Lauterborn Blog Search

Friday, March 19, 2010

OK Blog Visitors: Mike Wants To See Your Feedback

OK fans of Mike's Blog. This is your mission:

1. If you're not already registered as a Follower, do it today so you can stay on top of the wave of blogs that get pumped out on a daily basis and can stay posted on Mike's next crazy activity. Think of it as "Where's Waldo"... "Where's Mike and What's He Up To Now?"

2. If you've visited Mike's Blog but have not left a comment on any posting, you need to immediately do so, so Mike can know how you feel about, address any questions, expand on an idea, etc.

3. Indicate your likelihood of attending a book signing and buying a copy of "Chasing Charley" at such time as it is released.

4. Bookmark Mike's Blog so and make it a part of your daily constitution to check it out. Mike promises to make it entertaining, with diverse topics, fun experiences, wild thoughts, out-of-the-toybox plans, amusing photography and, of course, updates on all his various projects.

If you can do these three things, Mike will be very impressed and shower you with praise.

Thanks for visiting!

My Amazing Co-Conspirator

Since he first spoke with her at the checkout counter of the retail shop where she worked, Mike was impressed with CC's approachability, easy manner and friendly way. As he got to know her better, he also realized she was incredibly deep, smart and creative. Mike was so impressed and inspired by CC, in fact, that he up and asked her to come work for him. Mike had so many projects going on -- some in development, others evolving and in a pitching stage -- that he needed someone to help him keep focused on priorities, manage some of the growing details, guide his web forays and feed off and help grow his ideas.

Initially, her schedule was to be two days a week -- the days in which she was not already working at her retail job, which fluctuated week to week. Mike was ok with that, as CC's role was still evolving. But it quickly became clear that Mike really almost needed someone the whole week long each week.

The duo discussed an expanded working schedule when CC realized she needed to leave her retail job. She was unhappy there, unappreciated and not really doing what she wanted to do. Sounded familiar, Mike thought, her feelings identical to those Mike had before leaving his own unfulfilling job.

Mike suggested she tell her boss her intentions as soon as possible and, on Thursday, March 18 -- henceforth known as CC's Personal Independence Day -- she gave notice. Upon hearing the news, Mike sent the following congratulatory message, in 48-point type no less:


CC committed to Mike a full 5-day-a-week schedule. At that juncture and now officially her new employer, Mike felt a power rush and immediately laid down some stringent new rules. This guiding document would be called the WRITER'S WORKSHOP MANIFESTO, dictating how work was to be performed and the guidelines to be followed. It was going to be Mike's Way Or The Highway. The founding statutes of the Manifesto are outlined below:

1. Upon the start and conclusion of a work day, hugs must be exchanged.
2. Flip-flops will be standard attire.
3. Mi casa es su casa.
4. CC must try at least one different meal each working day to expand her culinary horizons.
5. On nice days, work will be conducted on the patio (with Smoothies). On inclement days, work will revert indoors (with chunky soup to quell any chills).
6. Music will be played and enjoyed every day.
7. Spontaneous dancing is allowed and even encouraged.
8. Ice cream will be sampled on Fridays.
9. The words "Boss" and "Employee" are prohibited; fellow "Co-Conspirators" is he preferred.
10. Grilled cheese is the company staple.
11. Any coincidences and weird ESP happenings must be immediately discussed and further analyzed to see if there's any deeper connection, which invariably there is, hence a company-encouraged session of Deep Thoughts.
12. New mantras are encouraged, e.g. Stimulate Your Own Economy.
13. We will effect a "Work Without Walls" (trademarked by Mike) environment.
14. CC may be utilized in an extracurricular fashion to include the spreading of mulch, tomato picking, pie-making and Corona runs.
15. Sleeping late is permitted. Naps and cartoon-watching on company time are also permitted.
16. There will be no official work hours but only timeframes of productivity that may fall at any time of day wherein there will be great inspiration, collaboration and baking of cookies.
17. We will only dress up for clients; otherwise the corporate uniform shall be shorts, t-shirt and the aforementioned flip-flops. Beach attire is also welcome, but only if paired with a company-sponsored visit to the beach.
18. Headlamps shall be affixed upon command and silly photos taken with them on.
19. Frisbee is the encouraged brainstorming activity.
20. All board meetings will be held in pajamas or comfortable loungewear, with glazed donuts provided as meeting accessories.

It was a cruel and thoughtless Manifesto to be sure, but someone had to make the hard decisions. These rigid policies had to be enforced lest there be slacking, disloyalty or disinterest in the obligations at hand.

Did CC have a sense of this New World Order? Well, not the complete extent Mike surmised. He'd forgotten to mention to her the free company Snuggie with embroidered name on the breast pocket and Macaroni & Cheese Tuesdays. :-)

Let Me Be Blunt... If You Know What I Mean

No two days should be the same is one of Mike's new mantras. And thus far, no two days have been the same. Take today. At one point, Mike was conducting research and interviews to write a piece about Assisted Suicide. At another point, he was making a Home Depot run and then replacing a mailbox at the front of his house. Then picking up a pizza for himself and his boys.... watching Family Guy... overseeing the launch of his new website...checking his younger son's homework.. and finally sharing Coronas around a firebowl with his assistant CC (white shorts, middle), her boyfriend Orlando ("O") and their long-legged Korean friend Liz.

The end-of-day group spoke of Puerto Rico, from where O's family hails. They realized Liz could not say marshmallow. Mike told the spooky, uproarious tale of The Whippet Bandit. They studied the cosmos. They formed a unique oneness... a collective spirit... particularly when they moved like a pack toward the kitchen, evil intent in mind. Pancakes, chicken chunks, stew... all were on the radar and happily consumed.

Ultimately, the night was capped in Mike's living room, wherein a mini film fest was created and the pack sat rapt watching Wallace & Grommit claymation shorts.

This is how a "work" day is meant to be spent.

Mike hatches Assisted Suicide article for Fairfield County Weekly

Mike submitted to the Fairfield County Weekly an 800-word article about how two CT physicians filed a lawsuit against the state with regard to a law that says if you help someone commit suicide then you are guilty of second-degree manslaughter. Doctors say they should be legally permitted to "aid in dying" if the patient is an adult, terminal, of sound mind and competent and has asked for this type of help. As it is at present, there are only 3 states that allow assisted suicide. Connecticut could be the fourth largely depending on the outcome of this case... This article submission was paid by the paper giving Mike more of the validation he seeks with regard to writing abilities. For your enjoyment, Mike has pasted it below. Enjoy this vigorous debate....

Physicians and State Go Toe-to-Toe in the Assisted Suicide Debate

By Mike Lauterborn

© 2010. All rights reserved.



In the red corner, wearing white lab coats and carrying life ending doses of medication, the physicians. In the blue corner, wearing serious-looking corporate suits and carrying stacks of legal statutes, state legislators. The ref, in this case, a Connecticut state judge, calls the two sides to the middle of the canvas. They touch gloves and begin to spar.

It’s a match that’s been played over and over in legal arenas for more than four decades. The issue at hand: the argument that “aid in dying” is not assisted suicide. The undercard in the latest round is heavyweights Gary Blick, MD, an HIV/AIDS specialist in Greenwich, CT, and Ronald M. Levine, MD, an internist in Greenwich, CT. This past October, they took the latest swing, filing a legal challenge against Connecticut’s assisted-suicide statute. Only Oregon, Washington and Montana presently allow physician-assisted suicide so this is an important new frontier for proponents.

The statute states that a person is guilty of second-degree manslaughter if “he intentionally causes or aids another person, other than by force, duress or deception, to commit suicide.”

Over the past two decades, Blick and Levine have been approached by terminally ill patients – those with terrible, chronic pain and little quality of life but nonetheless mentally competent -- with the hope that the physicians could prescribe lethal doses of medication to end their suffering. While sympathetic, the duo has shunned the requests. To concede would be potentially committing manslaughter in the eyes of the law. They argue that the statute should be changed to accommodate methods of assisted dying, as physicians should not have to fear punishment, and that patients have a constitutional right to die with dignity in this manner.

A recent CPTV documentary titled “The Suicide Tourist”, addressed Americans’ challenges with getting access to physician-assisted end-of-life care. It chronicled the experience of Chicagoan Craig Ewert, who suffered from terminal Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Ewert had to travel to Switzerland to seek the aid of Dignitas, a non-profit that has helped over 1,000 people die in the past 12 years. With a known date and time for ending his life, it was easier for him and his family to prepare, enjoy final quality moments and put their house in order. The aid in dying was provided with dignity in a private, tranquil flat, with attendants that were reassuring and medications that made the process painless.

On March 8th in Hartford Superior Court, the doctors’ case came before Judge Julia Aurigemma, with the state seeking dismissal. According to a spokesman for the doctors, Steve Hopcraft, founder of Stephen K. Hopcraft Communications Consulting, the judge has 120 days to rule on the state’s motion. Hopcraft felt confident about the case, saying, “We wouldn’t have brought it if there wasn’t a good chance to win.”

Besides the doctors, Hopcraft serves nonprofit and public interest organizations, like Denver-based Compassion & Choices, which has a strong interest in the outcome of the case. The group “uses the power of choice and comfort to restore hope to individuals and their loved ones at the end of life,” providing advance directives, local service referrals, and pain and symptom management. They also promote informed end-of-life decision making by educating the public and advising health care professionals.

Hopcraft says the most significant opposition proponents face is the Connecticut Catholic Conference of Bishops. “We’re not a big organization,” says Hopcraft, “while the church has lots of resources. We raise money and awareness as we go.”

He finds it outrageous that “the Pope’s interpretation of some biblical passage and that the council of one faith should presume to impose on anyone their will” and that the bishops are “out of step.” He summarizes that the Conference is essentially saying that knocking you out and starving you to death is all legal and holy… but an adult, terminally ill, mentally competent person with no signs of depression overriding their ability to make a decision and who wants to die in peace is illegal, immoral and unholy?”

How can Connecticut voters who support the doctors’ position help? Hopcraft suggests they give what they can to help groups like Compassion & Choices spread the word, initiate citizen referendums and get on ballots.

“Doctors Blick and Levine are people who deserve the support of all of us. People that feel strongly should join Compassion & Choices to try to change Connecticut law and help others that have been prosecuted for helping terminally ill patients,” advises Hopcraft.

In conclusion, he adds, “It’s only people with resources that have any real end-of-life choices,
like flying out of the country. Until there’s a better end-of-life solution, people need to get their personal health in order, make dying part of the dialog with their doctors and not wait until it’s too late.”