More questions. More help. Introducing Mastering Table Topics Second Edition.

Investing in retrospect

Sheldon Stern photo and quoteMy dad died on August 31, 1986. This week not only marks the 30th anniversary of his death, I’m now as old as he was when he died. This has given me a lot to think about.

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My visit to the Little Free Library

LFL2016_CoverEver hear of the Little Free Library? If you haven’t, it’s a worthwhile program that encourages reading and builds communities. If you’re a writer, it’s also a good way to get the word out about your books.

Recently, I visited a new Little Free Library in my community of Lake Forest, California. I wanted to see one in person and donate a copy of my book Mastering Table Topics. Let’s take a look.

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All right, Rams. I’ll give you a second chance.

A display of Rams balloons at a local supermarket

I wasn’t too happy at first about the Rams returning to Los Angeles. It wasn’t because I didn’t like football or the Rams. I loved the Rams growing up. They were my NFL team. I loved Merlin Olsen, Rosie Grier, Roman Gabriel, Vince Ferragamo, Eric Dickerson, and all of those Youngbloods. I loved them when they wore blue-and-white and blue-and-gold. I was excited when the Rams made it to the Super Bowl in 1980. I was even excited when they finally won as the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV. Then, Georgia Frontiere said in her victory speech that she made the right choice moving the Rams to St. Louis — a final twist of the knife in the backs of Los Angeles fans who stayed loyal for years. After that, the hell with the Rams.

So, why would I give the Rams another chance after they screwed over fans in three cities? (Let’s not forget about Cleveland.)

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The right book at the right time

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené BrownSometimes, the right book comes at the right time. In my case, it is The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown. It came into my life at a difficult time. A family crisis showed me the limits of seeking perfection and others’ approval.

I found myself marking up and dog-earing that book in a way I haven’t done since college. Although The Gifts of Imperfection is a short book, it is a dense one. Every one of those 130 pages of content demanded careful reading. What I read challenged everything I was brought up with as a child.

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“Let’s be human to one another.”

Image from pixabay.comAs an American, I dread the next few months. We are in the midst of the most divisive and vitriolic presidential elections in my lifetime. The ugliness that has been spouted by politicians and partisan media has been soaked up my friends. People I usually respect are now posting articles on social media I find reprehensible. I’ve tried keeping my cool and refused to unfriend people I disagree with. But it’s getting harder to keep quiet as campaign rhetoric sinks to unfathomable depths of offensiveness.

That’s when I found a post on Urban Confessional by Benjamin Mathes.

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