Showing posts from March, 2011

A Teacher Affects Eternity - RIP Mr. Trost

This week a teacher I had in High School - over twenty years ago in Cedarburg, WI- passed away. Michael Trost was one of the really great ones. Though I did not stay in touch since leaving school, I never forgot him.  One of the classes I took with him was Early English Lit and studying works from Shakespeare back to Beowulf opened me up to language beyond the standard fantasy novels I had been reading. He made learning fun and easy - I will never forget Henry's wives fates: Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived. In a time of my life when I pushed the envelope socially and stylistically, and I am sure many teachers though I was an odd duck, I never felt anything but respect from him. He even insisted we call him 'Mike', placing us more on equal levels. Thankfully, Facebook allowed me to reconnect with him now when literature and language has become one of the important pieces of my life as I work towards a novel. If FB did anything good for me - besides

Gaming Company Ga Ga Over Gays

The gaming industry has a well-deserved reputation for being male- and especially straight-male oriented. As a straight (but not narrow) male  player myself - who has had to read the homophobic, racial, and general innuendo on the online chats of various games - I am all too often embarrassed by the community. However, one game company, BioWare , has stood up for the rights of all in their new game and I applaud them for the game design and their standing up for that decision. BioWare's Dragon Age game allowed players to have pretty graphic relationships. Now in their Dragon Age 2 sequel, those relationships can be with a game character of the same sex. This is not an MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) game so it is just you and the pixelated game characters, but it seems some ignorant and intolerant players still were offended when male characters (not players) put the moves on them. It's not like it is a player than can keep harassing them, you just move on away from the ch

Great Play: No Mourning Lack of Manners Here

Here is another rare do good example by an (ex-)athlete. Alonzo Mourning got out of his car and used his defensive blocking skills to stop traffic to allow a disabled person to cross a busy street. Full story here . What strikes me about this instance especially is that he got out of his car to do it. It's one thing if he was a pedestrian himself there, but the fact that he stopped what he was doing, got out of his car, and helped this person shows extra Well-Met manners. Well-Met Alonzo!

Beyond The Locavore

The term 'locavore' has been tossed around within the food community to define eating foods from as local sources as possible. But we need to look beyond food and look at the local  as important in many things - I believe we need to look to our local community to help out first and that local philanthropy, local activism, local charity, however you want to look at is important as well. What I am getting at here is - with all the stuff going on in the big bad world, it is very easy to forget that people, animals, and the environment need help right here in our back yard. Of course people elsewhere need help - the people of Haiti and Japan devastated by natural catastrophes; the people of third world countries needing food, water, and rights; wild or domestic animals are mistreated in some foreign place. And it is good to see people at least get motivated to help out somehow, somewhere. And yes many issues are national, international, and worldwide and need to be looked at how

Here's A Good Tip - Literally

One of the things I think that makes a Well-Met man is tipping appropriately. That means tipping well. I will get onto regular tipping etiquette in a few, but here is a new article I just saw that is something I never thought of - the benefits to the service person of tipping in cash even if paying the bill in plastic. Read the article and think about it next time you go out - make sure you have cash on you for any tips. Back to tipping etiquette in general. Common knowledge is to tip at 15%, however I am a firm believer in tipping well in most situations. For wait staff for example, I usually go right to the 20%, and may go down to 15% for less than stellar service. I also don't believe in statement tips. Either tip or don't. Make a statement by not tipping, not by leaving say 5% or just a dollar bill as the tip. If you really had that bad of service, do the person, the business, and future customers a favor and talk to the manager instead. You may get something out of it.

An Apple A Day... or year, or however often you buy new electronics

Apple stores have developed a great program to get iPads to teachers. Guys and gadgets, they go together well. The problem is, as we fuel our need for new gadgets, our old ones have to go somewhere.  This can add up quickly to the landfill issue, and it is even worse as many electronics have toxic elements - especially the batteries. Luckily there are programs to recycle or turn in those old electronics for proper disposal or even reuse - the EPA has a list of ways to do this. Well, Apple now has a program where you can turn in your old iPad (most likely due to you getting a new iPad - but maybe a Droid or other OS tablet) at their Apple Stores and they will donate it to Teach For America for us in classrooms where they are increasing as study aids . Now, isn't that a great excuse to upgrade? "But honey, I have to give my old iPad to teachers - you know - to teach kids."

'Great' Beer, Great Responsibility River Project

MillerCoors has a program called Great Beer, Great Responsibility - basically their social responsibility program. It covers people and community programs, alcohol responsibility, and environmental.  A new program they are doing is in conjunction with River Network where they are providing $54,000 in grants to support watershed protection program. They have six finalists, one of which is in Milwaukee. Please get on and vote for the  River Revitalization Foundation to keep the money here and support our local environment. BTW - this program also gave money to Discovery World for the Distant Mirror program to make a nano-brewery within DW as an expansion of the Ale Through the Ages classes I take with my dad and brother.

Great Play: Bucks Player Did the Right Thing

Here is a pretty amazing story about 4 players, one of them a current Buck (Corey Maggette), stepping up to take care of their coach when the team wouldn't. Clippers assistant coach Kim Hughes found out he had cancer. Then it got worse, the team said they wouldn't pay for the surgery. Maggette and several other players stepped up and paid for the surgery. And a good thing because it turned out to be worse than expected. Hughes made a comment that showed that they were truly Well-Met: "It showed you what classy people they are. They didn't want me talking about it; they didn't want the recognition because they simply felt it was the right thing to do."

Grant Another Well-Met Packer

JSOnline just posted an article about Ryan Grant donating time and money to a scholarship fund in honor of a Packer fan that passed away from leukemia. "He touched me, he brought something to me," said Grant. "And I'm in a position to bring something to others. I needed to do something and I wanted to get others involved, too." That is a well-spoken, Well-Met Gentleman right there. Keep up the spirit @RyanGrant25!

New Way to Be Green for St. Pat's

St. Patrick's Day is a pretty manly holiday when you think about it. Go outside on a cold Spring day, drink lots of beer and Irish liquor, eat manly Irish food (no one ever accused corned beef and hash of being frou-frou), maybe even wear a kilt. Well, since it is manly - let's make it gentlemanly. There are many things to consider on St. Patrick's Day to be a gentleman, but for one day let's give ourselves a break. Let's look at a different way to be Well-Met. It is customary for St. Patrick's Day to 'be green', usually meaning wear green colors and possibly drink some nasty green-colored beer. This year, try being 'green' as in environmentally conscious. If you haven't tried yet, give it a one-day try, if you already are - try being more green - or be more vocal about it. Take one small step. Try these on for size:

If You Can, Help Others

Found another great 'gentleman' quote today, this one by the Dalai Lama: If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them. This repeats the messages of philanthropy, manners, and hints at the ethic of reciprocity. It also reminds me of the traditional message we have gotten from mothers and teachers throughout our lives: 'If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.' Not to mention a kindness spin on the modern 'Put up or shut up.' I love how just two words out of there can really define and be the code of the gentleman: help others. This is because it can be taken on many layers. Start simply with just helping people you meet everyday - open the door for someone with their arms full or with a cart or carriage. Expand to helping people you don't know through work with charities and philanthropy. And as the saying goes you can't help others if you aren't able - physically, emotionally, fis

HS player honors mother with 46 points for her 46 years

This story actually made my eyes get a little damp while reading it. Freshman Brad Rhoades lost his mother to a tragic snowmobile accident. Two days after her death he had his last basketball game of the season. He could have sat out but instead he played to honor his mother - and he does so in amazing Super-gentleman fashion. He scores a point for every year of her life: 46. More of the story here . I used to think it controversial. Is it right to play as an athlete or should you be in grief and let it go for a few days? As I see this happen more and more, in the example of Chris Paul as listed in the article and even Brett Favre (who I normally have stricken from this blog) in the case of his father's death, I have come to think that this is their way of honoring their loved one. It is what they do and they do it in front of many and if they can show their resolve and the power they get from that person then that is their way to cope and honor them. This is especially amazi

Well-Played: NFL Player Speaks For Gay Marriage

I am very happy today to be able to post another rare example of true 'Sportsmanlike conduct' - a professional athlete acting as a gentleman and a actual role model and hero. NFL player Brendon Ayanbadejo, a linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, has stepped up in support of legalizing gay marriage in Maryland. In a profession that subdues personal opinion, and when there are opinions they usually are ridiculous, it is refreshing to see someone stand up for something - especially a 'taboo' subject. In a homophobic setting his courage to speak out is a great example. He says: "Gay and lesbian couples want to marry for similar reasons as we all do: love and commitment. It’s time to allow them the opportunity to build a family through marriage. It’s a matter of fairness." You can view his complete inspiring and coherent statement here:

Appreciating And Celebrating Women

Today is  International Women's Day , and it marks the 100th anniversary of the observation. Beyond just being a good person, one of the main things that makes a true gentleman is showing appreciation and respect for women, so this is a perfect day to do just that. Start with the women in your life - your wife, your mother, your sisters and other relatives - but don't stop there. Take this day to get back in the practice of doing those gentlemanly things for any woman that crosses your path like holding the door for them, carrying something for them, letting them queue ahead of you. Whether they seem like they want it or not,  trust me they will appreciate it. As for me, I want to acknowledge that I would not be the person I am without the influence of my mother Mary who always supported me and let me be 'me' and instilled in me my sense of community and service, my sister Ann who helped me along my career path more than most siblings ever would, and of course my w

Gamers Give Back

Yes, nerds can be good people too. The creators of Penny Arcade have set up a great charity and the best part is that we here in the Milwaukee area can participate. Child's Play is "a game industry charity dedicated to improving the lives of children with toys and games in our network of over 60 hospitals worldwide". With the help of hospital staff, they have set up gift wish lists full of video games, toys, and movies. You can go to each hospital’s list and buy a toy, and that toy will be sent to the hospital - right here in Milwaukee you can buy toys for Children's Hospital at the online store here .

Ethic of Reciprocity

The quote of the day today is a great quote that speaks directly to being a Gentleman: “If you want trust, trust others. If you want respect, respect others. If you want help, help others. If you want love and peace in your life, give them away. If you want great friends, be one. That’s how it works. ” - Dan Zadra - Businessman, inspirational writer It's basically a longer, spelled out, version of The Golden Rule - the Ethic of Reciprocity - which is present in nearly all world religions and philosophies, a great article on this can be found here . On a side note, I am not a religious person mostly because I am against the arrogance that any one  concept is the absolute correct one (not to mention the strife and wars associated just to religions - but I digress), but the quote used to start this article is  pretty neat: "God has made different religions to suit different aspirations, times, and countries. All doctrines are only so many paths; but a path is

The Organic Commandment

Today I went to the Milwaukee Art Museum with friends and their boys to see a Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit. Always good to see Mr.  Wright's work and not just his visual, but also his philosophical ideas. This is one of my favorites - I have a t-shirt of it and also a card with it at my work desk. In many ways it is THE set of commandments for the Well-Met Gentleman: The Organic Commandment Love is the virtue of the heart Sincerity the virtue of the mind Decision the virtue of the will Courage the virtue of the spirit. - Frank Lloyd Wright