Sunday, June 16, 2024


I woke up this morning in Madison, Connecticut (my oldest son's house) at exactly 5:40 AM. 

540. That was my Dad's number. 

He played that number '540' every day. For those of you who don't know, 'back in the day' playing the numbers here in North New Jersey was gambling. Not legal. Oh well, that's really not the point. The point is, that every day, like EVERY DAY my Dad would bet on 540. 

And it was not just $1 but like, a significant amount of money. Every day. I am thinking it was probably like $500 a week, on 540. I would have to ask my older sister if she knows how much, but was not a small amount of money. [ She thinks is was $40 a day, and $100 on payday ]. Back in the day, we were not rich - but Dad made really good money. Let's just say that we never wanted for anything, ever. 

I remember one day, maybe 1969 or so, the phone in the kitchen rang. I heard Mom answer and then give the phone to Dad. He screamed out "It hit!"  540 - his number - was the number for the day.

Because Dad was betting (way more) than $1 every (EVERY) day..... his jackpot for that day was.....let's just say it was big. Big Big. 

And, I remember my Mom telling Dad, "OK, Tony..... you just won back all of your money. And then some. Now please stop. No more gambling. 

And he did. That was it. That was the last time that he bet on 540. 

And then, around a week later.............. the kitchen phone rang again.

This time, Dad answered the phone himself. And I was in the kitchen, alone with Dad. And I saw his face. 540 hit again. His number, 540 was the winning number. 

I could hear the voice on the other side, I could hear the screams and the laughing. "You lucky son of a *, you hit again, you won again!" 

When Dad hung up, he realized that I overheard, and that I knew that his number, 540 was once again the winning number. And that is when he told me....

"Tommy, we did not win any money. I promised your Mother that we were done playing the numbers. So, I stopped. We did not win anything today. Now, you need to promise me that you will not say anything, not to anyone. Especially to your Mother." 

Dad knew that Mom would feel terrible. That she was the one that made him quit 'playing the numbers'. And that because he did not want to her to feel bad, she could never know that 540 came out again - without him. 

When I woke up this morning in Madison, Connecticut - for a second I did not know where I was. Ah, we're at Tommy's house. And I looked at my Fitbit watch, and it was exactly 5:40. 540 on Father's Day in my son's spare bedroom at his home. 

Wow, 5:40. That's Dad's number. I found myself instantly saying "Good Morning, Dad. Happy Father's Day." 

Dad was a good man. He had his vices, as we all do. He never did anything small, even when playing the numbers. Now that I am older I think about how much money he put down on 540 every (every) day..... and what that money would have done in the S&P 500. Imagine investing (I'm guessing $20 to $50) every day in the market in the 60s. And letting it compound. I think that 'playing the numbers' to him back in the 60s was his version of investing for the future - investing for his family. 

Today, in 2024, you can gamble online. You can be in a virtual casino in your smartphone. I am not sure if 'playing the numbers' is still a big thing but I think it is. Since when you win that way - you don't need to report it. It's a big secret. When you win in a casino, the IRS is your partner. When you win playing 'the numbers' no one knows anything about anything. 

So, on this Father's Day 2024 I am thinking about Dad, and his playing the numbers - and his quitting playing the numbers. And how we had that little secret how he won - a second time. 

And how now, at 63 years old, I can remember how strong Dad was to never say a word about 540 coming out a 2nd time in a week..... because he did not want Mom to feel bad. 

Oh, one more thing. I bought clams for the family yesterday. [ We were arguing about buying between 5 and 4 dozen clams. ] We're having an amazing Father's Day in Connecticut. My first Father's Day as a Grandpa. I just happened to look at the receipt from the Seafood store for the clams: $54.00 

Sunday, June 9, 2024

The New York Megalopolis

The New York Megalopolis, also known as the Northeast megalopolis or BosWash corridor, is a heavily urbanized region of the northeastern United States. It stretches from the northern suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts, to the southern suburbs of Washington, D.C. This region is notable for its high population density, economic significance, and cultural influence.

Key Characteristics of the New York Megalopolis:

Geographic Scope:  The megalopolis encompasses major cities including Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., along with their surrounding metropolitan areas.

Population:  It is one of the most densely populated regions in the United States, home to over 55 million people, accounting for a significant portion of the U.S. population.

Economic Importance:  The region is a major economic powerhouse, featuring some of the world’s leading financial markets, corporate headquarters, research institutions, and cultural centers. New York City, in particular, is a global financial hub.

Transportation Network:  The megalopolis is well-connected by an extensive transportation network, including major highways like Interstate 95, a dense rail network (notably Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor), and several major airports (e.g., JFK, LaGuardia, Newark, Logan, and Dulles).

Cultural and Educational Institutions:  The region hosts numerous prestigious universities (e.g., Harvard, MIT, Columbia, Princeton) and cultural landmarks (e.g., the Smithsonian museums, Broadway, the Metropolitan Museum of Art).

The concept of a 'megalopolis' was popularized by geographer Jean Gottmann in the 1960s, who identified this interconnected urban region as a distinct geographic and socio-economic entity. The New York Megalopolis continues to be a vital area in terms of both national and international importance.

When I took over running the (New York Distance Learning Association) it was in the heart of the New York Megalopolis. And, it was bankrupt. As a Non-Profit, it lived on donations from corporations. And during the last recession, donations dried up. No money, sorry. 

My old company, would attend the DLA events, because we sold audio conferencing, web conferencing, cameras, etc. - we (me) sold all the stuff that made Distance Learning possible. So, as a good salesman should I would attend all of the DLA meetings and events (target rich environment). When NYDLA went bankrupt, I was the only one to raise my hand to take over running the dying community. What did I have to lose...right? 

AND THEN along came RUTGERS, who sponsored us (i.e. they gave us money) and same RUTGERS - The State University of New Jersey who brought with them their 500K+ Living Alumni. So, almost over night I went from saying "I can't pay the website hosting invoice!" to "I think we're going to be OK!" I was in the right place at the right time, eh? 

Other than Zoom, I don't think that any entity could have grown bigger and faster during a pandemic than THE DISTANCE LEARNING ASSOCIATION

Ah, but during COVID many were saying that New York was - dead. Many in the media were saying that New York City was never coming back. It was during this 'pandemic panic' time that became servicing all of NORTH AMERICA. I was running away from the dying New York Brand...... ah, or was I? 

The North American Distance Learning Association HQ was going to remain in NYC. The Big Apple. The Center of the Known Universe, right? There would be no New York Megalopolis if there is no Metropolis

Today, the Distance Learning Association (DLA) is GLOBAL. And we are - our #1 sponsor. Yes, we love many others - we love all of the other telecom and technology providers. We work deeply with GoTo and Microsoft and Webex and the rest. And Logitech and Lenovo and HP/Poly and....and...and... 

But just as how Zoom became a verb during COVID, the 'DLA' also became a brand

And the NEW YORK BRAND is powerful. The New York brand is GLOBAL

"Hey guys, I see people reading the New York Times in LA. But I never see anyone reading the LA Times in New York." It's NEW YORK! The Big Apple! Wall Street, Times Square, Broadway! NEW YORK NEW YORK - the city so nice they named it twice! 

The 55M+ living, learning, working, playing, teaching, training, coaching, mentoring in the New York Megalopolis. 

Zoom just opened an AMAZING Experience Center in London. I'll post some pics of the launch event on the page later this week. 

THIS MONTH we have over 100K+ DLA members attending NYDLA SPONSORED EVENTS - LIVE - around the world. InfoComm in Las Vegas. COLLISION in Toronto. Propelify in Hoboken, New Jersey (across the river from NYC). And there is ALWAYS something interesting going on at Javits Center in New York City - like every single day. 

Want some inside baseball? My strategy for years has been to sponsor all events at the sponsorship level necessary to access the entire attendee list of the LIVE events, and then follow up, FOLLOW up, FOLLOW UP via tools like Dotdigital. This is one of the reasons why the (now global) DLA shall be at 10M+ members by 2025. To make money from 'events' it's not about ROI or ROAS, it's all about ROR: Return on RELATIONSHIPS. 

I admit, there is nothing better than a live event. The energy, the people, the food. So, 100K+ will attend events LIVE this month alone (June). Ah but 10X that number will attend all or part of these events virtually, because all Distance Learning Association sponsored events..... are hybrid events.... they are all....

The new Zoom Experience Center: London

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Howdy, Partner!

"Howdy, partner!" is an informal greeting often associated with the American West, particularly the cowboy culture.

"Howdy" is a colloquial contraction of "How do you do?" and means "Hello."

"Partner" is a friendly term that can mean "friend" or "companion."

Together, "Howdy, partner!" is a warm and friendly way to say hello, often evoking a sense of camaraderie and the spirit of the Old West.

A partner is someone who shares or is associated with another person in some type of relationship or activity. The term can apply in various contexts:

Business Partner: An individual or entity that shares ownership and responsibilities in a business venture.

Romantic Partner: A person with whom one shares a romantic relationship, such as a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, or significant other.

Dance Partner: Someone with whom one performs a dance routine.

Sports Partner: A teammate in a sport, often used in activities like doubles tennis.

Crime Partner: Someone who collaborates in committing a crime, often referred to as a partner in crime.

General Usage: A companion or associate in any activity or endeavor.

In the context of "Howdy, partner!" the term "partner" is used in a friendly and informal way, often implying camaraderie and equal footing. Let's focus on that one today.

THIS MONTH (June) we expect 44K+ to attend InfoComm in Las Vegas. We also expect 40K+ to attend COLLISION in Toronto. In a few days here in NYC, we expect 6,013 to attend a Verizon 5G event at Radio City Music Hall. Verizon spent the necessary money to rent RCMH on June 5th. As a Verizon 'partner' we were asked to help promote their event. Hence the Verizon 5G Event placement on page 1 / slide 1 on 

Gotta be a good partner, right? 

A Partner Program in business is a strategic initiative where a company collaborates with other businesses, individuals, or organizations to expand its reach, enhance its offerings, and create mutual benefits. Here are some types of partner programs:

Affiliate Program: Partners promote a company's products or services and earn a commission for sales generated through their referrals.

Reseller Program: Partners purchase products or services from a company at a discount and resell them to end customers, often adding value through additional services or support.

Referral Program: Partners refer potential customers to a company and receive a reward or commission for successful conversions.

Technology Partner Program:Partners integrate their technology or services with the company's offerings to create a combined solution that enhances value for customers.

Strategic Alliance: Long-term partnerships where companies collaborate on specific projects or initiatives, sharing resources, expertise, and risks.

I have a cool little 'Partner' story..... ready?

A few years ago, Verizon approached the DLA (Distance Learning Association) to offer the BlueJeans by Verizon video conferencing service to our entire community. We said yes. Duh. 

We became a partner - then Verizon made us a Tier 1 Partner - then we became a Tier 1 ELITE Partner. Until we were not...

On August 31, 2023 we were notified that Verizon decided to retire the BlueJeans by Verizon services. What made this a little crazy, is the fact that just a few weeks earlier, we launched a massive marketing campaign to contact all 174K+ DLA Schools in North America - offering (all of them) BlueJeans by Verizon. 

That's One Hundred and Seventy Four Thousand zero spam, 100% opt-in emails to the decision makers of Schools, across North America. Ooops. Ah, did I say BlueJeans? Ah, we meant Zoom! We want you all to!!! 

Partner Programs are crucial for businesses seeking to grow their market presence, enhance their product or service offerings, and build strong, collaborative relationships with other entities. I have spent my entire career in 'Partner Programs' operating as a partner, an agent, a Master Agent, a reseller, a VAR, a private label reseller - you name it. Before I took over running the I ran 

Companies like Verizon (or Zoom, or Microsoft, or Amazon, or Cisco, or...) know the value of Partner Programs. Ah, but let's face it - they really don't want PARTNERS - they want CUSTOMERS. But they (the big companies) have figured out that people do business with PEOPLE. People do business with people that they like, and with people that they trust

When Verizon first approached us, asking us to sell BlueJeans to 'the world' they said to me during our first strategy meeting: "Well, Tom, your brand is better than our brand...."

And, I almost fell out of my chair..... 

"For BlueJeans, Tom. Specifically for BlueJeans by Verizon - you - the Distance Learning Association - your 'brand' is better than the Verizon brand, for marketing purposes." 

You know something? They were right. Verizon was right about branding. That was a major epiphany for me. It's not about ROI, or even ROAS (Return on Advertising Spend). It's all about ROR: Return on RELATIONSHIPS. You know, partnerships

AND SO.....THIS month.... 44K+ will attend InfoComm. 40K+ will attend COLLISION in Toronto. 6K+ will attend Propelify on the Hudson River in Hoboken, NJ. And there will be a smattering of events in NYC, all in the month of June. 100K+ people attending LIVE events in total, to be conservative. 

And, the NYDLA ( now NADLA - all of North America ) will be attending (checks notes...) all of them to say... to all 100K+ of them.....

"Howdy, Partner!" 

Tip of the Hat to my friend and DLA member Marty Neumeier..... the "Wizard of Brands" 

Also This: Similar to BlueJeans, WorkPlace by Meta has retired 
and so - we are now telling THE WORLD 

Sunday, May 26, 2024

No Revenue, No Business

   If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

"No business has ever succeeded without sales," Mark Cuban says. (Maybe that's why Cuban says sales skills are what made him wealthy.) "Period. End of story."

I don't know if there is a season for it, but June certainly feels like Trade Show / Industry Event / Rooftop Bar Mixer Month. Next month for the community alone, our members will be attending some (or all) of the following:

44K+ expected to attend InfoComm in Las Vegas

40K+ expected to attend COLLISION in Toronto

4K+ expected to attend Propelify in Hoboken, NJ (across the river from NYC)

6K+ expected to attend a Verizon 5G event at Radio City Music Hall

And there will be a smattering of events in NYC with amazing rooftop bars or waterfront mixers in June (and July, and August). I was telling a friend that I feel so spoiled living 30 miles West of NYC - the BIG APPLE - the Center of the Known Universe. Every day ( there is SOMETHING going on in NYC. Specifically at Javits Convention Center. I could attend an AMAZING networking event every single day - but that feels piggy. So, maybe I'll just send someone to attend (all?) of the events at Javits Center on my behalf... (after they first for Conference of course). Sounds like a great gig for paid summer interns (June > August) right? 

People attend trade shows and industry events for a variety of reasons, which can be broadly categorized into business development, networking, market research, and education. Here are some of the key motivations for attending trade shows - feel free to read this section fast because it is mostly BS:

Business Development:

   - Lead Generation: Companies exhibit at trade shows to attract potential customers and generate leads for future sales.

   - Sales Opportunities: Direct sales can occur at the event, providing immediate business opportunities.

   - Partnerships and Collaboration: Attendees often seek potential business partners, distributors, or suppliers to expand their market reach.


   - Industry Connections: Trade shows provide a platform for meeting industry peers, which can lead to valuable business relationships.

   - Customer Engagement: Companies can interact with existing customers, strengthening relationships and gaining feedback.

Market Research:

   - Competitor Analysis: Observing competitors' offerings and strategies helps companies stay informed about market trends and innovations.

   - Industry Trends: Attendees can gain insights into the latest trends, technologies, and developments within their industry.

Branding and Visibility:

   - Brand Exposure: Exhibiting at a trade show enhances a company's visibility and brand recognition within the industry.

   - Product Launches: Companies often use trade shows as a platform to launch new products or services to a targeted audience.

Education and Training:

   - Workshops and Seminars: Trade shows frequently offer educational sessions, workshops, and seminars on various topics relevant to the industry.

   - Learning Opportunities: Attendees can learn about new technologies, methodologies, and best practices from industry experts.

Experience and Demonstrations:

   - Product Demonstrations: Trade shows allow companies to showcase their products and services in a hands-on environment, giving potential customers a chance to experience them firsthand.

   - Live Demonstrations: Demonstrations can help convey the benefits and functionalities of products more effectively than brochures or online descriptions.

Industry Advocacy and Development:

   - Industry Development: Trade shows often serve as a platform for discussing and addressing industry-wide issues and advancements.

   - Policy Influence: Attendees can engage with industry associations and policymakers to influence industry regulations and standards.

In summary, trade shows are multifaceted events that offer significant opportunities for business growth, networking, learning, and market insights, making them valuable for companies and professionals across various industries. OK, the BS portion of today's Sunday Blog is now over. Let's go back to our regular programming...

It's about the money. MONEY!!! Leads. I NEED GOOD LEADS!!! I take you back to the top of this blog: no revenue, no business ala Mark Cuban. Leads > Sales > REVENUE

I know that I am probably dating myself here, but do you remember Glengarry Glen Ross? (1992). I cannot believe that anyone would (ever) go into a career in sales after watching that movie. 

OK, here is the good news. It's 2024, not 1992. The Internet and AMAZING marketing technology has helped to level the sales and marketing playing field in the last 30 years. I am sure that there are many people who attend trade shows and industry events for reasons OTHER than Business Development. Other than to generate leads. Other than to generate REVENUE.

And that feels good and noble and wholesome. 

But if your business has a CFO ( or a selling CEO... ) and they approved the budget for you to attend a trade show - or approved the budget for you to have A BOOTH at a trade show - I can guarantee you that they are thinking about....... leads.

The good leads. They want the good leads.  

What a concept, right? People doing business with...people. Vetted, engaged, interested, curious... people. "I am so glad we met!" is what we all want to hear, right? Is that not why you attended the event (any event...) in the first place?  

"I am so glad we met." ROR. From both sides. That's the money shot for any trade show or event. 

ROI? ROAS? No. ROR = Return On Relationship.  And, of course: ABC




CLIP DESCRIPTION: John Williamson (Kevin Spacey) refuses to give Shelley Levene (Jack Lemmon) better leads.

^^^^ Let's connect ^^^^

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Gotta get a good education!

   If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

Gotta get a good education! 

"The Big Bang Theory" is a popular American sitcom that aired from 2007 to 2019. The show primarily revolves around a group of friends who are scientists and their interactions with each other, blending humor with scientific and nerd culture references. "Young Sheldon" is a prequel to "The Big Bang Theory," focusing on the childhood of Sheldon Cooper, one of the main characters from the original series. It provides a deeper look into the early life of the brilliant but socially awkward Sheldon, set in the late 1980s and early 1990s in East Texas. 

Recurring Themes of Young Sheldon:

Family Dynamics: The show delves into the Cooper family interactions, highlighting the challenges and joys of raising a child genius alongside his siblings.

Education and Growth: Sheldon’s experiences in high school, his relationships with teachers and peers, and his academic achievements are central to the plot.

Social Challenges: The series often portrays Sheldon’s struggles with social norms, making friends, and understanding the behaviors of those around him.

Humor and Heart: While focusing on Sheldon’s unique perspective, the show balances humor with heartfelt moments, particularly in the context of family relationships.

Recurring Themes of TBBT:

Science and Nerd Culture: The show frequently references scientific theories, experiments, comic books, video games, and science fiction, making it popular among viewers with similar interests.

Friendship and Relationships: The dynamics among the main characters highlight the importance of friendship, personal growth, and romantic relationships.

Humor and Social Situations: Much of the comedy arises from the characters’ awkwardness in social situations, particularly Sheldon’s inability to understand social norms and Leonard’s efforts to maintain a normal relationship with Penny.

I understand that someone reading this Sunday Blog might not have seen either show. At all. I am hearing Sheldon Cooper's voice in my head right now, telling the statistical chances of that, in different regions of the world. But here is something that I thought of after watching the final episodes of Young Sheldon:

It was all about education. 

Did you pick up on how in TBBT everyone in the main cast was brilliant - less Penny? And, in Young Sheldon everyone was (not) brilliant - less Sheldon? 

Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons): A theoretical physicist with an IQ of 187, Sheldon is highly intelligent but socially inept, with obsessive-compulsive tendencies and difficulty understanding social norms. His relationship with Amy Farrah Fowler, a neurobiologist, grows from a friendship into a romantic partnership, culminating in their marriage. Oh, and together they win the Nobel Prize. 

Sheldon Cooper (Iain Armitage): A highly intelligent and precocious child with a love for science and a lack of social skills. Sheldon’s journey involves navigating high school, dealing with bullies, making friends, and maintaining his unique perspective on life.

In both TBBT and Young Sheldon, the true "main" theme that linked the two shows together was - education. How a 9-year-old Young Sheldon who tested with an IQ of not just genius but SUPER genius - lived in the part of the country (East Texas) that could not properly support his educational needs. 

Truly everything about both TBBT and Young Sheldon revolved around how it would be such a tragedy to keep Sheldon from achieving his full potential. How from age 9 to 14 the journey of everyone in the family, and the local Texas community had a mission to get Sheldon to MIT. Or maybe Caltech? 

Everyone in the cast of both TBBT and Young Sheldon - even the other geniuses knew that Super Genius Sheldon with IQ of 187 simply MUST get a good education. The best education. 

And so, this revelation hits me maybe a little different than most. I run the DLA (Distance Learning Association) where at our core - we are all about delivering education to parts of the world that would normally miss out. We are all about delivering knowledge, technology and talent to every time zone in the world.

TBBT aired from 2007 to 2019. The sitcom ended before COVID-19 changed our world. The show ended before "Zoom" became a verb. I wonder how either show would have dealt with a 14 year old Super Genius being forced to take online classes at Caltech - from home - from East Texas. 

And with that, I can hear in my head Sheldon's Meemaw saying with love...

"Shelly, you gotta get a good education...."

True. And don't we all. Deserve a good education. The best education possible. No matter where we live. 

Sunday, May 12, 2024

What is Mother's Day?

Me: Hey ChatGPT - What is Mother's Day?

Mother's Day is a holiday celebrated in many countries around the world, typically observed on the second Sunday of May. It's a day dedicated to honoring and appreciating mothers, mother figures, and maternal bonds. People often express their gratitude and love for their mothers by giving them cards, flowers, gifts, or spending quality time together. It's a wonderful opportunity to show appreciation for all the love, care, and sacrifices that mothers make for their children and families.

Me: Ah, one more time?

Mother's Day is a special holiday celebrated in many countries around the world to honor and appreciate mothers and mother figures. It's a day to recognize the contributions and sacrifices mothers make for their families. Typically celebrated on the second Sunday in May in many countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and numerous others, Mother's Day is marked by various traditions, such as giving gifts, cards, flowers, or spending quality time with mothers to show gratitude and love for all they do. It's a wonderful opportunity for people to express their appreciation and affection for their mothers and the maternal figures in their lives.

Me: So what you are telling me is this: 

Mother's Day is a celebration honoring mothers and motherhood, as well as the influence of mothers in society. It's a day dedicated to showing appreciation and love for mothers, grandmothers, stepmothers, and other maternal figures. In many countries, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May, but the date may vary depending on the country. It's typically marked by giving gifts, cards, flowers, or spending quality time with mothers to show gratitude for their love, support, and sacrifices.

ChatGPT: Tommy - THAT IS FROM GOOGLE GEMINI!  Go to your room! 

This Sunday is my first Mother's Day as a Grandpa. So, I am reflecting on my Mom, my wife Dianne (mother of my two sons) and now, Emily, my daughter (Bobby's wife) and our amazing new grandson Theo. Emily's first Mother's Day. Wow. 

Mother's Day is celebrated to honor and appreciate the contributions and sacrifices that mothers make in their families and society at large. The celebration of Mother's Day can be traced back to ancient times when festivals were held to honor mother goddesses. However, the modern concept of Mother's Day began in the early 20th century when Anna Jarvis campaigned for an official holiday to honor mothers in the United States.

The idea quickly gained popularity and spread to other countries. Today, Mother's Day serves as an opportunity for children and families to express their love, gratitude, and appreciation for their mothers and maternal figures. It's a day to recognize the important role that mothers play in nurturing and shaping the lives of their children and families.

Historically, spending on Mother's Day tends to fluctuate based on various factors such as economic conditions, cultural trends, and consumer behavior. In the United States, for example, spending on Mother's Day gifts, cards, dinners, and other activities typically amounts to billions of dollars annually.

Mothers make numerous sacrifices throughout their lives, often putting the needs and well-being of their children and families above their own. Some of the sacrifices mothers commonly make include:

Career Sacrifices: Many mothers put their careers on hold or make adjustments to their work schedules to prioritize their children's needs. This can involve taking breaks from work to raise children, choosing part-time or flexible work arrangements, or sacrificing career advancement opportunities to be more available for their families.

Personal Time: Mothers often sacrifice their personal time and leisure activities to care for their children and manage household responsibilities. This includes giving up hobbies, social outings, and alone time to ensure that their families are well taken care of.

Financial Sacrifices: Mothers may make financial sacrifices to provide for their children's needs and give them the best possible opportunities. This can involve budgeting carefully, cutting back on personal expenses, or prioritizing spending on children's education, extracurricular activities, and other necessities.

Emotional Sacrifices: Mothers frequently make emotional sacrifices for their children, putting aside their own feelings and needs to provide comfort, support, and guidance. This can involve offering unconditional love, patience, and understanding, even in challenging or difficult situations.

Sleep and Health: Mothers often sacrifice sleep and prioritize their children's well-being over their own need for rest. This can result in sleepless nights caring for infants or sick children, as well as neglecting their own health and self-care needs to ensure that their families are taken care of.

Personal Goals and Ambitions: Mothers may put their own goals, ambitions, and dreams on hold to focus on their children's needs and aspirations. This can involve postponing education, career advancements, or personal development goals to prioritize the needs of their families.

Physical Sacrifices: Pregnancy, childbirth, and the physical demands of caring for children can take a toll on mothers' bodies. Many mothers endure physical discomfort, pain, and exhaustion to bring their children into the world and care for them as they grow.

Overall, mothers make countless sacrifices every day out of love and devotion for their children and families, contributing to their growth, happiness, and well-being.

Every. Single. Day. 

But we give moms gifts and cards and dinners on the 2nd Sunday in May. One day out of 365 each year. So, it's all good. 

Feels balanced and fair, right? 

My Mom Bernice Capone

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Commence the Commencement!

It's Commencement Address season!

A commencement address is a speech given to graduating students at a commencement ceremony, typically at universities, colleges, high schools, or other educational institutions. It's usually delivered by a prominent figure such as a guest speaker, an alumnus, a faculty member, or even a celebrity. 

The purpose of a commencement address is to impart wisdom, advice, encouragement, and inspiration to the graduating class as they transition to the next phase of their lives. Speakers often reflect on their own experiences, offer insights into the challenges and opportunities ahead, and share words of wisdom to motivate graduates as they embark on their journey beyond academia. These speeches can cover a wide range of topics, including personal growth, career advice, societal issues, and the importance of lifelong learning and resilience.

Folks tend to confuse commencement with graduation. Participation in the commencement ceremony does not imply that you have officially graduated. Graduation is the completion of all degree requirements as recorded on the official transcript. 

During the pandemic, there were many kids that missed out on having the normal, official commencement ceremony. Well, here we are in 2024, and (once again) there are many college campuses cancelling their commencement ceremonies not due to COVID, but because of conflict. Protests on college campuses have caused many to make the painful decision to cancel their commencement ceremony, citing safety concerns. 

Again, the purpose of a commencement address is to inspire and motivate the graduating students as they transition to the next phase of their lives, whether it be further education, entering the workforce, or pursuing other endeavors. These speeches often reflect on the achievements of the graduating class, offer advice for the future, and sometimes include personal anecdotes or words of wisdom.

Most of us know that commencement ceremonies are typically large gatherings where graduates, their families, faculty, and staff come together to celebrate academic achievements. And sadly, we know all know that in certain circumstances, such as during a pandemic or due to safety concerns, commencement ceremonies might be cancelled or altered. 

One common reason for cancellation is to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, especially when there's a risk of a widespread outbreak. For instance, we all know that during the COVID-19 pandemic, many commencement ceremonies were cancelled or shifted to virtual formats to minimize the risk of transmission. Other factors that might lead to cancellation include natural disasters, security concerns, budget constraints, or logistical issues. While cancelling commencement ceremonies can be disappointing for graduates and their families, it's often done out of an abundance of caution to prioritize public health and safety.

Where are you going with this Tom? 

Well, I get why you would cancel commencement ceremonies due to things like COVID-19. But I find it ironic that the thing that most college campuses need now - today - right now - is a keynote from a speaker who can share words of wisdom. When you need it the most - when you need someone who can speak with clarity, with purpose, with a clear and compelling vision for the future - we cancel the opportunity for that person to share their wisdom - for all of us. 

Protests on college campuses can stem from a variety of reasons, reflecting the diversity of issues and concerns within the student body and broader society. Here are some common reasons for protests on college campuses:

Social Justice Issues: Students often protest to raise awareness and advocate for social justice causes such as racial equality, LGBTQ+ rights, gender equality, immigrant rights, and environmental justice.

Tuition and Fees: High tuition fees and student debt can spark protests as students advocate for more affordable education and better financial aid options.

Campus Policies: Students may protest against specific policies or decisions made by the college administration, such as housing policies, campus safety measures, or academic regulations.

Diversity and Inclusion: Protests may occur in response to incidents of discrimination, racism, or lack of diversity on campus, as students demand greater inclusivity and representation.

Political Issues: Colleges are often centers for political activism, and students may organize protests around local, national, or international political issues such as elections, government policies, or international conflicts.

Labor Rights: Campus workers, including adjunct professors, custodial staff, and food service workers, may organize protests to demand fair wages, benefits, and working conditions.

Free Speech and Academic Freedom: Controversies related to free speech, censorship, or academic freedom can lead to protests as students defend their rights to express themselves and engage in open discourse.

Climate Change and Environmental Activism: Given the urgency of climate change, many students are engaged in protests and activism to push for stronger environmental policies and sustainability initiatives both on campus and beyond.

International Issues: Students may protest against human rights abuses, wars, or other injustices occurring in other parts of the world, demonstrating solidarity with affected communities and calling for action from their own governments.

Solidarity with Other Movements: Campus protests often intersect with broader social movements, with students showing solidarity with movements like Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, or the global student-led climate strikes.

Overall, protests on college campuses serve as important platforms for students to voice their concerns, challenge injustices, and advocate for positive change within their communities and society at large. 

But it all needs to be PEACEFUL. Violence on college campuses during protests is a concerning issue that can have significant consequences for students, faculty, and the wider community. It's important to address this problem with a multi-faceted approach that involves both preventive measures and appropriate responses when incidents occur. 

Who would be YOUR pick for an amazing Commencement Address? 

An address for all of us...???