There will be a free concert on Monday 3/5/07 at 7:30pm at New Jersey City University’s Margaret Williams Theatre honoring legendary arranger/composer Bill Finegan on his 90th birthday.

Mr. Finegan is best remembered for creating the sounds of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, and The Sauter-Finegan Orchestra. The concert will be performed by the Gotham Wind Symphony conducted by NJCU faculty member Mike Christianson and features music by Bill Finegan (including a new work that he’s writing for this occassion), Sauter-Finegan, Finegan’s students James Chirillo and Julie Cavadini, as well as Finegan’s teacher, Darius Milhaud. NJCU Faculty members Dr. Edward Joffe, Ron Janelli, Dan Willis, Pete McGuinness, and Joe Reardon will be performing as part of this Tribute.

Martin Espaillat has been missing since Valentine’s Day, the day of the snowstorm in the New Jersey area. No leads have surfaced as of this writing.

A petition to be delivered to the Clifton Police Department aims to persuade the police to expand their search to include an area in Clifton known as “The Gates of Hell.” This area is a series of underground tunnels and hidden compartments. The petition itself reads as follows:

We, the undersigned, demand a full scale police led or warranted search of the no trespassing area known as “The Gates of Hell” and any surrounding areas in Clifton, NJ in search of Martin Espaillat.

Sign the petition

Martin Espaillat was last seen on the morning of February 14th, 2007 on his way to the train station in Clifton, New Jersey. He would have been heading to work in Jersey City, New Jersey. Martin was wearing a black Northface coat with a hoodie. If you have seen him, or have any information please contact Mildred Espaillat at mildred@happyviper.com. You may also contact the Clifton or Jersey City Police Department at 973-470-5262.
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Edgar, Martin’s cousin, has built a comprehensive website that lists Martin’s stats, has tons of more recent pictures, and even video and a description of what he was wearing the morning he disppeared.

Here is the website: http://happyviper.com/martin/

Thanks again, and please share this with everyone.

Here are some photos of Martin. Some of them are rather old and his style has changed through the years, but his face never changes.

Photo collage of Martin Espaillat

Because of recent world events, the religion of Islam has been vilified. I have never believed in stereotyping an entire group based on a tiny number of extremists. This is as political as I’m willing to get. Quite often, fear and hate is based on ignorance. Those most willing to stereotype are usually those who least know about the group they are stereotyping. So, here’s a tidbit which can allow all of us to learn a little something about Islam. The information isn’t even about the religion itself, but about its art.

According to BBC News, a Science study of medieval Islamic art has shown some of its geometric patterns use principles established centuries later by modern mathematicians. The research shows an important breakthrough had occurred in Islamic mathematics and design by 1200.

Link to article: Advanced geometry of Islamic art

Thomas Broderick, a Jersey City cop, was arrested while on duty after his wife filed a domestic violence complaint against him. I certainly don’t know the details of this particular case and I won’t judge this police officer as guilty since an investigation has not yet even begun.

Regardless of the guilt or innocence in this specific case, domestic violence unfortunately has become too commonplace. Teris Casco of Jersey City was beaten to death by her husband, Edward Casco. During one of my internships, I worked (somewhat indirectly) with battered women. Their stories were both horrifying and inspirational. Hearing so many stories, though, continues to sadden me to this day.

The single most memorable incident concerning domestic violence occurred when I was at the municipal court with a friend of mine whose husband was facing his own domestic violence charge. A police officer spoke with him casually and asked what he was charged with. After hearing the answer, his response was, “Oh, is that it? That’s not a real charge,” and the two of them shared a hearty laugh.

If Broderick is indeed guilty, hopefully his service in the police department does not shield him from the full scope of justice. If law enforcement officers don’t take domestic violence seriously, private citizens like Edward Casco won’t take it seriously. And victims like Teris will continue to suffer.

UPDATE: Just after posting, I ran into another article in which Gregory Bullock brought up to seven women home to repeatedly kick and attack his 7-month-pregnant girlfriend. One doesn’t have to go far to discover yet another incident of domestic violence. Not a “real” crime? Please.

Consumers are finding it increasingly difficult to navigate automated telephone systems in order to speak with a live human being. Gethuman offers 6 tips to cut through the crud and quickly reach a person.

Once you’ve read through those tips you might find it beneficial to look through the rest of the site. According to the site,

The gethuman project is a consumer movement to improve the quality of phone support in the US. This free website is run by volunteers and is powered by over one million consumers who demand high quality phone support from the companies that they use.

I just might contribute a few entries to the gethuman project myself.

Bruce Lee undoubtedly has realized amazing success. Was he simply born with all of his talents and were his opportunities handed to him on a silver platter? Of course not! Life Coaches Blog reveals six things we never knew about Bruce Lee’s success. My favorite on the list is number 3: His greatest achievement came from a less than perfect victory.

As a bonus, the post includes a video containing rare Bruce Lee footage (albeit with horrendouse music…just turn the volume off).

What You Didn’t Know About Bruce Lee’s Kick-Ass Success [Life Coaches Blog]

As is often the case during my travel home from work, I let my mind wander. Today, my meandering mind focused a bit on leadership and the qualities of good leaders. Earlier this morning a brochure marketing an upcoming conference found its way into my inbox. Just before tossing the brochure into the recycle bin (the budget situation does, after all, make it necessary to ignore all travel opportunities) a quote caught my eye. I can’t remember the quote verbatim so I won’t do the author injustice by misquoting. The quote was good enough for me to open the brochure to the conference I could never attend and several more nice quotes pertaining to leadership graced the pages. The conference highlights the rising importance of leadership skills in IT executives. A noble idea, but that is a blog post for another day. Besides, work-related travel is out of the question, so I quickly jotted down those inspirational quotes to bring out again on a rainy day and finally proceeded with placing the brochure in the recycle bin.

A colleague likes to emphasize Habit #5 of the The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

Empathic Listening. Following this habit could bring about immediate results. How many times have you sat through a meeting which was unproductive mainly because two or more people at the table were interested only in pushing their own agenda rather than listening to what others had to say?

Jason Echols over at Black Belt Productivity believes that the most effective leaders let the best ideas win. It can be tough to let go of one’s own idea. But it takes a great amount of courage and trust to swallow one’s pride and create synergy to help accomplish another’s superior idea. If the other idea benefits the organization what would be remembered is the success. On the other hand, sticking stubbornly to that inferior idea could quickly create a reputation of being closed-minded. Interestingly, the first item on Echols’ list of creating this synergy is:

Leaders listen to all ideas.

A Lodi driver convicted of running over and killing a North Bergen infant was fined a whopping $300. The child’s mother was obviously outraged with this outcome. The driver, though, also wasn’t happy with the sentence and plans to appeal.

I can only imagine the heartache this mother must be feeling. I don’t know the details about this case, but I can’t help but shake my head. If it is true that this driver wants to appeal the slap on a wrist and being convicted with driving without insurance for killing an infant, he should avoid looking at himself in the mirror the rest of his life. By driving without insurance, he already showed disregard for both the law and for the safety of himself and others. Running over a 14 month old, and instead of remorse, taking a stance of not deserving any sort of justice is simply reprehensible.

Maybe one day he will learn to be ashamed of himself.

$300 fine for driver who ran down baby [The Jersey Journal]

Selena Maranjian of The Motley Fool advises readers not to drink bottled water. She mentions that many bottled water products consist simply of tap water modified to taste better. Since The Motley Fool is a personal finance site she concentrates more on the aspect of savings than on health aspects.

I never did follow the trend of buying bottled water and prefer to drink from a water fountain. The thought of paying for water never made sense to me. At home I prefer to filter water straight from the faucet. To avoid the hassle of water pitchers I use a Brita On Tap System, since it can be attached right onto the faucet.

Don’t Drink the Water in … America? [The Motley Fool]