Category: From Kevin’s Perspective (page 1 of 13)

Custer’s Last Stand

This weekend marks the anniversary of the “Battle of Little Bighorn”. For those not familiar with U.S. history, the battle pitted the the U.S. army’s 7th Cavalry Regiment against Indians from several tribes, primarily Sioux and Cheyenne. The leader of the U.S. Army was Lieutenant Colonel George Custer, and the Native Americans were led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. The Indians had been successfully resisting American efforts to confine their people to reservations for more than a decade. Although both chiefs wanted nothing more than to be left alone to pursue their traditional ways, the growing tide of white settlers invading their lands inevitably led to violent confrontations. Increasingly, the Sioux and Cheyenne who did try to cooperate with the U.S. government discovered they were rewarded only with broken promises and marginal reservation lands. In 1876, after many claimed the U.S. Army blatantly ignored treaty provisions and invaded the sacred Black Hills land, many formerly cooperative Sioux and Cheyenne abandoned their reservations to join Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse in Montana. The U.S. Army soon ordered all the “hostile” Indians in Montana to return to their reservations or risk being attacked. Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse ignored the order and sent messengers out to urge other Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe Indians to unite with them to meet the white threat. By the late spring of 1876, historians say more than 10,000 Indians had gathered in a massive camp along a river in southern Montana called the Little Big Horn. “We must stand together or they will kill us separately,” Sitting Bull told them. Custer had originally been told there were no more than 700 to 800 hostile Indians in the area. When the 7th Calvary attacked on June 25, 1876, near the Little Bighorn River in eastern Montana, they were greeted by what some say were thousands of Native Americans. The entire battle actually started in the afternoon and lasted overnight, but in the end the U.S. Army’s 7th Calvary was decimated. Many historians say the battle with Custer’s Battalion lasted less than an hour as he and his troops were grossly outnumbered, perhaps by a ratio of 9:1. Not only did Custer die, but so did two of his brothers, his brother-in-law, and his nephew were also killed. Call it bad intel, faulty strategy, or karma it was a rough outing for the U.S. military. (Source: History; Wiki)

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17 Inches… One of My All-Time Favorite Life Lessons!

This was sent my direction by my friend John Santi, Wealth & Investment Advisor. John is always passing along some interesting items, but this one really caught my attention and I wanted to share it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have…

Over twenty one years ago, in Nashville , Tennessee , during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA’s convention.

While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend.
One name, in particular, kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh, man, worth every penny of my airfare.”

Who is John Scolinos, I wondered. No matter; I was just happy to be there.

In 1996, Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate.

Seriously, I wondered, who is this guy?

After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage. Then, finally

“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility. “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.”

Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room. “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?”

After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches?”, more of a question than answer.
“That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth’s day? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?”

Another long pause.

“Seventeen inches?” a guess from another reluctant coach.

“That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear. “How wide is home plate in high school baseball?”

“Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident.

“You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?”

“Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison.

“Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”…………“Seventeen inches!”

“RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues?
“Seventeen inches!”

“SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls. “And what do they do with a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to Pocatello!” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter. “What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Jimmy. If you can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches or nineteen inches. We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of hitting it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.’”

Pause. “Coaches… what do we do when your best player shows up late to practice? or when our team rules forbid facial hair and a guy shows up unshaven? What if he gets caught drinking? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him? Do we widen home plate?”

The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold. He turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline.

We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We just widen the plate!”

Pause. Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag. “This is the problem in our schools today. The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful, and to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?”

Silence. He replaced the flag with a Cross. “And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate for themselves! And we allow it.”

“And the same is true with our government. Our so called representatives make rules for us that don’t apply to themselves. They take bribes from lobbyists and foreign countries. They no longer serve us. And we allow them to widen home plate! We see our country falling into a dark abyss while we just watch.”

I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curve balls and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable.

From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path.

“If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today.

It is this: “If we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools & churches & our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …”

With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside, “…We have dark days ahead!.”

Note: Coach Scolinos died in Nov 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more than a baseball coach. His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players—no matter how good they are—your own children, your churches, your government, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches.”

And this my friends is what our country has become and what is wrong with it today, and now go out there and fix it… “Don’t widen the plate!”

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NEW Driverless Aerial Vehicle For Transporting Humans

The “EHang 184”, created by Chinese Company Beijing Yi-Hang Creation Science & Technology Co., Ltd. has become the world’s first Autonomous Aerial Vehicle, AAV for transporting humans across the sky. Unveiled at CES in Las Vegas last year, the vehicle can carry 1 passenger, has 8 propellers and 4 wings thus “184.” The passenger simply punches in their desired destination into the touch screen or their smartphone app, then sit back and relax. EHang officials say the vehicle is designed for traveling short to medium distances – generally 2 to 10 miles with a top speed of 60mph. Riding in a driverless car is hard for me to think about, but being air-borne without a pilot takes it to a whole new level. From what I understand there is no option to take over controls of the 184 from inside the vehicle and every flight is remotely monitored from a control room. EHang claims they have equipped the 184 with a “fail-safe system”. The independently developed fail-safe system ensures that if any components malfunction, or if there’s damage while the AAV is in-flight, i.e. from a bird, the aircraft will immediately begin taking the necessary precautions to ensure safety. The system automatically evaluates the damage and determines the next best course of action for its passenger’s. The communication system was also designed with special encryption to safeguard from hackers. Head of Dubai’s Road & Transportation Agency recently announced at the World Government Summit that the 184 autonomous drone would be flying in Dubai by July. No official launch date has been set by the company, but they believe commercialization will begin in a few months. The U.S. may not be far behind the game as officials from Nevada are seeking to partner with EHang to test the 184. Interestingly the EHang produces zero emissions as it is battery powered. I heard the price was somewhere between $200,000 and $300,000, which seem insanely high when you consider a small but proven helicopter such as the Robinson R44 Raven I costs $355,000 brand new, has a 350-mile range and can transport 3 passengers at 4000 feet. I suspect once the EHang hits the market and more competition comes into the space prices will come down significantly. Watch a video of the 184 in action HERE. (Source: DailyMail)

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If You Were To Die In One Hour, What Would You Regret?

I ran this story a few years ago and it recently came back across my e-mail. Life at times can get difficult and pull us off course, I like to use inspirational videos like this to help me refocus and stay inline with my core set of values and beliefs. I watch this video at least once a year. Each time I seem to find new meaning and a reason to be more thankful than ever. I hope it has the same impact on you as it does me. Ric Elias was a father, husband, and business man in South Carolina… In January of 2009 he sat in the first row of the flight 1549––the infamous Hudson River crash. As he braced for impact and what those on board thought would be their final seconds of life, several life changing thoughts swirled through his head. As you watch this short moving video, keep in mind Ric Elias is very much just like you or I. He has been an extremely hard worker his entire life. He graduated from Harvard Business School and became very successful. Just like other business owners, starters, and entrepreneurs one can often lose track of what truly matters in life. As fierce competitors we tend to focus on the game and the strategy to win. At times we mistakenly take ourselves out of the “REAL” game, in return our priorities often drift and can quickly end up in disarray. Bottom-line, we need to listen carefully to the message presented by Ric Elias, and NOT rely on moments of trauma to recognize what truly matters. Let’s open our eyes now before it’s too late… To live a life of REAL purpose. CLICK HERE

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The World’s Largest ‘Artificial Sun’ Was Recently Turned On

As the Earth tries to sustain 9 to 10 billion humans by 2050, a critical question scientists and engineers are trying to tackle is the problem of energy. In fact scientists are now hard-focused on finding a new source that is climate-friendly and could somehow offer an endless supply of energy to the world. A project dubbed “Synlight” is being performed by scientists in Germany at the German Aerospace Center. It was created by researchers in an attempt to study how powerful light sources can be used to create carbon-free fuel. The man-made star they’ve created might not be as powerful as the one we orbit, but it still manages to pack quite a punch in terms of light generation and heat. By focusing the entire array on a single 8 x 8 inch spot it will produce 10,000 times more light than the surface radiation detected on Earth and heats up to 5,432°F—all with the help of 149 gigantic spotlights. Some reporters are hailing it as “the world’s largest artificial sun.” From what I understand they are using xenon short-arc lamps normally found in cinemas to simulate natural sunlight that’s often in short supply in parts of Germany during certain times of the year. This is also a key to testing novel ways of making hydrogen. Many consider hydrogen to be the fuel of the future because it produces no carbon emissions when burned, meaning it doesn’t add to global warming. But since hydrogen doesn’t occur naturally, it first has to made by splitting water into its two components — the other being oxygen — in a process that currently requires large amounts of electricity. Understand, Synlight is designed with thoughts of helping to take experiments done in smaller labs to the next level. Once researchers have mastered hydrogen-making techniques with Synlight, the process could be scaled up on the way to reaching a level fit for industry during the next decade. Ultimately, the goal is to use actual sunlight rather than the artificial light produced by the experiment, which cost $3.8 million to build and requires as much electricity in four hours as a four person household would use in a year. As far as hydrogen-powered vehicles, the idea has been around for a while and there are a few such cars already on the road. But almost all hydrogen fuel is currently made from natural gas, not solar, which doesn’t reduce dependency on fossil fuels or do much to lower total carbon emissions. If they can harness the power of the sun to create a hydrogen fuel that can be bottled and stored for later use, that would disrupt the global energy sector in a major way. As countries come under increasing pressure to reduce carbon dioxide emissions they will be looking to these scientists to hopefully provide a roadmap for success. (Source: Smithsonian; Phys.org; Business Insider)

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