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Author Archive for Russell Trahan – Page 2

False Words Show True Colors

Words are tricky, that is to say they can be tricky.  You have to listen carefully to what a person is saying.

Aaron Rogers never said he was vaccinated, he said he was immunized.

Tom Brady was asked if he was a cheater, he answered “I don’t believe so.”  He did not answer “no.”

President Bill Clinton said “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”  If you’re watching and enjoying the mini-series Impeachment as much as I am, then you’ve been reminded that when President Clinton said this, he thought he was telling the truth.  That was based on a definition of “sexual relations” he had just been given by the prosecuting attorneys in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case deposition.

But, did they?  Did they think they were telling the truth, or did they know they were using specific words to avoid answering a question they knew the answer to would be damaging to them?

As Maya Angelou said, “Remember this because it will happen many times in your life. When people show you who they are the first time, believe them.”

Authenticity of Availability

If you’re like me and 3.28 million other people, you watch Good Morning America on ABC each morning.  However, yesterday we saw something special.  While reading a story on the passing of Jovita Moore, anchor T.J. Holmes cried.  It’s not unusual for T.J. to show emotion on the air, he’s usually bringing excitement for his segments of “Tell T.J.” where he spotlights viewers who go above and beyond in their communities. But yesterday when the story was personal to him, he cried.  As he closed the segment, he unnecessarily apologized repeatedly saying he “didn’t realize he was going to do that read that morning.”

These words of T.J.’s bring up a very valid point, when you choose someone to share news with are they ready to hear this news, or are you just Trauma-Dumping?

We all have something we’re going through, especially the last two years.  However, when you look at it through the adage: we’re not all in the same boat, we’re in the same storm but in different boats; then you’ll become aware that maybe your bad day that you want to share with someone won’t be received that well because they’re having a bad week. 

It’s not a matter of timing or time span either.  It’s not a matter of you’ve both had a bad day, but they had one yesterday too.  Or, you got yelled at by your boss but they had to yell at an employee.  Or, your grandmother died but their dog died.  IT IS NOT A COMPETITION!

We all need to vent once-in-a-while, there’s no harm in that, just make sure the person you deem worthy of your rant is in a mental and physical space to receive the spew, or you won’t be doing either of you any good.  It never hurts to ask them if they have time to listen to you.  You trusted this person to be there for you, let them really be there.


Stay Your Course

Ruth Bader Ginsberg once said something along the lines of, “Everyone calls me a liberal, but I’m a moderate.  I was appointed a moderate, but the court shifted conservative, so looks like I’m a liberal.  I haven’t changed, the court did.”

This is true for many great leaders.  They stay their course.  The prevailing winds may shift, popularity may move, but they stay strong in their convictions and become great leaders.

Colin Luther Powell (April 5, 1937 – October 18, 2021) was one such great leader.  He served under four Presidents in three national positions.  The Presidents were three (old school) Republicans and a Democrat.  All his positions were appointed, not elected.  Until President Obama took office in 2008, he was the first highest ranking African American in the U.S.  The office of Secretary of State is fourth in line for President. 

As the Republican party shifted right, Powell endorsed Democratic Presidential candidates, which greatly upset many Republicans.  Powell didn’t change, the party did.  He still believed in the same things he always did.  Many thought it’s strange that a military man would be so anti-war, and he was called undeserved slurs for not supporting wars.  However, you can’t argue with his unwavering logic.  “All wars are bad,” he would say.  “I’ve lost friends and colleagues in wars.  No one should want to go to war.” 

His other steadfast convictions were based on his 13 rules of life, as stated in his 1996 biography, My American Journey.  You’ve probably already seen them, but they bare repeating. 

Colin Powell’s 13 Rules of Life

  1. It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
  2. Get mad, and then get over it.
  3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
  4. It can be done!
  5. Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
  6. Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
  7. You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.
  8. Check small things.
  9. Share credit.
  10. Remain calm. Be kind.
  11. Have a vision. Be demanding.
  12. Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
  13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.


Think? Think, Again!

You know the name Ken Jennings, you know the name James Holzhauer, and now you know the name Matt Amodio; not to mention my personal favorite Buzzy “Mr. Personality” Cohen.  

However, do you know the names: Nancy Zerg, Emma Boettcher, and now Jonathan Fisher?  Probably not.  After ending Ken’s 74 game winning streak Nancy was a one-time champion.  After ending James’ 32 game winning streak Emma was a three-time champion.  It’s too soon to tell how many turns at the podium closest to the host Jonathan will have, but he’ll have to win at least 11 games to make the top 10 list. 

These examples are proof-positive of the old publicity adage:  frequency and repetition.  Excitement breeds excitement.  The more times you do something, the more the public notices you.  The algorithms of social media platforms are the same.  The more a post gets “liked,” or any type of response, the more people (connections or strangers depending on your privacy settings) the platform will show it to, which gets more likes; so it’s shown to more people and so on and so on.  It’s like that old shampoo commercial.  Familiarity breeds familiarity, as well.

The same principle applies to bad deeds as well.  You can rob one bank, and maybe get away with it, but it won’t make you famous.  You have to rob dozens of banks to be considered with the likes of a John Dillinger or a Baby Face Nelson or a Bonnie and Clyde.  Of course, the exception to the rule is Patty Hearst, who only robbed one bank, but was famous for other reasons, so one is all it took.

So, here’s to Jonathan Fisher.  I hope he gets everything he wants out of being a Jeopardy champion.  If it’s fame and fortune, I hope he has a long and fruitful run.  If it’s just the self-satisfaction of playing his personal best then he has probably already achieved that. 

The Good and the Bad of the Ups and the Downs

There’s an old phrase that says if you sit in one place in New York City long enough the whole world will walk by.  When it does, you can then say, “Well, now I’ve seen everything.”

In the same vein, fiction becomes reality as William Shatner, most famous for purposes of this blog for his portrayal of Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise, in what has become to be known as Star Trek: The Original Series, will be going into space (for real).  The original series and I are the same age (you can look it up for yourself), which is why most people thought something like this would never happen!  Man hadn’t even walked on the moon yet when the original series was canceled. 

It was fortunate for Shatner that Lucille Ball, co-founder of Desilu Productions, the original producer of Star Trek, thought the show was about a group of touring actors when she green-lit it.  History might have been very different if she’d actually read the script.  It’s also a good thing that NBC hated the pilot episode and had series creator, Gene Rodenberry, re-work it, getting a new Captain and Shatner a job that would turn into a lifetime. 

Calling it “Star Trek: The Original Series” reminds me of World War I or what they called “The Great War” or “The War to End All Wars” until World War II came along.  To me it will always be just Star Trek.  

I guess it’s also fortunate for Shatner that founder Jeff Bezos amassed hundreds of billions of dollars and doesn’t pay his fair share of taxes, so instead of giving his employees a living wage and healthcare, he can fund trips for civilians to go into space.  If it really happens, who will Scotty be beaming up next?