Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day, America Bids Farewell to an Unlikely Icon

Happy Fathers Day! to all you fathers who aren't also mothers (;->) out there; whatcha get?

Seriously, it's fathers day and a bittersweet one at that. As has been widely and is being widely chronicled in the main stream media today, NBC's Washington Bureau chief Tim Russert passed away, suddenly, on Friday. It is a sad day and once again Washington Capitals Majority Owner Ted Leonsis got it right - Mr. Leonsis is quoted as saying of Russert's passing - "A sad day indeed, Sunday Mornings in Washington won't be the same." I share that view and spent this Sunday Morning watching the Chris Matthew's Show and Meet the Press tributes to Tim Russert. It's clear that in addition to being a great tele-journalist, devoted family man, and big sports fan, Tim Russert was a great guy. Fifty-eight years isn't long enough for a guy as good as Tim Russert, my heart goes out to his family. One of my next scheduled reads is going to be "Big Russ and Me." For me, indeed many Sunday Mornings will not be the same, I'll miss his great work on "Meet the Press." Farewell, Mr. Russert, it's clear when you were alive, you lived. My thoughts and prayers go out to your family.

At the risk of being irreverent, I'll move to happier thoughts and topics. It is Father's Day. Likely our last with son Chris living at home. Chris got me several books for Father's Day that I am enjoying. One in particular has been fun to start reading is "1,000 Places To See Before You Die - A Traveler's Life List" by Patricia Schultz. While I still have over 900 places to go, I've been pleased to note that on our last really big vacation to Turkey 8 years ago we did it right according to Ms. Schultz. No wonder we have sooo many great memories, pictures and mementos from that trip. I've started in the front of the book and there are just so many cool places to see in this world. Even though I've had a fairly mobile life and have been to 19 other countries and 42 states, I have way too many more places on "my list" to ever complete it. The more interesting thing is that the gift is "so me" - there is no doubt that my son "got this one right". The funny thing is he knows it too, as he says when he saw the book he knew I'd like it. Perhaps it was all those trips to the bookstore with his mother and I in his childhood. That was at times a night out for us. Even before "Barnes and Noble" and "Borders" sprang up everywhere, we've always had and known where to find "great bookstores" nearby our homes; whether in Baltimore, New York, Long Island, Florida, and here in the Washington, DC area.

Yesterday, I stayed home and started to get caught up on some work while Chris and Cindy took the AMTRAK up to New York City and he tried out to be on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." I thought that was cool, he passed the test and first interview, he got through the third step - a videotaped interview and now we wait to here from them, they'll send us the results on a postcard. Of course, the ironic part is we're not even sure if he is selected he'll be permitted or able to participate since by the time that happens he'll be a member of the Regiment of Midshipman at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. But if he is permitted to do so he'll only be a 22 minute train ride from Manhattan on the Long Island Railroad away from the studio. I think it would be pretty cool and some good advertising for my Alma Mater if he did make it and they let him go on the show.

I continue to really reflect on life as it has been these past 19 years and how it will be over the next four while our only child is in college. It's really a little daunting to think about, I never really thought about getting older or even "growing up" for that matter; and life has just sort of been a really wonderful journey so far. We've been really fortunate, sure Cindy and I both work at it, but we look around and see many other good people who've worked at it as well that are facing rough times. Prince William County leads in the number of foreclosures this year in the Commonwealth of Virginia and just this past week, Chris told us that one of his friends in the neighborhood's family is loosing their home to foreclosure after some business setbacks. It seems no one is really immune from the current economic challenges, and I'm not talking about Ed McMahon, though that too seems a sad story to me. Can you imagine being 85 years old, having made millions and finding yourself facing foreclosure, of course Ed has friends with a lot going for them pulling for him. Chris' friend's family is anchored by a late 50's/early 60's cancer survivor who was in business for himself and had a business setback, and not nearly the support network that McMahon has found now in trying to sell his 6+M home. Both are truly tragic stories and have to make you think you could find yourself in similar circumstances, no matter who you are. Not exactly the stuff robust "Consumer Confidence Indexes" are made of, eh? Hopefully, things in our economy will start to turn around, or at least stabilize, soon. In the meantime, those of us who are and have been more fortunate will continue to count our blessings, and hopefully do our best to help out those who have had and are facing these sorts of challenges.

Well, none of my musings would be complete without some sports thoughts including at least one random thought about the Washington Capitals and next season - sure seems that Caps star Alex Ovechkin, despite all this year's awards won't rest till he brings a Stanley Cup to 7th and F Street, NW - check out this video on YouTube. For Major League Lacrosse fans - the Long Island Lizards downed the Washington Bayhawks 15-11 last evenning at George Mason Stadium in Fairfax, VA. The last goal of the game by Chris Fiore was the stuff highlight reels are made of. For me it's (Major League Lacrosse) not quite like watching Ovie get a hat trick or make a colossal hit while the Caps march to victory, but it is cool stuff all the same. Can't wait till next season - LETS GO CAPS!!! (as in how about a few free agent signings in these next two weeks, hint, hint)

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