Today’s Question

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Giving It Away

Saw this last night and let me tell you, it certainly brought a smile to my face.

Where do I begin? I guess I will start by saying that it is so refreshing in our ‘Me First!’ world and with all of the focus on individual riches and possessions that you see everywhere on television, etc…that these folks just gave away the overwhelming majority of their fortune. That is just plain awesome.

Now granted, according to the reports they were at least somewhat financially secure so some might say they didn’t need it. Not the point. Read more. These folks aren’t living a life of luxury. They don’t drive new cars. Heck, they don’t even have a microwave. Not exactly extravagant living here. But yet, simple living. Peaceful living. A life where the love they share and the times they spend together is enough.

And so they gave the money away. The majority of an $11 million jackpot – out the door. Charities, research foundations, churches, and more are now all benefiting from this couple’s generosity. I just love stuff like this. There is so much good that can be done in the world and stories like this one serve as a great reminder to think of others first. Doesn’t have to be with your wallet though. It could be with your time, your talents…whatever it might be. There’s a message in this story and it’s a really good one.

At the same time it serves as a great example of love. Allen Large says it best, ‘The money that we won was nothing – we have each other.’ I’ll admit, I am a bit envious of this man’s mentality. It seems as though our culture is always (whether directly or indirectly) teaching us to have and want ‘more, more, more’ in all aspects of our lives but in reality, sometimes less IS more. Something to think about..

Today’s Question

The Notre Dame Scissor Lift Tragedy

If for some reason you don’t know about this incident, here’s an article that came out the day after it happened. Or just Google it, there are hundreds of articles about it that have been posted since.

The day this happened, I recall feeling fairly upset about it and before this issue just goes away and fades out of the headlines I feel I should offer some thoughts.

I’ll start by saying hindsight is always 20/20. Always has been, always will be. Anyone can say what should have been done after something happens. I know this.

That being said though, why on Earth was this young man in this contraption on a day where there was a wind advisory issued by the National Weather Service? Now, being in the PR biz I have a pretty good gauge of PR when I see it…and I have to say the reactions from the brass at Notre Dame have been awfully PR-sounding to me. Which is really unfortunate. I am sure these folks are just looking out for themselves but my goodness people, there is no good reason why this kid should have been put in that bucket and raised up dozens of feet in the air on a portable lift when the winds were strong enough that warnings were being sent out by weather experts!

Anyone who lives anywhere in the midwest could tell you the day before and the day of that incident were windy enough that the wind was the hot topic of conversation. It was the lead story in the news most of that week. It made national news for crying out loud. I shot a video for work about safe driving practices during windy conditions, it was so bad. Bottom line: It was windy. Very, very windy. Dangerously windy. And nothing in me believes that it was just the one gust of wind that the Notre Dame athletic director said he felt while he was out there that caused this. No way, sir. Nice try but no way. Read the tweets posted by this young man leading up to the time he was in the lift and while he was in the lift. It wasn’t just one gust of wind out there that day.

What makes this worse is that word is coming out now showing that coaches of other teams used the proper (and what would seem like common sense) judgment to only raise their lifts to a limited height of about 10 feet that day, instead of the 40-50 feet Declan Sullivan was when the lift he was in tipped over. Case in point, here.

And so the whole situation just stinks – but it doesn’t have to be a complete negative. Programs around the country need to realize that video footage of a football practice, no matter how important that program is, no matter how much is riding on it…whatever…is simply not worth risking peoples’ lives for. I truly hope this tragedy will lead to a change in policy or at least an immediate review in policy for all programs and all sports that utilize these lifts for filming their teams. I don’t know what the policies are but if there are currently no wind provisions in them, there should be.

During my time in the news business I spent a year or two as a videographer. Part of that job involved operating a microwave truck for live shots. Slightly different because no one was in the contraption that was being raised into the air but yet, very similar in that if you raised that mast to its full height and it was windy enough, you were setting yourself up for potential disaster. We had rules and restrictions for windy conditions. Granted those rules may not have always been followed but maybe that’s another discussion. How much is a live shot worth? When you’re dealing with power lines that are often nearby and the welfare of not only the people working the equipment but those in the vicinity, it should be at the top of the priority list to be safe instead of risking it just to get one great shot.

Getting back to the Notre Dame incident…this was a senseless loss of life and while that is terribly sad, this young man’s death shouldn’t be the end of this story. It should also serve as a learning opportunity and despite the fact that he can’t be brought back, this can end up having a positive effect if it ends up preventing just one more person from suffering a similar fate. Do the right thing folks. Put safety over success on the field. What’s worse – losing a camera angle from a practice session or losing a life?

Rest in peace, Declan.

A Little Post-Election Day Break

Last night was a long night. Why I’m up now at 5:30 in the morning, I have no idea…considering the fact that I just got to bed a couple of hours ago you’d think I’d be clinging to sleep. Guess not. Oh well. It was a crazy night. Congratulations to those who won and condolences to those who didn’t.

Whichever side you ended up on, I think we all need a little relief from the stuff. And so I present you with this.

Perhaps you have already seen it. Maybe you haven’t. Either way I hope it gives you a laugh. This has to be the worst commercial in the history of television. As if this product wasn’t already leading the way in the Hall of Shame of consumer items, these folks have taken it to an entirely different level by meshing it with the worst song in the history of radio! Bravo, Snuggie. You have officially secured your place in the history books. The bar has been raised – err, well, lowered really for all who will follow you. Well done.

Hmm, it’s kinda chilly in here while I’m typing this and you know, it would be nice if this blanket over me had a little more flexibility. Wonder if they’ll ever come up with something like that. Oh wait.. 😉

:)

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