In Memoriam: Mark Marinelli, @MarkM625

(Note: I’m not sure that this blog post flows all that well. It’s been a rough week, and my reaction to the subject of this entry probably makes for crappy writing. Sorry about that.)
Today, I lost a friend I never met in person. But we had a lot in common.

Mark Marinelli was a year younger than me (he was 39).
He was a resident of Bethlehem, PA (where I lived and worked for several years).
He lived with Becker’s Muscular Dystrophy, which robbed him of the ability to walk at 15.
(My pyoderma gangrenosum flared for the first time at 16 — but I was lucky. After three months of incredible pain, I was eventually able to walk normally. Despite several flares and giant ulcers on my left leg, I’ve been mostly fine with walking since then.)
Clearly, my disease was/is nowhere near as bad as Mark’s.

In fact, he wasn’t supposed to live to see 19. It’s a testament to his strength of will and character that he more than doubled the doctor’s expectations.

*******************

The biggest common bond we had was the Philadelphia Phillies — whom we both rooted for and often discussed on Twitter. (It is worth noting that the Phillies are the losingest franchise in the entirety of sports history, with more than 10,000 losses on record.)

As men born in the early 1970s, we each lived through a wildly up-and-down period in Phillies history:

* 1980 = The Phillies’ dominant run atop the National League East in the late ’70s culminated in the 1980 World Series championship.
* 1983 = The “Wheeze Kids” included a bunch of, um, “not young” players that went to the Series again but lost.
* 1993 = Somehow, the 1993 squad of dirtballs, tramps and thieves scratched its way to the Series again — but heartache came in the form of Joe Carter.
* 2008 = Another dominant run in the East led to another World Series title.

In between those four highlight years, there was a lot of mediocrity and a bunch of lousy players.

And unfortunately, it’s pretty likely that the Phils’ “window of opportunity” is closing, as the stars of 2008 are mostly fading as they get older.

*******************

When it came to his health, Mark had a strength and spirit that we can all aspire to. Naturally, he had dark times and went through periods of doubt and depression. But I will always remember his “presence” on Twitter — smart, witty and always ready with a joke or insight.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how much you plan — life WILL throw you a steady diet of 12-6 curveballs. What’s important is how you deal with them.

At bat, a good hitter recognizes that a curveball is coming and in a nanosecond, alters his swing and hits the ball to the “opposite field.”

In life, a person who handles adversity with dignity and humor is someone to be admired and respected. That’s what Mark was to me, even though we never hung out live and in person.

I admired and respected Mark Marinelli, and I will carry inspiration from him for the rest of my life.

#RIPMark

Mark’s blog: http://icantwalk.com/

Advertisements

#Advertising — #BirthdayCoupons Update

It’s Tuesday, January 8 — five days until my birthday on January 13.

Let’s tally up the birthday email coupons I’ve received thus far:

  • Palio’s Pizza Cafe
    buy one large specialty pizza, get one FREE medium pizza with one topping; expires 1/31
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
    free medium coffee, latte, tea, Coolatta® or hot chocolate; have to wait for actual coupon in snail mail (will arrive “by the end of the month”)
  • Which Wich
    free regular Wich; expires 1/20 (valid only at Uptown location near my office)
  • Baskin Robbins
    —one free 2.5oz scoop or one 3oz soft serve swirl; expires 1/18

Unpaid Endorsements: My 4 Favorite iPhone Apps

By no means am I an iPhone expert, an App connoisseur, or a smart, capable person. However, I do have some super-helpful apps that I use on a daily basis that might be useful to you:

Beat The Traffic = Every single time I get in the car for my morning and evening commutes to and from Dallas, I check BTT. (Full Disclosure: I only have two or three possible routes — four or five if it’s absolutely ridiculous traffic.)

But the highly accurate red/orange/green road colors let me know which roads and intersections to avoid, and exclamation points highlight any accidents/major slowdowns. (You can report them as well.) I don’t really use any of the other features (daily alerts, etc.), but I’m sure they’re good.

========================================

Gas Buddy = You might have a favorite gas station or one that you “know” is the cheapest around…but you can know where the cheapest gas prices are with this app.

One big button to hit for GPS-targeting your current location, or just type in a zip code. It’ll give you a pretty long list of area gas stations which you can sort by price or location. I remember my dad trying to remember all of the various gas prices in our neighborhood, and this app makes it so crazy easy. Technology is awesome.

========================================

SoundHound = Driving. Great tune comes on radio that you don’t recognize. Tap to open SoundHound, tap to start “listening,” and it’ll name that tune in 10ish seconds. Read about the artist and then share what you’re listening to on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Also has the lyrics that will scroll along live with the radio, so it’s basically a karaoke app too.

========================================

MLB Trade Rumors = I started reading this site online several years ago for the latest baseball news and rumors. It’s a freakin’ empire now, and the app has all the site content updated instantly — which is great for fantasy baseball dorks like me.

Editor’s Note: I was reminded by @GalloSays on Twitter (Thanks Steve!) that the actual app name is not “MLB Trade Rumors,” likely due to MLB copyright restrictions. In iTunes, look for “Baseball Trade Rumors.”

========================================

What are YOUR favorite apps? I showed you mine, so show me yours (in the comments below)!

About My Grandfather: A Life of Love

This was what I said at my grandfather’s funeral two weeks ago.  

We all have thousands and thousands of memories of Grandpop. Morey Greenbaum was a wonderful man who loved us all, and we all loved him for it.

He loved Grandmom Sylvia with all his heart — ever since their first dance in England. We all saw that same love for her every day for all of their time together. The way he called her “Ippel,” the way he’d protect her fiercely against crazy rude drivers when they rode their bikes, the way that  — for all his toughness — he would listen to Grandmom dutifully and do what she said…even if it meant skipping dessert.

Theirs is a love that we all wish for, and the kind I emulate every day. For all the ups and downs that life brings, it’s that kind of loving partnership that pulls you through the tough times. We use Grandmom and Grandpop’s relationship as an example for our own, because it makes life so much sweeter.

During the past year, as he dealt with so many health issues, he had the constant support of his children. That’s a testament to his love for them, that they would be so dedicated in helping care for him when he needed it.

And that’s the biggest lesson (of many lessons) that I learned from Grandpop — to always cherish your loved ones, and cherish every day you get to spend with them. Even a boring old soccer practice could turn into a learning experience over hot chocolate at McDonald’s — or just a happy memory to go along with so many others.

He continued his tradition of infinite love with his grandchildren, all of us spoiled by he and Grandmom. And I say “spoiled” not in a bad way — not just with toys and presents, but with their unconditional love and support, which gave us all wonderful moments and memories.

Over the past year, no matter his condition, whenever I got him on the phone he’d ask about “my ladies.” And he always took great joy in hearing their latest developments — as he did with all his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

For Morey Greenbaum, life was about his family. Life was about love. And that — plus thousands and thousands of memories — is what I will carry with me always.

#Buzzwords — Leveraging Synergy for a Decade

(NOTE: I wrote this 10 years ago. And it’s as relevant as ever.)

LEVERAGING OUR SYNERGY:

Becoming a Market-Maker and Maximizing Our Infrastructure

Excerpted from a speech given by Hugh Fuhmizims and Ralph “Buzz” Whirds

at Tech Today 2002—Tuscaloosa

Thinking “out of the box” is critical in order to ramp up and deliver a robust platform.  To bring to market this dynamic and visionary business model of the future, it is essential to establish bandwidth, capacity and scalability in a seamless manner.

We must think vertically and horizontally when constructing our networks.  We must be granular and comprehensive in our messaging, marketing and media management.  We must be proactive and take the initiative, but also take the time to analyze ongoing trends.

It is only by integrating these concepts that we can be empowered to create a premier global portfolio.  Truly, our interface must be interactive and diverse.  No amount of disintermediation or outsourcing can stand in our way.

Together, we will be enabled in our team-oriented agenda.  Onward to priority-changing social capital and success!

© 2002 by HDR Entertainment.

Random Ramblings: Wednesday Night #Comedy

If I suddenly had a full head of hair again, I wouldn’t know what to do with it. Not a clue.

I wonder if anyone has ever been killed by a big sculpture. “Cause of Death: Art.”

It should be illegal to name someone William Williams, Robert Roberts or any other variation.

The gym parking lot should have mandatory workout stations.

I wonder what the longest URL ever was/is. Is there a limit? Could you put an essay before your “.com?”

If you haven’t been to a McDonald’s PlayPlace since you were a kid, do NOT go. You will be insanely jealous of how awesome they are now. 

Not sure I could ever get one of those car wraps to advertise while I’m driving. Because sometimes I am impatient with other drivers and make mean faces.* (*Understatement.)

I haven’t been to a banquet in a really long time. I haven’t received an award in a really long time. Connection?

Actually, I lied. I won my 2010 fantasy baseball league. And it was glorious. But no banquet.

Dear Guys Who Use an Electric Razor to Shave While Driving: So you just go around all day with little hairs all over your neck, shirt and pants?

Oh, Rick Springfield on a billboard. Your stubble makes you relevant.

If your company has a “combined 140 years of experience,” that means something. It means you can do math.

New Policy: If I see another driver picking his/her nose, I will hold up my phone to pretend I am snapping their picture.

I want to study the psychology of numbers that end in -9 and prices that end in $0.99.

Passed by “Ultimate Furniture.” Immediately imagined The Ultimate Warrior running from end to end at top speed and giving rambling speeches over the P.A. system.

When someone says to you “don’t be a stranger,” you should respond with “I couldn’t possibly be a stranger. I’ve been your nephew for 39 years.”