Russell’s Ramblings

Those who do not hear the music might think the dancer mad

Who built this city…

Charlotte 2012

In a few days, more than 35,000 people are expected to fill the Charlotte region for the 2012 Democratic National Convention.  Our hotels will be filled and Lake Norman businesses are excited about the prospects of getting a boost in sales.  When asked recently what I thought of the national convention held in our backyard, I replied, “For the Chamber, it isn’t about being a red state or blue…at least for the weeks ahead, Lake Norman’s water’s will be green!”  Anyway you look at it, the exposure, attention, and spending will be great for the Charlotte region and our local economy.

Those who know me, and most of you do, know that I love politics.  While a conservative, I am just as much an admirer of Bobby and John Kennedy as I am of Lee Atwater. When you get right down to it, politics is about relationships and the art of the deal – the essence of business.  So it is perhaps only natural I have a love and fascination for both.

In late July, one of our own local business members made national news reacting to the words of President Obama.  In a speech, President Obama said, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that…”  Rion Homes President, and Lake Norman Chamber member, Nicole Goolsby pointed out – “Yes she did!”  Nicole responded she took out a $15,000 loan on her credit card and set up a desk in her bedroom 12 years ago.  From there Nicole built a solid business and gave back to the industry by serving as the president of the Lake Norman Home Builders Association.

Nicole was one of literally hundreds who responded with their story.  America is built on entrepreneurship, small business, and hard work. If I added a “PS” to any of their statements it would be government doesn’t solve economic problems.  People and businesses will if government simply gets out of the way.

The President indeed said those words. However, he actually said more than that.  He had begun the conversation by saying there are a great many successful people but you didn’t get there on your own.  If you read the context of his speech in its entirety, he wasn’t trying to take away from the small business owner or entrepreneur.

Bill Russell addressing participants in Junior Leadership Lake Norman – High School Juniors, our future community and business leaders

A sentence lost in his speech that he actually said was, “Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have… that allowed you to thrive.”  It’s unfortunate we live in an age when people take words out of context, lift one or two sentences from a speech – disregarding others, or read into letters or emails their own interpretation offering their unique and often biased spin.

Within days of the President’s speech, parodies were made on the old Jefferson Starship song “We built this city.” Those of us who remember the classic 1985 song, might also remember a verse that said, “Don’t tell us you need us, ‘cos we’re the ship of fools – Looking for America, coming through your schools.”

The political season and sometimes politics in general brings out the ship of fools in many of us.  Let’s hope the kids in school now don’t allow us to be their mentors in how best to govern. Perhaps they will take note on how to do a better job when its their turn at the helm.

Lost in all that hoopla was the President’s closing line – “We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people… You’re not on your own, we’re in this together.”

Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Liberal, Red or Blue – that’s at least one thing we should all agree on.  Together we built this city and we’re all in it together!

August 31, 2012 Posted by | Chamber of Commerce, Politics | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Things I can do without!

The Infamous East Tennessee Snail Darter

The Infamous East Tennessee Snail Darter

I just returned home from a regional transportation committee meeting which is about as much fun as watching a PBS documentary on the mating habits of the east Tennessee snail darter.  However, given the choice between the two, Rocky Top could be home sweet home to me.  I admit to being in a somewhat agitated mood as the notions of increased taxes, vehicular fees, and roundabouts do have a tendency to set me off at times.

I’m not real crazy about the roundabouts to begin with and Davidson (NC) has two of them.  My 350Z always gets a little loose going around turn three and I want to automatically pull into that gas station there at exit thirty and get a wedge adjustment before I get to that next roundabout.

To compound my anxiety, I get home and heat up a plate of left over spaghetti and make a salad to find that the salad dressing in the pantry is Thousand Island Low Fat.  Now given I am really the only one who does the grocery shopping around here, I have to assume I purchased said salad dressing.  I can’t blame the shopping on either of my two dearly departed ex-wives.  And, no, for those who don’t know my social history, the wives aren’t deceased they just departed. I know I have poor eye sight these days and I’m quite confident I wouldn’t purchase it on purpose.  I absolutely abhor low fat stuff.  I’ve a notion the Good Lord didn’t intend us to have low fat items or else he, or (she …who really knows) would not have made fattening items taste so good.

I did eat my spaghetti and picked at my salad.  Finally, determining I didn’t really need the salad – much too healthy in the first place.  Now I’m sitting here at my computer frustrated that I wasted however much I paid for the damn Thousand Island when I really don’t intend to eat another spoonful.  Come to think of it –there’s a great many things I really don’t care for.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say not like.  That’s pretty strong language and Lord knows I don’t want to offend said Salad Dressing or the people who purchase the stuff.  But here’s a list of things I could simply do without:

Fat free anything, particularly the offending salad dressing, cookies, ice cream, popsicles, and pudding.  I mean get real – deserts are supposed to have sugar.  It’s like the food law or something.  I also abhor this salt that has no salt taste.  Who thought up salt without the taste?  My mother is cooking with that stuff now.  She raised me on fried foods and gravy.  Today it’s no sugar, salt, fried foods, or caffeine.   Decaffeinated coffee?  Just who drinks brown water?  Makes no sense to me.  While we’re still on the foods: Ketchup based barbecue.  If you cannot fix it eastern or mustard style, just don’t

a Rutabaga

a Rutabaga

bother.  Rutabagas!  I’m not real sure what they are but I know ‘em when I smell ‘em. My mama used to cook those too back when she used salt and sugar.  Hated the things.  I always knew when my dad was out of town because the house smelled of rutabagas.

Enough on the food – ready for this – Democrats west of the Mississippi.  Surprise!  Okay, you got me.  I need to throw in north of the Mason Dixon line too.  There’s a few down south that I can tolerate.  I particularly don’t have much use for the ones from Nevada and California.  I think I’d rather be water boarded or go duck hunting with former Vice President Cheney than spend ten minutes listening to their drivel.

Northern tourists who wear knee high black socks with their sandals at Myrtle Beach.  Holy cow!  Who gave them their fashion sense?  My great great great grandfather William Beauregard Russell spent four years of his life during the war of Northern Aggression trying to protect the beaches of South Carolina from the oppressing Yankee hordes who attempted to walk down Ocean Drive wearing the aforementioned knee high black socks with the sandals.  My great great great granddaddy had two horses and three Red Cross nurses shot out from under him during that late unpleasantness trying to protect the sanctity of our beaches.

Reality shows – Somebody explain to me why anybody would want to spend an hour watching “some other dude sitting on their couch watching TV” in a reality show.  America needs to get a life.  And this Tweeter thing is just as bad.  Listen – I don’t care what you were doing five minutes ago and I really don’t care what you’re doing now.  Just let me know when you’ve changed the face of the world and done something someone else said couldn’t be done to make things better.  Then tell me about it.

Sunrise at South Beach

Sunrise at South Beach

Fortune tellers. Don’t have much use for them either. I remember wandering into a fortune teller’s front parlor down at South Beach in Miami about five years ago.  Her business was between Finnegan’s Pub and the Royal Palm Hotel.  I asked one simple question: what’s the point spread gonna be in the Duke game tonight when they were in the NCAA tournament a few years back.  She wanted me to pay her fifty bucks and read my palm.  I can assure you, the score wasn’t on my palm and fifty bucks was far more than I was gonna win on the bet to begin with.  Really have no use for fortune tellers.

I guess I need to quit whining.  Maybe it all makes sense to someone else.  Me, I’m gonna grab a little Debbie Oatmeal Cookie and a tall glass of whole milk and go to bed. I need the rest.  There’s another transportation meeting tomorrow.

May 14, 2009 Posted by | Personal | , , , | Leave a comment