Life In Fast Forward: The Blog

Wednesday, May 27, 2009
First, Learn What You Don't Know

Hotels.com

Hotels.com

A fact of life is that you can't find out what you are good at until you have some idea what you are bad at.

Early in your career, failure will be an option you will be forced to take more often then you will like.

Do not think it is for a lack of ability. Ironically, it is in failure where you learn some of your more valuable lessons.

Testing yourself to your limits without the eventual mishap will never help you set boundaries. What can you not do? Find out and avoid it.

What can you do with some level of success? Is it worth putting the extra time and effort to pursue? Then take a chance and go for it!

What can you achieve with great success on a consistent basis? Is it something you feel passionate about doing? It’s a no brainer.

Oddly enough, you’ll find that the boundaries of relationships will also work in a similar way.

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 2:00 PM   0 comments
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Look Ahead To The Good Things In The Middle Of A Crisis

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MeritAid.com - $11 Billion in Scholarships

Let’s say you’re shipwrecked. Assuming you’re free from any immediate danger (you’ve got a life raft and some supplies, there are no sharks or pirates lurking, etc.) would right now be the best time to debate with yourself if your nephew would rather have the Wolverine action claws or the Batman cape and mask for his birthday present next week?

You might think there are better things to focus on in a time of crisis, mainly surviving to the next moment. But what good is surviving to the next moment and the next moment and the next moment if you lose the sense of why you should be surviving. Otherwise, the alternative will start to feel more appealing and a lot less of a hassle.

When I when through my 2 days of survival training in the Air Force, the instructors knew that 95% of the cadets that were standing in front of them in the woods were basically on a camping trip and would never need any real field survival tips, but they taught us some mental tricks that would actually roll over well as basic life skills. The most important is the faith that you will survive, and the ability to keep those around you convinced of the same, despite the conditions you are facing. The common scenario for doom would be a group of survivors marching toward what they hope would be safety, where eventually, someone will start muttering “We’re all going to die...” Those words will quickly become a chorus in perfect lock-step harmony if not addressed immediately.

Take a look at the various aspects of your life. Whether it is the fear of more cutbacks and layoffs at work, or the strain of a spousal or parental relationship at home, all the battle plans in the world you can devise to survive an onslaught will do you no good if you’ve got nothing to live for after the war has been won.

Assuming you are not currently in the act of dodging bullets or arrows, now is exactly the right time to be planning that moment you’ll be looking forward too once you step off the field of battle.

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 7:04 AM   0 comments
Monday, May 18, 2009
More On Building Your Stage To Success


Monster Learning

Last week, I wrote a post titled Garage Band To Play Madison Square Garden? Building Your Stage To Success. The next day, I get a message from my friend and blog ombudsman Makeda Boswell that adds this insight to the original that was to good not to share with the rest of the class, unedited:

You know I have a lot of musician friends (meaning I've sat thur a lot of sound checks) Anyway, I've notice that as they are warming up for a show, they always tell the sound person what they need (ie more vocals,can't hear the bass player, there's to much sound or not enough sound) Eventually, everything is just right and my friends start to play.

The same thing can apply to whatever goal or task you're trying to accomplish. You work at something and tweek it (which comes from feedback) and tweek it some more till it's just the way you want it

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 10:31 AM   0 comments
Today’s Quote & Question For 5/18/09

Hotels.com

Hotels.com

Today’s Quote: "Autobiography is an unrivaled vehicle for telling the truth about other people.” - Philip Guedalla

Today’s Question: How do you give someone a message they might not want to hear?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 3:52 AM   0 comments
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Today’s Quote & Question For 5/17/09

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CreditReport.com: Credit Reporting and Repair

Today’s Quote: "There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub.” - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Today’s Question: Where do you go to find peace?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 11:20 AM   0 comments
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Today’s Quote & Question For 5/16/09

Protect Your Kids Online!

McGruff SafeGuard: Protect Your Kids Online At GoMcGruff.com
Today’s Quote: "The will to be stupid is a very powerful force, but there are always alternatives.” - Lois McMaster Bujold

Today’s Question: How do you stop yourself from making stupid mistakes?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 2:50 PM   0 comments
Friday, May 15, 2009
Ways To Handle Your Troublemaker Customers

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This is not the first time on this blog that I have taken on the time honored tradition of the customer always being right, but I believe it is the first time I actually offered a solution that involved dealing with the customer and not just reassuring the employees who deal with them that the abuse they take is worth it.

Once again, I will admit that I am a horrible closer in sales, but once committed to a client and product, they get 100% effort, routinely overshooting their expectations. But in the cases when you are not meeting the needs of the customer to their satisfaction, despite delivering exactly what they asked for and more, I offer three solutions:

- Sell Them At A Lower Price: Times are tough right now for all of us, and your clients are no exception. They are feeling just as much pressure to cut costs or get more for the money they are spending, and they are driving you insane with worry for loss of revenue I you can’t meet their panicked demands. Now is the perfect time to take a small loss with a loyalty discount for those long time customers, especially big spending customers. A limited batch of discounted goods and services might be to ticket to keeping them at bay.

- Sell Them At A Higher Price: Custom orders, rush delivery, and last minute changes are enemies to your bottom line, especially if your customers are coming to you discounted and not premium prices. If your customers are making requests that mean increases to your normal cost of service, you are well within your right to share some of that cost increases with those customers. If your customers are just annoying, well, make sure you can both justify and prove the necessity of the cost increase

- Stop Selling To Them: If you were no longer serving the best interest of a client, you would expect them to stop using you. It is odd that the opposite is usually not an expected option. If a client becomes too much trouble or expense, and you can come to no workable discourse, you have to fire the client. You would do better using the time and energy to focus on your profitable customers or finding a new replacement customers.

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 12:01 PM   0 comments
Today’s Quote & Question For 5/15/09

Winter Clearance at VistaPrint! Save up to 90%!

Spring Clearance at VistaPrint! Save up to 90%!

Today’s Quote: "Your theory is crazy, but it's not crazy enough to be true." - Niels Bohr

Today’s Question: Who is crazy: you or them?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 8:01 AM   0 comments
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Garage Band To Play Madison Square Garden? Building Your Stage To Success

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Samsung: Let's Talk

I’ve been talking to a lot of my friends who are stagehands lately, and as the summer concerts are beginning to be planed, and my mind got caught up in thinking about goals and planning.

When a band sets up a stage for a performance, they have to scout out the venue, determine their basic wants and needs for a show, figure out if the venue can actually allow them to do some cool extra things (more lights, split level stages, pyro, whatever), and then determine what the end result should be. If the band is comfortable with themselves and who they will be performing with, they know how well they move together on stage, and can easily set up a performance and tear down for a quick getaway once they know how much room you have to work with.

Take this to your work team or even personal goal planning. Think about yourself and the teams you work with, and take a closer look at the current level of talent in contrast to the limitations that have placed on you (budgets, time, authority, priority). Your limits make up the size of your venue, and whether it is the equivalent of a small club or outdoor stadium. That sets you up to gage the size of stage you can manage in the space, how much equipment and what type of equipment you can allow on stage, and the size of a crowd you have to pull into the venue to make your performance pay off. Your bosses may see a lot of potential for crowded theater shows, or they might not think your ready to come out of the garage. You’ve got to figure out what venue they’re trying to book you in before you try to negotiate a bigger room and more of the door money.

And you have to be especially honest about the level of talent you are currently working with. You can argue about the Beatles being the greatest band of all time, but they didn’t begin the British Invasion a few months after they formed. They spent years learning themselves and their audiences, and they started with humble beginning of playing in some of the smaller and more seamier dives all over Europe. They had designs on sellout arena crowds early in their career...but they to build themselves up to reaching their superstar status. And they had to build smaller steps and occupy smaller stages along the way until they could demand the biggest and the best. Don’t get fooled by your potential. Let your potential be your booking agent to bigger gigs in a timely manner.

Your first challenge is to see the venue for what it is, and plan the biggest possible stage and grandest show setup you can imagine for it. That becomes your target goal, and their is nothing wrong with taking that goal to an insane extreme. You might not sell out Madison Square Garden, but you’ll never come close if you don’t keep a few open dates in case the opportunity just happens to pop up.

Your second challenge, and what is the real hard part, is to be consistent in building the steps to that bigger stage, and not hope that talent or luck will allow you to leap from a smaller stage without the proper support. Having a team that is willing to do what it takes to sell out the Garden is great. Having a team that has the talent to pull off the show is wonderful. Having the team that has worked its way up, step by step, to grow its talent and fan base to sell out the show is what you really want. That is something special.

I’ve worked with people who have looked at the big stage and shied away from it, despite great talent, and chosen to stay in the smaller venues or even get out of the business altogether because of the time and expectations of people who perform on the grand level. More frustrating are the people I’ve worked with who you have looked at the stage we are working on and the steps we had built so far, take a chainsaw to them, set them on fire, and then drive over the whole thing with a steamroller. Then, they would stand on top on the ashes and complain that were not building an even bigger stage than the one we had previously destroyed. I have worked with far too many of the latter types of people than I care to think about, because it drains my personal energy when I have to think about the time and energy wasted in the build up. But each experience is a learning experience that you have to take something good away from.

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 6:00 AM   0 comments
Today’s Quote & Question For 5/14/09

www.chickdowntown.com

chickdowntown.com

Today’s Quote: "The miracle is this - the more we share, the more we have." - Leonard Nimoy

Today’s Question: Do you have a problem with sharing?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 4:00 AM   0 comments
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Today’s Quote & Question For 5/13/09



Carnival Cruise Lines

Today’s Quote: “To have that sense of one's intrinsic worth... is potentially to have everything...” - Joan Didion

Today’s Question: Are you sure of your own worth?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 4:56 AM   0 comments
Replacement Thinking

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My Nutrition Store's Cardiac Kit: Reduce Your Risk & Take Charge Now

Replace ‘taking it slowly’ with ‘do it with patience’: you cannot expect instant results, but you keep pushing beyond the slower pace once you’ve mastered the moves.

Replace ‘find the right person to follow’ with ‘follow me’: take the lead and see who many people will line up behind you for both support and guidance.

Replace ‘doing it for me’ with ‘doing it for the greater good’: you get so much more when you are truly giving it away, both spiritually and economically, despite you actually religious orientation.

Replace ‘this great idea of mine’ with ‘just working within the parameters I was given’: you already know it is the solid truth that your grand idea is only possible based on the conditions that are faced.

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 4:43 AM   0 comments
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Today’s Quote & Question For 5/12/09

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CreditReport.com: Credit Reporting and Repair

Today’s Quote: “I am not afraid of the pen, or the scaffold, or the sword. I will tell the truth wherever I please.” - Mother Jones

Today’s Question: Are you telling yourself the truth?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 4:04 AM   0 comments
Monday, May 11, 2009
Today’s Quote & Question For 5/11/09

Winter Clearance at VistaPrint! Save up to 90%!

Spring Clearance at VistaPrint! Save up to 90%!

Today’s Quote: “An undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions.” - Robert A. Humphrey

Today’s Question: Are you applying the right solution to the right problem?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 10:36 AM   1 comments
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Today’s Quote & Question For 5/10/09

Send Flowers at 1-800-FLORALS

Send Flowers at 1-800-FLORALS

Today’s Quote: “I have never been especially impressed by the heroics of people who are convinced they are about to change the world. I am more awed by those who struggle to make one small difference after another.” - Ellen Goodman

Today’s Question: What small difference did you mother make in your life that made a big difference you?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 3:52 AM   0 comments
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Today’s Quote & Question For 5/9/09

Be seen by 1.5 million hiring managers instantly!

Resume Rabbit: Be Seen By 1.5 Million Hiring Managers Instantly!

Today’s Quote: “How my achievements mock me!” - William Shakespeare

Today’s Question: Have any of you good deeds or solid successes ever come back to haunt you?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 3:50 AM   0 comments
Friday, May 8, 2009
Today’s Quote & Question For 5/8/09

Computer Training Online

TrainingCenter.com: Computer Training Online

Today’s Quote: “It is better to sleep on things beforehand than lie awake about them afterward.” - Baltasar Gracian

Today’s Question: When has a little extra patience helped you out?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 9:41 AM   0 comments
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Today’s Quote & Question For 5/7/09

Survive a computer  disaster with Carbonite

Survive a computer disaster with Carbonite

Today’s Quote: “I just want you to understand you can never get more than a 100%. So you give me 60% today, you can't give me a 140% tomorrow. If you give me 60% today, you leave 40% on the table. You'll never get it back.” - John Wooden

Today’s Question: What is your favorite quotation or saying?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 4:38 AM   0 comments
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Today’s Quote & Question For 5/6/09

Survive a computer  disaster with Carbonite

Survive a computer disaster with Carbonite

Today’s Quote: “Relying on yourself is a lost art.” – Frank Shorter

Today’s Question: Can you truly rely on yourself?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 4:44 AM   1 comments
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Your News Releases Need Work: Emailing Bad News Releases
After receiving a tweet from a friend asking for news release help last week, followed by was seemed like an entire day of emptying my email inbox of bad news releases, I figure it was time I took another shot and explaining the art of getting your release at least looked at, and hopefully used.

For a head start, check out my past post which
explains the 7 pieces of media that should be included in your basic media kit
.

I want to attack the problems I dealt with yesterday:

Assume We Don’t Have The Latest & Greatest: Last Friday, I learned that according to Forrester Research, 60 percent of companies use Internet Explorer 6 as their default browser. That was the day I stopped whining to my IT folks about why we were using the old & busted browser of the past. Today I plead to all the PR folks to sent thinks out in the future. Web pages with lots of flash widget and browser optimized settings can not trump a simple webpage with a clean overall look and images set to just enough that it means something. My 5 year old office desktop running Windows 2000 would appreciate it.

Assume We Don’t Have The Latest & Greatest Part 2: As with the case in an office where I am running Windows 2000 for heavy audio editing, we’re also short on licenses for MS Office. ANY version of MS Office, let alone the latest and greatest. Assume that the person on the computer on the other end may be in the same boat, and don’t send them word docs typed on your brand new, shiny Vista computer with converting them down from .docx to .doc. Even better, try .rtf or a .pdf, both which are universal, and for the latter, you don’t have to worry about a change in font shifting the entire press release.

Images Can Ruin Everything: Our web based corporate email system allows every user in the corporation 20MB or storage space, unless you’ve been with the company over 8 years, whet they may be stuck with the old cap of 10MB. Not a serious problem for those who have machines with the MS Office suite and MS Outlook. I don’t have that luxury, and had to dump my email twice yesterday, after receiving an attached .mp3 from a new artist (5MB) and a two press releases from the same person because he forgot to attach a picture to the document (2MB for first email with large corporate logo, 8MB for email with large corporate logo and 7MB hi-res headshot in .docx press release). Sending news releases with links to download media, scaling down large images to travel reasonably through email, or just sending a .pdf would have made life much easier for me, the one you are trying to influence to cover your people and events.

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 7:58 AM   0 comments
Today’s Quote & Question For 5/5/09


Visit The Discovery Store

Today’s Quote: “Feelings make good advisers but poor masters.” - Bill O'Hanlon

Today’s Question: Are your feelings the main influence to your decisions?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 4:45 AM   0 comments
Monday, May 4, 2009
Today’s Quote & Question For 5/4/09

Protect Your Kids Online!

McGruff SafeGuard: Protect Your Kids Online At GoMcGruff.com

Today’s Quote: “I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” - Bill Cosby

Today’s Question: Are you working to hard to please too many people?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 5:33 AM   0 comments
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Today’s Quote & Question For 5/3/09

Winter Clearance at VistaPrint! Save up to 90%!

Spring Clearance at VistaPrint! Save up to 90%!

Today’s Quote: “I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then live with that decision.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

Today’s Question: Do you like who you are?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 5:11 PM   0 comments
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Lessen The Load of Training New Hires

Computer Training Online

TrainingCenter.com: Computer Training Online

This Guest Post Written By Linda Finkle

As managers and business leaders we all have faced the age old dilemma of whether to hire or not to hire new staff. Indeed, this question presents a weighty set of issues. On one side of the scale are all of the benefits a company hopes to gain by hiring more staff. On the other side of the scale are all of the concerns that either prevent hiring or result in limited training time for new employees.

This article will show managers that training new employees does not drain time and resources and that with a little effort they can tip the scales in favor of business growth.

A thorough hiring process prevents unforeseen costs of training new employees. Spending time and resources upfront on vetting potential candidates insures that the individuals you hire fit the mold of your organization. In the long run, the initial costs of hiring will pay for themselves because an employee who quickly becomes a seamless part of the infrastructure requires less training and yields productivity more rapidly.

Once you have hired a new employee, you do not need to complete all aspects of their training immediately. Keep in mind that business development occurs over time not overnight. Managers who avoid the rush to train employees give themselves the time to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the employee. Moreover, managers can then develop a training program specific to that employee's needs. As such, your company avoids excess expenditures on unnecessary training. At the same time, you are putting the money where it counts: in training designed to improve upon an employee's weaknesses.

Every expenditure made towards training a new employee does not translate into a cost for your company. On the job training, where new hires shadow their managers, permits managers to teach good business practices simply by performing their daily tasks. For example, good listening skills are critical to maintaining clientele. Permit your new hires to watch you engage in meetings with clients and have a discussion over lunch with your employee about what the employee took away from the meeting. Then at the next client meeting, let your new hire take the lead on engaging the client. A short feedback session following the client meeting should put your employee on the right track. This on the job training permits the employee to learn from actual experience rather than costly off site training programs. A little time investment was the only calculable cost.

Employees also can assume an active role in their own training. A system that requires employees to check in with their supervisors is more efficient than one that relies on managers to do the checking in. The former permits employees more flexibility to expand upon their interests in the company and more room for innovation. An employee driven system also relieves managers of the burden of overseeing every assignment managers give to their employees. Ultimately, the employee-driven system means that companies avoid unnecessary redirection of managerial time and resources.

Mentor programs provide a vehicle for teamwork and afford new employees a constant avenue for help. A mentor is a senior or mid-level employee who assumes the work of acclimating new employees. Without mentor programs, managers and supervisors will spend inordinate amounts of time training new employees and showing new employees the ropes. A mentor program, however, allows managers to pass off the task of training to a mentor who is equally as capable of indoctrinating the new employee. In fact, mentors often are in a better position to provide the necessary structure and guidance for new employees because mentors are still a part of the employee cadre. As such, new employees can learn by shadowing mentors and mentors can teach without interfering with their own work. Managers, by contrast, are more distanced from the daily grind and would have to distract themselves from managerial responsibilities to train new hires.

Training new employees need not deplete critical company resources. By following any or all of the above suggestions, companies simultaneously can conserve time, save money, and yield production. Just watch the scale tip in your favor.

About the Author:

Linda Finkle is a leading expert on organizational communication strategies and human potential development. As CEO of her executive coaching firm, Incedo Group, Linda has helped countless leaders build internal communication and conflict resolution strategies. She brings about changes in attitude and leadership style that yield dramatic results. Company profitability is an inevitable side effect. Learn more at http://www.IncedoGroup.com

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 3:36 PM   0 comments
Today’s Quote & Question For 5/2/09


Monster Learning

Today’s Quote: “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today’s Question: Do you work better if you already have the answers?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 3:28 PM   0 comments
Friday, May 1, 2009
Today’s Quote & Question For 5/1/09


Monster Learning

Today’s Quote: “The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on.” - Ulysses S. Grant

Today’s Question: Do you know when it is time to go?

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posted by J. Cleveland Payne @ 10:24 AM   0 comments

Welcome to my new blog. This is where I will chronicle the next phase of mis-adventures of my life. Thank you for staying on the ride, and for you newcomers to the inside of my mental mania, I will do my best to make sure the trip is both entertaining and educational.

Life In Fast Forward: The Blog is still a bit of a work in progress. Keep checking in for new posts and site updates.

21 Great Ways to Live to be 100

About Blog
This blog supports some of the thoughts and interjections from the folks at Fast Forward Business Properties. Our ideas, things we test, and a few random thoughts will show up here.

  • Name: J. Cleveland Payne
  • Home: Little Rock, Arkansas, United States
  • About Me: News is my profession, so it only fits that I am a news junkie. I'm a radio show/segment producer for a news/talk radio station in Little Rock, Arkansas.
  • See my complete profile
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Life In Fast Forward: The Blog is still a bit of a work in progress. Keep checking in for new posts and site updates.

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