Dad’s Favorite Joke

I was gonna make this a Friday Thought for Today, but:

  1.  It is way too long (as you know I try to keep the daily quotes short and sweet)
  2. It is pretty “obtuse”, is, I guess, the word. And I’m thinking many people won’t get it/see the point, but I love it, and have for well over 50 years.

You see, it was my Dad’s favorite joke. And, while my Dad was not particularly funny, he did have a pretty warped sense of humor. (thanks, Dad! 🙂 His jokes often had deeper meanings (not sure if that was intentional or not—hopefully, it was ;).  Like, one of his jokes:

A homeless guy is sitting on the steps to the subway selling pencils.  A business guy stops and says, “Ok, I’ll take one. How much”.  And the homeless guy says, “a million bucks”.  And the business guy looks at him and says, “A MILLION BUCKS?  FOR A PENCIL???”  And the homeless guy replies, “Yeah, but I only gotta sell ONE!”  (Now, in this age of crazy political correctness, I am sure that joke is now considered wrong in many ways, but…back in the day… 😀)

But that is not the joke I wanted to use for the thought of the day.  (Actually, I think I may already have—it’s kind of short enough).

Here is the joke:

I have shortened it because it was one of those jokes that went on for 10 minutes so that, in the end, you are kind of pissed off that you took so much of your time for a lousy punch line  (I TOLD you my Dad had a warped sense of humor), but back in the day, it went on forever.

But the gist of it is:

A young boy asks his mother and his father, “what is the meaning of life?”

They tell him, “Wow, that is way beyond us” and steer him to his grandparents, his uncle, his rabbi, his high school teacher, and on and on.

And as he grows, he asks many people he meets, “What is the meaning of life?”, but nobody has a good answer.

He grows up/goes to college. Asks his professors and deans.

He goes into business/becomes successful. Asks all his successful friends, not nobody knows.

Becomes wildly successful. Gets to ask Congressmen and Senators and the President and leaders from all over the world. But still…no succinct answer.

Finally, he is an old man. Some long-time acquaintance tells him, “I have good news and bad news. I have heard about some swami on a mountaintop near Tibet who knows the meaning of life. BUT…it is a long, arduous journey and he really speaks to anyone anymore, so I don’t think you’d be able to make it, and even if you did, doubt you’d get to ask him”.

Undeterred, clearly recognizing his life’s last mission, he heads out towards Tibet. He flies over, takes a car, takes a small bus, and then has to use his cane to walk for days to the temple where this “man who knows” lives.

He finally makes it and asks for an audience, but is told he will have to wait.

“I will wait” he replies and settles in for days, then for weeks and for months until someone comes out and says “he will see you now”.

He walks into the house where the man lives. Nothing fancy. Simple (of course). An old man, nearly naked, in rags, sits on the floor and looks at him, almost as if he’d been expecting this visit, almost like he knew him for centuries.  “How can I help you, brother?”

The man can’t help himself and breaks down in tears.  Finally, he composes himself.  “I have searched my entire life for you. For nearly 100 years I’ve waited for this very moment, oh wise one.  And I have but one simple question for you. He looks up through tears eyes and asks,  “WHAT is the meaning of life?”

The old man looks at him knowingly. Smiles a soft smile and nods. Closes his eyes for a very long time before speaking:  “I will tell you the meaning of life”.

And then, after another very long silence, he speaks in a quiet but confident voice:

“Wild birds can’t fly with wet wings at night”.

The man looks at him, trying to listen fully, to think deeply, to be in this moment, and to absorb the ultimate wisdom that he just heard.  But he can’t.

Can this be the meaning of life??? Wild birds can’t fly with wet wings at night?

He slowly, sadly shakes his head in confusion. Raises his eyes to meet the eyes of this all-knowing man.

“Wild birds can’t fly with wet wings at night? What does that even mean?


The swami looks at him with surprise.



Told ya it was a bad joke.

But I do believe it has a powerful meaning. Don’t hate 😉

Miss ya, Dad.


The Need For Speed

Hey all, please read the below link because it is worth reading and important, I think.

I know that some folks at LP think that our “need for speed” is sometimes unreasonable. But I really don’t believe that. I think if you look at many of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time, Steve Jobs with Apple, Larry Ellison with Oracle, Jeff Bezos with Amazon, Elon Musk with Tesla (and many others, I’m sure), they all have many common denominators—1 of which is “unreasonable speed”.

Whether it’s answering the incoming phone call, or getting back to the customers, or solving a problem, or developing software that the biz needs to grow—the “reasonable” speed (what everyone else would do/consider “normal”) probably just won’t cut it. And, you will find, that the pace of doing things more quickly (but doing them right—remember John Wooden’s old quote, “be quick, but never hurry” still counts) then becomes more of the “norm” and becomes contagious. And that then becomes the speed of a successful business, like Apple and Amazon and Oracle and Tesla and (haha—not in the same company by any means, but…) LP.

An aside—two actually:

  1.  If you ever watched a juggler, they may be tossing 5 or 6 apples (or chainsaws or axes) at once, and it seems CRAZY.  But, if you watch their hands, they are not moving quickly or chaotically. It’s the rhythm, the consistency, and the adjustment when necessary that makes it all work. And
  2. “Too busy” is never a good excuse.  Doing things right once, the first time, takes no longer than doing it wrong the first time and takes way less time than doing it over. So be careful, be efficient. Measure twice, but cut once and you’ll find you actually have MORE time to do things.  As my Dad used to say, “you want something done, ask a busy person”. (Dads sure are smart : )

So, when we have tasks to do, things to fix, issues to communicate, speed matters. Don’t put off til tomorrow what you can do today. (I always say: Much better to have a DONE list than a TO DO list). And don’t accept timelines that are argued to be “normal”.  Normal does not cut it in the business world. Getting shit done (done right) quickly, and then moving onto the next project does.

PS—and “customer obsession” is key too. Bezos got a LOT of things right, and has been on the same track for 25 years. This letter was written when he was starting out and all these years later, he still KNOWS they are true.  Lessons we should all learn too if we want to pursue our mission to “humbly conquer the world from Erie, Pa 🙂



Fun While It Lasted

Well, all of Bills Mafia hopes and dreams came crashing down last night in Arrowhead Stadium with a big dose of Patrick Mahomes-led reality.

The Chiefs are clearly (at this point in time) a far superior team in just about every phase of the game. It was like day and night watching the two teams perform, and the Bills now know what they need to do to compete at the highest level next year and beyond. Some of the building blocks are there for sure,  and this year was definitely a big step forward, but they still have some work to do and need a few more pieces to the puzzle.  They clearly know that now, if they didn’t know it before.

That being said, this was a very cool and fun experience. Enjoyed the time with Mikey and with Ralph and Jeanna and their extended family (and the KC BBQ was as good as advertised 😊) and was nice as a Bills fan to finally have some real hope again after many, many years.


Heading into the game!

Our seats. It was a blast. No one sat. Everyone stood the entire game. Loved that!


Coin toss (The Bills lost that too)

Jim Kelly with some fans.

Lucky Versus Good

You know that old saying, “it’s better to be lucky than good”?  Well, it’s usually pretty true.

Had that experience just now.

Mikey and I decided to watch the first game here at the hotel instead of tailgating. And, since we could not get into any KC rib places last night, I ordered pickup from Jack Stacks BBQ, about a mile from our hotel.  KC BBQ is world-famous, and I could get in a nice 2-mile walk before the game (weather, luckily, is holding up well here. 30’s and no rain as of yet).

Well, I’m walking to the place and I see a bunch of cop cars lined up, lights flashing. See a bunch of busses lined up and (I am so SMRT!) I realized these were the busses taking the Bills to the stadium. Perfect timing (an old fave Buddhist saying of mine is “there is no plan because it’s all plan”).

And look who I bumped into 🙂

Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs

Go get ‘em, guys.

Woo hoo!  I’m very excited!!!

In Kansas City for the AFC Championship Game

Hi from Kansas City.  Arrived last night with an old buddy from High School, Mike Aronson. We hooked up in KC for a few drinks with Ralph and Jeanna and a bunch of their extended family. Funny, more Bills fans around than KC fans, it seems.

The gang. Bills fans are EVERYWHERE!

Jeanna and Lauren

We were debating last night how many Bills fans will be in the stadium here. I’m guessing maybe 10% (2,000 vs 20,000 KC fans) but some of the folks think that KC fans might have sold their tickets (EXPENSIVE tickets) and there will be a higher percentage of Bills fans. I hope I’m wrong and that they are right.

Mikey and I tried to get some KC barbecue last night so went to Jack Stacks, but it was an hour and 45-minute wait so we just went next door to some German restaurant. It was really good. Had some real Hungarian goulash.

We’ll be sitting at the game today on the 25-yard line with Lauren and her husband, Leo. These are our seats.

Funny, Mikey and Leo are both from NYC (me too, actually) and are really Giants fans, but for today they are Bills fans and will be wearing Buffalo blue.  Should be easy to spot us on TV, as we’ll be the Blue Wall amidst the KC Red Sea.

Big game from Josh and we can win this!


Alligator “Hunting” On My Birthday

Well, it’s not really alligator hunting. It’s more like alligator “seeking” (and then carefully avoiding).

But (you know me)—

I was gonna embellish (lie) about the trip today like I embellished (lied) about falling off the boat during the S. America cruise last year (and, hahahahaha, everyone believed my stupid ass except my daughter Melissa and Yuriy—dumbasses!)

So, that’s what I was going to do—I was planning on telling another tall fish tale (are alligators fish? 🤔)

BUT, as they say, reality intervened (but I ended up with an even better story).

Our boat sunk. (And below are the pictures to prove it!) And not just sunk—sunk into the lake that has all these frigging alligators we’d been “seeking” (and finding for the past 2 hours).

Scary as hell.  And there is NO cell service out on Okeechobee Lake.

We were having a great time with Captain Kenny, from the Louisiana bayou transplanted to Florida, seeing all kinds of alligators, from babies to 10 footers, and several water moccasins (Capt Kenny said the water moccasins are way more dangerous than the alligators— for 1. They are deadly poisonous, and 2. They are the one of the only snakes that actually attacks. Ugh!.  Said you’d rather run into 10 alligators vs 1 water moccasin).

So we’re riding through the weeds (hard to believe these boats can “drive” over them, but the landscape is actually on water) when we hear a loud bang and then another loud bang and the engine blows apart and quits.  Not the end of the world. We’ll just wait until someone comes along to help.

However, unbeknownst to Capt Kenny or us, one of the engine bolts that blew must have gone through the bottom of the boat because after a few minutes our feet started to get wet. Then we found the gash.

We started bailing (no pumps on these boats) but the water finds a way in and we only had our hands and a small bucket and couldn’t keep up. So slowly we started sinking.  Luckily for us, the water in this part of the lake was only 3’ deep so we were ok. But the water in the boat must have leaned the boat to one side, and it suddenly tipped over and we all fell out (pics below).

Not wanting to stand in this muddy water with alligators and snakes all around, we crawled onto the side of the boat as best we could. Not that we were ever in danger of drowning but we definitely were in danger of getting attacked. Scary.

About an hour later a small fishing boat (a young guy named Tyler, from S. Carolina, who was down in Florida duck hunting) motored by and offered to help (but his boat was too small for the 3 of us to fit into). Fortunately, about 20 minutes later another airboat (Captain Steve) came by to evacuate us (before any of us got eaten alive).

Man, that was scary.  The water is only 3 feet deep—up to our waist only—but it would have been over a one-mile walk, through all the weeds and trees and plants (and you can’t even see the frigging alligators and the water moccasins because they blend in) so it was better that we just stayed on the boat until help came to ferry us to shore.  A lot safer than walking!

Glad to be alive and uneaten!!!  I wanted a birthday dinner. But I def didn’t want to BE some snake or alligator’s birthday dinner 🙂

Whew!  One birthday I will never forget.

PS: Off to KC tomorrow for the Bills-Chiefs AFC Conference Championship game. You can look for us. We’ll be around the 25-yard line. The Blue Wall amidst the Red Sea 😉


Let’s Go, Buffalo!

Got to see the Bills first playoff win in 25 years (since before Josh Allen was even born! 🙂 )

I lived in Buffalo for 13 years, went to school there, both my kids were born there, and back in the day (the ’90s), when they played in all the playoff games and went to 4 Super Bowls in a row, we went to a lot of the games (actually, Derek and I went to their 2nd Super Bowl in Minneapolis in 1992, and I walked out just after halftime—but that’s another quite demented and telling story 🙂 )

Anyway, the game was a great time, and first time, unanimous Hall of Fame Bills QB, Jim Kelly, stopped in to say hey. Icing on the cake and a great game and a good time with some good peeps. Only 6,700 folks were allowed in (first fans allowed in ALL season) and we were lucky to be a part of it.

Next week, Baltimore.

Let’s Go, Buffalo!

A Few Covid-19 Thoughts

Of all the folks who have been talking about Covid for the past 9 months (9 months—Wow! Who woulda thunk it?) my favorite has been Scott Gottlieb, the former FDA commissioner. I also like Doctors Birks and Fauci, but maybe because Gottlieb is no longer in Government, he has been able to be more measured, and I think more sober and accurate than anyone.

On ‘Face the Nation’ this morning, he said this: (my words, not his)

That the next 2-3 months will be the worst period of this pandemic.

That even though we now know more about the virus and are able to treat it better, the fact that it is surging all across the nation will make it hard/impossible for the Federal Govt to “backstop” the hard-hit areas (because there are now too many hard-hit areas vs in the spring when it was mostly in the Northeast and major cities).

He said, “Don’t get hit now. Be smart. Be careful. Don’t let Covid fatigue get you down. You’ve made it this far. Don’t let your guard down. Muscle through these next few months”.

Because help is on the way and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The 2 vaccines (plus several more from other big firms) are testing out VERY well/way better than expected, with 95% (vs. normal 50%) effectiveness. First indications seem like these will work and will work well.

They will be out in a month or so, and by the beginning of 2021, will have been given to front-line health care providers and the most at-risk elderly who are in health care institutions.

Later in 1Q 2021, the other at-home elderly people will also get their shots.

They will then work down the cohorts and by next fall, likely 30% of Americans will have either had the disease while another large portion of the population will have been given the vaccine, so that going into next year’s “flu” season, the risk should be almost eliminated and the rest of the young/healthy population can get inoculated then.

That’s truly good news and, while requiring more patience, it seems like the end of this mess will be here sooner than later (finally!) Can’t wait.

Stay safe and stay smart everyone!

Here’s a pic of me visiting Big Ern out in LA last week 🙂


The Remote Way of Life

Lucky for me, every year I get to go to the EY Entrepreneur of the Year forum in Palm Springs, California. As most of you know, I’m not a big event guy, but because we won this award 15 or so years ago, I get invited back and it is one of my favorite things. I never miss it.

This year, of course, it will be “remote”. And it got me to thinking—even though they have their usual incredible roster of speakers, and even though I’m sure I will enjoy it and learn something from it, it is definitely NOT going to be the same experience as being there. The “mixing and mingling” in the halls; the chance to sit at lunch with other entrepreneurs and CEO’s and “just talk” will be missing. That, plus actually meeting business leaders like Hadi Ulukaya, the founder of Chobani Yogurt, or famous athletes like Shaquille O’Neill in person, is def better than seeing them onscreen from home.

I’ll love it this year. But it won’t be the same.

Which got me to thinking…what really IS the same remote vs being there? I don’t get that. And I don’t get how some folks are trying to make it seem like it’s even close.

Is “going to” a wedding remotely the same as being there?
A funeral?
A grandkid’s birthday party?
A dinner at Red Lobster?

No. No. No and No.

So, how are we to believe that working remotely or going to school remotely is the same as being there??? (I know that in my case, I went to school and had a hard time paying attention—could not even imagine how my ADD attention span would work trying to learn onscreen from home!)

And at work—true, you can DO some of the same things you do from the office. But SO MUCH is lost by not being there. Not seeing each other to stop and chat in the hallway. Or hearing what’s in the air. Or the serendipity that often occurs when paths intersect.

You know, most of what I’ve learned in life was not from a textbook. And in business, I learned a lot just by “being there” and watching the way Fred Rizzuto or Gretchen Seth or Dan Lynch (and many others) simply “handled things”. Oh, THAT’S how you deal with something like that! Sitting home, how do folks learn what the others have already learned and are eager to pass on? I don’t get it.

And, full disclosure—I travel a lot, and am “remote” probably half the year. So I KNOW it’s not the same. I can do it. And it works. But it’s nowhere near the same experience about being here. Not even close.

That’s my rant. Not that it matters. And nothing really I can do about it. Seems like the “smart” thinking nowadays is lots more things remote. But, I think that’s a big mistake, and I do believe that just like many “good ideas at the time” this pendulum will swing back and down the road, we’ll realize that humans are social animals, who need interaction and the support/lessons gained from the pack.

Guess we’ll see…