Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Proof of 9.79 and its importance

Here's evidence of the historical significance of 9.79 
(my back story here)

Then, read this:

(Eight years earlier, I'd seen a Jamaican-born Canadian sprinter named Ben Johnson run Carl Lewis into the track in Seoul. A few days later, we learned that Johnson flunked a drug test, and my Canadian colleagues had to cover their country's version of the Black Sox scandal on the fly. But I will go to my grave stating unequivocally that the race itself was one of the most exciting things I ever saw. Everything was perfect — the time of day, the light in the stadium, the buzz of the crowd, and the way the two men went molten when the gun went off. I am not the only one who feels this way.)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Visiting the National Gallery of Art

I was fairly excited the other day when I asked the kids, “where in Washington, DC do you want to go for our monthly outing?” and they all excitedly agreed upon the National Gallery of Art.

Granted, they were motivated by the moving walkway and the waterfall in the underground passage connecting the East and West buildings, but hey, they still managed to take in some Rodin sculptures and classic paintings, mostly Dutch.

We were accompanied by my parents (my mom was an Art History major), so they really got a lot out of it, as I continue to foster and cultivate their right-brain thinking.

It’s a great, world-class museum and I’m glad we had a chance to take advantage of it.

NGA field trip, July 2012 (5)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

How to be Remembered…

I’m training for a ToughMudder race on September 9th, so have been running a lot.

To help out, I’ve been experimenting with various music playlists, to keep me motivated.

This morning, right as the run was ending, the music from Chariots of Fire came on.

While it’s not the greatest motivator while you are actually running, it is a great score.

With the Olympics coming up, I was reminded of the story and it occurred to me that, if Eric Liddell hadn’t had the religious convictions preventing him from running on Sunday, there would have been no story.

In fact, without looking it up, I bet that no one reading this knows who won the Gold Medal in the 100 meters or 200 meters in the 1924 Paris Games.

The point here is that the great stories, the kind that Ken Burns talks about in this wonderful 7 minute documentary, are made by those who stand FOR something.

This is true in our personal lives, but also in our business lives.

Steve Jobs is famously quoted for having said that his objective was to “put a dent in the universe.”

Great brands, nay, the GREATEST brands are built because they create stories around their principled positions.

It’s easy to be skeptical because while most brands and most athletes start off standing for something, too often, those positions are compromised and it becomes about the money and the fame.

“So many times, it happens so fast, you trade your passion for glory.”-Eye of the Tiger, Survivor (which IS a good running song).

Money are fame are fine, but not enduring.

Nothing wrong with them, but it all comes down to what impact you want to make (or none at all).

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bookmarks in Time…Windy City

I went for a run this morning in Chicago.

Passed many of the signature landmarks…Pritzker Pavilion, Grant Park/Buckingham Fountain, Museum of Science/Industry, Soldier Field, and then up along Lakeshore Drive back to Chicago River.

I stand by my contention that Chicago is America’s most beautiful city…from May until September.

Anyway, as I was running, I had a mini-flashback to my first visit to Chicago.

Fortunately, I’ve been here more than a few times since (although I still need to go to Wrigley), but back in 1979, my dad brought me here (I think he had a case or something) and I spent part of the day with my great Aunt and part of the day with my first cousin, Leonard, who was a student at Northwestern.

As the fates would have it, when I got back to my hotel room and checked my calendar, I saw that today is Leonard’s birthday, so I got to call him and reminisce (though he didn’t remember it, which I can’t say is too offensive.)

Anyway, a small “moment in time” to record and remember.

Monday, July 16, 2012

GOP-Dems Frustration

Not that this will do anything except get people riled up, but sometimes you just have to get it out there.

Republicans--you need to become better storytellers. Right now, Capitalism is on the ropes. In fact, it's been on the mat and is staggering around. Faith in the concept is gone and you need to show people that free enterprise is a good thing, but that it needs a level playing field. Very few believe the field is level now. You haven't really done anything (that I can think of) to restore that. You talk a good game, but you need to make it happen. Then, you need to paint the picture of a world where it is level and keep making concrete steps towards that.

Dems--you need to get your head out of the sand that the old world of big manufacturing and labor unions are on the road to our redemption. The longer you hold on to that belief (particularly the public unions and teachers unions even more so), the more difficult it will be to make the radical paradigm shift that is required for all of Americans to even have a chance at maintaining their standard of living.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Germany after 60 years

I suppose it's easy to be skeptical and say 'they dragged their feet."

I take a different perspective, perhaps because it reinforces my worldview that Germany has assumed much of its unique historical responsibility.
After six decades, 80,000 former USSR Nazi victims to get compensation

Particularly good because of how they stepped up during these challenging economic times.

Either way...it's a good thing for those getting compensation.

A big shout out to Stu Eizenstat for driving this.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hey, that IS a great idea.

Reading through the NFO’s copy of Oprah’s magazine the other day, I saw an interview with an actress about her life’s “Aha! Moment.” 

The big idea?

Take a 24 hour break from technology. No TV, phones, computers, etc.

While I’m all in favor of it, it just didn’t feel like an innovation.

Particularly when she said “from Friday night until Saturday night.”

Sunday, July 08, 2012

The Most Beautiful Sound…

Paco woke up early the other morning, had breakfast, and got himself dressed.

The girls weren’t up yet so he sat in the hall and opened his songbook.

For 20 minutes, all I heard was him singing to himself… “God Bless America,” “This Land Is Your Land,” and others.

Innocent. Pure. Just a great sound.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Super Sad True Love Story

It’s a bit depressing and almost cliché at this point to talk about the decline of America. Particularly during the week of July 4th, but we’re getting to a point of No Return as it relates to our national debt and our outlook about the lifestyle to which we believe we are entitled.

In Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel, a pretty sad portrait is painted about a future that unfolds if we don’t stop our current ways of consumption valued over production, value, and innovation.  The Love Story has many twists…a man who loves America and is sad about how it has morphed, his relationship with a woman whom he loves, but she doesn’t necessarily return the emotion 100%, and an overarching perception of an aged society trying to recapture the glamor of its youth.

There are so many levels here at such depth, that no blog post can really do it justice.

Still, it’s a worthwhile read because it’s one of those potentially prophetic warnings about what could become if we don’t ask seriously soon.


Monday, July 02, 2012

A change of perspective…

On the train back from New York the other day, I was sitting next to a young woman who had recently graduated from college.

In front of us were three young men of roughly the same age as she.

They were doing what young men sometimes do and being somewhat crass.

At some point, I turned to the young woman and said, “I could be wrong, but my sense is that these guys don’t have a girlfriend.”

She smiled and said, “I doubt it.”

I then shared the “application to date my daughter” post with her and, in that moment, realized how much my perspective on boys, girls, men, and women had changed.