ESL Fun and Frustration

“Okay class, today we are going to learn about plurals. Let’s say you have a dog, a cat, or even a penguin – that’s singular. When you make them plural you have dogs, cats, and penguins. Got it?”

“Yes. Just add an “s”. That makes sense. So, if I wanted I could have a bunch of gooses?”

“No, that would be geese.”


“Well…. um, because the word ends in an ‘e’.”

“Ah, okay. If it ends in an ‘e’ you change the middle letters to ‘e’ instead of an adding an ‘s.’ Strange, but all right. So a bunch of moose would be meese, right?”

“No, um you see a moose, just stays moose even when they are plural.”

“But why?”

“Well, it’s…ah… because they’re big. That’s it. Moose don’t move.”

“Ah…. okay so then a mouse would change to meese?”

“Nope, that’s mice.”

“Why mice?”

“Well, it’s a smaller animal.”

“That’s ridiculous. What kind of crazy language is this?”

“It’s not my fault. I blame the Brits.”

“Fine. Let’s just stick with the basics. Dog, cat, penguin becomes dogs, cats, and penguins??


“So a sheep becomes sheeps?”


“Why the heck not?”

“Just doesn’t.”

“So what happens to it then?”

“Sheep IS the plural. If you want only one it becomes shep…. just one ‘e’.”


“No not really. But give it time. Merriam-Webster isn’t exactly prudish. Words sneak between her pages faster high school hands slide under sweaters on prom night.”

“This is giving me a headache.”

“There, their, they’re. Everything will be fine.”

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Punch Your Weight

   She had the look of someone who had been around the block a few times and wouldn’t mind another trip if the right guy came along. For a second Tommy managed to convince himself that he could be the one, but his optimism quickly subsided.

   Stilettos. Cigarette. A small wrist tattoo stealing a second of screen time with each effortless exhale. He was an accountant for Christ’s sake. Still, he smiled despite himself. It’s amazing what the right look from the wrong woman can do.

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woman-presenterShe walks likes she means it. Not hurried. Purposeful – with measured, deliberate strides that announce her arrival long before she actually does.

She’s armed. Briefcase. Smartphone. But mostly with what you can’t see. Ivy league wit. Patience. Character you can’t fake.

You can almost picture the conference room and the business end of her laser pointer gliding effortlessly about the figures.

A surgeon in a skirt suit. Successful. Driven. Lonely. The projections are accurate, but they don’t look good.

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Stupid On Steroids

BoxerYou’re a coward. Don’t worry. Most are. I raise my hands and you’ll crap your pants.

I’m not judging. Sure, I’ll fight the man. Eat every bit of sweat-covered leather his muted jackhammer jab can offer. Journeymen do that. Taste the hook they haven’t the skill to see coming.

That’s life. Things happen, mostly bad and you adjust. The trouble is, even when you roll with the punches, you’re still getting hit. Sometimes brave is just stupid on steroids.

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Johnny’s Girl

The other day a bunch of the guys were at Pete’s place playing poker. It was Thursday. The same Thursday we’ve been having since we started high school last year. Well, that is until Johnny decided to shift the conversation from basketball to babes. Yes, it seemed that subject had been coming up an awful lot recently, and so while Tommy shuffled the cards more than they actually needed, we all took turns describing the perfect woman.

Now, there is nothing quite as horny as a dateless sixteen-year-old, so naturally most of the conversation concerned itself with the proper formation of the T and A. God, we laughed like maniacs; that is, until Johnny’s turn rolled around.

He had a way of telling stories. You know, kinda like the way Orson Wells had a way. Real special. The way and the stories. So when he got quiet, we got quiet and watched him as he closed his eyes and leaned back in his chair. The silence stood for a moment. Then he dropped the bomb.

“She likes to hold hands and walk in the park. She prefers moonlight to sunshine, but she’s brighter than either one. She loves to cuddle and when she whispers in your ear, the whole world just disappears. She has a little brown puppy named Brewster who, for some reason, I can never imagine growing older.

“Her tears are honest and often, but with eyes like hers, she rarely cries alone. When she’s mad, you’ll know it; either by the wrinkles above her nose or her shoe in the air. But when she laughs, well, then there’s nothing wrong with the world.

“She likes to put her feet up on the coffee table and was never too fond of men who like yogurt. And although she doesn’t care for Billy Joel, she puts up with my obsession.

“She’s seen these eyes, so she knows my soul. And she understands when I curl into a ball and lock my doors. Oh yeah, she loves me and I love her.”

Our eyes were closed and we were silent. Thinking. Planning. Dreaming a wiser dream. That son-of-a-bitch, he made us all grow up a little.

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Strategic Planning Unleashed is Released

StrategicPlanningUnleashedWebsiteCoverHey everyone.  I’m excited that my new book: Strategic Planning Unleashed is ready for release.  I co-authored this one with Ronald Recardo, Managing Partner of The Catalyst Consulting Group.  It was a bit of a departure from my prior non-fiction projects and light years away from fiction works, but an excellent opportunity to work with one of the innovators in the field.  I hope it help companies large and small make the most of their planning process.  Here’s a brief synopsis.

Strategic Planning Unleashed

Despite its importance, few companies have cracked the code on strategic planning. Meetings occur, white boards are filled, and then somehow, magic happens – a binder appears, supposedly summarizing the decisions agreed to by the leadership team. Unfortunately, that is where the magic ends. The strategic plan is rarely used and left to languish on a credenza till next year.

Most strategic planning books focus on theoretical frameworks or rely on an approach endorsed by a single “ideal company”. Generic models and classroom-inspired case studies rarely hold up to the rigors of the real world. And though it’s true that some companies have obtained success in strategic planning, there is no guarantee that their approach will work for your organization – there is no sliver bullet!

Written by seasoned practitioners who have applied the tools in over 200 client companies, Strategic Planning Unleashed provides a practical, comprehensive playbook for each phase of the process; Environmental Assessment, Internal Capabilities Assessment, Strategy Development, and Strategy Deployment.

The methodology is scalable to different sized organizations and includes many strategic planning tools that are not in the public domain.

Regardless of your company’s size, complexity, offering portfolio, or geographic scope, Strategic Planning Unleashed will help your organization analyze its external environment, reach consensus on your sources of competitive advantage, identify a business strategy, and execute it seamlessly.