An account of two Attitudes towards Richard Martinez

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On Friday, May 23, Elliot Rodger killed six and wounded 13 innocent people near the University of California, Santa Barbara. On May 24, the father of victim Chris Martinez said the following – “Our family has a message for every family out there. You don’t think it will happen to your child, until it does.” Choking on tears, he added, “His death has left our family lost and broken. Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA. They talk about gun rights. What about Chris’ right to live? When will this insanity stop? When will enough people say stop this madness. We should say to ourselves, not one more,” before he collapsed in tears and walked off.

In response to Mr. Martinez’ comments, there were two vastly different attitudes that came forth.


Mark Barden, Richard Martinez

Mark Barden, Richard Martinez

The first one came from Mark Barden who lost his 7-year-old son, Daniel, in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting. He wrote the following: “We have not met, but you are now part of our extended family. It is not a family we chose, but a family born from the horrible circumstance of losing a child to gun violence – one that’s growing steadily. My heart breaks for you because I know just a little about the long road ahead of you. We have reached out to you privately but publicly we wanted to say to you and those feeling the sorrow, anger and frustration of this weeks’ shooting, you are not along,” Barden wrote in a letter to Richard Martinez.

The second response came from Samuel Wurzelbacher, aka ‘Joe the Plumber’.

Joe the Plumber

Joe the Plumber

“I am sorry you lost your child. I myself have a son and daughter and the one thing I never want to go through, is what you are going through now. But: As harsh as this sounds – your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights… We still have the Right to Bear Arms and I intend to continue to speak out for that right, and against those who would restrict it – even in the face of this horrible incident by this sad and insane individual. I almost said “Obama Voter” but I’m waiting for it to be official…I cannot begin to imagine the pain you are going through, having had your child taken away from you. However, any feelings you have toward my rights being taken away from me, lose those.”

Mark Barden’s attitude is filled with kindness, love, humility, benevolence, generosity, compassion and empathy. Joe the Plumber’s attitude is filled with greed, arrogance, ego, superiority, antipathy, ‘his right’ and ideology.

America, which attitude will you choose?


How a Rusty Monkey Wrench took down a U.S. Fleet

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Any individual, business, or government can throw money at initiatives, but when the real test comes, only smart creative thinking will make true breakthroughs.


Remember when you played soldiers as a kid? Sometimes the kids down the street would have better toy guns than you. Maybe they had those fancy Nerf guns and all you had were simple rubber band guns. And when things weren’t going so well for one of the teams, they’d call time out and try to change the rules.

Now although I don’t play soldiers anymore because I’ve grown up, although I still eat Fruity Pebbles cereal, the military does and they call these ‘War Games’. The biggest war game was called the Millennium Challenge. It happened in 2002 and over 13,000 troops participated. These troops along with real and virtual military planes and warships were spread out across the Middle East. There were two teams – the blue team was the United States of course and the red team was the bad guys.

The blue team had new technology at their disposal. They had precision guided missiles, overhead surveillance systems, several warships including an aircraft carrier, and thousands of marines. The red team, which was led by retired marine, Lt General Paul Van Riper, appreciated that new technology, but unfortunately was not allowed to use it at his disposal. Instead, General Paul Riper was given a fleet of small and inexpensive boats and planes – most of them civilian, along with some machine guns, rockets, and small army. One could have said this was like Germany taking on the Vatican Army. Surely General Paul Riper and his army are going to get crushed. But General Riper was not frightened by the overwhelming force. He put his mind to the problem: how can I adapt and avoid this overwhelming force and yet do damage against the United States?

So after two years of planning, the Generals and Admirals who were commanding the blue team were excited to begin the Millennium Challenge. As the war game began, the U.S. fleet entered the make believe Persian Gulf determined to overwhelm General Riper’s forces. Assessing the situation, General Riper reacted and began to give orders. But he did not give orders using radio transmission – those orders might have been intercepted. Instead, he sent coded messages delivered by motorcycle messengers. He also announced these codes messages from mosques throughout the area. After the orders were received, wave after wave of those small civilian boats headed out into the Persian Gulf and began swarming the naval convoy from all directions. They fired at the U.S. fleet with rockets and machine guns. Bratatatatatat. Some boats were loaded with explosives and they crashed into the U.S. boats damaging them severely. The sheer numbers of the civilian boats and speedboats overloaded the blue team’s ability, both mentally and electronically, to handle the attack.


Within 30 minutes, 16 U.S. war ships including thousands of marines were sunk. Within half an hour, General Van Riper, who did not have the latest military weapons or technology, who was only given a fleet of small and inexpensive civilian boats and airplanes, sunk 16 U.S. Navy warships and thousands of marines. If this war really had happened, it would have been the worst naval disaster since Pearl Harbor.


Any individual, business, or government can throw money at problems, but when the real test comes, only smart creative thinking will make true breakthroughs. General Paul Riper illustrated a very cheap way to beat a very expensive fleet. The blue team considered themselves invincible and thought they were going to dominate the battlefield. Imagine the look on the blue team’s Generals and Admirals faces after they got their butt kicked. I bet it was Priceless.

General Paul Riper, despite having limited resources, put his mind to the problem – let’s think of a way we can adapt to the situation, avoid the overwhelming U.S forces, and yet still do damage against the opposition. When it comes to smart creative thinking, I think Robert Hughes said it best – “a determined soul will do more with a rusty monkey wrench than a loafer will accomplish with all the tools in a machine shop.”

Some people might think that this would never happen. For me, the story of General Van Riper and the Millennium Challenge reminds me of the American Revolutionary War. When the war began, the 13 colonies lacked a professional army or navy. Instead, each colony sponsored a local militia. Militiamen were lightly armed and had little training. In fact, most of them did not even have uniforms. Their units served for only a few weeks or months at a time, and they were reluctant to travel far from home and thus were unavailable for extended operations. They lacked the training and discipline of soldiers with more experience. However, if properly used, their numbers could overwhelm British forces. And guess who won that war.

13 colonies

I bet at the battle of Yorktown, the last major battle during the American Revolutionary war, the British General, Lord Cornwallis, who was commanding the British army, as he saw his enemy being defeated by these militiamen, probably wanted to call ‘time-out’ – you know, like what we used to do as kids when things weren’t going our way.

Why David will always be a Wing Man

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Just like bachelors, CEOs often choose the wrong strategies based on what consultants say.

Why David will always be a Wingman

What does a Wing Man have in common with some bad CEOs?

Three years ago in Houston, two young men, Steven and David, decided it was time to find the right girl to marry. They were very similar, these two men. Both had graduated from college, both had nice teeth, both had ambition.

Flash forward to today, David was still unsuccessful, Steven however, was happily engaged to the girl of his dreams. What made the difference?

What made the difference wasn’t that one was better looking, just got lucky, or was more determined. The difference lied in how each man made use of his time and where to focus his resources. Here is how David tried to find the right girl to marry:

  • He bought a flashy sports car hoping that would get attention and dates
  • Constantly went to all the bars hitting on every girl
  • Created one automated email message to send and respond to every girl he found attractive on online dating sites
  • Hired a fashion stylist who spent his money on expensive clothing like Gucci shoes, Zegna suits, watches, and cologne

Steven on the other hand, focused his energies to what’s below the surface. Steven did the following:

  • Joined a Toastmasters club to improve his speaking and presentation skills
  • Set a goal for himself to run at least one marathon every year
  • Volunteered his time once a month at a non-profit agency (where he met his fiancé)
  • Asked his female friends to provide him honest feedback and recommendations about his hair cut, appearance, and his personality

So what do the choices that Steven and David made have to do with decisions that CEOs have to make? Just like our bachelors, CEOs often choose the wrong strategies based on what consultants or GQ magazine says.

For example,

  • The Flashy sports car can be seen as overspending on office space
  • Hitting on every girl, well that is like offering low prices everywhere and not making a decent margin
  • Sending out an automated email message is similar to outsourcing customer service representatives to another country
  • Hiring a Fashion stylist, essentially that is being taken advantage of by advertising agencies and consultants

As far as the decisions Steven made, he..

  • joining a Toastmasters club was like attending leadership classes sponsored by his company
  • Steven setting a goal to run a marathon is like having an annual target to meet for his specific job
  • Volunteering at a non-profit, for a company that translates to Corporate social responsibility; being involved in the community
  • And finally, asking his female friends for advice, that is the company sending out an Employee engagement survey to get feedback from employees

So in conclusion, if you know someone who is looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right. Or a CEO making bad decisions. Tell him or her to join Toastmasters, go volunteer, and start setting goals for themselves! Otherwise, they might be playing the role of a wing man for a very long time.

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”– Albert Einstein

10 Examples of how Men are becoming like Women

Is it me or are men starting to do more things that are considered feminine? Adam Carolla first noticed this back in 2004 and wrote about it in his book In 50 Years We’ll All Be Chicks. I can’t help to think he may be right.  Here to see 10 examples of how men are…

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Okay, the gender line is starting to blur when designers are creating this type of clothing for men.

menwearDo you wonder, are Men becoming more feminine? Are Men going to start wearing nail polish soon? Now I am not some kind of ex-military, tobacco chewing, Samurai warrior or anything, I think I’m just your normal guy who can’t help but notice the behavior and purchasing decisions that some men are doing. With that said, here are 10 examples of how men are starting to become more feminine. NOTE, do not take this post too seriously.

1.) Men who own little Dogs

Look, if it’s your girlfriend’s dog that’s fine, but for the men out there who own a dog that is smaller than a Cocker Spaniel or fluffier than a Poodle, I have one question – Why?! And don’t give me that “Well I have a small apartment” excuse. Yes, owning dogs and walking them outside is a good strategy for meeting women, but walking that Maltese around doesn’t make you look masculine.

2.) Men driving Small Cars

Now maybe it all started with the Mini Cooper which is not much bigger than the Fiat, but why on Earth are men driving these small cars? Do you really think you are going to get that model in the Fiat commercial (her legs don’t even fit in the car by the way). It’s like everywhere I look, I see more and more men driving these ‘cute’ little cars. Don’t get me wrong, they are fun to rent for a weekend when you are on vacation in Europe, but buying one of these because you want to be ‘Eco’ friendly is a bit far fetched.

3.) Men who are on Pinterest

So one day my girlfriend tells me that one of her male friends is now following her on Pinterest. I had heard of the site, but never checked it out. So when she logged on, I sat on the couch next to her to see what it was all about. Here are some of the headlines and pics I saw: 1. How to keep your jewelry from getting tangled, 2. Recipe for making brownies with mint, 3. Repurpose a China cabinet, 4. How to make a minty tea cooler… and the rest of the topics/pins or whatever you call them were all similar. Men, stop reading tips on how to manicure your nails and log back on to ESPN.

4.) Men playing Kadima paddle ball

paddle ball

All I can say is that when I was a boy growing up, my Dad never said “hey, let’s go play some paddle ball”. We either threw the football or baseball around.  Seeing grown men play this game with eachother just makes me shake my head.

5.) Just Bieber carrying Mayweather’s belt

You are pound for pound one of boxing’s best fighters and you let a teenage heart throb hold your championship belt when you walk into the ring to face your opponent? I wonder what Chris Rock would have to say about this. Justin Bieber carrying one’s championship belt into the ring is not very masculine. In fact, Justin Bieber anything is not macho. I understand Mayweather wanted to tap into Bieber’s audience, but who are they? 13 year old girls? And for anyone wondering if I had the guts to call Mayweather out in person, the answer is – absolutely.

6) Men wearing tight Jeans

Yes, I know they have been around for a few years now and maybe they are now considered fashionably okay to wear, but why?? They look absolutely ridiculous with the material clinging so tight to one’s skin. Seriously, how to guys walk and sit wearing those things? Unless you are a rock star or are just plain very skinny, tight jeans look good on women, not men. I know a lot of guys wear skinny jeans, but hence the word ‘guys’ and not ‘men’. Moreover, tight-fitting jeans can cause urinary tract infections, twisted testicles, bladder weakness and long-term health consequences.

7) Men carrying around Purses (Handbags)

I snapped this photo in DC. The color of the shorts has got to go, but let’s stick to the ‘man purse’. What do these men carry in these things? A mini-iron? There is no reason whatsoever for a man to walk around with a purse. If it’s not a backpack, duffel bag, gym sack, brief case, or wallet that fits in your back pocket, get rid of it! Same thing with reusable shopping bags… come on.

8) Men signing up to receive the Birchbox

Men, the only trial size grooming products you should ever need are the ones you take from hotels while on business trips.

9) Men getting their Eyebrows done (or waxed)

Back when I lived in Queens, New York, I would occasionally see some Italian guys getting their eyebrows done, but I thought this was a strictly cultural / Italian thing! Now however, I think this silly concept is happening in other parts of the country and not just among Italians! What’s next. Women waiting in line at the manicure place for men to be finished with their appointments? Unless you have a very bad case of a unibrow, men, pluck your eyebrows at home.

10) Men with Earrings & men who go to suntan salons

earring and spray tan

Deciding on what to list as the last example of how men are becoming more like women was tough. So I decided to list two things that just don’t make sense to me – men who wear earrings and men who go to suntanning salons. Can’t take a man seriously when he has bling in his ears. As for men going to the tanning salon, why? Do you really think a man’s tan is high on the criteria on the list of things women want in a man? Hanging by the pool catching some sun while drinking a beer is acceptable. Purposely going to a salon is not. I know a lot of guys wear earrings and go to tanning salons, but hence the word ‘guys’ and not ‘men’.

BONUS – Men taking wives’ last name

men taking wifes name, men acting more feminine

Huh? A man taking his wife’s last name? That is correct. One person commented on this article by saying “Turn in your Man Card”. You can read the story featured on USA Today. What do you think about this?

BONUS – Men wearing the same underwear as women

how men are acting like women, men wearing womens underwear, masculinity dying

Two New York City fashion designers are envisioning a world where men and women wear the same underwear. Couldn’t they find a male model with a chest and arm muscles or is that against the norm now too?

BONUS – Men engaging in slap fighting contest


BONUS – Men taking pole dancing classes as a ‘workout’

how men are starting to act like women

Perhaps some men saw ‘Magic Mike’ and took it the wrong way?

Bonus – Men taking cats as pets

men owning cats

Bonus – Men putting glitter on their beards

glitter on beards

Bonus – Make Up brands signing up male models

make up male models, male covergirl

My wife told me about this one and was flabbergasted. “Why would I ever buy make up because of a guy modeling it?!” she said. This is the statement from CoverGirl – “All of our CoverGirls are role models and boundary-breakers, fearlessly expressing themselves, standing up for what they believe, and redefining what it means to be beautiful.” I’m shaking my head as I read and post this…


To read more about this topic, see Oprah’s article Why Men Are Becoming More Like Women. If you want to read a hilarious book by a man who simply has the balls to publicly say what the few remaining real men in this world would say, then read In 50 Years We’ll All Be Chicks.

Men (and I purposely say ‘Men’ and not ‘Guys’), we are becoming a dying race. Feel free to share your comments and let me know if there are any examples I should have included. Cheers. – Eric

To all Houston Gang Members

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You are young, strong and healthy. Why don’t you work? It bores you? Want do you want to be? A thief?

… Poor boy, sheer laziness has started you on the most arduous of careers. You call yourself a loafer, but you will have to work harder than most men. Have you ever seen a treadmill? It is a thing to beware of, a cunning and diabolical device; if it catches you by the coat-tails, it will swallow you up. Another name for it is idleness. You should change your ways while there is still time. Otherwise you’re done for; in a very little while you will be caught in the machinery, and then there’s no more hope. No rest for the idler; nothing but the iron grip of incessant struggle. You don’t want to earn your living honestly, do a job, fulfill a duty; the thought of being like other men bores you. But the end is the same.

Work is the law of life, and to reject it as boredom is to submit to it as torment. Not wanting to be a workman you will become a slave. If work fails to get you with one hand it will get you with the other; you won’t treat it as a friend, and so you will become its Negro slave. You flinch from the fatigues of honest men, and for this you will sweat like the damned; where other men sing you will groan, and their work, as you contemplate it from the depths, will look to you like rest.

What other men find light as a feather for you will have the heaviness of lead. The gentlest slope will seem steep and all life will be a matter of monstrous difficulty. The simplest acts, the very act of breathing, will be a labour to you, your very lungs will seem to have a crushing weight. The ordinary man when he wants to leave his home has only to open the door, and there he is, outside, but you will have to break through your own wall.

What do ordinary people do when they want to go into the street? They simply walk downstairs. But you will have to tear up your sheets and make a rope of them, because you must go out by way of the window, and there you will be, dangling on your rope in darkness. Or you’ll climb by way of chimney, at the risk of getting burnt, or crawl through a sewer at the risk of drowning. I say nothing about the holes that must be covered up, that stones that must be removed and replaced, the plaster to be disposed of. You are confronted by a lock which the householder has the key in his pocket, the work of a locksmith. If you want to break it you have to create a masterpiece. First you will take a large sou piece and cut it in two slices. As for the tools you use for this purpose, you will have to invent them. That’s your affair.

Then you will hollow the inside of the slices, taking care not to damage the outside of the  coin, and cut a thread in the rims so that they can be screwed together without any trace being visible. To the world at large it will be nothing but a coin, but to you it will be a box in which you will carry a scrap of steel – a watch-spring in which you have cut teeth, making it into a saw. And with the saw, coiled in a sou piece, you will cut through the bolt of a lock, the shank of a padlock, or the bars of your prison cell. And what will your reward be for working this miracle of art, skill, and patience if you are found to be its author? It will be prison. That is your future.

Indolence and the life of pleasure – what snares they are! Can you not see that to decide to do nothing is the most wretched of all decisions? To live in idleness on the body politic is to be useless, that is to say harmful, and it can only end in misery. Woe to those who choose to be parasites, they become vermin! But you don’t want to work. All you want is rich food and drink and a soft bed. You will end by drinking water, eating black bread, and sleeping on a bed of planks with fetters on your limbs, with the night cold piercing to your bones.

You will break your chains and escape. All right – but you will crawl on your stomach through the undergrowth and live on the grass like the beasts of the field. And you will be caught. After which you will spend years in an underground cell, chained to the wall, groping for the water-jug, gnawing crusts of bread that a dog would not touch, and maggoty beans – like a cockroach in a cellar!

You want fine black cloth and glossy pumps , hair smoothly combed and scented; you want to be a gay dog and please the girls! But want you’ll get is a shaven head, a red smock, and clogs. You want rings on your fingers, but you’ll have one round your neck, and a cut of the whip if you so much as look at a woman. You’ll start on that life at twenty and end at fifty. You’ll start young and fresh, bright-eyed and white-toothed, and you’ll end broken and bent, wrinkled, toothless and repellent, with white hair. My poor boy, you’re on the wrong road. Sloth is a bad counselor. Crime is the hardest of all work. Take my advice, don’t be led into the drudgery of idleness. Rascality is a comfortless life; honesty is far less demanding.

Excerpt from Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables

Learn how to ride a horse in Houston

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I tell you what, this was a lot better than that place my parents used to take me to near the Astrodome when I was a kid. I guess going to the Houston Rodeo and seeing those cowboys buckle those Mustangs got me in the mood to find my Texan roots and take a horse riding class. (I am too afraid to ride sheep like the Mutton Busters do).  As luck would have it, there is a horse farm located about 20 minutes from Houston Downtown called Clear Round Show Jumpers where they also teach you how to ride a horse. More than 40 horses are stabled there. It was so funny to ride on my horse between the barns and see all the other horses staring at us.

So how did the lesson go you ask? It was lots of fun! Before you even get on the horse, they teach you how to prepare the horse for a ride. Properly secure them, clean their horse shoes, brush them, how to put the saddle on, and the bridle. It sounds like there is a lot of effort, but doing all this only took around 15 minutes. Finally, strap the helmet on and it’s go time!

Sitting on a tall horse is a great experience. I learned how to make the horse go, stop, and make turns. Of course, this was under the supervision of professional horse riders Adrian and Dominique. There was plenty of room to ride Topac around the farm, practice some turns, and gallop a bit. Before I knew it, the hour was up. Time flies when you are having fun. Special thanks to Adrian and Dominique from Clear Round Show Jumpers below.

A great idea for a first date in Houston

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Skip the drive to Galveston, pass on walking by the fountain at Transco Tower, and save the outdoor concert at Discovery Green for another time. If you are looking for something fun to do for a first date in Houston, I highly suggest Merlot2Masterpiece. What is it?

It is a painting class where you can bring your booze! That’s right. You, your date, and a few other strangers are going to paint a Masterpiece. It sounds much harder than it really is. Or maybe I just had a really good teacher. Nevertheless, I still can’t believe that I actually painted the piece of artwork that is sitting on my furniture. Not bad for someone who has not taken a painting class since the 7th grade!

I went to Merlot2Masterpiece which is on the North side of town, but I hear there are other places that do something similar like Pinot’s Palette in Montrose. All you do is sign up, bring your date or friend, and your drink of choice for the night and they will handle the rest! Have a good time..