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Training Is Never Wasted and The Best Interview Question

September 6, 2006 | By | One Comment

An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest said Ben Franklin. And sometimes learning a skill will pay off in ways unintended and unanticipated.

My favorite interview question is to ask candidates what their high school dream was. What did they want to do, what did they want to be. The best candidates — by that I mean the most contented candidates, have a thread in their lives of what they wanted to do back then and what they are doing today.

An expert interviewer, like Your humble Business Blogger, can discern the contentment and the fire in the belly of the job candidate, by analyzing any gap between high school plans and the current stage in life — I find that the larger this gap, the more unhappy the candidate. Unhappy candidates make for unhappy employees.

Critics of this crazy question accurately say that technology, markets, the world have changed since we were in high school, back in the day. And they are right: the material world changes. Less so people. And what people love to do, and how each individual candidate would like to make a difference.

Here is my favorite example.

She was a competitive swimmer in her youth. And wanted to be a life guard. Her dream job that would make a difference. She trained, studied and was certified.

She found her calling; her vocation but she never found that job.

A disappointed teenager, she took a position as an Assistant Cashier in the athletic center at Camp of the Woods in Adirondack Park of upstate New York in June of 1982. She didn’t get what she wanted, but at least she was near the water.

One afternoon while ringing up a sale, the young girl heard a commotion from the pool behind her across the hall.

A woman was just pulled from the pool. Limp, on her back turning blue. Not breathing. Stunned on-looking bystanders frozen. Inaction.

The teenage girl darted to the woman. Started mouth-to-mouth. The woman moved, struggled, gagged, puked and breathed.

Our teenager never got exactly the job she wanted; that job she trained for.

But her education did pay off. Expecially for one swimmer visiting Adirondack Park.

Training is never wasted.


Today that teenage girl, now a mature woman, lives out her high school dream making a difference in a big, dramatic vocation before an on-looking crowd of millions. She wanted to make a difference in a unique way. And does so today.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

The management at the resort was concerned that the near death by drowning would cause adverse publicity, I suppose. The life-saving event was never reported. Bad for business, you see. Our young heroine was never thanked.

And she doesn’t want to be thanked now. And really doesn’t want this blogged. (But that’s what husbands do.)

US of A: We Win Wars and Have the Best Sex

July 25, 2006 | By | No Comments

I thought the US was supposed to be “hung up” about sex. Turns out we’re doing pretty well compared to the rest of the world, if you want to lend any credence to a new study. And I’m not saying I do, but here you go anyway.

A survey of nearly 30,000 middle aged and older people in nearly 30 countries, says that men are “more satisfied with their sex lives than women in the same age group” and that age has little to do with sexual well-being.

The survey also revealed that sex is better in Europe, North America and Australia than it is in the Far East.


The Penta-Posse

Even better news: in the US “about three-quarters of men and two-thirds of women” reported they were very satisfied with their sexual relationships. The USA is on top of the world.

Still, a big caveat. I’m skeptical about some of the details — with these kind of surveys you get an awfully high “selection bias” that skews the results. You have to ask how the people who were willing to participate in the project differ from society at large. And I also wonder about the variables they were looking at to differentiate between the factors that contribute to a good sex life. The news report attributes having “more or less equal relationships” to positive findings. But that begs the question: what does “more or less equal” mean?

Well, it’s not rocket science, and you don’t need high-priced studies to tell you the answer. It’s just basic common-sense — a good sex life is rooted in a committed, married relationship founded on deep, enduring respect and consideration for each other. We have to be careful about the political freight “equality” brings — if equality degenerates into keeping score, you’ve lost the essence of caring for each other that keeps a love relationship alive.

Hat tip: My Way News.


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Cross Post from Reasoned Audacity. So that’s where all those kids came from…

A Shirt for my Little Girls

July 17, 2006 | By | No Comments


At Dusty Brand shirts

How great is this??

From Seeker at two or

Cross Post from Reasoned Audacity.


The Modern Working Woman in Business, at Home

July 14, 2006 | By | No Comments

So here’s the typical mom in America today: baby on knee, small business down the street, with rifle in Pakistan.

This week’s column in Small Business Trends has highlights — and I’m not talking hair — of a typical mom. Yes, women have always been producers — breeding babies and businesses since Eden, but this is something each generation has to discover for itself. See Women’s Future in the Small Business Labor Force.


Helen, second from left

with rifle “consulting” in Pakistan

“How do you it all?” Accomplished women with kids constantly get this question.

Helen Philbrook, married and mother of three, from Raleigh, NC, has the answer.

Your Business Blogger recently sat down with Helen and her husband David to learn the secret.

She’s a former Vice President of an environmental testing firm, and perhaps the world’s first female “Smoke Stack Sniffer.” She’s run a number of start-ups.

But Helen says she’s now “followed her passion to gardening.” Her company Tiger Lily’s is an award-winning firm that gives her what she needs most:


She was well-prepared. Helen has an M.S. in Environmental Engineering and Science, studied Garden Design in London, and completed a series of international consulting assignments. In a male-dominated business. Where she learned:


The greatest challenge women face in business is learning to negotiate.

But she also negotiates with her clients. Hard. She establishes upfront contracts with the explicit understanding that her family will come first.


Helen, Vice President

She is an advocate of “sequencing” for women — marriage, children, work. Helen says a woman can always have an “ambitious career.” After the kids are in school. She knows she will anger feminists.

She has advice to young women starting out. Where the fear is that they will get behind the power curve. “Not so.”

Helen says, “Your career is still waiting for you.”

After your children.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

Full Disclosure: Helen is my sister.

No Speed Bumps has Women in Engineering.

Alas, a blog has Homeward Bound.

Basil’s Blog has Breakfast.

Washington Baltimore Corridor Music Camp

July 7, 2006 | By | No Comments


The Diva on Piano The Baptist Convention of Baltimore and Delware is sponsoring a music camp. Starts this Sunday and spaces are filling up.

Cost $99 per child — We’ll be sending our Penta-Posse.

Call Bryan at 410 -dot- 695 -dot- 5374 to reserve a spot. Reservations can also be made at the door at First Baptist Church in Laurel, Maryland. Or email Bryan at BPatrick AT FirstBaptistLaurel dot org

Or email me.


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Cross posted at Reasoned Audacity.

My Wife Flew off with Bono and Branson; Bombed in London 7.7.05

July 6, 2006 | By | No Comments


On the plane with Richard Branson

Following is an edited cross post from Charmaine’s Reasoned Audacity, July 1 – 7, 2005.

A year ago, Charmaine calls early morning from Edinburgh. “I’m having trouble flying into London,” she says.

I’m still waking up. I ask, “When can you come home?”

“I don’t know,” she says, her voice unsteady, “They’re still clearing the bodies.”

A wake up call. London, welcome to the war.

It started, as most things these days do, with Powerline.

Following is original posting from London as Charmaine called it into me, when her site went down. Any inconsistencies may be due to transcription overload.

This is Jack, the husband: Charmaine called. Her site is still down, but she wanted to file a report to Powerline.

“Flew into Heathrow airport and took a $150 cab ride into north London to conduct interviews and document the bombsites. Bobbies cordoned off area around the sites sealing the scene of the explosions. I got to within a block or so of Edgware Tube station entrance with Londoners sitting calmly, relaxing in pubs. Everything is strangely calm, business as usual. I interviewed a woman, an interior designer, expecting some emotional display. There was none. “We don’t do a lot of group hugging in England,” she said, making me think of the stiff-upper lip. “We are not sentimental.”


And she seemed to reflect the mood of the London population. Not for what they were doing but for what they were not doing: No candles, no out-pouring of grief, no hoards of gawkers milling around police tape, no teddy bears, no bouquets of flowers. No movement. No tears. Everything normal, except, maybe for that bus with the top blown off. Workers cleared and cleaned up the area real well. Spiffy. And got back to their pints.

I visited hospitals and learned that ‘only’ 37 were confirmed dead at that time. More confirmations were expected.

There were no moms with little children in downtown London. I interviewed middle-aged businessmen on cell phones and kids with Mohawks, none who were surprised.

Londoners gently reproached me about my concern over the bloodshed, “You Americans get sentimental over silly things. We’re used to getting bombed.” The IRA Troubles had hardened hearts as well as the London infrastructure.

I expected some grief, at least as much as there was when Lady Di died. And grief I got. I interviewed three very ordinary, normal teenaged English Muslims, one with short spiky hair (dressed not unlike my 10 year-old-dude). All three seems to be parroting Muslim talking points. “The bombings were a conspiracy by Blair to generate support for the war,” they recited in a charming British accent.

The bombers were quite indiscriminate. Edgware is not far from the heart of Little Beirut, a Muslim ethnic neighborhood.

A young British black woman told me, “The bombings are Tony Blair’s fault — they killed a 100 thousand Iraqis — and it’s like a boomerang [coming back at the British].” Most everyone I talked to believed that the British caused the bombing or had it coming.

Of the dozen or so people I interviewed only white males in business attire expressed surprise that anyone would think the British were at fault in anyway.

But these gentlemen were the minority. Most felt that the Brits were complicit. The people at London’s ground zero were sounding like the “wobbly” Spanish after their train bombings.

The day is a cloudy, cold, rainy 7.7.”

Charmaine is still out on the streets — 9pm local London time and will be sending pictures soon.

Read the story at the jump.

CMR Salamander points to HotAir with video.

Read More

Charmaine on MSNBC, Adultery Clip

June 23, 2006 | By | No Comments

adultery_scarborough_charmaine.JPG Charmaine appeared on Joe Scarborough’s show last night. She was debating a recent New York Times article. It said that cheating on a spouse can be good.

The Grey Lady has gone crazy.

But that’s not news.

Congressman/talk show host Scarborough was able to find a woman to agree that extra, extra-marital sex can be, well, therapeutic.

The woman, Jennifer Berman, is some kind of doctor; a licensed therapist. She treats the crazies.

She should put the Grey Lady on the couch.

Then they could waste each other’s time and leave normal people alone.

Anyway, here’s the clip, courtesy Peter Shinn:

Charmaine Yoest, Ph.D. on Scarborough Country.


Charmaine in hair and makeup

Photo Credit: The Dude


Charmaine on the set on remote.

Photo Credit: The Dude


Charmaine and The Dude at MSNBC in DC


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Thankyou (foot)notes:

Be sure to see It Doesn’t Matter What The Media Says, As Long As They Spell Your Name Right over on Small Business Trends Radio. My weekly column appears there on Fridays.

Pixar Cars from Disney on Route 66; a Puritan Message

June 17, 2006 | By | No Comments

John Calvin, the French theologian, once said that “self-denial is the sum total of the Christian life.” Which is why Hollywood doesn’t care for faith or self-sacrifice themes. And creative marketers are sometimes confused by timeless basics.


The Penta-Posse

at the famous

Jack Rabbit Trading Post

on Rt. 66 But sometimes marketers and Hollywood lurch into Calvin’s truth.

The Puritanical is not tyrannical.

Two items:

1. Disney’s new movie “Cars” ended with the hero making (what for Hollywood is) the supreme sacrifice. And,

2. The movie took in $60 million on its opening weekend.

They are connected. By an old road.

Lisa Baertlein, from Reuters, reports, ‘Cars’ marks Disney-Pixar’s third biggest opening:

“Cars,” a heavily marketed film whose star is a talking race car named Lightning McQueen, is competing for the family audience with animal cartoon “Over the Hedge,” which had weekend receipts of over $10 million.

Chuck Viane, Disney’s president of distribution, expects “Cars” to cross the $100 million line sometime next weekend.

“Cars,” featuring the voices of Owen Wilson, Paul Newman, Bonnie Hunt and racing icon Richard Petty, is the first Disney-Pixar collaboration since Disney acquired Pixar in January for $7.4 billion.

The feature, which is rated G for all ages, tells how Lightning McQueen learns valuable life lessons during a forced pit stop in a sleepy town. It is directed by John Lasseter, whose “Toy Story 2” opened at $57.4 million.

The sleepy town is located on the by-passed Route 66. John Steinbeck, in The Grapes of Wrath, blessed Route 66 as the “Mother Road.” As in apple pie and America. Alert Drivers west of Chicago will know the road and the story well. The 2400 mile road links The Windy City to LA.



Get Your Kicks on

Route 66

TV from the 1960’sLast year Charmaine and Your Business Blogger took the Penta-Posse out west down parts of Route 66. Self Discovery, just like the early 60’s TV series Route 66. We didn’t take a Corvette — we took another Chevy, the monster Suburban.

Down parts of Route 66. A Car Guy’s Highway. It is the subtext of the “Cars” movie. An earlier time when America and Hollywood were proud to be great.

Today this greatness, this self-denial can only be marketed with a cartoon. But it’s a start.


Pixar Animation Studios/Walt Disney Studios

A scene from “Cars,” directed by John Lasseter,

which Pixar Animation Studios hopes

will be its seventh consecutive hit.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

See Route 66 News.

We took the Penta-Posse and other assorted family to see “Cars.” Tickets, popcorn, drinks, candy; a great time. Thank goodness financing was available. Heatsongs reminds us to stay well past the credits after the movie.

More history at the jump.

See Your Business Bloggers’ nostalgia for old Vettes, old times and getting kicks. On Route 66.

Seth Godin has ideas on entertainment marketing.

Mudville Gazette has Open Post.

Brand Autopsy has more on money in movies

Best of Me Symphony is up with self selected best posts over 60 days seasoned.

Read More

Show Business: Lesson One

June 16, 2006 | By | No Comments

Every Friday, Your Business Blogger has an article up on Small Business Trends Radio. Here’s a preview of this week’s edition.


Bill Archer, Left

Your Business Blogger, Charmaine and

The Dreamer

A few years ago, Your Business Blogger and Charmaine and the 18 month-old Dreamer kicked off a press conference for Congressman Bill Archer who was introducing tax cut legislation. As I droned waxed eloquent, the little Dreamer got distracted by the microphones. With their soft, inviting, spongy covers.

So she reached out and gave the mike cover a good squishy squeeze. And when she did…

Read the rest at Small Business Trends Radio, Show Prep for Your Big Show Biz Break.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

Small Business Trends is the creation of Anita Campbell.

Fathers' Day on Eternal Patrol

June 15, 2006 | By | No Comments


USS BonefishJune 18th, this Sunday is Fathers’ Day. It is also the day of loss of the USS Bonefish in 1945. This date is acknowledged each year by our household — for the men lost — the Dads; the sons.

A few years ago Your Business Blogger was honored to be invited to the Submarine Veterans Chapter in North Carolina and share a few words. The podium was on the ocean front. Grizzled vets and wives sat in the sun. Hot. Uncomplaining.

Afterwards, a plane flew overhead and dropped a wreath on the water a few hundred yards out. An honor guard fired a three-round volley. The Dude scampered for the shell casings. I have them in a desk drawer. To remember.

Submariners’ Memorial Service, Saturday May 13, 2000, Outer Banks, North Carolina

Debt of Honor

It is an honor to join you here today and remember the submariners “still on patrol.” And to remember our debt of honor due. I’ve asked my son, John, to join us today — a day I expect him to remember and take to his grave.

During World War II, my dad, a teenager from New Jersey, left high school, went to submarine school and was assigned to the USS Bonefish.


Virtual Painter Photos

Courtesy Tom McMahonWhen John saw previews of the blockbuster movie U-571, he asked if it was about his grandfather. The movie is a story about honor, courage, strength, character, what being a man, a warrior really is. Yes John, your grandfather was in the movie, and so were each of the submariners here today.

But in the movie the men came home. We are here today for the men who didn’t.

My father was re-assigned and walked off the gangplank and another man walked on the Bonefish. The Bonefish was lost in combat on June 18, 1945 with all hands.

My dad eventually went back to high school and married my mother. The other man is on the bottom of the Sea of Japan.

My father, after a half-century later after fighting in and surviving two wars, is buried in Arlington Cemetery. He had the chance to raise a family and devote 30 years to the Navy and pin Second Lieutenant bars on my shoulders.

Like many veterans, he didn’t talk much about being in harm’s way. Still, I imagine, in some Navy Valhalla, my dad and this other sailor linked up and asked the Creator, “Why?”

Why was my father spared? Why each of you? Why was the other man, why did the other men not come home? War forces these questions on us, and they echo for generations — my father had me, and now I have a 5-year old son, John, who carries his grandfather’s name and his love of battle and discipline.

John, like all children, often asks, “Why?” Like all fathers, I struggle to answer. But there are some questions we cannot fathom on this side of eternity. Why was my father not on that submarine that fateful day?

And the answer does not come. Only that John now lives — with a purpose and a destiny and lessons to learn and a debt of honor.

The submarine and her crew is the truest example of a military unit and military cohesion and military mission. And this is what I want my son to see. He saw it in the movie U-571, and in each of you today. But more important, I want him to understand the sacrifice of the men remembered today.

When my wife was pregnant with our first child, someone asked her, “What is your greatest fear?” She answered that it was losing her husband; she feared the possibility of facing the awesome responsibility of motherhood alone.


But now, several children later, as I reflect on that same question, my fear is not losing her, or even one of our daughters. I fear losing my son. In my masculine pride, I believe I can protect my wife and girls, but in my heart, just below the surface, is the dread possibility that I must one day send my son to war.

Just as your fathers sent each of you. And by God’s grace, you and my father came back.

My boy loves my cavalry saber and my dad’s medals. Wearing a military uniform and military service runs deep in our family. My son’s blood line is traced through the Civil War and the Revolutionary War to William Penn to Charlemagne of ninth century France. His great-grandfather helped build the Virginia Military Institute.

I pray the time never comes, but if it does, I expect that he will fight for God and country like his fathers before him. And like you, warriors gathered today, and like the warriors still on “eternal patrol” we honor today.

I have in my office the Norman Rockwell print of the “Homecoming GI” showing a young man coming home from war being greeting by the neighborhood. His back is toward us, his face is each of you and my father. We remember today the boys who didn’t come home, lost at sea — the only thing left was a gold star and a Purple Heart and our eternal gratitude.

Buried at sea, there are no headstones, I cannot mark the grave of the man who took my father’s place. But shortly we will honor that man and each of the 3,505 men lost on 52 boats with a wreath. It is fitting that, as some boats were lost to aerial bombs, that we remember those lost heroes with an aerial wreath dropped over the sea.

There will always be wars and rumors of war, the Bible teaches. When I think of future wars I pray that a lost heroic high-tech Bonefish will not carry my John. The fear of this nearly unendurable loss humbles me. That young submariner who walked — requested permission to board — the Bonefish to take my father’s place was another man’s son. Another father’s dreams lost at sea. War turns civilization on its head: In peace sons bury fathers. In war fathers bury sons.

Today we remember the men buried in the sea. It is a weighty debt. A debt of honor due. This is why I have my boy, the grandson of a submariner, here today to honor those men with you. I expect to instill in him a sense of history, of true sacrifice, of his mission in life. That his body is not his own, that he has a higher calling and that he will honor and obey. That he has a high calling.

I hope that I can teach him the lessons of his forefathers, and the lessons of the men we remember today and each of you — a great cloud of witnesses. The Greatest Generation.

It is my prayer that instilling this sense of mission will drive out the distractions, temptations and destructions of his growing generation. That he will see the hand of Divine Providence moving in his life. That he will know that he has so much to be thankful for. Like his fathers before him. That, as Scripture teaches, greater love has no man than to give his life for another.


I pray that he will be grateful, like his grandfather, and me, to the man and the men who died for us. It is my charge to tell my son that another young man took his grandfather’s place.

My son has the duty, and like us all, to that man and those men. My son has the duty to live with a sense of respect and purpose and awe. To live with a sense of reverence to the tomb, the crushed hull, of that other submariner.

Today we salute and honor the man and the men who died for me and for us all. I want my son to know his debt of honor. And Lord willing, my son will bury me.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

Debt of Honor; USS Bonefish Lost was originally published by The Virginian Pilot and other print outlets.

Be Excellent has Father’s Day Advice.

Basil has a picnic.