Saturday, July 28, 2012

Crazy Logic

S.S. was telling me one of his memorable stories about the early marriage years with his in laws.  He passed on some of his father's wisdom that he received during a difficult situation - "You can't reason with a crazy person". 

Melding two families together can be like mixing water with oil - a little surfactant is needed to make the blend work.  Culture and tradition are the ingredients of the wonderful diversity of human nature.  Just watching the  2012 Summer Olympic Athletes march into the  London stadium displayed the colorful garb of uniqueness of culture represented by each country. 

The United States is a great example of the melting pot mixture of culture and tradition.  The new "blend" of many demonstrates the power of mixing cultures together for over 200 years.

It's like our dogs - Bella and Fitch.  The product of a female Golden Retriever blend with (we think) a  black male Labrador/Pit Bull blend.  Their unique personality and appearance is loved by all. 

Clashing cultures can create crazy characters.  It is not reasonable to force your culture onto others - instead enjoy the mix. 

Sound's crazy - but it's logical.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Summer Olympic Job

I remember the Summer Olympics of 1976 very well since I got paid while watching the athletes compete. 

I was fortunate enough to receive an internship (the first awarded in Cincinnati) at Accenture.  There were three of us from Miami University that were assigned to a internal project to convert MACPAC (Accenture's manufacturing MRP package) from System 3 RPG to the IBM 360 environment.  The work involved inserting BAL subroutines for all the read and write commands in every program - a very mundane and redundant task. 

Since computer time was scarce, we were allowed on the client (Ilsco/Bardes) computer from 12 noon to 10pm.  Our Manager - G.V. had pity on us when we lamented that we would miss the Summer Olympic games.  So we were allowed to bring in a portable TV while we were key punching the subroutines, compiling and executing the tests. 

What a great Summer Olympic Job.

Memorable names included -  Romania Gymnast Nadia Comaneci; U.S. Decathlon Winner Bruce Jenner; and US Boxers Sugar Ray Leonard and Michael Spinks

Monday, July 23, 2012

Tree Wisdom

I received a lesson in ecological systems today from A.M. as we discussed the sad news he had delivered to me on Saturday night about the pending doom of the Ash trees in my forest subject to the activities of the emerald ash borer.

 "Yes, it will be expensive to cut down those ugly dead trees", I stated.  A.M. expression was obvious but needed probing: "I take it you are not in favor of cutting down old dead trees".

"Dead trees are like old people", A.M. replied.  "They are the biological capital critical to the long term health of the forest ecosystem" says George Wuerthner - "Praise the Dead: The ecological value of dead trees".

It all made sense - the habitat for forest creatures; snow fences; nutrients for ground; thermal protection for Marten; the list goes on.

Our forest is full of fallen trees.  In fact I have an area where I place all the collected debris.  Just the other day, I had mentioned to Susan we should remove that "eye sore".  With my new education in ecosystems, I can now say beauty is in the eye of the knowlegeable beholder.

Treebeard in the Lord of the Rings would be proud of my new found tree wisdom.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Follow Your Own Music

Keeping up with the Jones and the constant comparative and relative measuring of yourself is a human condition you can not avoid.  It is the safety and security of the "herd effect" similar to the reactive amydalae brain function that drives us to mimic the people we interact with, within our social demographic strata.  We listen, see and hear what they do - and we "follow the music".

As a teenager I had a black and white poster  in my room (I think Mom got it for me) that had a quote from Henry David Thoreau - "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.  Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."

Add to that the lyrics of my favorite teenager 1968 song by Otis Redding - Dock of the Bay  and you begin to understand the music I followed. :)

"I can't do what ten people tell me to do .....
                              so I guess I'll remain the same"

Monday, July 16, 2012

No Secrets

If you are concerned about privacy - get over it.  There are no secrets in this data intensive world.  It hit me first when I being authorized at the bank as the Treasurer of the Indian Hill Boosters.  They asked if I had ever done business with them before.  I said no - but they found me on file with an old 1982 record of my Jeanie ATM card.   It happened again when I was in Las Vegas requesting a Members Reward card - they found a 1992 old rewards number from a prior visit. 

If you want to see how much information there is about you, just pay the $100 to get the internet search on yourself. The last credit report even showed the Hamden Ct. apartment I was in for only two months. 

At the Vistage all City meeting last week, a technical computer security geek gave the keynote address.  The tools he described that can monitor your cell phone and your computer were amazing.  He even mentioned the data collected (and maintained in the jpg file, on any picture taken of you (i.e. GPS coordinates).

So "What goes on in Vegas, " might not really "stay in Vegas"  ;)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

I sit in the McCarran Airport (LAS - Las Vegas) after a rendezvous trip with  Rich.  After 16 years we decided to return to Vegas to reminisce about Wayne.  We both landed about 1pm Vegas time on Thursday and took a cab to the Palm Cemetery on Eastern.  Once there it we decided to try to find the grave (like the scene in The Good, The Bad and the Ugly).  Rich had done the homework and based on the Internet picture, the location was in Inspiration Garden near the Mausoleum.  It took about 15 minutes of searching but we found the grave site.

From there it was check in at the Rio - Wayne's favorite Casino.  We both signed up for Member Rewards and I discovered I was already in the system from the 1992 meeting of the three of us for an Acquire marathon tournament.  Rain prevented us from a side trip back to the Grand Canyon - but we enjoyed a show (Penn and Teller) and hopping (or should I say hope-ing) from Casino to Casino.  We played Deuces Wild (Wayne's favorite slots game) most of the time.

The Good:  Four days with Rich reminiscing about the days with Wayne.

The Bad:  Both left town overall behind.  But Wayne must have been looking after me with when I hit 4 Deuces at the Cosmopolitan.  Rich left the Airport slot machine with 5 tens.

The Ugly:  Las Vegas with all it's glitter and excitement shows too much of the excess in every way.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Not "to do" List

What is on your "Stop doing list"?  It could be your stop doing list is more important than your "to do" list.

 I was first introduced to the "to do" list when I started a career at Arthur Andersen's Administrative Services Division (later to become Accenture).  A tradition handed down from the Accountants, I would construct a line by line list of things "to do" - a individual work program.  This inventory of tasks would be "I-ed"out (a line drawn over the written task in the form of an I) when completed.  It was amazing the motivation generated by a written task on a sheet of paper. Also the power of seeing the list allowed for mental prioritization and efficiency.

I have never created a "stop doing list".  Those private items are left inside the mind conveniently available for forgetting and/or feeling guilty about after the fact.  A bad habit is difficult to stop.  It takes 21 days to break a habit.  The best alternative is to find the "triggers" that start the habit and find a replacement task.  Possibly a "to do" task can replace a "stop doing" task.

So on your next "to do" list.  Write the following:

Start a NOT "to do" List. :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Giving with Effort

"The effort to acquire money is directly proportional to the time you should spend giving it away".  GLW. 

Today Group "C" of the Investment Committee for Social Venture Partners (SVP) Cincinnati will meet to discuss ten of the 30 letters of interest from non-profits in our region.  The three page summaries are the start of the Investment cycle that SVP Cincinnati Partner will use to screen the 30 non-profits down to three.  Those three will then prepare formal request and present oral presentations to the entire Partnership in November. We then select one non-profit that we will "invest" our talent (time) and treasure (money) for the next three years. 

This is the fourth investment cycle where I have read through numerous letters from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky/Indiana non-profits that hope to be selected.  And each time I discover how passionate people are about their opinion of how best to give their time and talent to others.  The combined budgets of the ten non-profits I reviewed this morning is $20 million ( two of the oldest - 1935 & 1952 make up $13 million) and each have programs inside that focus on "youth at risk" (the SVP Cincinnati focus area). 

Comparing these non-profits is like comparing a watermelon to a insect.  They are living organisms but have very distinct genomes.  They all claim to "touch" children and youth in ways that produce positive outcomes.  Their "delivery" mechanisms include music, animals, mentors, parents, safety, art, community, housing, food, education ......  able  to  match to the excitement or enthusiasm/interest of  a diverse set of  philanthropists (like the SVP Cincinnati Partners).

How should we select?  Our personal interest; the size; the impact; the need; the skill fit; the resiliency; ......??????
What return should we expect?  More impact; Joy; learning; engaged hours; emotional connection;........???????

Answering questions takes effort - the first step of giving.  Searching for "Your Return on Life".

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

4th Traditions

We all enjoyed the Fourth of July Indian Hill Parade at 10am this morning, followed by the festivities at Stephan Field with music provided by the Indian Hill Ranger Band.  They are either good or the nostalgia of the songs, the festive atmosphere and dancing spectators disguised any flaws.   Jenna (now almost 21) was right there on the edge of the road awaiting the multitude of candy being thrown to spectators. 

It was a hot dry day (one of the hottest parades I can remember) and you could see it in the damp clothing of the crowd.  We had a wonderful evening with the neighborhood B's - burgers, dogs, bake beans, salad and home made Rocky Road ice cream. 

The thunder has emerged this evening threatening the community fireworks.  I'm sure this minor threat will not deter Jenna and Paul from their rendezvous with friends at the Blue Ash fireworks.  Ellen may join a friend to view the Indian Hill fireworks. 

The only strange part enjoying this day is that tomorrow is a work day (for those not taking vacation).

Happy 4th of July.

Monday, July 2, 2012


Let's do the math:

How many fingers are pointing back at you?
How many "i"s in the word Criticism?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Thermostat War

Power was restored this evening at 8:30pm (a 50 hour outage).  Just in time as the house had hit 82 degrees.  It reminded me of growing up without airconditioning.  Days were filled with swimming at the community pool and going to the movie theater.  Evenings were spent sitting in front of the fan.  The car had the model 450 airconditioner - four windows down at 50 miles per hour. 

Grandma had a window water cooler at her house in Stillwater Oklahoma. Since most of the family visits were in the summer, there were plenty of days we spent in her family room on the couch just under that window unit. 

It is amazing the difference a few degrees (and the conditioned humidity) provides in comfort when the air in the house dropped to 79 degrees (two hours later).  Interestingly comfort is more relative to the differential of outside to inside temperatures.  Even though 78 degrees should be the optimum comfort to energy consumption cost setting - our household is a different story. 

In fact thermostat settings are a family battleground (covert warfare and passive/aggressive behavior).  I haven't resorted yet to the corporate plastic locked covers - but my "ordering" the girls to keep their hands off the thermostat isn't working.
The programable  thermostat features work in my favor since the girls don't know how to program the themostat. Consequently I have an automated agent helping fight the war by restoring the temperature at designated times to my energy frugality setting. 

At least for the last 50 hours the household was at peace - now it's back to the battlefields.

Generator More or Less

Friday evening the storms hit and knocked out our power.  The first real "test" of our whole house generator since it has not been restored yet (40 hours and counting).  At first we thought we had airconditioning tied to the generator but alas it was one of the "trade offs" when we determined what "essential" power items we "needed".

When you think about the need for electricity just rank in order what things you need.  Here is the list:
Garage Door Opener, Hair Dryer (Susan's #1), Furnace, Heat Pump, Airconditioner, Internet Access, Electric Hot Water, Refrigerator, TV, Fans, Reading lights, Microwave, Oven/Stove, Dishwasher, Garbage Disposal, Hot Water Dispenser,  Computer, Cordless Phone, Sump Pump, Septic Aerator, Washer & Dryer plugs for recharging cell phone, laptops  and the list could continue.

Last time we had an extended power outage we book 4 days at a hotel.  That was the point at which Susan insisted we get a generator.  Since then we had always stated that our purchase had been the "insurance" for the neighborhood since we would probably never use it (with our luck). 

So with this outage we can "feel" good (but hot like everyone else) about having limited power at our house.  Part of the "good" is feeling vindicated in the decision to spend the big bucks for the generator.  The other part, is not worrying or obsessing about when the power will return.

Now the only thing that could go wrong is running out of propane - now that would be schaedenfraude for the "generator less" neighbors  :)