Purpose Statement

Exploration -> Experience -> Feeling -> Transformation -> Understanding

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Jupiter chases Venus and the Moon

Petroglyph at Signal Hill, cresent Moon, bright Venus and tiny Jupiter.
A Saguaro holds up the sky. The planets are streaked because it was a 30 second exposure.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Sunbathing

It is cooling off in Tucson. Bindi made use of the sunset patio today for sunbathing.

Return to Signal Hill



Sunday, September 14, 2008

My Annual Flight

After swim practice, Special Ed and I (and Wrangler and Jammer) headed south to Box. The desert is velvety green from the great monsoon season and the clear air made for crisp, sharp horizons. We started hiking through waist high grass in the LZ around 2:30 PM. The trail is mostly gone. Occasionally we would find a short strip of worn foot path, but most all of the hike was bushwhacking. The winds were very, very light, the temperature was warm, but it was the high humidity that made it uncomfortable. The humidity, trail breaking and having to high step through the acacia and grass reduced our pace to a crawl. Ed and I have both summited Box in 1 hour. It tooks us almost 3 hours yesterday.

The big surprise on launch was the smooth 6-8 knot breeze right up the spine. Perfect conditions for beginners or two old men who haven't flown in a year. I stepped off and immediately floated up 200'. Ed floated up right behind me. We floated around for an hour in perfectly smooth lift. A big raptor, maybe a golden eagle, flew around with us, but his min sink was better than ours so he topped out and headed toward the HG launch.

Before sunset, we headed for the LZ, calling the dogs to follow us down the spine. I left first and as I flew away, I looked back to locate Ed. I looked over my left shoulder, right shoulder, and then leaned back in my harness and rolled my head straight back. Imagine: upside down view of the rocky peaks, the full moon rising over the cumulus clouds on the horizon to the east, the silhouette of Ed's glider about the same angular size as the moon and just to the side of the moon, all in the radiant light of sunset.

We both did very conservative, text book aircraft approaches and had soft landings right next to Arjan's memorial. The dogs arrived in the LZ just as we finished packing up our gliders. Oh! BTW. Grasshoppers everywhere. The William Burrows Naked Lunch giant LSD colored grasshoppers. The west horizon was burning orange, Baboquivari a sharp silhouette, the full moon rising from behind the Santa Ritas.

A brutal hike, a beautiful flight. Life is very, very good.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

With apologies to St. Teresa

All is well
And all is well
And all manner of thing is well.

There are moments when the universe and my time and place in it are exactly as they should be, moments of perfection.

And this could be a perpetual condition, except that I go about applying my morality - this is good, that is bad, it's better over there.

To exist in the perfection of the moment, must one be will-less, ambition-less, passive?

To follow one's bliss, to act in the world, does that by default exclude the perfection of the moment.

How does one act in the world and simultaneously be at peace? Are they mutually exclusive? If you act but are not attached to the outcome - but what is the point of action if not the outcome?

"I have a vision of us transformed - courageous, uninhibited people living and loving with reckless abandon."

The hero ventures forth into the unknown, there fabulous forces are encountered, a decisive victory is won, the hero returns to bestow boons on his fellow man.

Jimmy Stewart, It's a Wonderful Life - Is he a hero in the end? Was it simply that his venture into the unknown was not the adventure he originally wanted, his was right there in his boring little bourgeois community?

I know a young man just back from Iraq. A few months ago he was knocking down doors and rushing into buildings with a machine gun, not knowing what was inside. Now he is digging ditches and installing electrical ducts in the ground in Tucson. He told me he misses his life in Iraq.

I always thought my attachment to the trappings of my bourgeois life were what were keeping me from living fully. Elmar helped me realize that was not true.

Who does not fear death, pain, loss, the little deaths we suffer every day?

I understand the Iraq vet. Life is more-better when you confront the fear and move past it.

Is that then the goal, to simply live with fearless intensity? Narcissus and Goldmund lived intensely, but were never whole.

To be at peace.
To follow your bliss.
To act courageously.

Simultaneously.
Sent from my Crackberry. I must be outstanding in the field.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Off da boat

Angela and I are on solid ground again, in Lihu'e at the moment, about to hop on a flight to Honolulu.

The winds were blasting out of the east yesterday, exactly the direction we wanted to go. Instead of beating upwind, we spent Saturday at Hanalei. Sunday morning, Angela and I hitch-hiked to Lihu'e and bought a plane ride to Honolulu. Elmar and Islandia are still in Hanalei Bay with no definite plans for the future.

I will spend Monday with my Hawaii client and Tuesday we fly back to Tucson.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld

Friday, August 15, 2008

Back at Hanalei

We decided to set out for Oahu from the windward side of Kaua'i (the east side) so we turned around and spent last night in Hanalei Bay. We will depart Hanalei at 4AM on Saturday headed for Oahu. I am hoping to arrive Waimea, but we will see where the winds take us.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

At Nualolo

N 22 deg 9.5309 min
W 159 deg 42.2372 min

Amazing day today. I swam with a pod of spinner dolphin. Like in the water swimming freestyle with 6' dolphin 5' away swimming with me. Their songs - squeeking and squeeling and clicking - in my ears like a conversation. Amazing.

Sailed down the NaPali coast line. Spectacular. I am coming back with a sea kayak and a trike.

Anchored at the Nualolo reef. Will spend tomorrow snorkeling. Friday to our last Kuau'I anchorage. Saturday we set sail for Oahu.

Satellite phone call tomorrow AM. Work conference call. We are pretty remote at the moment, though I saw lots of high tech antennas, probably military, on top of a pali a mile down the coast line.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sipping Spiced Ice Chai











WiFi in the coffee shop.

Haena Bay

N 22 deg 13 min 21.1 second
W 159 deg 33 min 56.3 second

We have been enjoying Haena Bay. Yesterday I did a long solo hike up to a spectacular waterfall back in the pali cliffs. Spinner dolphin jumping around the boat, turtles nibbling algae off the rocky reef.

I think today we will sail 8 miles to an even more spectacular spot right in the heart of the NaPali. It is very remote - no roads or cell phone towers. So we might be incomunicado for a few days. We will be back in Honolulu on Sunday and should be posting before then.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Leaving Hanalei

Iridium satelite phone worthless for data connection.

Blackberry worked great as a modem on Oahu, but does not seem to work on Kaua'i network.

So I can only post from my Blackberry and the tiny keyboard inspires me to be brief.

Arrived Hanalei Bay:

N 22 deg 12 min 39.3 second
W 159 deg 30 min 6 second

After a 16 hour all-night sail from Waimea, a grueling experience that made me grateful we were not sailing for Vancouver.

Hanalei Bay - absolutely georgeous. Swimming, jogging on the beach, hiking around Pali cliffs, waterfalls, groovy little town with natural food store and open air restaurants. Lots of Trans-Pac racers anchored in the Bay. Meeting all sorts of racers, cruisers, even the owner of Spectrum Water Makers.

Today we will move 4 miles down the coast to Haena which is supposed to have a nice snorkel reef with lots of turtles and a 10 mile hike to Pali waterfalls.

In another day or two, we will sail past the Na Pali coast and begin our return south down the leeward side of Kaua'i, across the channel, down the leeward side of Oahu, past Pearl Harbor and back to Keehi Lagoon.

My client on Oahu is in a bit of confusion after the unexpected death of their project manager so I am going to meet with them before departing for Tucson. The memorial service is on the 22nd, but I don't think I can stick around that long. My clients in Tucson demand attention. And I miss my dogs.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

At Hanalei Bay

Arrived safely at Hanalei Bay after an exhausting 16 hour sail. Having trouble connecting with laptop. Will post photos and details later.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Island Magic

Islandia anchored in Waimea Bay, Scott modeling the latest fashion in sun protection.

We are about to depart Waimea for the all night channel crossing.

This morning, I got up at 6:30 (!) and went for a swim around Waimea Bay. In the last few days of swimming here, I have only seen two big rays. I don’t recall the name of the first ray – fiddle head or guitar or something like that – and last night a big spotted eagle ray. The eagle ray swam up to look at me as I swam down to look at him. After my swim this morning, Angela and I went to shore. As we swam in, a pod of spinner dolphin swam into the bay. We stood on the beach for half an hour watching them leap out of the water doing their characteristic spin. Several folks tried to paddle out to the pod, but the dolphin stayed a safe distance away.

Angela and I then walked about two miles to a beach where big green sea turtles haul out to sun bathe. There was one turtle laying on the beach and several others munching on algae in the shallows. We walked back to Waimea, stocked Islandia with water and are now getting ready to sail away. The trip could take anywhere from 12 to 24 hours.

Angela sneaks up on a stealthy green sea turtle.

Channel Crossing

Today we set out for Hanalei Bay on Kauai. It is 100 miles as the seagull flies. We have strong east winds and I am hopeful that we will not have to tack too much. We will embark Waimea this afternoon and sail all night for a late morning arrival. I’m hoping for clear skies tonight. The star gazing should be extraordinary.

 

Monday, August 04, 2008

At Waimea Bay

Honu passing by Islandia in Kaneohe Bay
Kaneohe Sunset
Waimea Sunset

N 21º 38.5346’
W 158º 3.8672’

We left Kaneohe this morning and sailed a broad reach north along the windward shore of Oahu. Beautiful green Pali cliffs and half a dozen paragliders flying at Kahana. We rounded the north east corner of Oahu and sailed almost straight down wind, past the Turtle Bay resort, and into Waimea Bay. I went for a swim across the bay, followed a big ray across the sandy bottom, then went ashore for a fresh water shower with shampoo and soap.

I think we will spend Monday the 4th on the North Shore and then Tuesday the 5th we will head for Kauai.

This island hopping trip is working out much better than the planned Pacific crossing. The scenery is beautiful, we get to stop frequently in magnificent places and go swimming, the sailing is much more complicated so we are learning a lot, we don’t have to be frugal with our fresh water and food, the climate is perfect for shorts and tee shirts, etc.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Sunday Plans

We’ve decided to sail from Kaneohe to Waimea (North Shore of Oahu) on Sunday. Should be an easy sail.

 

Waimea is where the big wave surfers ride the monster waves in the winter and it a great place for open water swimming. AND they have fresh water showers right on the beach. We’ll be a little less stinky tomorrow.

Reflections from Kaneohe

Islandia anchored on the sandbar in Kaneohe Bay

N 21º 27.6155’
W 157º 48.2652’

Finally. A moment to put down some thoughts.

The original plan was to sail from Honolulu to Vancouver in June, but I was too busy with work, so we postponed the trip until July. Elmar supposedly had his boat, Islandia, ready for the crossing back in June, so he was going to do a month long shake-down cruise around Hawaii. He canceled his lease on his mooring buoy at Keehi Lagoon, but instead of setting off on the shake-down, he continued working on Islandia, moored to the Keehi buoy. The third sailor that had signed on for the Vancouver trip, another friend of Elmar, backed out of the trip, so I asked my friends in Tucson if anyone would like to go. Angela was the only adventurous soul.

When Angela and I arrived in Honolulu, Elmar had the rudder steering mechanism torn apart and the stainless steel pins at the top of the mast removed – the pins that hold the steel guy wires in place, the guy wires being what holds the mast up.

Hoping for a quick repair, Angela and I spent several days chasing down parts at marine supply stores, machine shops, Home Depot. We bought diesel and propane and stocked Islandia with food and fresh water. We helped Elmar install the steering mechanism and the mast wires and replaced temperature and pressure sending units on Islandia’s diesel engine.

Elmar is German and when he was 13, his family was in a terrible automobile accident. Elmar was in a coma for several months and had 28 broken bones. When he awoke from the coma, he had lost both parents and all his memory. He couldn’t even speak. So he had to learn to speak and reinvent himself. The void in his memory of the first 13 years of his life haunt him to this day.

Angela and I told Elmar we could not begin the trans-Pacific crossing because we had commitments to be back at work. I think Elmar was actually relieved. So we decided to set off for a cruise around the prettiest Hawaiian Island, Kauai. This will be a much better trip; much more scenic, relaxing, fun. I suspect I will learn a lot more about sailing on this trip than I would have crossing the Pacific.

We sailed upwind from Keehi to Waikiki on Thursday and Friday we beat upwind all day long to arrive at Kaneohe Bay. We must have tacked 100 times. Thank God for anti-nausea drugs.

We arrived at Kaneohe after dark. There is a huge sandbar that runs through the bay and Elmar wanted to anchor behind the sandbar. We followed the channel lights – right red return – into the bay and found the sand bar by sailing into it at 2 mph. We backed off with the motor and dropped anchor.

This morning, we moved a short way down the sand bar and are enjoying a day of swimming and snorkeling. It is spectacular. Big green Pali cliffs behind us and the full color spectrum of blue-green water around us.

I received a call from my client here in Hawaii this morning. My client’s project manager, the fellow I interfaced with, was a very pleasant 41 year old engineer named Kelly. Kelly suffered a brain aneurism while working out at the gym last week. The latest news is that he has no brain activity and has been taken off life support.

As I type this, I am sitting on Islandia surrounded by spectacular scenery. It occurs to me that I have forgotten how to relax, enjoy myself, enjoy the company of other people, to do nothing.

Tomorrow (Sunday) we embark Kaneohe headed north. I don’t know if we will anchor again on Oahu or make for Kauai.

At Kaneohe

N 21 deg 27.326 min

W157 deg 48.0893 min

 

We slammed up wind all day today. We must have tacked 100 times. Everyone exhausted and sunburned. Thank God for scopolamine. Beautiful sunset behind the Pali cliffs on windward side. I will elaborate tomorrow AM.

 

Thursday, July 31, 2008

In front of Waikiki

N 21 deg 16 min 6.5 second
W 157 deg 49 min 45.2 second

Well, we didn't go far, but at least we are underway. We are anchored in front of Waikiki, my old swim route. Tomorrow we are headed for Kaneohe and then we head for Kauai.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld

Evicted!

I am getting good material for my novel. We are finally leaving Keehi Lagoon. Elmar did not pay for his mooring buoy this month (because he thought he was leaving) so the harbor master came by this morning and evicted us. Woo Hoo! I am not sure where we are headed, toward Kauai or big island, but at least we will be sailing>

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Patience and Tolerance

Elmar's boat - Islandia

Well, things are not going as planned. Elmar had a bit of maintenance he wanted to complete before we departed, but these few tasks have turned into days of frustration. We have spent the last few days running errands:

A machine shop is fabricating a stainless steel bracket to hold the rudder.
Replace the cooling water temperature switch and the low oil pressure switch on the diesel engine.
Replace stainless steel pins on top of the mast.
Fill propane tanks, water tanks, diesel tanks, gasoline tanks
Buy food.

Elmar on top of the mast replacing some stainless steel pins.

It doesn’t sound like much, but it has been quite an ordeal. We are trying our best to follow the Dalai Lama’s instruction – to use these frustrating experiences as an opportunity to practice compassion, patience and tolerance.

Angela in the Galley slicing mango - Brits and their "tea time"


At the moment, it looks like we might be able to set sail on Wednesday the 29th. Unfortunately, Angela and I had a three week window to make the crossing and now that we have lost almost a week, we will probably not set out for Vancouver. Which may be a blessing. A trans-Pacific crossing would be epic, but island hopping in Hawaii will probably be more fun. So that is Plan B. Island hopping in Hawaii. We will spend a week or so cruising around Kauai or big island or something of the sort. When it is time to go home, Angela and I will just hop on a flight from Hawaii.

The satellite phone I rented works great for voice but is useless for data – Another frustration.

What to do when frustrated? Play the didgeridoo.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

At Keehi Lagoon

N 21º 19’ 05.9”
W 157º 53’ 42.3”

Elmar has really fixed up his boat.


Just kidding. This rat’s nest is on the mooring buoy next to Elmar’s boat.

Elmar’s boat, Islandia, is in great shape. We spent yesterday getting ready. We have a few pieces of hardware to replace on top of the mast, a bracket that holds the rudder, and the water temperature sensor and the oil pressure sensor on the diesel engine. Today we are doing laundry and going to Costco to buy food. We will probably depart on Monday and sail to the island of Kauai. If all goes well on our little shakedown, we will make for the open ocean.

Elmar, me and Dwight.

Angela’s luxurious berth.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Preparation and Balance

Last night's dream:

I had entered an Ironman triathlon, but was very busy with other aspects of life. I arrived at the start line after most competitors had finished the swim and already started the bike. I did the swim, entered the transition area and prepared myself for the bike ride, but I could not find my sunglasses. I looked for half an hour with no luck and thought to do the bike ride without them, but 6 hours in the sun and wind on the bike is no good - I needed glasses. I contemplated stealing or borrowing other competitor's glasses. A ridiculous situation to be in.

You can fake your way through a lot in life but an Ironman triathlon is not one of them. You must do the preparatory work and come race day, the race requires your full attention.

We had some folks from the local Hare Krishna temple speak to us in church today. Several of them spoke about their conversion. Their lives consisted of work and consumption. They were otherwise empty. They found Krishna consciousness and developed a spiritual life.

Two realizations today:

1. I am about to sail across the Pacific Ocean. I really should have done a lot more preparatory work. Once we embark, I really must be present in the moment, focused on sailing.

2. My life has been terribly out of balance this last year. Going forward, I must have a life outside of work.

It is going to be a crazy week. Lots of work to do Monday and Tuesday. Angel arrives on Tuesday to finish projects and watch the dogs while I am gone. My 42nd birthday party - dinner at Zeemam's and Steely Dan concert - is Tuesday night. Wednesday, fly to Honolulu. Wednesday afternoon field survey at Hickam AFB. Thursday and Friday business meetings. Saturday, on the boat and possibly headed out to sea.

Iridium satelite phone is supposed to arrive Tuesday.

Before we embark, I hope to post a bit of info about Elmar and his boat and a few photos from Keehi Lagoon.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Trans Pacific Adventure

July 23 - Fly Tucson to Honolulu
July 24 & 25 - Work meetings on Oahu
July 26 - Depart Keehi Lagoon on Elmar's 41' trimaran headed for Vancouver.

I will have an Iridium Satelite phone that will supposedly give me internet access. If it works, I hope to email daily postings to this blog. I'll post our location and if I am not seasick, I'll post a brief narration.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The General Welfare

A Thai Buddhist monk once led me in meditation. We started with inner peace and calm, which we visualized as a glowing sphere internal to my torso. The boundary of this sphere slowly expanded until it encompassed my entire body, but then expanded even further to include the person next to me, then everyone in the room, then everyone in the building, the city, the state, the country, the continent, the earth, and ultimately all sentient beings in the universe.

One of my favorite Zen Buddhist prayers is called Great Vows For All:

The many beings are numberless, I vow to save them;
Greed, hatred, and ignorance rise endlessly, I vow to abandon them;
Dharma gates are countless, I vow to wake to them;
The Buddha's way is unsurpassed, I vow to embody it fully.

So the Buddhist notion of the general welfare includes all sentient beings in the universe. The Buddhists notably begin within themselves and plan to spend numerous lifetimes.

Now consider corporate America. CEOs. Enron. Bear Stearns. Adelphia. Worldcom. Etc. The general welfare is for me and my posse and the goal is as much as possible as quickly as possible.

So what would it look like if a Buddhist was running a company?

American business is preoccupied with net profit, return on investment, cash flow.

Buddhists are preoccupied with ending suffering, which comes from ego attachment to image (status), people, places, things, comfort, security, etc.

Buddhist wisdom: Before enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water. After enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water. So what you do for a living, chopping wood and carrying water, is just a fact of life; you have to feed yourself, put a roof over your head, insulate yourself from the cold.

A Buddhist would not see the point in accumulating wealth beyond food, shelter and security. For that matter, neither would a Christian:

Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you-- you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, `What will we eat?' or `What will we drink?' or `What will we wear?' For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today.”

What is American capitalism/business/materialism/consumerism good for? What do we have that most other people do not have?

Hygiene. Comfort. Opportunity. Technology. Prosperity.

What has American capitalism/business/materialism/consumerism been unable to deliver?

Meaning. Fulfillment. Peace. Justice. Community.

Corporate Culture

So I have been thinking about leadership and vision and what sort of culture I want to develop at the office. My employees are, for the most part, wonderful people, but they are timid. They are afraid of making mistakes, unsure what to do; they are products of the corporate cultures they come from.

So I am trying to communicate to them that they are in a completely different situation now. I want them to think like they are the owners of the company. I want them to make decisions and take action. I know they will make mistakes. They will not be punished for their mistakes. We will fix whatever we screw up, learn our lessons and move on, wiser for the experience.

Of course, it really doesn't matter what I say or they consciously believe. Their behavior will only be transformed once they have experienced the consequences of risk and failure. I hope, when the time comes, my reflexive response is appropriate.

So I started gathering quotations that convey the corporate culture I want to establish, perhaps to publish in our monthly newsletter:

epic
NOUN:
An extended narrative poem in elevated or dignified language, celebrating the feats of a legendary or traditional hero.
A literary or dramatic composition that resembles an extended narrative poem celebrating heroic feats.
A series of events considered appropriate to an epic.
ADJECTIVE:
Of, constituting, having to do with, or suggestive of a literary epic.
Surpassing the usual or ordinary, particularly in scope or size.
Heroic and impressive in quality.
-------------
A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man. – Joseph Campbell, The Hero With A Thousand Faces
----------------
... but when I said that nothing had been done I erred in one important matter. We had definitely committed ourselves and were halfway out of our ruts. We had put down our passage money— booked a sailing to Bombay. This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets:
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!
- William Hutchinson Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition (1951)
-------------------
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. Shame on the man of cultivated taste who permits refinement to develop into fastidiousness that unfits him for doing the rough work of a workaday world. Among the free peoples who govern themselves there is but a small field of usefulness open for the men of cloistered life who shrink from contact with their fellows. Still less room is there for those who deride of slight what is done by those who actually bear the brunt of the day; nor yet for those others who always profess that they would like to take action, if only the conditions of life were not exactly what they actually are. The man who does nothing cuts the same sordid figure in the pages of history, whether he be a cynic, or fop, or voluptuary. There is little use for the being whose tepid soul knows nothing of great and generous emotion, of the high pride, the stern belief, the lofty enthusiasm, of the men who quell the storm and ride the thunder. Well for these men if they succeed; well also, though not so well, if they fail, given only that they have nobly ventured, and have put forth all their heart and strength. It is war-worn Hotspur, spent with hard fighting, he of the many errors and valiant end, over whose memory we love to linger, not over the memory of the young lord who "but for the vile guns would have been a valiant soldier." - Theodore Roosevelt, Citizenship In A Republic, Sorbonne, Paris, France, April 23, 1910
--------------
The best executive is one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants them to do, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it. - Theodore Roosevelt

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Leadership and Management

I used to work for a big, political, bureaucratic corporation. The most political bureaucrats in the corporation instituted a Leadership Development Program governed by a Leadership Development Committee, but it was a ship without a rudder, so they formed a Leadership Steering Committee. Somehow I wound up on the Leadership Steering Committee and I think I was the only member that pondered the question - What is Leadership?

And now I find myself leading and managing a small business and I have again been contemplating - What is leadership? And what is management?

My present thinking is as follows:

Leadership

I have a dream.
I follow my bliss.
Will you help me along the way?
If so, I will help you along the way.

Management

Take measurements.
What is underperforming?
What is the improvement?
How will we implement the improvement?
Implement.
Repeat ad infinitum.

So the big question is: What is the dream?

At the top of most corporate entities, the dream is "to make money," presumably for the corporate collective, but in practice it is for the politically ambitious egocentric individuals who are trying to "advance their careers."

I find this most unsatisfying.

Walter Wink says that corporations exist to serve values beyond themselves; "Adam Smith himself acknowledged this when he wrote that the ultimate goal of a business is not to make a profit. Profit is just the means. The goal is the general welfare." The Powers, page 68.

Adam Smith (Scotsman, the father of economics) The Wealth of Nations, book 5, chapter 1, part 3; "The wise and virtuous man is at all times willing that his own private interests should be sacrificed to the public interest of his own particular society - that the interests of this order of society be sacrificed to the greater interests of the state. He should therefore be equally willing that all those inferior interests should be sacrificed to the greater society of all sensible and intelligent beings ..."

So what is my dream, if not to make money?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

For Dad and Grandpa


The Weight of Sweetness by Li-Young Lee

No easy thing to bear, the weight of sweetness.

Song, wisdom, sadness, joy: sweetness
equals three of any of these gravities.

See a peach bend
the branch and strain the stem until
it snaps.
Hold the peach, try the weight, sweetness
and death so round and snug
in your palm.
And, so, there is
the weight of memory:

Windblown, a rain-soaked
bough shakes, showering
the man and the boy.
They shiver in delight,
and the father lifts from his son's cheek
one green leaf
fallen like a kiss.

The good boy hugs a bag of peaches
his father has entrusted
to him.
Now he follows
his father, who carries a bagful in each arm.
See the look on the boy's face
as his father moves
faster and farther ahead, while his own steps
flag, and his arms grow weak, as he labors
under the weight
of peaches.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Monday, June 09, 2008

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Backyard Patrol

Bindi figured out the doggie door in 10 minutes. April hasn't gone through it yet. April spends her days keeping the lizards (on top of the wall near the hose) out of her yard.
The new gate from the outside looking in.
One of the man gates.
Angel in the construction zone.
Spiral stair up to the sunset patio.


Monday, May 26, 2008

42nd Birthday Party


If I am in Tucson (and not somewhere in the Pacific Ocean) on July 22, my 42nd birthday party will be on the lawn at the Steely Dan concert:



Friday, May 09, 2008

Camp Crenshaw Redux


As I recall, my lanyard was blue and yellow.

The Lanyard by Billy Collins

The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly—
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Hallowed Ground

The pooches and me on the spot where Arjan died.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Real Prophet

Now, there are many, many people in the world, but relatively few with whom we interact, and even fewer who cause us problems. So, when you come across such a chance for practicing patience and tolerance, you should treat it with gratitude. It is rare. Just as having unexpectedly found a treasure in your own house, you should be happy and grateful to your enemy for providing that precious opportunity.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Security while camping


Saturday is the 10 year anniversary of the death of my friend Arjan, so the dogs and I will be spending the weekend out in the desert on the mountain where he died. Mom expressed some concern about my safety while camping, what with all the wackos out there. No doubt, the world is a violent place, but I will sleep soundly knowing my ferocious Boston Terriers are protecting me.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A painful beginning

Had to go to the emergency room on New Years Day after I cut my thumb while slicing cabbage for dinner. We folks from the south eat black eyed peas and greens - cabbage, spinach, turnip greens, collard greens, mustard greens - on New Years day.
It's a tradition that goes back to the civil war.
The copper colored black eyed peas and the green greens represent all the money you will make in the coming year. Get it? Copper pennies and greenback dollars.
I've paid a painful price for my 2008 cabbage.