Randolph Cardinals win 3rd consecutive State Title: Now need WNY’s help!

The Randolph Cardinals made Western New York history, a little over a week ago, by becoming the first Buffalo-area football team, in any classification, to win three consecutive State Championships.  With this most recent win, this Class D team, from 371660 football scull 07section VI of the NYSPHSAA brings their total number of State Titles to 5 in the last 9 years.  This win has also catapulted them into the national spotlight.

The Randolph Cardinals have been chosen to take part in a poll conducted by the USA Today HSS, for “Best Football Program”.  They have done extremely well in the 1st and 2nd rounds by winning both brackets.  This local team has made it to the final round!  It is wonderful that fellow WNYers are receiving this kind of recognition.  My observations, as I have been following the poll rather closely, is that although the community of Randolph seems to have pulled together to vote, this next round is going to be a challenge.  The problem, as I see it, is that Randolph being such a small community, is facing some cities that have much higher populations than this small town and higher populations usually means a larger voting base.

randolphNY (1)As Randolph is representing Section VI football, which covers most of Western New York and the Buffalo area, I think it would be really cool if Western New York pulled together to vote for this team.  Western New York has seen many bright spots in the last several years and I think that this could be one more.  What do you say Western New York, good idea?

If you are interested in voting for the Cardinals, a Facebook Page has been set up at:


Links to the poll can be found on that page and It might also be cool if we wrote them a comment or two telling them what town we are voting from to show that Western New York has their back! #ILoveWNY


Her Final Sunset

My grandmother, Anna Victoria Neal, (we called her Mima) passed away in the evening on November 5, 2014.  It has been just over a week since.  Today I realized that I had taken some pretty sunset photos that same day, before I had found out that she had passed.  In her memory, I would like to share them with you.

Her Final Sunset

As the day draws to a close,

your beauty emanates as your altitude fades.

I focus not on the darkness that will come,

but am reminded,

that light will return, in a Day that has no end.

                                                                                         ~James Henry Neal





Dueling Sunsets



Life’s Diploma



Very recently, I needed to make a photo copy of the most expensive piece of paper that I own. My family and I moved into our new house a little over a year ago and, because of the rarity in its use, it remained in one of those un-packed boxes, left over after the move.  You know the ones, the “I am so sick of unpacking, we will just store this one”€ boxes.  The piece of paper I needed was my College diploma.  In the search, I made an unexpected discovery.

As I was looking, I found a little piece of paper that had little, tiny ink footprints on it that belonged to my daughter; they were marked minutes after she was born.  A little more searching, I found a completion certificate from the Pre-Cana course my wife and I took before we were married.  After a few more papers, I found a picture of my Father and I working on my 1966 Mustang, prior to my sixteenth birthday.  A little more digging and I saw an old business card of mine, from a mortgage company that I previously worked for; It closed its doors, on a payday!  I found a Mass card from the funeral of my cousin, who was only a few years older than I.  I found a “€œThank you but we hired someone more qualified”€ letter from a company that I had applied with.  An old receipt from a scrap yard reminded me of when my daughter and I used to go “€œscrapping”€ every Saturday for a little extra cash.  I found a certificate stating that I had earned my varsity letter for wrestling, in the eighth grade.   An owner’€™s manual for one of my wife’€™s wheelchairs was mixed in with the rest of the papers.

This list only included a few of the papers that I found before I located my diploma, but what I realized is that each paper in that box represented either a defeat or a triumph, but all represented a learning experience.  All of those papers combined would not be as expensive as the diploma, but I believe they are much more valuable, and not just in sentimental terms.  That day I realized what Jim Rohn meant, when he said “€œFormal education will make you a living; Self-education will make you a fortune”.€

Each day we have little opportunities to learn and grow.  By no means am I saying that I am not thankful for my opportunity to attend college.  What I am saying is that facts and figures are important, but when circumstances throughout our lives, no matter how small, force us to make decisions and when we truly analyze the outcome of those decisions we earn Life’€™s Diploma.



Five Ways to a Slimmer Stomach

Losing weight can be a daunting prospect, but five simple tricks from The Belly Off! Diet author Jeff Csatari should speed up your metabolism, helping the fat melt off. Here they are, along with the science behind each: 

Eat breakfast – Dieters who skip breakfast are doing themselves a huge disservice. The earlier you eat breakfast, the sooner your metabolism starts burning calories. In fact, Leslie Bonci, a registered dietitian and director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said skipping breakfast could reduce your metabolism by 10 percent! The key is to fuel that fire with healthy choices. Within an hour and a half of waking, you should eat a meal that includes both protein and healthy carbs. A 2008 study at Virginia Commonwealth University found that women who ate a protein-packed, 600-calorie breakfast lost more weight than their peers who ate half the calories and one-quarter the protein. That makes sense, though, since protein burns more slowly, thereby curbing your appetite later into the day and stabilizing your blood sugar. Go for eggs and turkey bacon if you have the time. Even adding peanut or almond butter to your toast or grabbing a protein bar on the go will make an impact.  

Exercise intelligently – When working out, don’t get stuck in a rut. Lots of dieters focus on cardio alone – walking, running, biking, using the elliptical machine or stair climber. While these are great, it’s been shown that interval training – mixing short periods of intense activity within a lower-impact workout – does more to burn fat and improve overall fitness than sustained, moderate workouts. Turbo-charge your gym sessions with anaerobic weight training as well. Regardless of whether you pump iron or use your body for resistance, building muscle will accelerate your fat burning more than cardio alone. 

Eat 4-6 times a day – Just as it’s important to get the metabolism revving early in the morning, it’s wise to keep the burn sustained throughout the day by eating more frequently than the typical three squares a day. If you let too much time pass between eating, your body will go into its starvation mode that slows the metabolism. By spacing your caloric intake apart every three hours or so, your body will control its release of insulin – which, if mismanaged, can cause your body to hang onto more calories as fat. Each time you eat, your metabolism speeds up to digest the food. Give it all the speed you can! 

Drop carbs, add protein – Carbohydrates – especially of the white-flour/sugar, heavily processed variety – are killer to one’s waistline. Quickly absorbed carbs like white bread or sweets cause your blood sugar to spike, leading to cravings and belly fat. However, reducing or eliminating them from your diet – and replacing them with healthier carbs like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains – forces your body to burn fat. Plus, healthy complex carbs are high in fiber, which helps your body flush out excess carbs. Researchers at University of California Davis recently found that when carbs make up less than 40 percent of one’s total daily calories, the body deactivates a gene that produces triglycerides, which become body fat. When you eat, be sure to include a mix of protein and fat as well – this will keep you feeling full longer, helping you eat less. 

Avoid alcohol – The “beer belly” has its nickname for a reason. Alcohol halts your body’s fat-burning process. Couple that with the empty carbohydrates inherent in alcohol, and you’ve got a serious problem. Csatari recommends giving up alcohol for a month to see the difference it makes. 


The Tipping Point of Networking

In his famed work The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell discusses what he terms “The Law of the Few”: “The success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts.” Gladwell breaks these socially adept individuals into three personality types – connectors, mavens, and salesmen. How does each of these personality types propel social epidemics – and how can you improve your networking by taking a page from each profile’s playbook? 

  • Connectors – Have you ever met someone who seems to “collect” people? Six degrees are more than they need to determine their separation from everyone on the planet – with connectors, it’s more like three. According to Gladwell, Connectors have a gift for bringing the world together by spanning different worlds with “curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy.” To increase your connectivity, be aware of others’ needs and how you can fill them. It can be as simple as connecting two acquaintances with complementing needs and abilities (i.e. a contact needs a good graphic designer and you happen to know one in the area). When your focus is not on what you can take from others but rather what you can offer, you build “social capital” and cultivate a genuine bond of trust and respect that will pay dividends down the road. Generosity gets noticed.
  • Mavens – Where connectors gather contacts, mavens gather information. They’re the type to find a great hole-in-the-wall restaurant and then broadcast this knowledge to everyone in their network (even via fax, according to one anecdote Gladwell shares in his book). Mavens want to solve other people’s problems, almost to the point of being “pathologically helpful,” and enthusiastically share newfound knowledge. Thanks to this, Mavens start “word-of-mouth epidemics” by sharing and trading their information capital, making them an invaluable contact. Make yourself an asset to the networks of those with whom you come in contact by adding value to their day. If you have a great tip, don’t be afraid to share it – but be judicious in quality and quantity. As you build a reputation for being in the know, others will listen up when you have a message that needs sharing.
  • Salesmen – Some people are born with the charisma and persuasive personalities that make them powerful negotiators. Salesmen often have some indefinable trait beyond their words that makes them successful persuaders. While that may not be learned easily, you can learn to show integrity and trustworthiness in every business interaction. As you conduct yourself with honor and teach others about who you are and what you do at every opportunity, you’ll build relationships that will engender trust (and referrals). This will help you build a salesforce with a wider reach than your own network.

Whether you’re a connector, maven, or salesman, don’t forget to follow up with your contacts. Marketing statistics say it takes 7-12 impressions before a consumer makes a purchasing decision. Don’t stop building your network after an impression or two. Take that extra step – a phone call, email, lunch date, etc. – to continue feeding those relationships that will tip the scales toward success.