Archive for February, 2009

Plan 9 From Outer Space, the 2008 US Federal Budget

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

How much is $1.75 Trillion? By the way, we’re 5 months into this budget cycle, so not much room to correct or to modify. Can we really trust the politicians who got us into this jam, or certainly promoted and tolerated it, to get us out of it? Talk about shock and awe!

This deficit spending is not about waging a war vital to our way of life nor to explore the stars, both of which created plenty of useful jobs. We’re adding phantom funds to our national checkbook to cover debts that we cannot, well, cover. How does this process stop? And this approach accelerates a long-ago installed mindset. Talk about the need to re-invent the business or implement a much needed organizational transformation. Except that we’re talking about the entire United States of America.

Now, I’m sounding like people I never wanted to sound like. Thank heaven for a strong military and the capability to feed ourselves. Because we sure do not understand finance.

Maybe it’s appropriate to watch an Ed Wood film as he could have directed this fiasco.

Kate Winslet: In Extras discussing how to win Oscar

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Go to minute 3:05. Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant wrote The Office followed by The Extras. Again brilliant. KW discusses how starring in a Holocaust film guarantees an Oscar. She won the Best Female Actress award last night for starring in a film about…… The Holocaust. Reality imitating Art?

A Communications Primer (1953) by Ray & Charles Eames

Friday, February 20th, 2009

The Eames’ “A Communications Primer” from FI$H 2000 on Vimeo.

Vimeo took down the file. Here is the same clip in the publc domain.

Incredible video before there were videos even. IBM sponsored the Eames couple, famous for all things instructional design. Music by Elmer Bernstein who also scored Magnificent 7 and The Great Escape . If this is not enough talent, John von Neuman, father of too many brilliant technical concepts, and Claude Shannon, Mr. Information Theory, among several other notables, were acknowledged as production contributors.

On a a day when the US stock market is likely to find an historic and panic-induced low, buoying to be reminded of the caliber of people who inspired many of the marvelous achievements of our modern lifestyles. We’re really not all about greed and selfishness and foolishness.

BTW, the clip uses many references to art, love, music to inform and information.

Thanks to Adam Christensen for site referral.

Leadership is the answer. Followership is the commitment.

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

Leadership by example; leadership that insists on common sacrifice for the common good; leadership guided by the belief that we all want to belong to something larger than ourselves. Leadership is neither bullying nor all-accepting.

In 1989 after our small company had made it past the 6 month milestone of survival, we enjoyed a pizza lunch and a motivational video of Lou Holtz. He’s not my hero and what he suggested comes to mind now & again. In essence, if you want people to follow you then they must answer three questions with ‘Yes':

1) Can I trust you? To me, this means are you consistent? Are you sincere in your behavior and words. This is not about predictability of performance.

2) Do you care about me? After Joe Sestak won the PA 7th District Congressional seat in 2006, I asked one of the overworked interns at 2am why the chief of staff got so much out of the temps, interns and lowly paid professionals? He smiled and replied, “he cares about me.”

3) Will you be there when I need you? In my own small world, this is the one that matters most. I value reliability more than any other personal trait.

Slings & Arrows: Web 2.0 advice from Canadian TV

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Enjoyed all 3 seasons of this spoof of the theatre. Cleverly done (typically Canadian) and highly entertaining. Available on Net Flix. One of my favorite exchanges over the new advertising campaign. Suits the confused spirit of the prevailing economic times. Maybe we’ll have a revival of the theatre. Set-up: Sanjay pitching RSJ on the proposed ad campaign for the theatre.
Richard Smith-Jones: OK, how would you advertise?
Sanjay: Richard, I don’t use that word.
Richard: Advertise?
Sanjay: Yes, that is not what we do here.
Richard: You don’t do advertising? 51fyrcyvbjl_sl500_aa240_
Sanjay: Richard, people are tired of ads in all their forms. They don’t believe anything we say and it doesn’t work. We at Frog Hammer ask ourselves very simple things. Is it wondrous? Does it move you? Is it culturally authentic? We believe that people are sick of being lied to. If you use truth, you can sell people anything. If you want people to react, to feel, to buy, tell them the truth! Truth is the new lie.
Richard: F#ck it. You’re hired.

National change index: cloudy this week

Friday, February 13th, 2009

My first sales VP at ITT Telecom (my first job in North Carolina) advised that ‘if you cannot hire people better than you, what is the future of the organization anyway?!’ Curious to me how organizations, large and small, seek change through stability, really consistency, and are often afraid of investing in change agents.

Bummed today that another good, promising, reliable young man is leaving us. He wants to be part of the solution and is advised how to behave in order not to be noticed in this economic environment. Incredible, isn’t it?

Maybe ‘stimulus’ is the wrong term for what we need. Should it be ‘fundamentals’?! When one is out of shape (60% of Americans are either overweight or obese and now financially & economically so), one is best served by a regimen of diet, rest and exercise more than an artificial stimulus to get through the day.

Yesterday was the 200th birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. What stimulated these two?

My formula for this Friday the 13th: care for your health, be polite, work hard.


Double, Double Toil & Trouble – more to come

Monday, February 9th, 2009

This recent Economist article describes well what else is in store for the mortgage mess. Meanwhile, we’re trying to keep the economy in flow and stem the unemployment trend. So far, a 3 headed hydra. It’s not going to over soon.

There is hope for capitalism- just look at Playmobil

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

I’m looking forward to how they depict the banking crisis. If you want a few laughs, read the associated customer reviews which identify the inability to remove shoes of the traveller etc.

When I went through TSA in LaGuardia last week, one member of the A team was massaging the neck of the young woman at the x-ray machine and Mr. T spoke with Mrs. T about a Manhattan lounge named Vodoo while they sorted through my meager belongings. More video-conferencing! PS thanks to Dr. Rick in London for uncovering this product.

Cardinals vs Steelers or Federer vs Nadal: who’s really super?

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

We all awoke at 3:30 EST to watch the finals of the Australian Open. Entertaining and agonizing from the first game until the last. Deflated all day when reliving the tears of Roger; pleased when recalling the grit and achievement of Raphael. I think that we all know that the torch has indeed been passed to a new champion.
Such an exhibition of talent and generous competitiveness! I recommend that Roger find a coach to change his thinking about how to play with Nadal, mainly because I want to see many more matches between them of this caliber.

I’ve seen my share of Super Bowls, namely all of them! First one was shown on both NBC and CBS. No one thought that the AFL was for real. Then Joe Namath and the Jets showed them; followed by the Chiefs knocking-out the Vikings. My highlights:
biggest disappointment: Jets defeating my Colts. Why didn’t Moral throw that flea flicker to Orr?!
most fun: all of the 49er victories
most lopsided: da Bears over New England. Much worse than the score.
most startling: my flower power ‘I’ll go for you’ date in Hawaii in 1977 who fell in love with the game when she won the 4th quarter and final score pools, c.$250 in cash. She may still be rooting for the Raiders.
most unusual location for me: in Guam watching the game on Monday morning with Carmen Cruz who cheered on every play never having seen a game before.
best play: the pass by Garo Yepremian nearly costing Miami the game and its perfect season. He was the place-kicker btw.
most memorable moment: I worked as an usher at #4, Chiefs & Vikings. After taking tickets in the first half, I was stationed behind Viking bench to keep the fans off the field
(135 lbs in an ill-fitting uniform!)
I still recall the crash of the tackles, the bleeding ear of the fullback, Bill Brown, and the smelling salts provided to Joe Kapp as he wobbled around the bench after a car-wreck of a tackle. Today’s running backs are the size of those tackles. Ugh. The pain! At any rate, I’m for Warner.