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Archive for May, 2019

Just for fun…

When you need to decompress from life’s stress and have a little fun, what’s your routine?  Reading a book?  Working out?   Taking a vacation?

A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking. 

Earl Wilson

Starbucks is a fun stop on the way to work for many.  Fodder-4-Thought heard someone place this order:

Venti, sugar-free, non-fat, vanilla soy, double shot, decaf, no foam, extra hot, Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha with light whip and extra syrup, please.

(Taking a breath now!)

My wife and I made a weekend getaway for fun recently; headed to the high country.  On the way we drove through Bailey, Colorado and that mountain town reminded us of being in bear country:

A bear who, displaying a $5 bill, had entered a bar and ordered a beer and; the owner of the bar directed the bartender to give the bear the beer, saying that since the bear didn’t look very smart to only give it 25 cents in change.

Having done as he had been instructed, and having watched incredulously as the bear placidly sipped the beer, the bartender finally could no longer contain himself and sought to engage the bear in conversation.  “You know”, he said to the bear, “we don’t get many bears in this bar.”  To which the bear is said to have replied, “at $4.75 a beer, it’s no wonder.” 

Norman R. Augustine

Ah that Norman R. Augustine; former head of Martin Marietta Corporation (now Lockheed Martin) a huge US Government aerospace contractor.  His sense of humor is fun!  Norman shared more fun in Augustine’s Laws ©:

Law Number III:

There are no lazy veteran lion hunters.

Law Number XIII:

There are many highly successful businesses in the United States. There are also many highly paid executives. The policy is not to intermingle the two.

Law Number XIX:

Although most products will soon be too costly to purchase, there will be a thriving market in the sale of books on how to fix them.

Law Number XXXI:

The optimum committee has no members.

Law Number XXXVI:

The thickness of the proposal required to win a multimillion dollar contract is about one millimeter per million dollars. If all the proposals conforming to this standard were piled on top of each other at the bottom of the Grand Canyon it would probably be a good idea.

It’s fun to poke fun at America’s political and economic policies, true?  And our elected officials view of spending taxpayer money – fun?

A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money.  

Senator Everett Dirksen

Entrepreneurs are fun too:

It seems that there was a pretzel stand in front of an office building in New York City.  One day a man came out of the building, plunked down a quarter, and then went on his way without taking a pretzel.  This happened every day for three weeks.  Finally, the old lady running the stand spoke up, “Sir, excuse me.  May I have a word with you?”  The fellow answered,I know what you’re going to say.  You’re going to ask me why I give you a quarter every day and don’t take a pretzel.” The woman replied, “Not at all.  I just wanted to tell you that the price is now 35 cents.” 

William Schreyer

OK – grab your besties everyone – let’s have a little fun!  Let’s head to bear country for some pretzels and beer.  I’m buying!

GAP

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Our Loans to Repay…

Happy Memorial Day in advance everyone!

Next Monday is an occasion to celebrate America – our America – our nation of great opportunity and great diversity, yes?  Even though we Americans are addressing many difficulties, Monday is a day to celebrate our blessings and our future possibilities.

On any other day, it’s easy to get mired in everything that’s wrong with America.  What concerns you the most? Politics?  The economy?  Health care?  World peace?  Cable TV costs? Lots of opportunities for worry, fear, frustration, and anger, I suppose.

Conservation of our Earth for future generations is another difficulty – and a hotbed of debate.  Nothing new about this however; it is a topic dating back to our country’s original landlords:

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors – we borrow it from our children.

Native American proverb

Do you believe we’re experiencing (and contributing to) global warming?  If we are, what can each of us do about it?  Will our children feel the same way about lending us their Earth as we do about inheriting the Social Security trust fund from our parents?  (Not much “trust” in the use of that trust fund, true?)

Memorial Day is a day to remember and to honor the men and women of our armed forces who have preserved a country where cultures of diversity come together unlike any other place on Earth.  It’s a time to salute our service men and women; present and past; and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our way of life:

We all benefit today from those who came before us.  But what are we making of our opportunities?  And what opportunities (and debts) will we leave for our future generations?

In every community, there is work to be done.

In every nation, there are wounds to heal.

In every heart, there is the power to do it. 

Marianne Williamson

Monday is a holiday and a time for celebration not worries; for national pride not fear; for appreciation not anger.  Monday, Americans can celebrate the interesting, diverse, and humorous lifestyle others have enriched us with as noted by our favorite, Unknown Sage:

Only in America…

can a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance.

Only in America…

are there handicap parking places in front of a skating rink.

Only in America…

do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.

Only in America…

do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke.

Only in America…

do banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to  the counters.

Only in America…

do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage.

Only in America…

do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight.

Only in America…

do we use the word “politics” to describe the process so well: “Poli” in Latin meaning “many” and “tics” meaning  “bloodsucking creatures.”

Only in America…

do they have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering.

Yes, remember “only in America” on Monday and enjoy the holiday.  Then we’ll go back to work Tuesday – working to overcome our difficulties; working to leverage our opportunities; working to preserve our way of life for future generations.

Let’s start working to pay back the loan on our planet Earth to our children and their children.

GAP

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Doing alright…

“How are you doing?”  That is a common greeting these days, yes?  And our response often depends on our mood.  For many, we have a choice over our moods; a degree of control; a consciousness of why we are in the mood we are in.  But not all of us…

Dedicated to those amazing people who unlike me, face each day “doing alright”; which means so much more:

Like Eric.  I have known Eric for 43 years this coming Saturday – his birthday.  Over that period Eric’s Mom and Dad have shared some of his most joyous occasions; and some of his most upsetting events; and in between these highs and lows Eric would tell you that he has been doing alright.  And for Eric, doing alright shows how amazing he truly is.

You see, Eric is the strongest person I know.  I’ll give you an example.  Close your eyes and return to the happiest day of your life – feel how you felt during your most exhilarating moments.  OK, now think back to how you felt on your saddest, darkest, most depressed day ever.  Just set those mental bookmarks in your mind’s eye.  There is an unbelievably wide and powerful range of human emotion, yes?

For most of us, we migrate from our highest highs and our lowest lows slowly; with long, “recovery” spans of simply feeling average in between.  Unfortunately, Eric is different; his mood swings back and forth, between euphoric highs and debilitating lows in a matter of minutes – multiple times – every hour!  Now picture your life with his type of mood swings – as if our other challenges aren’t enough to deal with.

Rapid Cycling – that’s the technical term for Eric and others who suffer from Bi-Polar Disorder.  And Eric lives every day with this unwelcome guest.  Medical science is not much help.  Bi-Polar Disorder is an affliction of the brain; and very difficult to properly diagnose and treat.  Trial and error, mostly.  That means people with Bi-Polar Disorder typically wind up dealing with this on their own.

Most can’t hold down a steady job.  Eric can – and he has consistently been a “go to” person for his company.  He is a skilled tradesman; good with customers; dependable; hard working; shows up no matter what; a positive attitude that no job is too tough; that’s Eric.  Most people with Bi-Polar Disorder can’t live independently.  Eric does – and if you met him, you would never know the internal turmoil he is living with.  He has a pleasant personality; a great smile; a nice sense of humor; knowledgeable of current events; just like the rest of us.

But Eric isn’t really like the rest of us.  Just getting up and facing the day; every day; takes enormous strength.  And he offers no excuses – never has.  Eric has earned success and experienced failure.  No matter; Eric treats each day anew, the best he possibly can. And when you greet him saying, “Hi. How you doing?”  you will almost always hear him say, “I’m doing alright”. 

If Eric does alright each and every day even though feeling these uncontrollable mood swings – should we do any less?

No, I don’t have Bi-Polar Disorder, but it lives next door. And though I don’t have it, I can see first-hand the strength Eric has as he lives with it.  I’m very proud to say that Eric is my son.  And one day I hope to learn the source of his amazing strength so I too can be, “doing alright”.

GAP

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Moms are special…

My Mom was special – I bet your Mom is (or was) special, too.  Sunday is Mother’s Day.  In mind; in memory; or in person; be sure to make it a special day for your Mom.  Sending flowers is not enough.  Make her the center of your attention if only for one day.

My wife is a special Mom.  She continues to lovingly mother our grown boys and our grandchildren even while their father worries, “How do I get all of these kids off the payroll?”  But I digress.  She keeps our entire, extended family together.

Our Moms have a special sense of humor:

A wife invited some people to dinner.  At the table, she turned to their six-year-old daughter and said, “Would you like to say the blessing?”  I wouldn’t know what to say”, the girl replied.  “Just say what you hear Mommy say”, the wife answered.  The daughter bowed her head and said, “Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?” 

Unknown Sage

Our Moms are special teachers.  Remember the life-long lessons you learned from your Mother?  Back to our Unknown Sage:

What my Mother taught me:

My Mother taught me logic;

“Because I said so, that’s why.”

My Mother taught me irony;

“Keep laughing and I’ll give you something to cry about.”

My Mother taught me about the science of osmosis:

“Shut your mouth and eat your supper!”

Even Bill Gates has a take (including Mom and Dad in his reference to his parents – and ours):

Excerpt from Bill Gates’ speech to Mount Whitney High School, Visalia, CA:

Rule 1 – Life is not fair; get used to it…

Rule 7 – Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now.  They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were.  So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents’ generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Our Moms have a special and immeasurable reservoir of power, true?  My Mom did.  She was stricken with cancer when I was 6 years old.  In fact, I can no longer remember a time when she was not ill.  The last 15 years of her life were spent undergoing continuous treatments:

I watched my Mom’s great power, which she needed in order to deal with a new cancer treatment in the late 1960’s that was so unimaginably harsh – that the administration of this treatment was solely based on the primitive science of trial and error – where the doctors’ routine consisted of observing how much of a dose could she tolerate without dying from the treatment.

It was an experimental treatment back then; offered only as a last resort for terminally ill cancer patients. This wasn’t a cancer cure; just a radical option to extend one’s life another year or two.  It was due to her staying power (and that of many other patients like her) before she finally succumbed in 1974, that has helped pave the way to the development of the commonly used, life-saving cancer treatment we all know today as chemotherapy.

How many special Moms have died fighting terrible diseases (and brutal treatments) so the rest of us can benefit from the exaggerated term, “modern medicine”?

Mother’s Day – make it special for your Mom if she’s living; make it special for you through your memories of your Mom if she’s not.

GAP

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Cloudy with a chance of change…

In my profession, the term Cloud Computing (aka “Cloud”) is bandied about liberally by any and all parties selling some product or service that can be connected to the Cloud.  The Cloud is the place to be!

Just watch how HP positioned their Cloud Prowess in a mere 2 minutes and 9 seconds.  (After all, they are mostly known as a hardware company so anything over a couple of minutes risks boredom, true?)

I recently listened to a podcast discussing the “Data Center Arms Race”.  The podcast ran almost a full hour; was definitely a deep dive; totally over my head; and contained quote after quote about complex Cloud technology topics that had my head spinning!

Behemoth providers such as Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, and Google are seeking to dominate data center services of the future.  They speak in terms of “bare metal hardware”; “bring your own chip”; “open source vs. close source technologies”; “race to the bottom of dealing with data and the cost for managing it”; “CPUs” to “GPUs” (thanks gamers) to “TPUs” (tensor flow processors from Google) whatever those are!

Mega data, and the data centers that hold it, requires size, scale, and sophistication unlike anything we have ever seen before.  One visionary executive summed it up like this:

Friends don’t let friends build data centers.

Not very interested in Cloud technology you say?  Fair enough.  It’s just that technology and the companies that dominate it do such domination over more than merely technology.  For instance – every single thing in every single person’s daily life is now impacted (for good or bad) by the Cloud.

And who are these people behind the Cloud with such influence (perhaps even control) over our lives?

There are 44 million developers worldwide; 1/3 with less than 5 years of experience… 

DM podcast executive

The youth of today running the world?  I don’t know about you, but that alone makes me nervous.  Accenture may alleviate our fear of youth (as a consulting company taking 4 minutes and 48 seconds to convey their message as compared to HP).

I’m reminded of a 15 minute and 42 second interview in 2014 with Zach Nelson, former CEO of NetSuite, about the “End of the Beginning”.  Zach pontificated on Cloud computing being “the last” computing platform in the evolution of technology platforms.  The DM Radio discussion suggests such thinking cannot be farther from reality.

Today, where data exists and how it moves through the Cloud has become material from a cost; security; privacy; and audit transparency standpoint; let alone business value and competitive differentiation.  He who gathers and then provisions access to the most data becomes king!  How comfortable are you with having everything you say and do stored in the Cloud?

All of a sudden we hear companies large and small speaking of the “Amazon effect”.  And now we start to see trends in technology decision-making having nothing to do with technology.  Amazon bought a grocery store chain so Walmart bought an eCommerce company.

Software complexity and “layers of abstraction challenges” are causing business executives to wonder if people will remain smart enough to advance technology.  Will the future depend on machines advancing machines?  If today’s youth make me nervous; the thought of machines running the world is no better!

An executive from DataStax suggested on the podcast:

We can’t continue to build things in complex ways because complex things fail in complex ways.

Perhaps we’re actually back at the beginning of the beginning – again!

GAP

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