May 7th, 2018

Australian Open Never Had A Plebe Summer in Annapolis, Maryland

Tessa and I prepare for our local alumni chapter’s annual Dark Ages Dinner on 16 Feb. She’s sewing closed the pockets in my trousers so that I cannot put my hands in them when I walk around the house; and we muster in the hallway on the second floor of our home at 1830 to review what’s for evening meal. My fav remains Maryland Crab Cakes with Cannonballs. Fortunately, there is only one movie in the Yard, usually on Netflix. Babylon Berlin is at the Living Room right now. Of course, it will never compete with the thrill of the Dirty Dozen in Mahan Hall. But the snacks from Steerage are better here.

I play tennis for my ‘carry-over’ sport. Tried golf, especially when on those cruises to WestPac. Cruise is kind of misnomer in that context. Watch would be a more accurate term. One of my early tennis memories was playing on the 8th Wing courts with Sharpe, Miller and David Trependahl from a foreign company in the Brigade. I’ll always remember DT because we spent the night at Friendship Airport at the commencement of Xmas Leave Plebe Year. That’s the saga of a firstie from Baltimore in his company who gave us a ride in his Datsun 280Z and got lost on the way to said airport. When I arrived in New Orleans the next day at noon, my mom was shocked at how tired that I looked and blamed all things USNA. I tried to explain about the Beep Slash Zero Firstie in 5th or 6th Batt, but she was beginning to think that I was delirious using such unintelligible language, so I told her that I’d recover after ‘a nooner in the rack and some decent chow’. She shook her head incredulously.

Back to the 8th wing courts: we played a set of games or such. I didn’t know how to keep score in tennis. Miller did as he played in high school. Wasn’t much of a match or a workout, at least when compared to running the rocks or whatever we did to mask the memories of Mixers in Smoke Hall or was Smoke Hall the reference to Boxing?! It’s fun at Dark Ages Dinners to regale the newer classes with tales of Tea Fights and Smokers and buses of young ladies from Mary Washington & Hood College. Such fiction sounds like Viking sagas to classes of 00s. CMODs are still around, I’m happy to report. No morning delivery of The Post and The NY Times, however. No Mail Call of course. Just a white belt and a long day looking-out for the MOOW.

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After that afternoon or 7th period on the courts with that wooden tennis racquet, I never played again until the early 1980s when I worked for Bath Iron Works in Maine and was desperate for something to do in winter…and falll….and spring, which are all variations of what you would call winter. Found a deal – a ‘ya just can’t hate it’ kind of deal at a local indoor (picture a non-heated warehouse) facility. Been playing ever since…and not a-lot better than that afternoon with Sharpe, Miller and David of Mississippi (let me pause to curse that Firstie). Our Durham Club has 21 clay courts which are friends of 65 year old ankles.
I watch tennis on tv and have seen Roger Federer and Rafa and You Name One all in person, mainly because IBM let me take clients to the US Open for 10+ years.

I don’t go to the Big Matches any more. I watch tennis on tv and I re-watch any match played by Federer. While watching the recent Men’s Final of the Australian Open – 3:30am EST – there was tv discussion about why the tournament directors decided to close the roof of Laver Arena, the main stadium, on a sunny day with no rain in the forecast. The conversations, both in our Living Room, and on ESPN suspected that the tournament directors made an effort to favor Federer over his opponent, Cilic of Croatia. After all, Roger’s won the Aussie Open 5x and is everyone’s favorite player and tennis personality. He’s also, among his numerous tennis achievements, the finest indoor player ever. No question. The announcers went back and forth about the temperature, the humidity, the prospect of rain,
the prevailing wind and the reflected heat off of the court’s surface and how the heat had affected the players in the Women’s Final the day before (Simona Halep needed an overnight in the hospital after this match).

Finally, one announcer, Chris Fowler, said to the other two announcers, the McEnroe Brothers, that ‘they’ve decided to close the roof because of something called the Web-Bulb Globe Temperature.’ All three chuckled at the seeming absurdity of such reasoning on such an occasion – as if the WBGT was an archaic, pin-headed way of obscuring the facts about the weather. My friends and my wife smirked at their sense of this mis-reasoning by the Australian tournament authorities.

Letting their smug assessments subside, I took a sip of my java, extended my right arm and requested permission to make a statement. I began my Zero Dark Thirty Come-Around Report with how important was the W-BGT index to me and us in the summer of 1970 on the muggy shores of the Severn, housed on the third deck of the 6th wing with no a/c in Bancroft Dormitory and how glorious was the too infrequent Word/ announcement ‘no Chopping in the Halls due to the W-BGT index’. Another java sip. I received stares and slight head-nods as my tennis running-mates took aboard this unexpected gouge. We then watched the match in silence for the next 5 to 10 minutes.

Even though I was the navigator aboard the USS Joseph Strauss for 1.5 deployments, I’m not sure that I truly understand the W-BGT index; however, I’ll never forget what it can feel like.

Carry-On,

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May 7th, 2018

Mobile App #85 Raleigh’s Spring Arts Festival

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February 5th, 2018

Stupor Bowl LII – Who Needs Defense?!

I don’t watch pro football any more unless there is a game in the snow on tv at a convenient time. Don’t enjoy indoor games; don’t truly believe that football should be played in Tampa or Jacksonville or Miami or New Orleans or even North Carolina in winter regardless of the achievements of the Southeastern College Conference.

Yesterday, I tuned-in to the Super Bowl at 10am! The game was to begin at 6:30pm and this seemed like the right thing to do. As I’ve written before, all Super Bowls pivot around #4 or IV where I worked as an usher for the Vikings and Chiefs game at Tulane Staduim and as a ticket or half-time admissions-pass scalper in partnership with my high school friend, Byron P.

The 10am ESPN show live from Minneapolis covered a story about the newly elected Hall of Fame members which now includes Jerry Kramer the renown guard for Coach Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers in the 1960s. He and Fuzzy Thurston comprised the Green Bay Sweep which frequently led Jim Taylor or Paul Hornung into the end zone and Green Bay to 5 championships in the 60s including the first two Super Bowls, I & II. One ESPN host mentioned that the Philadelphia Eagles, now in Super Bowl LII, had not won a football championship since 1960 when they defeated the Green Bay Packers.

I remember that game, I said to myself; saw it at Mike Estoup’s house on Broadway in New Orleans. It was a Monday in the early afternoon. Tommy McDonald played without a face guard on his helmet. Norm Van Brocklin was the Eagles quarterback. I wanted to call the ESPN booth in Minnesota and remind them that Jerry Kramer played in this game in 1960. And that maybe they should consider the possible voodoo now that this famous Packer finally, after 10 years of rejection by the Hall of Fame, is now a member. Maybe this reversal of fortune is a foretelling of the fate that would welcome the Eagles in about 12 hours. It was although Coach Lombardi would not have recognized the complete absence of defense recommended by both teams in the game last night.

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I could continue in reminiscence by noting that Jerry Kramer, along with Jim Taylor and Paul Hornung, moved to Louisiana in 1966 somehow connected with the fledgling New Orleans Saints franchise. Taylor played for a few years (he went to LSU); Hornung did not play ever despite the season tickets sold in anticipation of these two Packers in the backfield for the Saints (Marketing, NOLA-style, for sure); Mr. Kramer invested in an off-shore oil business with Taylor as some sort of partner. I know this because my father was their stock broker and fellow adventurer for a time.

Super Bowl Fifty Two ended with the Eagles as the victors in Rocky style as Wentz went down and Foles stood up. Seems fair after 58 years of effort. I looked-up that 1960 championship game. Indeed, played on a Monday; December 26th at noon; no lights at Franklin Field in Philadelphia; the NFL just relocated its headquarters from Philly to New York City. That championship was Van Brocklin’s final pro game as the next year he became the head coach of the newly formed Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis (Eagles defeated the Vikings in the NFC Championship game two weeks ago).

I wonder what those 1960 Eagles would have thought of last night’s #52 played not only under the lights but indoors with 1,151 yards of combined offense and the Justin Timberlake marching band at the half. Jerry Kramer now enjoys his welcome to the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio and the Eagles have their membership in the Club of Super Bowl Champions. After the game last night, LII, they received received the Vince Lombardi Trophy as vindication.

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January 10th, 2018

3500 Down-Loads of Upgraded First Night Raleigh 2018 App, #84

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January 9th, 2018

Sister Mary Katherine Would Have Been Proud

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September 8th, 2017

From the Department of Disassociated Connections Department

My Naval Academy classmates exchanged an email thread tacking from Houston weather to Navy football documentaries to jets bursting from the decks of aircraft carriers with a casual mention of a Public Broadcasting special. The following association occurred in a note to my classmates:

Re Public Television – there has been a cooperative effort between our local Naval Academy alumni chapter and the local PBS affiliate, UNC TV, to promote the upcoming Ken Burns series, The Vietnam War, beginning on 17 September. Curiously, our chapter of 130+ includes numerous veterans of that period – pilots, Marines, F-4 POW with many and varied stories of their experiences. I only consider myself a product of Vietnam when I meet with Blue & Gold reps (Naval Academy recruiters) and the applying hopefuls. We hosted a picnic for the Class of 2021 in June. Amazing were their credentials and the wickets of Getting into Navy (one lass met with a US Senator – surely a sign of acceptance – only to be informed later that she was bested by others. Off to Air Force went she! I didn’t think that senators met with you unless you were a lock for appointment). When I meet these mids, I marvel and often comment that ‘there is no way that I would be accepted today’ and that my appointment – 16 June 1970 via telegram – describes the then prevailing lack of nationwide appeal of a role, job or billet in the military – “if that’s what you want to do” was an often heard rejoinder to my choice of road out of New Orleans.

We’ve mentioned Ruben Torres (ed note: RT was a flamer, boxer, aspiring Marine who bullied all of the new plebes. As the Fates would have it, he flunked out in his senior year and sent into the enlisted ranks. How we plebes cheered when we learned of his ill fate!) and the 6-3 funsters on Plebe Detail before. Plus no air conditioning in the Halls. Somehow, whenever asked “Were You in Vietnam?” I reply immediately in the negative and equally quickly think of Rich Hormel and Dek Pullen. Hormel was a squad leader elsewhere in Hotel Company; Pullen in the 3rd set was one firstie whom I admired for his humor, level headedness and fair sense for playing the Plebe Summer game.That they were both lost in aircraft accidents soon after their own graduations are tragedies that I, for some reason, attribute to the Vietnam War. In those moments of recollection of ‘couldabeen anybody,
I am amazed with the reminder of decisions lightly taken – “Of course, I’ll try Annapolis; got to be better than LSU” sort of illogic. Fate is indeed fickle. Boys making the same decision at nearly the same time amidst similar circumstances. Most meander-through graced by ignorance of consequence; some lost altitude nearly immediately.

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May 9th, 2017

Blue Pane Studio Delivers Mobile Apps #82 & #83

Fidtern 2017

Fidtern’s purpose is to connect the approximate 1,000 summer interns moving from web and paper-based community tools.

AS 2017

Event-support app for Raleigh’s annual spring festival featuring 170+ artists and craftspeople.


May 7th, 2017

À la Recherche du Temps Perdu

A journalist friend of mine, Kay McFadden, once informed me that published interviews were a kind of cop-out in journalism. Seldom have I read them since.

A newly-trained IBM sales colleague of mine wrote (sic), actually texted, this week sharing her thrill with closing her first deal and wondering how to get it all done = time management. Don’t tell Katherine and here is the text and the texts of our related conversation:

ER One struggle I have had lately though is time management. I feel like I am constantly at events, etc. but I also find myself piling up on enablement courses to actually start enhancing my skills. If you have any advice on that, I will take all! Hahaha

Chris P Time Management. Regardless of the rate and pace of technology, there are only 24 hours in everyone’s day. I read a related book in 1985 when I landed my first sales job with a small local tech company, I read about this book in the Wall Street Journal which was written in 1959.

I purchased it, read it and it is one of the few business books that has survived on my office bookshelf.

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The other The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People is which has become a cottage industry in itself. I met Mr. Covey in the early 90s when he was hawking his methods to any audience of any size.

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I worked from home for 15 years, which I found to be much more productive than any kind of office environment that I witnessed or experienced. I like to have control of my own time. My first rule which I obeyed without fail is that I did not sacrifice my health for my work = diet, rest and exercise are important to me. I made time for all three every day as I’ve seen too many of us ‘throw their bodies at the work’ by sacrificing sleep, cheating on diet and forever postponing exercise. These habits will catch-up with us.

The second rule was that I’ve kept a near daily journal since 1976 when I was 24 years old. This has helped me to clarify my own thinking, helps me to make sense of my world, and at this stage of life, I see how such a habit has strengthened my memory and allowed me to make connections of events, people and ideas over my career.

When I joined IBM in 1999, we watched a Welcome to Blue video with a segment by the CEO, Lou Gerstner. He admonished us that we were going to win in the marketplace, not because we were going to go to every meeting or answer every email, but because we would be guided by doing what is right for the customer.

Ours is a process-heavy company and it is now a difficult period for the company. Hence, lots of hand-rubbing, calls, measurements and reports. You’ve got to keep your eye on what is important to your customers as they must come first.

Finally, my close friend in San Francisco who travels internationally too much is fond of the phrase ‘tyranny of the urgent.’ He likes to ask if it is also important.

What’s your own thinking in this regard?

ER I find myself falling into those exact habits, cheating on my diet/ pushing off exercise because “I have no time” — I like the idea of working from home so that I can fit everything in when I feel, and take a break every once in a while. But I also see the benefits of working from the office, so I get everything done at one time.

I am absolutely going to purchase those books and read through them. Journaling is something I do, but often forget about when I get “too busy”.

I also agree with your friend. I find myself rushing around everyday just trying to get as much done as possible. I think this is a point I need to make to myself as I need to concentrate on the more important things and not just getting everything done in a hurry, or the most ‘urgent’ seeming.

Great advice! Thank you


January 21st, 2017

Inauguration Day 2017 – A Ceremony of Dignity and Inspiration

I observed an orderly transfer of power with only 30 days available for transition between the in-coming and out-going commanders. The former heralded for his leadership style and broad organisational achievements. The latter possessed of an accomplished career; selected with high hopes as an agent of change amidst a challenging and probable chaotic environment. In attending witness were numerous former office holders; family; friends; current and former staff; and visitors. Pressing affairs suspended to celebrate this tribute to and confidence in our nation. The power to destroy nations relinquished and adopted with the simply eloquent and traditional oath of office, i.e.

“I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

The departing commanding officer reports to the senior officer present that ‘he has been properly relieved.’ The new Captain assumes command; the former commanding officer returns to the rank of Commander.

And so proceeded the Change of Command ceremony aboard the USS North Carolina, SSN 777, a nuclear powered submarine stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Commander Gary Montalvo was relieved properly by Commander Matt Lewis on Friday January 20th at 10 a.m. Hawaiian Standard Time.

I wish that you could have seen this occasion. Even though individual achievement was recognized and individuals offered their personal points of view about the recent past and their ideas for the impending future, the occasion with its ceremony celebrated our nation, its purpose and the young men and women who quietly subsume themselves to an intangible and, clearly evident, greater good. The gravity of and the opportunity for the occasion is lost on no one present. Then we celebrated with a hamburger and ice tea buffet: proud to part of the ceremony; proud of our Navy; mindful of the greatness of our nation. Don’t let anyone at any level tell you otherwise.

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North Carolina crew cheering Captain Montalvo’s departure, “Go Tarheels.”

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Commander Montalvo wearing his gifts of good wishes.

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SSN777Club Executive Director (me) with Commanding Officer, Matt Lewis

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Americans Not Forgotten


January 6th, 2017

Blue Pane Studio Delivers Mobile App #81 for First Night Raleigh Sponsored by Fidelity

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