Saturday, August 6, 2016

Operation Rob

As you face adversity it is still about us;
If you had half a brain you would be dangerous.
Sure, roll the dice. Put a hotel on Baltic Avenue;
Hopes and prayers are always with you.

Collect $200 as you pass GO;
You can’t expect to win. This you already know.
FREE Parking, take a rest;
CHANCE card says cash in. You are the best.

Those incredible dragons on the spot;
It doesn’t take a genius to see they love you a lot.
Tokens, play money, moving space to space;
The game is the thing. Find your place.

The edge water compound is a shared context;
We get older and wonder what will be next.
It has always been as clear as day;
We started.  We continue to play.

Upon reflection we can see;
Living, loving. finding joy, destiny.
The action in an instant --- in a blink
It happens so fast --- no time to think
Count the money. Count the things.
Count the Blessings that your family brings.
No matter. Tomorrow maybe you win at Crazy Eights.

Alive and well as one can plainly see;
In the home of the brave and the land of the free
Who cares who gets to boast?
Isn’t it just the little things that matter most? 

P.S. Happy Birthday Rob - August 30

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


My Brother Rob always gives 110%. We all agree the idea of giving even more than you have (by as much as 10%) is crazy. Nevertheless, we have known football coaches, notably at Saint Luke Grade School (where I was co-captain) and at Lakewood High School (where Rob was a co-captain). If you grow up in a large Catholic family, you believe in miracles. That makes 110% seem like a fair expectation coming from a football coach. If you participate in sports at any level, you are quick to embrace countless metaphors.       
Rob has a rare tumor  the size of a ping pong ball in lower part of his brain stem (lower medulla). Doctors could not be sure if the tumor is benign or malignant so surgery is scheduled for July 13, 2016. “A biopsy on the tumor would tell whether the tumor is benign or malignant. Initial results of the biopsy are available quickly, within 15 minutes. Depending on the results of the biopsy, they may continue the process to remove as much of the tumor as possible. They won't likely be able to remove it all.” Rob reports with his own brand of clinical precision.
So surgery is tomorrow on July 13, 2016 at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco. Rob will be with wife of 34 years, Joy and their 3 amazing children: Megan (28), Tara (25) and Kevin (23). Our brother Greg is flying in as a show of support. Our brother Dan will arrive sometime after the surgery. (If you are counting – there are five brothers and one sister in our immediate generation ... plus kids and kids having kids too.)
Today, the day before the scheduled surgery, Rob and I exchanged a typical albeit a bit cryptic series of text messages:
Me: Godspeed
Rob: Prep/Clinic: all ready for tomorrow. It will all go well. I know it. (Message sent with picture above.)
Me: Game face on. Robo always gives 110%
Rob: As Mom always said you can’t give 110%. That’s stupid. But do your best. I plan to do just that.
Me: Mom never played football. Everyone expects 110% from you.
Rob: Okay, 110% it is.
That tells you a lot. I am certain Rob will give it all he's got. He'll have the love and support of family and friends. I, for one, believe in miracles. I have seen Rob play football. I was never very good at math - so 110% seems do-able enough to me. I will also be praying for divine intervention.   

Update - Benign. He gave 110%. Prayers answered. He was home in 48 hours. Superman. Special thanks to Uncle Uber Greg and the amazing Dragons. Go Team!

Saturday, July 2, 2016


Creve Coeur Golf Course hosts American Marketing Association Championship 2016

Once again the American Marketing Association launched an Independence Day weekend with its annual golf outing at Creve Coeur Golf Course. The venue has hosted our annual golf event for the bulk of our events in the last twenty years.  No-one has taken better care of us. This year 30 golfers competed for the coveted Traveling Trophy. Tim Nenninger of MAR graphics is our low net champion with a score of 40. Creve Coeur City Councilman Ted Ruzicka earned closest to the pin prize on #9. Brad Wahlgren was closest to the pin on #2.

Bob Mastis, incoming President of the American Marketing Association, St. Louis Chapter fielded a team. His firm Digital Intersection’s team included Justin Payne who was winner of the the longest drive contest on #8. (He crushed it!) Justin, if not for struggles on the challenging hole number six, might have earned the title. Ted Ruzicka, Brad Wahlgren and John Probst were in the hunt as well.

Sneller Creative contributed a double wall acrylic GULP tumbler to all golfers who participated. In addition, Sandbox Creative contributed pre-chilled designer water for all players. Golfers also got a goody bag that included a sleeve of balls, tees, a chip clip (from AMA), a glow stick (from Morgan Studio/East) and commemorative coins (from Clayco).

Sandbox Creative once again served with all art direction, graphics and social media promotion prior to the event. Dave Cox, Randy Niederer, Troy Libbra and “Photo Matt” suggested "Delta" feedback for next year: Work on attracting more female players and also enhance the on-course beverage service. (Fair enough)

Thanks to all who came out to celebrate the first day of our chapter year. Contact Bob Mastis or Wes Morgan about joining the St. Louis Chapter of the American Marketing Association. We hope to see you at event luncheons, networking gatherings, collegiate functions, and other gatherings during the
year. for details.

Above top: the Infamous traveling trophy won this year by Tim Nenninger --- Foursome: Marco Tocco of Rock Solid Branding, Matt from Contegix, Rowdy Jones of Compear and Tom Shaughnessy of Group 360. ---- Creve Coeur City CouncilmanTed Ruzicka. ---- Dave Cox, Steve Allen, Justin Payne and Randy Niederer toast with GULP double wall acrylic attendance prize from Sneller Creative 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Digital Dan 2016 Birthday Poem

Digital Dan

Let me tell you about digital Dan.
Dayton Flyer, photographer, the man with a plan;
Sometimes, self righteous and quick to attack.
Spikey white hair wearing all black.

Single lens focus, an eye for composition;
Shrewd, at times crude, when it comes to competition.
Brother he’s known for his sensitivity;
A crybaby, quitter and a bit of a sissy;

But notice --- it is he who boldly hits the road;
The truth belongs to the teller or so I am told.
A well framed layout and a flash;
All other options in the trash.

Set aside what you thought was true;
As we salute the Red the White and the Blue.
A portrait, a journal, a tabletop, on fire or on ice;
A picture speaks louder than words. Isn’t that nice!

In an instant an image is captured and treasured in time;
Cherished, preserved, recorded --- history is kind.
Better than an interpretation --- the ideal is fine.
Parallax displacement, out of focus, or out of line;

Brush the imperfections and photo-shop away;
Digital Dan saves the day. 

Happy Birthday Rex.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Four Dads Playing a Round

Pausing on hole #5 of a round on Friday someone spontaneously offers a toast.  The band is back together at Normandie Golf Course the Friday before Father’s  Day. “To Macenzie, Nick, Jack, Ally, Nicole, Danny(Dannielle), Sammy(Samantha), Lindsey and Ben.” A foursome of proud Dads hardly aware how often their progeny come up in conversational bits and pieces between tee-boxes, scanning the rough spots for errant golf balls and lining up putts. We know we are blessed. We are stoic and yet all share soft spots in our hearts for those kids.  “To our own dads” – of whom half are now deceased – we are reminded of the passages of time and our own mortality.    

Rowdy Jones, Dave Cox, Tom Shaughnessy and Wes Morgan make a point to get together this way periodically. Not too long ago this confluence of chronies could consist of a dozen (or more) and include a long weekend at the lake with cigars, karaoke, fast food, and perhaps an occasional local tavern or strip joint between tee-times. We are really just kids ourselves.      

You can feel a warm breeze on this day and note the ninety degree rule (which could well be a reference to the temperature). The grounds crew is busy and ever present the first few holes. We are men comfortable in our own skin --- just happy to be surveying the green vistas. Rowdy, from under a wide brim hat straw hat, quotes Tom Kite who described the pressure of being a professional golfer as keeping the number of mistakes in a round to one (or less). Laughingly we know the frequency of error will be at a somewhat higher rate for us. (But, as always, we do the best we can with joy in the journey.)

The "dynamic pricing" online promotion determined the value-oriented timing of this round and it is clear that law and order of a private club is not part of this public venue. A five-some in three carts in front of us and several singles came out to play. Our round concluded in more than five hours. We hardly noticed the slowing of the pace of play on the back nine because we were enjoying being together. We savor each hole and admit we are old enough now and need not play from the tips. (A decision we made and stuck with to the end.)

An uneventful round with a few laughs concludes with the usual banter in the parking lot as we look over the scorecard for something to brag about. Par for the course. A lovely afternoon.

Normandie Golf Club was built in 1901 and is the oldest Public golf course west of the Mississippi still in operation in its original location. It was designed by Robert Foulis, a disciple of Old Tom Morris of St. Andrews, Scotland. It's unique routing and throwback style is a golfing gem.      

Saturday, May 28, 2016

School is Out

School is out, the work is done;
Pupils anticipate a summer of fun.
Grades, reports, assessments in;
Teachers checking out, patience running thin.

Requirements, district compliance, common core for the state;
Plan, set boundaries, noble intentions --- out of the gate.
Make a difference, know your role,  honor your station;
Parents, community, a whole nation --- exceed expectation.

Positive behavior intervention support --- mental health;
Be the very best you can be, be a better self.
Together Everyone Achieves More -- a TEAM battle cry;
All hands on deck --- never mind exactly why.

Data-based decisions made in an instant;
Effective professional leadership development.
Be safe, be peaceful, be cooperative, be kind.
Heat of a moment --- think, look, listen before you find

Running with walkies, keys, urgency on the floor
Behaviors forgiven but not forgotten --- open the door
Admin, educator, specials, paraprofessionals  in play
We are all Students --- We learn every day

Take a break.
Contemplate ---  A phenomenon in a paranormal state
Next year --- greater than great

6:50 am --- Don’t be late.

Bulletin Illustration above by the incredible Michael Rash

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Off Broadway with Parker Millsap

The Glory Bound Grahams opened with a set that included the lyrics - Put your hand in mine, it’s revival time… They set the stage for Parker Millsap with band mates Michael on Base and Daniel on Fiddle. The audience was treated to a well orchestrated show that worked its way up to Hades Pleads as the finale. On Friday the 13th at Off Broadway in the Cherokee Lemp Historic District of St. Louis you couldn’t help contemplate life and death and good and evil. I’m gonna take you to my house on the StyxOn a long black train going clackety-click…I’m begging like Cerberus I’m begging like thisI’m beggin’…

Among Black & While photographic prints on the wall of the brick building venue are Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Bob Dylan. It is reminder of the dues great musicians pay on the road. The soundtrack for the evening is somewhere between Sympathy for the Devil and the Devil went down to Georgia. We are even invited to consider atomic annihilation from the title track on the new album The Very Last Day.

Last year, Parker moved to Nashville from his roots in Oklahoma. He lives with my Niece, Megan. I feel a connection with the band since I was fortunate enough to have seen them play the Rock House two years ago when Truck stop Gospel and Parker Millsap’s Pentecostal background was beginning to earn critical acclaim in music circles. The spirituality of this trio headed by the charismatic and youthful singer/songwriter fills the room with a joyful playfulness even through minor technical difficulties that are fixed with a jiggle of plug in to a surge protector on the floor. Parker suggests he might kick that plug if it acts up again. Daniel sarcastically encourages such a move. The sound engineer is, no doubt, working his magic to keep the show seamless.

Of course, there are t-shirts, merchandise and CD’s for sale as the guests at Off Broadway exit into a cool, misty St. Louis evening – almost midnight. I autographed three paperback copies of my book Failure Coach a novel by Wes Morgan to thank the band for coming to my town. Parker, Michael, Daniel – Regards from Meg’s favorite uncle.      

Photo above (l to r) - Michael Rose, Parker Millsap, Wes Morgan, Daniel Foulks in front of venue on May 13, 2016 before performances by The Grahams and Parker Millsap.
Pboto below (l to r) Michael Rose (base), Parker Millsap (guitar), Daniel Foulks (fiddle)