October Recap

In case you missed a post or two this month, here’s a quick recap of what I wrote about during the month of October:

Questions I Asked –

Where Did The Phrase ‘Hold Your Horses’ Come From? – The answer makes a lot of sense.

Were Footballs Ever Really Made Out Of Pigskin? – The answer is disgusting.

What’s The Difference Between a Jr. & a II? – It is subtle, but determines your suffix.

Things We Learned –

What Confidence Looks Like – I take you back to when I was a nervous teenager and was impressed by the gumption of a not-so-nervous teenager.

Writers Don’t Love to Write – They love this instead.

There Is A Big Difference Between These Two Things – Many things seem similar at first, but really have a world of difference. For example…Mike and Neil deGrasse Tyson or Cookie Monster and a Cookie from the TV show Empire.

Another Example of Great Writing – The world is full of great writing. Here’s an example from Max Lucado.

When You Are Not Terrible With Money, Side Effects May Include… – Chronic swelling of your bank account, among other things.

A Cool Invention For Fidgeters – It has made over $6 million on Kickstarter.

One Thing All Legends Have In Common – Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez learned this too.

How To Pass Life’s Not-So-Little Tests – A lesson learned from the story of a friend.

Fun With Numbers –

5 Things We Can Learn From Our Couch – In the latest installment of “Five Things We Can Learn From Everyday Objects” we talk about something that we spend a lot of time on, but might not spend much time thinking about.

5 Myths About Writer’s Block – We think writer’s block is a lot of things (scary, crippling, etc.). Let’s look at what it is not.

5 Good Things – Feel like there is nothing but negative stories online, on TV and in the newspaper? Here are 5 good things going on in our world.

10 Lines From ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’ by Brene Brown – The book was so good, it was hard to narrow it down to just 10.

73 Tips For Saving Money – Some great money advice from EveryDollar.com


73 Tips For Saving Money

Many times, I will read something online and immediately think, “that was great, I wish I wrote it.” I may not have written it, but I can still share it.

Here’s the latest…

The Complete Guide to Saving Money: Our 73 Favorite Tips—Ever!  by EveryDollar.com

If you read my “Side Effects May Include…” post from a couple of weeks ago, you’ll know that money management is a big source of joy or pain. Luckily for us, the good folks at EveryDollar.com have put together a great list of ways to add some relief to our wallets.

With a list of 73 ways to save, they cover everything from what to do before you go to the grocery store to how to take advantage of freebies. By using their list, they figure you can “find hundreds (or even thousands!) of dollars to put back in your budget.”

Check out the entire list here. #6, #40 & #42 are my favorites.

What’s The Difference Between a Jr. & a II?

While watching USC men’s football take on ASU, I looked through the Trojan roster and noticed that a number of players had the suffix Jr., while others had II. For example, Michael Pittman Jr. and Ronald Jones II.

That got me wondering…

What’s The Difference Between a Jr. & a II?

Turns out there are a couple of differences. First off, to be a Jr., you must have the same first, middle and last name as your father. I don’t know what Michael Pittman Jr.’s middle name is, but whatever it is, it is the same as his father’s.

To be a II, you may fall into one of two categories. 1) you have a different middle name from your father, and/or 2) you may have an entirely different name from your father, but you may share the same name as your grandfather, or great-grandfather. So, Ronald Johnson may not share his father’s middle name, or he may share the same exact name with his grandfather.


This Is Exactly What I Was Talking About Yesterday

Yesterday, I wrote:

If you want to be legendary, you need to be you.”

Turns out, I am not the only one who thinks that is good advice.

Recently, on the Seth Davis Show, new Virginia Tech football coach Justin Fuente talked about what it is like trying to replace legendary coach Frank Beamer. Beamer coached the Hokies for 29 years and elevated the team to the top of college football’s echelon, including the 1999 BCS National Championship game.

It is never easy to be the one who replaces a legend. It has been said that you’d rather be the guy who follows the guy who follows the legend.

That being said, Virginia Tech has had a pretty smooth transition so far. The team is 5-2 including a big win last week against Miami.

Fuente credits his early success to advice he received from none other than Frank Beamer. When asked what the best advice the former coach has given, Fuente said:

Be yourself.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

One Thing All Legends Have In Common

In the 1993 baseball film The Sandlot, Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez dreams he is having a conversation with Babe Ruth, who says the following, “Remember kid, there’s heroes and there’s legends. Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.”

Rodriguez uses this motivation to pull off one of the most epic rescue missions in cinematic history, thus becoming a legend around the local baseball parks. Many of us who grew up watching The Sandlot dreamt of one day achieving a similar feat, but as we grow older, we start to realize that the ghost of the Great Bambino isn’t going to walk through our office door at just the right time to offer some words of advice.

Becoming a legend is less about one magic moment and more about a life filled with small actions that add up to a big result. While that may make you feel like becoming a legend will take FOOOORRRREEEVVVEERRR, don’t worry, there is one thing that all legends have in common.

When you type “Legendary Basketball Coach” into a Google search, you don’t have to look far to see the names of Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boeheim. They rank as #1 and #2 in career coaching records for wins by a men’s division 1 college basketball coach. They combined for six National Championships, 17 Final Fours and nearly 2000 victories. If that is not enough, both are Hall of Famers and gold medal winners.

You’d think that because they share so much in common, they would have accomplished their success in similar ways.


Both from a tactical perspective and from a personality standpoint, they are very different. Coach Boeheim has spent his entire 40-year career employing a zone defense. On the flip side, coach Krzyzewski is known for being a staunch supporter of man-to-man defense, and once admitted that he probably lost 2-3 games one season by refusing to play zone.

Despite their differences, they have one major thing in common.

Duke assistant coach Jeff Capel learned of this similarity when he was fortunate enough to shadow both legends as they led the USA men’s basketball team to a gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

When asked what stood out from this experience, Capel said,

You see how different (Coach K and Coach Boeheim) are. The passion is the same for the game, but the way they teach it and their philosophies and things may be different, but they are right because it’s who they are.”

Capel learned that when trying to emulate a legend,

The best thing you can be is you. And use the lessons and the things that you’ve learned from these people to do it your way.”

This is a good reminder for all of us. Whether we are writing a book, running a food truck or starting a career as a dog groomer, there are others in our field who we look up to and whose success we want to match. Often we think we need to copy them if we want to get to their level.

However, that is just not true. You don’t have to imitate a legend to become one yourself. There’s plenty of room for differences as long as you are true to who you are.

That’s the one thing all legends have in common – they are themselves. They don’t pretend to be someone they are not.

We remember the quote, “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die” but we often leave out the last part of the advice that Babe Ruth gave Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez, “Follow your heart kid, and you’ll never go wrong.”

If you want to be legendary, you need to be you.

Life’s Not-So-Little Tests

Ellie, a friend of mine (not her real name), is in nursing school and she was telling me about one of her recent hospital rotations. She was excited to start the rotation, but her buzz was killed by a human joy-crusher named Helga (not her real name).

Helga was the veteran nurse Ellie would be shadowing during her stay at the hospital. For one whole week Ellie would be as close to Helga as her deodorant (although it sounds like she didn’t wear any). Quickly into the rotation, Ellie learned that Helga was not what you would call a “people person.”

Helga never talked to Ellie, expect to tell her to clean bedpans. When Ellie would ask to see a patient’s chart, Helga would scoff and shake her head no.

Ellie spent the whole week doing grunt work and being treated miserably. She didn’t get to give out shots, chart files or do any of the important things nurses are supposed to do. From a formal education standpoint, it was a waste of time.

But it may end up being the most important week of her nursing school life.

See, Ellie was put with Helga on purpose. Ellie’s supervisor said that Helga is known for being difficult and moody and she wanted to see how Ellie would handle a challenging co-worker.

The supervisor explained that no matter how much Ellie studies and learns, there are no textbooks that will prepare her for working with real people. That is learned by experience. Especially experiences like Helga.

Ellie didn’t enjoy the week from Hell-ga (yes, I picked this fake name so I could use this bad joke), but she did learn a lot. She learned that even in the worst of times, she still wants to be a nurse. That is knowledge she would not have gained from looking at charts and giving shots.

Top 10 Lines From ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’ by Brene Brown

You know how some people are so smart that they are able to communicate in a way that even those of us who are not so smart can understand? Brene Brown is one of those people.

Through her work as a writer, speaker and professor, she has learned a ton about vulnerability, courage, shame, and empathy. Her 2010 book The Gifts of Imperfection touches on those topics in a simple, yet effective way. The book is filled with great quotes. Here are my 10 favorite lines:

  1. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.

  2. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others.”

  3. The better we are at accepting ourselves and others, the more compassionate we become.”

  4. Belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.”

  5. I know I can talk to myself in ways that I would never consider talking to another person.”

  6. Staying real is one of the most courageous battles that we’ll ever fight.”

  7. It is in the process of embracing our imperfections that we find out truest gifts: courage, compassion, and connection.”

  8. We’re a nation hungry for more joy: Because we’re starving from a lack of gratitude.”

  9. The universe is not short on wake-up calls. We’re just quick to hit the snooze button.”

  10. Life-paralysis refers to all of the opportunities we miss because we’re too afraid to put anything out in the world that could be imperfect.”

Were Footballs Ever Really Made Out Of Pigskin?

Last month, I recapped all of the football-related blog posts I’ve ever had. I described the post as:

everything I have ever written about the ol’ pigskin.”

That got me wondering about that name “pigskin.” Where did it come from? Are footballs actually made of skin from a pig? Were they ever? Let’s find out in today’s edition of Wonder Why Wednesday…

Were Footballs Ever Really Made Out Of Pigskin?

Let’s start with today’s footballs and work backwards. Despite the name “pigskin” the NFL and NCAA turn to the swine’s barnyard companion, the cow, for their footballs. According to Big Game Football Factory, all pro and collegiate footballs are actually made with cowhide leather.

Flipping back the calendar 100+ years, we can start to learn where the name “pigskin” originates. Although, it would actually be more appropriate to call them “pig-guts.”

Yes, that is right, early versions of footballs did actually use animal bladders, including pig’s. In the 1800s, animals bladders were cheaper and easier to come by than leather (that may still be the case…it has been a long time since I shopped for either). The balls were inflated with the bladders of animals and sometimes straw and other material would also stuffed in to fill out the oblong shape.

This standard of football lasted until the mid-1800s when American engineer and chemist Charles Goodyear (founder of the Goodyear tire company) patented his invention of vulcanized rubber. Football teams began using the rubber in place of bladder, presumably because it was less disgusting and bloody. However, by then, the nickname “pigskin” had already stuck.

Something For Fidgeters

So often, we think new inventions need to be big and bold. We hear about 3D glasses and self driving cars and think that the future is all about flashy technology.

Let’s not forget that creative ideas can come in small packages. Exhibit A: The Fidget Cube.

Described as “An unusually addicting, high-quality desk toy designed to help you focus” the Fidget Cube is the latest success story from Kickstarter. Created by Matthew and Mark McLachlan, this small desk toy is loaded with clickers, a roller, a switch, a spinner and even a  worry stone — all geared at warding off fidgeting.

As someone who often finds myself clicking a pen or spinning my key chain, I think this invention is genius. And I must not be the only one who thinks so. The Kickstarter project has earned over $6 million dollars.

Watch the video below and see for yourself why nearly 150,000 backers are buying the Fidget Cube.


Pretty cool, huh? If you or a loved one is a fidgeter, you may want to act fast. Just a few hours remain to buy one.

5 Good Things

Having a rough start to the week? Feel like there is nothing but negative stories online, on TV and in the newspaper? Looking for a little pick me up?

Here are 5 good things going on in our world…

  1. 10-Year-Old Cancer Survivor Writes Book To Inspire Others – Luis Collazo, a 10-year-old North Texas boy, is using his cancer fight and bullying to inspire other children to celebrate their differences.
  2. Cop Gets On Level With Boy Having A Bad Day, Wipes His Tears – Precious Cornner-Jones, an officer with the Indiana State Police, was participating in a rally at a school on Sept. 26 when she saw a small boy get so upset he threw himself to the floor. Cornner-Jones, herself a mother of three, stretched out next to the boy and comforted him.
  3. Baseball Star Paul Goldschmidt Raises Money For Phoenix Children’s Hospital – The All-Star first baseman’s charity, Goldy’s Fund 4 Kids is having a bowling event where 100 percent of the proceeds will be going to PCH’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.
  4. Pre-School Teacher Offers to Donate Kidney to Save Little Girl’s Life -4-year-old Lyla needed a new kidney. Turns out her preschool teacher, Beth Battista, was a perfect match, and has agreed to be the donor.
  5. Little Boy Gives Charlotte Police Officers ‘Free Hugs’ and Donuts – When a young boy heard about injured police officers while listening to the radio, he did something awesome…decided to bring the cops donuts and give them hugs.