28 May 2009

My Boy

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21 May 2009

My Birthday/Father's Day/Graduation/Anniversary Gift

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The Birthday Wine

2006 Markham Sauvignon Blanc. $16 Very nice. Fruity. A hint of oak. Light. Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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Let's go 'round one more time again

Today I completed trip number 35 around the sun and began trip number 36. For those keeping count, that's 20,988,000,000 miles traveled. There are a lot of great memories in those miles!

I decided to write a blog to reflect on this past trip around. All-in-all it was fun. There were a couple of rough spots that mainly centered on a deep struggle between myself and a lawn-mower. In the end, I won. Of course, it cost me the price of a new mower.

My oldest turned four and my youngest turned one. Their mother and I passed six great years of being married.

My Granny scared us by falling and breaking a hip. Fortunately, she is recovering quite well.

Emily learned to read. Steph learned to teach Kindergarten. I learned to worry about the cost of MIT.

I finished all of my actual course work for my Master's Degree in Project Management.

My company was bought.

Thanks to a wonderfully understanding and sharing family I got to spend my Uncle Jack's birthday with him in Napa, CA. It was (and will always be) one of my favorite trips of my life.

I read a few books.

I laughed a lot of laughs.

I got to take my daughter to see Hillary Clinton.

I was able to vote for an African-American to be President, and got to sit and hold my daughter as he took the oath of office. That was something that I was almost certain I would never see happen in my lifetime.

I was able to meet many new friends and reconnect with many old friends.

It has been another blessed year. I am grateful for the ride.

And one of my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs (video here):

Hear 'em singing Happy Birthday,
Better think about the wish I make.
This year gone by ain't been a piece of cake.
Every day's a revolution,
Pull it together and it comes undone.
Just one more candle and a trip around the sun.

I'm just hangin' on while this old world keeps spinnin',
And it's good to know it's out of my control.
If there's one thing I've learned from all this livin',
Is that it wouldn't change a thing if I let go.

No, you never see it comin':
Always wind up wondering where it went.
Only time will tell if it was time well spent.
It's another revelation,
Celebratin' what I should have done,
With these souvenirs of my trip around the sun.

I'm just hangin' on while this old world keeps spinnin',
And it's good to know it's out of my control.
If there's one thing I've learned from all this livin',
Is that it wouldn't change a thing if I let go.

Yes, I'll make a resolution,
That I'll never make another one.
Just enjoy this ride on my trip around the sun.
Just enjoy this ride, (One more trip around the sun.)
Until it's done. (One more trip around the sun.)
(One more trip around the sun.)

(Trip Around The Sun - Jimmy Buffett/Martina McBride)
(Al Anderson/Steve Burton/Sharon Vaughn)

Let's go 'round one more time again!

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18 May 2009

Today is Graduation Day

Well, not for me (I have four weeks left), but for thousands of others this weekend (or the next couple) marks the end of their educational journey. While I have been trying not to be all nostalgic about my own previous two graduations - not that I can really remember a single thing about either - I have been thinking about what I would say if I were asked to speak at the graduation of either of my kids (Thank God that is a long ways coming). Here are some thoughts that I would try to convey.


Everyday you "suit-up" for a game. Play to win. Only losers say, "No matter what happens, I'm just happy to be here." Play fair. Play with integrity and honesty.


I remember learning golf from my Grandfather. The most important lesson was "count every shot (defined as an interaction between the ball and the club)". Play your life like a golf game - straight, aim for the target, respect the rules, and be gracious to the other players.


There was a slogan that went around when I was working on my undergrad - "Mean People Suck". That saying is as true today as it ever was. There is absolutely no reason to be mean to people. It will do nothing to further your career or your life.


The popular way is not always the best way. Don't be afraid to go against the grain and make a tough call. People will respect you for it. They may not like you, but they will respect you.


Play. Alot. You will find life to be stressful. You will find business to be stressful. The old saying is true; all work and no play will make you dull. Find outlets for the stress. Play golf. Play basketball. Play tennis. Play video games. Just play.


A recent study in the British Medical Journal (http://tinyurl.com/563wmj) illustrates the impact of the social network on up to three degrees of separation. In a separate study that also appeared in the British Medical Journal (http://tinyurl.com/6f5dhv) (subscription required), we find research that supports a correlation between one's social network and one's health. All that to say that your social network should be ever expanding. Yet, don't allow yourself to confine that network to a web-presence. The web is a way to enhance the network, and should not be treated as a replacement for 30-inch interactions. My friend, Mark Shead authored an excellent article (http://tinyurl.com/cb8oxz) titled "9 Steps Towards Genuine and Effective Networking" where he outlines ways to bring the network to the 30-inch level.


This is critical. In a commencement address to Stanford University (http://tinyurl.com/4lxnfh), Steve Jobs said that every morning you should look in the mirror and ask yourself, "If this were the last day of my life, would I be doing what I have planned for today?" He went on to say that if the answer was "No" for several days in a row then it was likely time to go do something else. If you don't love what you do, then burn out will set in and you will lose effectiveness and relevance.


You will never know everything that there is to know about a subject. Learn. Always.


For Christmas in 1981, my Uncle Jack gave me a copy of this great Lewis Carroll work. On the inside he wrote the admonition to "read it again when you are 30". Since 1981, I have read this literary masterpiece no less than 25 times. I recently had the pleasure of taking my four-year-old on Alice's adventures with me. Yes, the story is total nonsense, but the exercise that it gives your imagination is priceless.


Do not trap yourself within a single genre. Challenge your ears.


You are on this planet for one reason. That reason is very simple. Make someone's life better. If you can always remember this, then you can mark your life a success.

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15 May 2009

One of the world's best inventions

Take a cold beer mug.
Salt rim.
Fill with ice
Fill to about halfway with lime
Top off with SOL
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13 May 2009

08 May 2009

Is Dick Cheney Right?

This morning's CNN poll started with the phrase "Is Dick Cheney Right....". It continued with some mumbo-jumbo about the Republican Party moderating. The poll results at that time were something like 30% yeah/70% nay. I wonder how many people actually read past "Is Dick Cheney Right"?

Dick Cheney is one of the most polarizing figures of the last decade. I have argued from the day GWB picked him as a VP that he was really the guy running things. He's an effective puppet-master.

So back to the original point.... When a poll question is asked, and the opening phrase asks if Dick Cheney is right, the poll is skewed. In this case, (and believe me this is hard to say) he is right. If the Republican Party moderates, it won't stop the bleeding. The problem with the party is the absence of leadership. They need someone who can bridge the divisive factions. There are a lot of individuals vying for that role, but none are fitting the bill.

Michael Steele could be that individual, but the Limbaughs and Cheneys of the party need to fade quietly into the night, or, better yet, simply STFU and stop trying to be relevant.

I, for one, am ok with the GOP never figuring this out.

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