James Harrison (Pittsburgh Steeler great linebacker) retires

One of my all-time modern day (2014) Pittsburgh Steelers players announced his retirement today, August 30, 2014.

He did it in-class just as he had done his entire career.  He played hard, loved his team and teammates.  However, it was clearly obvious that he loved the Steelers fans the most and the feeling is certainly reciprocated.

His own words are more perfect than anything I can write so here is his Facebook post from this morning officially announcing his retirement from the NFL:

james harrison retirement












I have made the difficult decision to retire as of today. My love for my family and the need to be there for them outweighs my desire to play the game. I have missed too many experiences with them because I devoted SO much time to my career. My love for the game isn’t strong enough to make up for missing one more birthday or first day of school. I am retiring as a man who is truly grateful for all of his blessings. I am sincerely thankful to the people who have supported me over the years, first and foremost my family, the Rooney family and my Steeler family, also Mr. Brown, the Bengals organization and fans, and last but FAR from least, Steeler Nation. Thank you.”


Summer Breeze in Japan

Japan in the summer

jal001When it takes half-a-day of travel (~12 hours) to get somewhere, and half-a-day of travel back (~10 hours because of a nice tail-wind) there must be lessons-learned and experiences to share.  Taking into account the obvious items such as the travel itself and those experiences, there is always something particularly special when traveling to Japan.  This week I was fortunate to travel to the great country of Japan again, and in particular the Yokohama area.  The fantastic Japanese spirit is so infectious that I wish to share with everyone reading this message.

My Colleagues

handshake-iconFirst, and foremost, I should acknowledge my fantastic co-workers.  They are simply the best; period!  They make every trip to Japan work so smoothly and they are the team the truly makes everything successful.  The cooperation and teamwork among the team is fantastic.  I am so grateful to work with such a talented and gracious team.

Lesson Learned
The weather.  The Lesson Learned is that in the summer time period in Japan make sure “Cool Biz” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cool_Biz_campaign) is acceptable.  It basically means that in hot weather, shirts with short-sleeves or other comfortable clothing is acceptable in these conditions.  Cool Biz serves a few important purposes.  First, it allows workers to be comfortable during their work.  Second, Cool Biz helps conserve energy due to less demand on air conditioning in the aggregate of all businesses.


g311206ps3It’s unbelievable but every visit to Japan is a culinary delight because of the incredibly diverse food items available in Japan.  It might be assumed that every Japanese meal might be Sushi but that is really not the case.  With nearly all meals you have a choice of conservative food, moderate food, or extreme food.

I enjoyed two especially memorable dinners for this quick trip and one was to Korean BBQ and the other was to Yakitori.  For Korean BBQ it’s basically a do-it-yourself type dining.  They bring various meat and vegetable items and you BBQ them yourself.  It’s quite fun even though you do a majority of the work!  We had a great time and these types of experiences always produce great memories.

Also, for this particular trip we were treated to Yakitori (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakitori) which is everything Chicken!  It was so delicious and such a fabulous experience.  Again, there were many great memories created at this dinner while we consumed everything Chicken!gdr1600ps1


Of all the segments of Food, Lesson Learned and My Colleagues in my most recent trip to Japan there is a clear winner.  That is My Colleagues.  Clearly, without a doubt.



Rush – Their debut album

Rush recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of their debut album, ‘Rush’, as well as their first tour to promote the album.  In honor of such a great memory for this fantastic band I offer my review of Rush:

rush 40 years


rush bandw













Prelude to Rush album

The self-entitled album, Rush, released on March 1, 1974 is still my personal favorite Rush albums among all the other great Rush albums.  In retrospect, later Rush albums are still absolutely great but there was a different sort of energy to those masterpieces versus ‘Rush’.  One of the main reasons why this album’s sound, lyrics and attitude might be slightly unfamiliar to a casual Rush-fan is the fact that Neil Peart was not the drummer on this particular album.  Yes, that’s right, for any Rush fans that are reading this now and might be in shock.  John Rutsey was the drummer on Rush and he’s clearly got mad-skills as you can hear on the album before leaving the band with complications due to diabetes.  John set the bar extremely high and, of course, Neil has proven over the years that he is one of the world’s finest drummers himself but all-due respect to John.

Rush_self_titledRush album

This album was the perfect debut that any band could have hoped.  It was loud, obnoxious and bold.  If there was one word to sum up this debut it would be ‘Sexy’ which is not very Rush-ish these days but this album certainly was that.  A song list is listed below and even some of the song titles give you a hint into what I mean by ‘Sexy’.

Source:  Wikipedia

Side one
Title Length
Finding My Way 5:03
“Need Some Love” 2:16
“Take a Friend” 4:27
“Here Again” 7:30


Side two
Title Length
“What You’re Doing” 4:19
In the Mood 3:36
“Before and After” 5:33
Working Man


Rush-in-concert_colorRush’ing ‘Till the End

“Take Yourself a Friend, Keep ‘em Till then End, Whether Woman or Man, It Makes you feel so good” is part of the lyrics for song #3 (‘Take a Friend’) on ‘Rush’ and probably accurately represents the great positive overall attitude of this album.  The lyrics and sound of Rush are simply majestic, although raw.  The song and sounds blend perfectly.  ‘Rush’, the album has the highest rating of all time for Steeler Star ratings and the band ‘Rush’ is a required activity to go-see if they are ever near your vicinity.

Overall listening to ‘Rush’ is a great experience.  ‘Working Man’ clearly became one of the most popular rock songs of all time but the seven other songs on this album all had similar pedigree.  They were worthy as well.  This is certainly one of those times where any sort of Music Review does a serious injustice to the power of the music so, therefore, I would just suggest listening to the title track ‘Finding My Way’ and see if this kind of music is of interest to you.

Enjoy and congratulations to Rush on 40+ great years,

Rush Fan

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