS TROUBLING YOU?   Did today’s blog title lead you to think I was going to ponder something super serious with you?   Well, I won’t go so far as to exclaim, “Gotcha!”  But, I can say, I wanted to tease you a bit with my title hoping I might turn the issue of trouble into an enticing self-exploration of mindfulness training.

To do so, I invite and encourage you to put a tiny smile on your face as you read an intentionally humorous quote by America’s most famous 19th century christian evangelical, Dwight L. Moody.  Born in 1837, by mid century, Moody became known far and wide as a major voice of Christian vision, mission and wit.  He was well known on the fruited plains as well as in the cities and small towns that shaped America’s expansion.

Moody made the following tongue-in-cheek comment about trouble:  “I have had more trouble with myself than any other man (person) I know.”  Now, his words may not have produced a LOL chuckle,  but if you allowed them to be about you, there is a possibility you can put a thoughtful smile on your face.   Moody’s statement is like jumping into a cold mountain pool.   It grabs your attention.  It evokes a feeling.   It says Wow! That’s true!

Moody’s brief stream of words says much, precisely, about where we can choose to go 1st when confronted with the constant currents of inconsequential, yet attention-getting, nuisances that show up daily.

Who? What? is the nuisance, the irritation, the problem?   Oh,  trouble carries a 1000 masks but behind each one is the important hidden face…you! me! us!    We get ourselves into a pickle time and time again as we try to find a way to point the finger of trouble somewhere at something…someone…some situation.

Are we, Americans, finding it increasingly difficult to laugh at our self-serving antics of pointing a finger of trouble at  everyone…everywhere? Sometimes, in a stream of mindfulness awareness, I’ll watch someone doing something that momentarily irritates me.  I will notice a well-worn tape… a silent conversation with myself… that goes like this:

He / she is bothering me.  Why would he / she do that?   Doesn’t he / she know that’s not right?  Stop it.

This self-absorbed conversation goes to the heart of Moody’s witty wisdom.    The question we can ask in moments that pop up daily is simple, straight forward self inquiry… framed with a wee-bit of self-effacing humor in our heart.  We gently ask our self:  Where IS the trouble? Who IS causing the trouble? Why,  I do wonder, am I the trouble?

It’s the weekend.  You may find a fruitful moment with our 19th century voice of wisdom, Mr. Moody.  If you do, remember that this guy, Russell Williams, shared this message because he knows it’s a good one for him to enjoy and encounter along with you, my  Inspiration Impulse Reader.

I’ll be back with you on Monday. Enjoy your lazy, crazy days of summer.


Image Declation of Independence

OUR DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE: Did You Know?   It is, arguably, the most distinguished historical document of any nation in humanity’s movement toward civil governance.

On this 241st celebration of our nation’s grand Experiment with Democracy, I thought I’d arm you with a few  facts about the document that you just might find a way to dazzle your friends with as you sit around drinking a beer, eating a hotdog, and shooting the breeze!

These  facts appeared in a variety of online sources including Constitution Daily, a publication of the National Constitution Center, CNN, Military. us   Hope you find one or two you will  pass along to bring a bit of our grand history to our 2017 celebration.

1. The Declaration of Independence was not signed on July 4.
Although July 4 is the day the United States celebrates independence, that was not the day the document was signed. The Continental Congress did adopt the Declaration on that day, but most delegates did not sign the document until August 2, 1776.  Also, July 4 was not the day the founders expected to be remembered as Independence Day.   July 2, the day the Continental Congress voted for independence, was thought to be the day of celebration, which was even noted by John Adams in his writings.
2. There is more than one copy.
Even though most people who see the document see the original on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., hundreds more were printed. These copies are known as the “Dunlop broadsides”, after the owner of the shop that printed them, John Dunlop. The copies were dispatched to the colonies to be read aloud for people who could not read. Of the hundreds printed, only 26 are known to have survived, including two which were found in the last 26 years.
3. Eight of the 56 signers of the Declaration were born in Britain.  The Brits were Gwinnett Button and Robert Morris.   Francis Lewis was born in Wales.  James Wilson and John Witherspoon were born in Scotland. George Taylor and Matthew Thornton were for in Ireland and James Smith hailed form Northern Ireland.
4. The  Declaration started a riot in News York.  When a Dunlop broadside (a 1776 printed copy of the document)  was read by George Washington in New York City on July 9, 1776, the words so inspired the people listening that they started a riot.
5. There was a 44 year age difference between the youngest and oldest signers.  Benjamin Franklin was the oldest at 70 years of age.   John Rutledge, a South Carolina lawyer was the youngest at 26.
6. Two of the most famous signers, Jefferson and Adams, died on the same day — July 4, 1826,
Adams assisted Jefferson in writing the declaration and also played a part in persuading the Congress to declare independence.
7. Two additional copies of the document have been found in the last 27 years.  In 1989, a Philadelphia man found one hidden in the back of a picture frame he bought at a flea market for $4.  It was in excellent condition and was sold for $ 8.1million in 2000.  Another one emerged at the British National Archives in 2009, hidden for centuries in a box of papers captured from American colonists during the Revolutionary War.
8.  The Declaration of Independence spent World War II in Fort Knox.  On December 23, 1941, two week after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the signed document and the Constitution were removed from public display. The documents were packed in specially designed containers, latched with padlocks, sealed with lead and placed in a larger box.  On December 26-27 the documents traveled by train to Louisville KY, where they were escorted by a cavalry troop of the 13th Armored Division to Fort Knox.
A final note:   Next week, my wife and I will be on vacation  with our entire family in Northern, CA,  at Strawberry, a bend in road on Hwy. 108 above Sonora,  just 2 miles from Pinecrest Lake.   We’ve been going  there since 1981 when our kids were youngsters.  This year’s Strawberry edition will have our four, their spouses and seven grandchildren… all  having fun together!
 I will not be posting the Inspiration Impulse next week.  I’ll be back with you on July 10th.

PARENTING QUESTION: When Do My Kids Become Adults?

Jeff Snow

PARENTING QUESTION: When Do My Kids Become Adults?  I had breakfast with Jeff Snow yesterday.  Jeff is a long-standing OC Influencer for Good whose professional life is with Republic Services, one of OC’s waste disposal companies.  Additionally, Jeff sits as a volunteer on seventeen Boards and is an Adjunct Professor in business ethics at a private OC christian university.

So, let me tell you about the focus of our conversation…totally unexpected and most invigorating!  We talked about parenting.   Jeff and his wife are raising two children, a daughter who just graduated  from high school and a son who is in high school.   Jeff said something  fascinating to me when he stated, (paraphrasing) “I want my parenting responsibilities to go on for as long as they can. I’d love to have my active, direct parental influence to accompany their life all the way until they are 30!

That was a “Wow.”   We hear how the Millennials never leave home and never grow up.    Jeff sees it differently. The parenting game with Millennials requires more active time and attention.  “Bring it on.”  Jeff’s  clarity was apparent.  I asked him why he thought as he did.   He had a crisp response.  Again, let me capture the flow of Jeff’s thinking…not his actual words:

My kids are likely going to live to be well over 100.  This generation will totally transform the paradigm of life expectancy.  This younger generation is looking at life and work totally differently than we have.

The Millennial generation will work well into their 80’s and 90’s, not out of necessity but out of the health, vitality, productivity and lifestyle that will be different from our generation.   Anticipating their longer life, my children will  experience their professional years differently.  Changing cultural circumstances are in play.  We, parents, need not define our children’s entry into the adult world in the same way our generation and our parent’s generation did.  

The learning, discovering and maturation for what might be called professional life work is going to start later and last much longer.  As a parent, I see it my opportunity and desire to nurture my kids’ movement into adulthood with a distinctly different paradigm not defined by the one that guided me.

My narrative:   Jeff’s thoughtful exploration of what is happening in our culture with the development of children into adulthood is far more insightful and purposeful than the ongoing national lament we hear about Millennials that basically asks these question:  Why aren’t our kids doing what we did?  What’s the problem? Why aren’t they making things happen like we did at 25-30?

Jeff sparked my imagination because he sees the content of his parenting in the context of radically changing life expectancy.  The actuarial reality of ‘up and coming’ adulthood offers a new, unknown curve of learning, preparing, exploring, and discovering.  It’s different.   Jeff sees his parenting responsibilities and interests as vitally important to help his kids prepare for an adult world neither he nor they fully understands…but he knows he is 100% committed to be a force of influence for good in the changing cultural milieu of his kids becoming competent, caring, capable adults.

Jeff’s viewpoint: Welcome the extended years of practicing effective parenting at the side of young adult children.  Be their partner and join them on their road.  Don’t pursue an agenda that says, “Do it my way.”

Jeff was refreshing.  He knows his kids will live in a world that will be quite different than the one he understands.  He knows his Parenting Why:   Encourage. Guide. Accompany.

What say you, Inspiration Impulse Reader?  Would love to receive some input.


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HOW’S YOUR UBER RIDER RATING?     This Post is a bit of Friday Fun, on my part, with my Inspiration Impulse audience.  So, let me do just that with you while I possibly educate you about the world of UBER and its application to this Game called Life.

Did you know that UBER Driver’s rate their Riders?  Yes, it’s true! Only recently, Only in the last two months, have it had the opportunity to use UBER including this week as my wife and I used the transportation service for a ride to LAX to visit our daughter and family in Monterey.

Last evening as we were talking after dinner,  my daughter, Leah,  blurted out, “Do you know your UBER Rider Rating?  I said, ” What are you talking about?”   She replied.  “Yes, when you take a ride, the UBER Driver rates the quality of his/her passenger.  You can go into your UBER account to see how you have been rated by your Drivers.  Basically, in the simplest way to describe it,  if you are have a 5 rating, you are a top caliber rider; 4 rating is decent;  3 is sub-par.  UBER even provides a bit of on-line criteria!  Crazy, huh… but maybe not!

Immediately, I asked my daughter, “Is a rating based  on tipping?”   I simply guessed that tipping was the criteria for a good rating.  I had been told that the tip is included in the Fare.  “Oh no, a tip is not necessarily the reason for a GOOD rating,” my daughter replied.  Then she said, “Why don’t you go into your UBER account and find out your Rider Rating.”

So, I did.   Guess what? I have a 5.0 Rider Rating!   Yes, yours truly, Mr. Inspiration Impulse…  a Top Cabin Preferred UBER Rider.   I have never tipped once in the 8-10 times I have used the service.  So, if money is not the issue, what makes for a 5.0 Rider in a Driver’s mind?

That question is the reason for writing this Post.   Basically, I know that I have made an effort to take up conversation with a Driver when I ride.  I have learned a bit about the Driver’s  world; I have shown interest in their challenges.  I  purposefully  have found something fascinating or interesting to talk about with the Driver.

This week, as my Driver and I depart at the end of a ride, I again made it a point to express my appreciation for the Driver”s service.    That, my friends, is a 5.0 Rider!   At least I think it is.   Why?   People love to be appreciated, sought out for information, asked questions about their life and challenges.  When pursued sincerely, such  interactions are the fuel of offering perceived value and respect between individuals.

Now, does that mean that an extra tip is not appreciated?   Of course, money is always welcomed, don’t you agree?  But, 5.0 UBER Riders, I am surmising, don’t reach the mountaintop with money.  No, 5.0 Uber Riders reach those Lofty Heights….ha ha ha…with sincerity, kindness, respect, and regard for the worth and dignity of a Driver who feels a sense of value in their work that is not simply a monetary exchange.

What say you?  I’d like to think that this UBER tale has far more to say about human interaction than  aimless car conversation.  Do you think so?  Don’t we all want to know we are valued?  Can we all find ways to present ourselves to others with an open hand of Sacred Regard for the another?

It was fun sharing this with you. Have a great weekend.



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COMMENCEMENT: CROSSING THE THRESHOLD    It’s that time of year for Rite of Passage Celebrations.   Are you or have you…my Inspiration Impulse Reader…attended a high school or college graduation ceremony  celebrating the movement from the harbor of childhood and youth into the open seas of life’ s expansive journey?

I won’t be a proud parent or grandparent this year at such an event.  I am just a few years away from a string of Grandchildren who will leap over that first hurdle called High School Graduation.  As for my kids, that leap and the college leap is now long past as they are in their 30’s and 40’s.

So what’s it all about…this Rite of Passage?  Well, it has a common thread.    Let’s just call it…a moment to pause,  reflect, understand, consider…what’s the game we are pursuing as we move through the important gateways of childhood and young adult life?

I thought I would share some Snapshots of these commencement moments.   Below is a handful  of quotes from famous folks who were asked to pontificate as a Commencement Speaker on college campuses just a year ago with 2016 graduates.    These quotes were captured in an education article that appeared in  Business Insider.  As you read them, enter back into your story of commencement…see what you think and feel.

Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court Justice, “The uh-oh moments are worth cherishing as much as the a-ha moments.”

Jim Gaffigan, Comedian,   “Love what you do, love who you are and love those around you.”

Russell Wilson, NFL Football Player:  “The moments that really matter are the moments when life tells you ‘no‘ ”

Oprah Winfrey, Author, Actress, Media Mogul, Philanthropist, “Every stumble is not a fall and every fall does not mean failure.”

Steven Spielberg, Filmmaker, “Your job is to create a world that lasts forever.  You are the future innovators, motivators, leaders and caretakers.”

James Franco, Actor, “Life is better when it is in the company of others.”

Peter Thiel, Venture Capitalist, ” If we choose to believe that we are powerless to do anything that is not familiar, we will certainly be right.”

J.K. Rowling, Author Extraordinaire, ” We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”

Well, are you pondering any common ground in this cluster of quotes?    Here’s an Inspiration Impulse  thought that may put a bow around this commentary on commencement.

Live a life boldly looking forward with others…even, in those times, when you are on your knees with your hand reaching up.

Enjoy your weekend.

CENTER STAGE: Jefferson-Madison-Monroe

3-2 Brk Prg #10

CENTER STAGE: Jefferson-Madison-Monroe      Move over Hamilton…just for a moment.  It is great that Mr. Hamilton is now getting his Just Due as a young generation of Americans, as well as a few oldsters, are receiving a dynamic American history lesson on Broadway that is forwarding the story of the grand American Experiment.

But, Professor Williams has the mic for this Inspiration Impulse Post to proclaim a simple tale to a class of Inspiration Impulse Readers about visiting the homes of three of America’s Founding Fathers… all close buddies in and out of national leadership.

I came away from the encounters of these three at their homes in the Virginia countryside with a renewed understanding of their unique roles.

So, let’s touch on Jefferson: America’s Visionary; Madison: America’s Implementor and Monroe: America’s Protector.

At Jefferson’s home, Monticello, I understood more deeply why he was asked to draft the Declaration of Independence, which in sweeping inspiring language, casts a vision that would forever shape the destiny of humanity.

The pursuit of life, liberty happiness was the birthright of all, not a luxury of the privileged.  The grand language of the Declaration of Independence was not simply a statement of inalienable freedom proclaimed for colonist, it was the sounding note of humanity’s innate urging.  Jefferson’s mind put words to pen nudging forward our Higher Calling. The visionary’s role is always to proclaim: THIS is where we are going…walk into your future.  Jefferson was America’s Founding Father who cast the vision for the birthing of a nation and sounding the inalienable right that would move history from that time to the present and into the future.

At Madison’s home, Montpelier, I learned more deeply about the man who was driven to understand ‘The How’ of life,liberty and the Pursuit of happiness. Madison was the Implementor, the pragmitist who studied and studied the story of the history of governance to attempt to create  a structure of government for a new nation that would be based upon a revolutionary idea…division of power among elected individuals with the goal of creating a structure that would purposefully limit the exercise of power.

It was Madison’s brilliant mind that defined the framework of a three-legged stool of shared and limited control: Legislative, Executive and Judicial.  At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, it was Madison’ thinking that led the adoption of a Constitutional government and it was his political savvy to meet with George Washington and request that he chair the convention to insure attendance by all of the state delegations.

At the Highlands, the home of James Monroe, we meet the Protector. Monroe crossed the Delaware to fight alongside Washington where he was injured at the Battle of Trent.  Monroe was the student and mentee of Jefferson.  It was Monroe who was Secretary of State to Jefferson.  Monroe was sent by Jefferson to France to negotiate the purchase of New Orleans and came back with a deal that was unbelievable both then and now…$15,000,000 to make The Louisiana Purchase.

Monroe brokered that deal to protect the Fledling country. Monroe got the financing to make the deal.  Monroe made sure the nation  paid its debt to France and other European nations that financed  the purchase.

It would be years later when  Monroe was President that he would send his State of the Union message to be read to Congress which included three paragraphs that would become known as the Monroe Doctrine.   In street language those three paragraphs sounded the note of a nation that would  protect itself and its allies and friend against threats to its national interest.  The Monroe Doctrine would weigh heavily on a young President, John Kennedy,  almost 150 years later in the Cuban Missle Crisis at the opening year of his presidency. I remember that treacherous time as a highschooler in 9th grade.

Three Presidents, three homes, three distinct stories of leadership. They came our way to help a young nation navigate into a beacon of worldwide influence for good.

Happy weekend, my Inspiration Impulse Readers. It’s on to Washington DC.   Class dismissed!