February 29, 2016: Spotlight is On (Days 83 and 84)

Monday wasn't such a great day for Abby
10:03 p.m. Monday, February 29, 2016 (Leap Day)

I now officially have under a week left of my unofficial 90 days off. Today is Day 84 and I am ending this day sitting in my favorite chair, fur blanket on lap and fuzzy slippers on floor, with the only sounds in the house those of a popping fireplace and a teenage son's heavy footsteps in the room above me.

The animals are all tuckered out and snoozing upstairs. Not a peep from them. They had appointments at the vet's office that wore them out. A day in the life of a house pet. Cookie, the dog, loves car rides and trips outside the house. Abby, the cat, hates them. This is clear by her hissing in picture above. She did not want to visit our kind veterinarian today. Not at all.

Yesterday was a warm, but windy, Sunday. Ben and I went to the last home Creighton game of the year. I have always loved Sunday afternoon basketball games at the Century Link. This afternoon was no exception. The Bluejays won big and the conversations and company at the game were grand.

The evening was all about the Oscar's. I watched the first half at a friend's Oscar-themed party at her home and the second half with Grant at our own home. This year I had seen all the movie's up for Best Picture and many of the others up for awards as well. This inside knowledge created a heightened enthusiasm in my filling out the Oscar ballot that I would equate to a bookie with a March Madness bracket.

And I would have been 'in the money' for the big Oscar categories. I was 8 for 8 on the first ballot entries on my sheet. Some of the more obscure categories were guesses with outcomes at less than a 50% hit for me. But I scored on the ones I actually saw or had some insight into (Best Picture, Actress, Actor, etc...)

Spotlight was my pick for Best Picture. It was a difficult choice as this was a year where I enjoyed all of the movies. Brooklyn was sweet. The Big Short, a wild ride. And Room, a tough but worthy watch. Revenant was more difficult for me to judge as my eyes were closed most of the time (what bear?).

When Garrett and I went to see Spotlight, we hadn't a clue what it was about, just that it was on our 'must see' Oscar list. And then the screen lit up with great acting and a story line we knew too well. Garrett had lived near Boston during the time period of the movie.

As everyone likely knows by now, Spotlight was about the Boston Globe breaking the story on sexual abuse within the Catholic church. Watching the journalists in the film work tirelessly to uncover the cover-up and report on the hidden truths was riveting.

I asked a journalist friend of mine his thoughts on the film. He said it was 'spot on' and exactly why reporters do what they do. Seek the facts behind a story and unearth the hidden truths.

Likely if something is hidden, there is a reason. And that reason is rarely a good one. It's like telling a lie. People don't lie because their motive is pure. They may think they have reasonable excuses for their behavior, but ill intent typically lingers.

The name of the movie struck a chord with me. Spotlight. A bit of a play on words. Often the spotlight is on the wrong person or thing when trying to get the the heart of the truth. The stories the journalists seek are often outside the spotlight. That makes the investigation a much harder task.

I attended a fundraiser a few years back that featured Warren Buffet. In a fireside chat, he was asked what occupation he would have chosen if his career path excluded investments. His answer took little thought as he answered quickly.

"I would have been an investigative reporter. That's actually what I do when I invest. I dig down, look under the sheets, and ask a lot of questions. And then I only invest in businesses I fully understand. Just like a good reporter when writing a good story."

Warren's advice can be well taken by all. We all should dig deeper when making both business decisions and life decisions. Seek to fully understand. Fairly assess situations based on facts and an accurate portrayal of the known history. This will lead to the best answer and right story.

“I consider myself a journalist to some extent,” the 84-year-old billionaire, Warren Buffett, said in a video interview premiering Thursday night as part of the “Iconic Voices” series at Arizona State University. “I say, ‘Is the Washington Post Co. worth $22 a share?’ in 1973. I say, ‘Is the BNSF railroad worth us paying $34 billion?’ I assign myself the story. It’s my working hypothesis that it is. But then I go and look for the facts.”

Great advice.

(90 Days Off realization #18: Deal in fact. And more importantly, don't chase the spotlight. It's often pointing in the wrong direction.)


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