Show cover of Life's Learning Curve

Life's Learning Curve

How we became us! We take a look backward & find ourselves negotiating our LIFE EXPERIENCES, discovering life's various tones -comedy, drama, and nostalgia. Our podcast offers imagery of a documentary recreation, but for audio. Life happens in a heartbeat. Let's learn, thrive and love from our experiences while we're here. Cheers!


Beyond the Comb Over
In this episode of unexpected connections, transformative moments, and the power of perseverance in the face of adversity, Paul recalls his teenage years in 1972, marked by the untimely death of his band director and his pursuit of drumming dreams. Enter Mr. McCabe, an enigmatic drum teacher with a manicured comb over and an abrasive demeanor. Their initial encounter is rocky, with Mr. McCabe's blunt and dismissive attitude leaving Paul feeling intimidated and uncertain.Despite Mr. McCabe's tough exterior, Paul perseveres, determined to prove himself and push through dynamic of banter and insults, yet beneath the surface lies a mutual understanding and respect for each other's dedication to music.As Paul skills grow, so does his appreciation for Mr. McCabe's unconventional teaching methods. The tension culminates during a pivotal moment at a concert when Paul faces a crisis. In a surprising turn of events, Mr. McCabe appears to help out.Through this act of kindness, Paul gains a newfound understanding of Mr. McCabe's character, realizing that his gruff demeanor stems from his own insecurities. Their journey together transcends music, and embeds itself it the category of life’s learned lessons.Support the show
31:02 3/28/24
Coal Bootleggers: The Art of Being Clay
Step into a time machine and journey back to 1948, where a gripping tale unfolds in Coal Township, PA. Meet eight-year-old Clay, whose story is a riveting testament to resilience and determination. As he and his family embark on a new chapter, you'll  witness Clay's initiation into the world of coal bootlegging, the hardships of fitting into rustic row houses, and the challenges of navigating a life without modern comforts. Amidst this backdrop, discover the transformative power of education as Clay finally gets a chance to attend school. With the guidance of a devoted history teacher, Mr. Mumley, Clay's passion for learning ignites, opening a window to a worl  beyond the coal mines. But just when the future seems bright, a decision by his father alters Clay's trajectory, forcing him onto an unexpected path.Despite setbacks, witness young Clay's unwavering determination to overcome obstacles and forge ahead. His story is a testament to the human spirit and the resilience that fuels dreams.Join us on Life’s Learning Curve as we unravel the extraordinary true story of Clay Greager, a narrative that transcends time, inspiring us to pursue our dreamsagainst all odds.Support the show
24:40 12/18/23
The Art of Being Clay -The Early Years
Meet seven-year-old Clay Greager, whose unwavering determination to pursue his dreams leads him to brave the confines of a family coal mine in 1948. But that's just the beginning of his remarkable journey.Join us as we unravel the poignant stories shared by author Clay Greager himself, recounting moments where the line between ambition and adversity blurred. Experience the heart-stopping  encounter with mortality, from the blinding sun that alters destiny to the serene swing under a willow tree turning into a haunting reminder of life's fragility.In this episode, Paul delves deep into Clay Greager's early years, painting a vivid picture of courage, loss, and the pursuit of ambition against all odds. Tune in as we uncover the gripping narratives that shaped a young boy's extraordinary path.Prepare for an emotional rollercoaster as we explore the intersections of fate, determination, and the unyielding spirit of a child destined for greatness. Don't miss out on this compelling episode that challenges the very essence of seizing opportunities and confronting life head-on. Support the show
17:14 11/24/23
Criminals, Outcasts and Artists
In this episode of Life's Learning Curve "Criminals, Outcasts, and Artists," we follow the adventurous journey of Paul, who is called upon by his old friend Duke to rescue the failing Huckleberry Sunshine business in California, left in ruins by the C0-Vid crisis. Despite numerous setbacks and communication mishaps, Paul arrives ready to shoot commercials and create a podcast centered around the business. However, his world is turned upside down when he meets the new owner, the carefree Australian surfer Denbigh, who operates by his own rules. What unfolds is a whirlwind of communicative chaos and work-related fun, demonstrating the remarkable synergy that emerges between these two contrasting individuals as they embark on a creative adventure.Support the show
36:19 10/23/23
Flimflam Poker Night
When your 11, life still seems strange, adult behaviors are sometimes confusing and we are lucky to survive it all. In this episode, Paul is curious about his father’s semi annual poker night in the far back basement of his house. However, THIS TIME Paul is allowed to come sit and observe his father’s poker night and the players. One of these players was Paul’s current teacher. But the evening turned quite dark as another player’s behavior and quirky responses turned into a nightmare that haunted Paul for many years afterward. Listen to this life altering episode about testing the water of attempting to be a good man. When you're just a kid of eleven, life's a real puzzler. Grown-up actions can be a head scratcher, and making it through unscathed? Well, that's a triumph in itself. Join me in this tale, where we're dodging confusion and trying to find our footing.In this chapter of life, young Paul's got a burning question – What's the deal with his old man's twice-a-year poker night down in the deep, dark basement? But hold on, this time, something's different. This time, Paul's getting an invite to the grown-up gathering. He's gonna be a fly on the wall, watching his dad and the gang play their hands.Turns out, one of the players is none other than Paul's current teacher. The lines between school and life at home start to blur, and it's a curious sight for young Paul. But oh boy, buckle up, 'cause this story takes a turn. The night that should've been just a peek into his dad's world transforms into a shiver-inducing nightmare, one that sticks with Paul like a stubborn shadow.You'll want to lean in close as I spin this tale of how an ordinary evening can twist and tangle, leaving scars that linger long after the lights go out. This is a journey that'll make you think about the kind of man you want to become – the paths you'll tread, the waters you'll test. Support the show
30:50 8/29/23
The Ripple Effect -First Grade
In first grade, Paul's life is forever changed by a series of events. He is placed in a reading group, where he encounters a first-year teacher and is forced to sit next to Jimmy, a misfit who has trouble controlling his behavior. A mentor is brought in to help the class, and from that moment on, Paul's perspectives and attitudes are transformed. The story suggests that we can all improve ourselves by surrounding ourselves with the right people. But exactly, just WHO was the mystery mentor?Support the show
37:43 5/14/23
The Great Key West Summer Solstice Cigar Hunt
Can you keep the feeling of vacation after it’s over??   Paul’s friend Sam figured out how to do it.  This episode finds Paul sharing a story about his friend Sam's epic adventure in tropical Key West. Sam, on a mission to find the perfect cigar for his buddy Paul, embarks on a journey that takes him deep into the heart of the island's cigar culture.Along the way, he encounters a cast of colorful characters, from local store owners to feisty street performers who have had eccentric adventures of their own. But it's not all fun and games for Sam – he takes his quest seriously, determinedto find the ultimate smoke for his pal.As Sam delves deeper into Key West's cigar scene, he discovers a hidden gem – avintage cigar shop that only builds a masterful premium cigar once a year onthe summer solstice. With the help of the shop's eccentric owner named Butch,Sam finally finds the perfect cigar, and more importantly, a way to keep thespirit of his vacation alive long after he's returned home.Join us for this funny, quirky and heartwarming tale of friendship, adventure, andthe search for the perfect smoke. Whether you're a seasoned cigar aficionado orjust love a good story, you won't want to miss this episode.Support the show
17:28 3/8/23
The Letter Left in the Desk Drawer
Join us for a heartwarming episode of Life's Learning Curve. Prepare to be inspired as Paul reflects on his father's own struggles with hyperactivity and the loss of his father’s father at a young age. Through it all, Paul's dad found strength in other positive male role models and became the confident, laugh-loving father that Paul adored. Also, Paul shares the story of how his father saved him from the winter blues by taking him sledding at night. That's not all, folks! Don't miss this ode to a truly wonderful family and the memories that they created together. Grab a tissue and tune in!Support the show
28:28 2/17/23
1968: An 11 Year Old in California
As we reminisced about our carefree childhoods coming to a close, a nostalgic longing for innocence washed over us. The memories of a 1968 vacation to California evoked feelings of adventure, wonder, and warmth - from the magical Disneyland experience to the sun-kissed days spent exploring. But, amidst the decade of peace, color, and unrest in the west coast, a sense of unease lingered in the air due to the ongoing Vietnam War and the protests that accompanied it, creating an unusual imbalance that juxtaposed the feeling of all is well. An eleven year old Paul & his family visit the fantasy of California in 1968.Support the show
35:25 1/24/23
Life's Fish Cocktail Challenges
New to the central American country of Costa Rica, Paul sat in a Chinese restaurant mulling over the foreign menu. Suddenly there it was…. A cold raw fish cocktail and a warm beer. Now, at that time in his life, Paul knew that he just DID NOT CARE for fish at all. He had tried it back in the good ol’ USA, and quite honestly, it triggered that gag reflex; that embarrassing response from a child, He could not let that be HIS response.. However, Paul knew that might happen. The pressure was on. As all eyes gazed, Paul went for it. He took a heaping forkful of fish cocktail and felt the liquidy fish chunks slid into his mouth, and he  forced them past his taste buds straight down his throat. Bleaaa! Life is about taking chances, trying new things, having fun, making mistakes and learning from it. Life is about eating raw Costa Rican fish cocktail!   Muy sabroso Very tasty!    This is an episode about life’s adventures and its challenges for the uninitiated.Más pescado para ti More fish for you!Support the show
22:46 12/31/22
The St. Maarten ScubaGuy Incident
This episode tells the story of what happened one night, to Paul when he chose to relax a bit and sit  by the moonlit sea on the tropical island of St. Maarten. While stargazing just off the Caribbean coast, Paul spots a large glowing object off the far sandbar and deep in the water. As the light reveals itself, he discovers a James Bond-like scuba guy. Emerging from the waters, he soon is surrounded by nigh time boozy bar patrons. The scuba man reveals nothing about the slight of hand con he about to initiate. Support the show
16:58 12/5/22
Trust There's Water in the Pool
What do mile markers and tollbooths have in common? If I told you the answer to this question was… ‘They are a contributing reoccurring part of YOU and your life’s journey’ Mile markers and tollbooths, etc. might alter your perspective on a few things. On this episode, The Story of Last Flight Out is featured. It cannot be measured how many people have been impacted by this one page read, but I would wager a guess…Thousands of people.     Key West entrepreneur, author and Vietnam veteran Clay Greager is featured in a thought filled philosophical ride through not only Key West, but a journey through life itself.   Stories about how WE, became US.Support the show
18:42 11/18/22
Let's Be Copacetic!
Did you ever have a teacher whose passion and excitement for learning drove you AND your peers to excel? In this episode Paul is in 8th Grade, and his new band teacher is young, fun, talented, interesting, fair and engaging with all of his students. Quelling immature student behavior, Mr. Roush nurtured the band class to exceed expectations. Paul and his classmates slowly begin to understand that a single person can find, and then pull the BEST YOU out of you. At that point in his hife, learning became a passion. Until it happened...Support the show
28:41 10/28/22
Cigarette Cowboy
This episode delves into the captivating story of Paul's Uncle Russ, who, as a young boy in the 1930s, became enamored with the rugged, untamed wilderness of the American West in the 1880s. Fueled by his love for the thrilling adventures depicted in comic books and B-movie westerns, Uncle Russ became entranced by the legendary stories of the far southwestern United States, including the infamous outlaw Billy the Kid and the historic town of Mesilla. His passion was further ignited by the Eagles' melancholic album "Desperado," which poetically evokes the spirit of the Wild West. Uncle Russ' yearning for adventure and fantasy was intensified by his experiences during the war, ultimately leading him to embark on a quest to explore the last unexplored frontier of America, the Wild West.Support the show
21:22 10/15/22
The Savannah Sling
This episode sets us in Savannah Georgia with Paul’s ol’ college buddy, Dentist Tye Hagan. Let’s face it, as engaged and motivated as we all once were to begin our careers back in the day, most of us held tight to our innocence of youth and doing the right thing. Newbie dentist Dr. Tye did just that, and in the process of setting his new practice in Savannah, he became entangled in a drug running operation out of his own office. Don’t miss the slow wrinkled southern charm of Sally-Jo in this episode! Will Tye find his way out of this messy tangled web?  Co starring:The FBI, The DEA, and the Savannah Police Department.  Support the show
26:42 9/22/22
Folksy CEO Philosophers
Regional speak, or regional dialects are sometimes my favorite part of Paul’s business day. When he gets a client on the phone, he may ask him how everything is going (insert their state name). Paul often gets a 3 to 5 sentence primer in their regional language, metaphors or slang. PAUL: “Hey Henry. How is Mississippi treating you these days?”  HENRY: “Mah day’s all cattywampus cuz of the fecundating kudzu growing across my office window. If the thermo-bulb keeps going up, we’ll have another tongue wagger on our hands.”        -Sometimes life offers us perks in plain conversation. By the way, the best regional linguistic artists often turn out to be the head honcho; the person at the top. The CEO.Support the show
16:35 9/6/22
A Respectful CLOSE-UP -Bob Tonge
“You can always be better! You have to learn something every day, and if you don’t, …There’s no place to go.”  This organic inspiration is innate for our guest Bob Tonge. A man with a career in broadcasting, video production, and writing and performing music. Bob Tonge’s drive to build clients’ confidence and trust, has taken him into a one of a kind adventure in life -Here is a story of a  unique journey.  Paul gets a once in a lifetime sit down with communicator Bob Tonge.  “You got to keep prodding & learning & making adjustments in life. Keep moving forward!” -Bob Tonge  Support the show
40:07 8/18/22
Greatest Blessings Call Me Dad
In a world that's always shifting, where time molds us like clay, this episode of Life’s Learning Curve is a tapestry. That intricate dance between growing up, embracing change, and stepping into the shoes of fatherhood. Join Paul on a journey as he revisits the chapters of his life woven together with the threads of fatherly devotion.In this nostalgic recollection, Paul’s father and he navigate the uncharted waters of DAD-DOM, two souls connected by blood and dreams. Yet, it's the echoes of Paul’s now-grown children, Heidi and Riley, portrayed in their youthful exuberance, that guide us through this narrative.Tales of yesteryears come alive, as Paul dives into the chronicles of Griff, a chapter where Heidi's dramatic and cringe-worthy boyfriend takes center stage. Laughter andawkwardness blend, creating a mosaic of memories that still warm my heart.Then, a tender story unfolds—a memory of lazy Sundays spent scavenging treasures from dumpsters, Paul is side by side with his seven-year-old son. Together, they gather materials to erect a majestic treehouse, an imagined pirate ship soaring amidst the clouds. It's in these moments of shared adventure that the bonds of a father and son are fortified, forever etched in the annals of time.But life's canvas is vast, and not without its spills. The recollection takes a poignant turn as Paul recounts the time when, at seventeen, he faltered as a camp counselor for a group of eager eleven-year-olds. A crisis mishandled, a lesson learned—the colors of humility and growth painted onto his soul.As the final strokes of this tale brush across the canvas, we delve into the story of a boy and his father drifting apart, an emotional journey of separation and reconciliation. Through trials and tribulations, the intricate web of love stitches their hearts back together, a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.In the end, as Paulreflects upon this patchwork of narratives, the truth unfolds—how the seemingly inconspicuous fragments of our lives, like soft whispers in the wind, can evolve into profound connections that span a lifetime. Little did we know that within these fleeting moments lie the seeds of love, laughter, and unbreakable bonds. So come, join Paul, as we unravel the tapestry of life—one story at a time. Support the show
42:13 8/2/22
One Last Middle Class Try
While living a mundane existence in the suburbs. Thor Vance aspires to be a hot jazz guitarist . However, Thor is known as a triple-L loser. Although bullied and mocked as a child, he DID HAVE healthy and realistic future dreams. In this episode, procrastinator Thor seeks his dream, but arrives a bit too late and must realize his delay has damaged his destiny.  But not everything in life is unrepairable. A broken man living a broken life, Thor is given a loser nickname that follows him throughout his life. This humorous nonfiction episode ranks among the most existential of the Life’s Learning Curve episodes.Support the show
20:51 6/29/22
A Town with No Name
The Adventure! Undertaking danger and unknown risks, Paul leaves the USA to participate in an internship in Costa Rica, This episode brings 1979-style adventures for Paul. Struggling with a language barrier, he and his college roommate Reed vacation for one week at a non existent un-named beach town during spring break. Paul synthesizes with native villagers, and learns their daily routine of work, play, how they handle obsessive heat, and a daily symphony of gasoline generators which all seemed to be running at the same time. Add to that a dictatorial mayor, Mayor James, whose beach house sways with the blowing breeze, Paul and Reed begin an adventure in a Central American town with no name. Support the show
49:13 6/8/22
Summers at Apple Orchard
Paul revisits the beginning of Summer with a look back at the people and events that made Summer go great! Phil, Sue, his mom & dad and RUDY! The swim instructor with a permanent tan! In the end, Paul learns a couple thing: He learns how to swim AND He learns that nothing TOO GREAT in life lasts forever. Support the show
31:59 5/15/22
A Face For Radio -John DiDonna
Paul's guest is a  stand up comic,  a graphic artist, a puppeteer, a photographer, a voice artist, and a TV producer/performer, Paul welcomes TV’s John DiDonna. Life stories range from humorist innovator Ernie Kovacs to Chico Marx to a manic bus driver. John’s life is a shared comedic tone poem, His show called TWITS ran in the late 1980s and included some of these elements: Crazy Kenny, Mr. Friendly, Manny Moe and Jack, impersonations of Charles Bronson and Clint Eastwood and MORE! This show is a celebration of a man who dedicates his life to making others laugh.Support the show
48:06 4/7/22
Inspirers and Tubthumpers -David Wormington
Guest Dave Wormington has a super-talent. Since birth, Dave has inspired others to excel and do their best. Taking a step further, Dave provided an unexpected volume of encouragement, or as Paul calls it, tubthumping. Stories of bands, writing music, nuns, 70s hair for guys and the bass guitar fill this episode. Many people inspire and encourage, but Paul believes Dave’s uncanny ability to extend his passion for helping others that makers the difference in this unique man. Guest David Wormington brings stories, humor, irony and depth to this episode.Support the show
44:51 3/27/22
Not Yet Out of the Woods
This episode takes Paul back to camp within two different time frames. Enthusiastic and engaged Rusty and Hilda June directed the field campus and helped create the magic of outdoor education when Paul’s class spent a week there as  a twelve year old. At age 20 Paul returned as a part of his teacher training. But the second time, things were quite less magical and of- putting. Something had happened to Rusty and Hilda June that upset the balance of the camp. A blizzard, an offensive set of singer-songwriter originals, Tommy’s intestinal fortitude and a game of Duck Duck Goose gone bad, These variables ALL contribute to this episode about life’s changes and adjustments.Support the show
38:47 3/5/22
Caught Red-Handed
From the moment 16 year old Paul entered high school that spring day, usually an invisible student, he had some celebrity, but did not know why. Someone named Joey Malone was looking for Paul. Joey had spread the word that he wanted payback, and that Paul had done something really bad to him. Joey meant to get even with Paul, and he wanted to fight! Until the punch hits its target, Paul’s mouth, Paul STILL had no idea why Joey or anyone else was angry with him. Miscommunication, ego and plain ol’ lies would begat suspensions in school and a record with the police.  This episode contains stitches (twice) as well as an unexpected car break in.  Just when you think you have got everything understood in your life, something leaps out of the shadows and punches you in the mouth.    Episode 60      Season 4Support the show
21:11 2/15/22
Intent to Harm
At age 18, it was the first summer Paul took a summer job that was different from the others. This job quickly became awkward, demoralizing, nightmarish and yet, somehow funny to him. It was as if Paul was participating in a Hitchcock film with a guy named Anthony. Paul’s sense of humor and lack of life’s experiences collide as he is trapped in a fight or flight situation.  Getting a summer job was necessary for Paul. But what was NOT necessary …Working with a man with an intent to harm. This nonfiction episode is a nod to the suspense filled episodes of classic radio of the 1940s and 1950s. Support the show
28:00 2/1/22
Shortest Line
WHAT A RIDE?!?!? How did you choose your career? Did you choose it? Did it choose you, or was it fate?  As we enter Season Four of Life’s Learning Curve Paul finally shares one of the MOST embarrassing stories of his life: Just HOW he chose his career field.  Paul also explains where that career took him and how adding new technology to education probably saved him. In this episode mentors, losers, winners, motivators, Inspirers, great students and a national award or two are episode content.  Support the show
29:12 1/11/22
Good Ol' 39
Ed not only delivered children from school to their homes daily on good ol’ bus 39, he also delivered kindness, patience and friendship.  People just like Ed came into Paul’s live on occasion. For a brief time, Ed was a living legend to Paul, but do legends truly live on forever? Do you know anyone exceptional like Ed? Everyone deserves some deserved appreciation; a smile & a kind word back to them. It may make their day. Proactive small steps of regard can turn someone’s life around. Let them know you appreciate them. After all, tomorrow is not promised.Support the show
21:27 12/22/21
Saint Martin BUNCO
It wasn’t the soft breeze and tropical sunny warmth that hooked Paul on St. Martin, it was the adventure. That is, until that adventure went off the rails. Break ins, theft, corruption, and organized crime, and bunco schemes all existed in the dank underbelly of the tropical island. Hangers on from the last hurricane rebuild had stayed on the island and now hid out and pretended to be locals. NOT GOOD. ADVICE: When you go on holiday to the Caribbean, exist on the surface of the beautiful island, and DO NOT stray too far from your resort where crime and huge BUNCO schemes abound. Sometimes vacation adventures can lead you astray.Support the show
36:06 12/9/21
The Curve Ball
Life threw Bob a curve ball, misleading him at a young age. You can’t control the curve balls life throws at you. so you have to learn how to change or adapt, sometimes quickly so that life’s curve balls don’t take you too far down the wrong path. Bob always knew the man he would like to be, so throughout his life he found role models and mentors for himself, but NONE OF THEM had immediate impact of a colossal world event. A man never gets so old that he forgets what it was like being a young boy. This episode finds Bob maneuvering baseball’s literal curve ball, AND the curve balls life hurls at us.Support the show
23:08 11/24/21

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