Friday, January 30, 2009

New Feature

Hey everyone I have added a new feature on my blog. I have added Bookjetty which allows you all to see what I am reading or what I have read. Its a very cool site that helps you organize what you have read, what you want to read, and what you are reading. It even links to amazon and local libraries, although I haven't used those options yet. The main reason I wanted to add this is to promote reading! If you aren't reading then you aren't learning. We just don't live long enough to experience and learn what we are capable of. A learning life is a happy life so get started. Also please post any suggestions as I am always looking for a new good book to read. Enjoy and start reading!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Money Tips

Welcome to my first blog on a topic I intend to write extensively on in BadskiBlog.....Money. In these trying times there is a lot of advice, media hype, and general gloom and doom surrounding personal finance that will do absolutely nothing to help you acheive your financial goals.
When I was playing college hockey I heard a phrase that really stuck with me. I can't really remember who said it so I can't give credit where credit is due, so I just changed it to my own words and claim it as my own. The saying goes something like "when you are not playing well, the answer lies at your feet" or "look down", something to that effect. You might not think that is a very great quote but I think it's incredibly insightful. In layman's terms it means that when things aren't going well you probably aren't moving your feet; you aren't skating hard enough. On one hand I think it means that if you work hard everything else will fall into place, but I also think it illustrates that when you are in a tough spot you have to get back to basics which in hockey is skating! Anyone who knows me knows that I am huge proponent of sports. I think you can learn all you need to be successful in life through sports and the interactions with others competing in sports. This example is no exception. Times are tough and the answer lies at your feet....get back to basics!
As I said before, all the gloom and doom and media frenzy will get you no where. Control what you can control. What can you control you might ask? A BUDGET. It always amazes me how many people have no idea where their money goes. We all are guilty of this at times, but it is easier now than ever to maintain a budget. I am going to have to plug the site that I have been using to keep my finances in check. The site is called I have a link at the bottom of this blog if you would like to check it out. I recommend this site to everyone. It is free and it takes all the grunt-work out of budgeting and tracking your spending. The general concept behind the site is that it links all your online accounts to one database. pulls updated financial data every time you sign on and gives you an amazing view of where you are at financially. It provides a net worth analysis, account balances, a spending report, investment trackers, adjustable budget limits (which can send you warning via text/email or both), and graphical depictions of all your spending and saving habits broken out by categories. This is a great tool for everyone, especially new married couples who want to combine finances but maintain their separate accounts.
What's the catch you ask? Well actually the site recommends ways to save by offering lower interest rate credit cards, rewards, checking accounts and other personalized ways to save by comparing your current financial vehicles to the best current deals. These companies pay mint to promote their offers to you, the free user. I merely ignore the tab with ways to save because I am happy with the vehicles I have in place. I still get free great information that helps me save and analyze my spending habits quickly and easily.
To know where you are going you have to know where you are and what a great tool to get started. You will see your weaknesses (mine are food and dining, hockey, travel, and of course my lovely wife's shopping excursions) as well as shed some light on exactly how much disposable income you are letting slip through cracks that you could be saving and investing towards achieving your financial goals. Check it out and get back to basics.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Everybody loves a winner....

I came across this article today and it got me thinking The older I get and inevitably the farther I am removed from competitive sports the more I appreciate winners and true professionals. No matter what it is, whether its tennis with guys like Federer and Nadal (very different yet very similar in their excellence) or someone like GE's Jack Welch. This article illustrates that this guy is a winner. He just gets it done and does it with class. Guys like this are great role models especially for young kids and even for old guys like me. As the article illustrates there are some sports and in this case positions where true winners and leaders are becoming hard to find. I remember one of my coach's always saying that everybody loves a winner and this rings truer to me now than when I heard him say it every day. People like being associated with winners, they like watching them succeed and see the good in themselves reflected in a winner's achievements and accomplishments. I have been trying to spend extra time and attention studying winners and successful people. Worst case I learn through osmosis. Typically I am reminded of where I am at in the world's pecking order and what it takes to truly be successful at something. Articles like this keep me hungry and going in the right direction. What winners are you studying?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

100-0 Story is 100% WRONG

OK, so I know going into writing this post that I am going to take some heat if anyone actually reads it. Just know in advance that I am going to try and lay out my assumptions and my viewpoint as simply and as logically as possible. I am writing about all the buzz surrounding the girls high school basketball blowout in Texas that ended with a 100-0 score. See this link if you haven't heard about it,2933,482825,00.html. The more I hear about this story the more I want to puke. The latest news is that the coach has been fired for respectfully disagreeing with the school district's assessment that he/the team should be ashamed. If they are saying that he is being fired for not going with the program and backing the public apology that is one thing...albeit not a very stand up and honorable thing. However I would argue that at least some of his firing comes as a result of there needing to be a scapegoat. I also feel that this is a joke.
The thing that makes me sick the most is the message we are sending to our youth and the ungrounded and bogus way that message is being sent. When I first read the headlines I immediately thought wow what kind of asshole ran up the score to 100-0. However as I read the article, and other articles, and saw discussions on TV like Pardon the Interruption I quickly changed my initial judgement. I view this as a message to the kids who won the game saying "Be good......but not too good." What ever happened to being the best you can be? Now I am not some Nazi who thinks everything is kill or be killed and that they should have tried to make it 200-0.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a true sportsman and tend to act with class in most things that I do. My point is that I am a former competitive athlete. I have played hockey at some of the highest levels that you can play (Div I, a cup of coffee in a bad Semi-Pro league). Being a former athlete that has played at an extremely high level of competition I feel as though I can connect with this situation.
First off, let's assume that the coach was a completely classless character who told his girls to run up the score no matter what. Think Karate Kid and the Cobra Kai Dojo. Even if that was the case I can guarantee that as the score escalated and the girls settled into the game and saw the lack of talent on the opposing side they let up. Even if one or two girls were rabid dogs and refused to let up, I can guarantee that some of them did and that the overall play of the team let up. Now in the coaches statement he said that he did not run up the score. Do we believe him? Maybe, and judging by the way he publicly went against the school district's policy I think we should. I know that if I felt I did the right thing and was hung out to dry that I would act in a similar manner; by standing up for what I felt was right regardless of the consequences.
I just can't get over the fact that these girls along with their newly unemployed coach are taking the brunt of the pain from this. If you read this article you will see that the team they beat has learning disabilities and hasn't won a game in year's. My question is why are these team's playing against each other? This question really resonates with me now that I am a men's league guy who is still trying to live the dream. Some nights you come out and the team you are playing against is pure garbage. You get up by 10 goals and the other team starts cheap shotting you and yet all of a sudden you are the bad guy. Well wait a minute here, I didn't sign you up for this league. In fact I paid the exact amount you did to experience the joy and healthy competition of the league. Who's fault is it that you aren't as good as me or my team? Is it my fault? Should I feel ashamed? I don't think so. I busted my ass for years to get to where I am and the truth of the matter is that I never scored enough goals or won enough games in my life to go out and be "good.....but not too good" against the other teams I play against. Like I said earlier you do let up out there when you start to win by a large margin. Its just human nature. The funny part is that almost without fail, your next game you come out feeling pretty good and you get shelled 7-2 by the next team in the league. If you want to see this in action in the real world look at business. Our government already wants to put windfall profits taxes on companies. You can make money but we decide how much is fair or appropriate. This also came to light during this year's election with regard to taxes. It's only fair to take what you made and give it to those who need it.
Getting back to basketball, I think it is an interesting paradox that the very people who are most likely responsible for these two teams playing each other (the school district) are the ones who are appalled with the outcome. So is it all the school district's fault? Well I don't want to go down that slippery slope either because then we get into this debate of whether or not its the government's or administrations role to regulate what is fair and who plays who etc. See taxes argument above. I am merely saying that my conclusion is this. I think its garbage that these girls and their coach are being lambasted in the media for being excellent. I think the media in an effort to sell papers frames the story to read like they deliberately ran the score up on a weaker opponent when it was clear that the game was a blowout before it started and they likely let up (my arguments above and the team only scored 14 points in the fourth quarter and they were up by 25 midway through the first). I think the lesson learned here is to be as good as you possibly can be at whatever you do, do in your heart what you know is right, and let anyone who doesn't like it bitch about it as you pass them by working to become a better person achieving more and more than you ever thought you could.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Welcome to BadskiBlog

I must admit that I feel a little weird and/or nerdy writing my first blog post. Especially since I know that no one is reading it. It's kind of like the age old question of what comes first the chicken or the egg? You have to write or else no one will read it, but at the same time you feel really dumb writing to an audience that does not exist. Well I have to start somewhere. I haven't really decided how this blog is going to take shape so I am just going to go with the flow and see how things turn out. For all you non existent readers out there please be patient as I wade through uncertainty and start my journey of learning how to successfully and effectively blog. Welcome to BadskiBlog and enjoy.