Saturday, January 28, 2006

Genius in the halls


Today I ran into greatness. It wasn't the first time, but it might have been the most significant.

I met Derek Jeter once, but I never had any illusions about being a professional athlete. Sports were taken away from me at such a young age I never really had a chance to explore whatever potential I posessed. I classify him as great because his high level of achievement cool professional demeanor are always present, even when the lights are the brightest.

I met the man that pioneered my industry once. Despite his Ivy league education and undeniable intellect he was missing something. He lacked gravitas and that is probably why despite being brilliant he never gained the household name status that many giants of industry do. I classify him as great because he invented an industry. My job and thousands, if not tens of thousands of others exist because of this man and that is something to honor, even if his prosperity is not what it might have been.

The man I met today is a genius. He graduated from one of the top technical colleges in this nation when he was 21. He is a patent holder, an economic theorist, and a brilliant engineering mind. He is from a third world country and has written extensively about how to alleviate much of their socio-economic strife by changing the entire economic makeup of their markets. He is working in a consulting role with my company and I was able to spend a little time talking with him this afternoon. It turns out a design idea I am working on is something he worked on as part of his senior thesis. How we approached the problem was very different but in the short time we spoke I realized I was playing on his field, in a sort of unrefined, very raw way.

The conversation left me energized and a little depressed at the same time. One one hand I was charged up that I held my own with someone who is probably in the top 2% of all minds on planet Earth. On the other it left me to wonder what my achievements could have been had I pursued math or science in my youth. I don't know why, but my younger years were spent with a healthy fear of these particular topics and it wasn't until I was an adult that I began to dabble with things like math and engineering. It wasn't until very recently I realized I have some aptitude with them.

I have always tried to do things that bordered on the impossible. Mostly I have failed while trying to do them. My mind extrapolates things out onto a global stage, seeing through to a successfull conclusion. In practice my experiences with entrepreneurship have left me with nothing but some interesting stories and an endless sea of debt. I am not a wealthy internet mogul. I am not a powerful retail magnate. I am not a best-selling author. I am not running a large insurance consultancy. I am not in the pacific northwest living out the fantasy of every rotissirie sports participant in the world. My biggest failing may be I have no ability whatsoever to think small and don't mind being laughed at, even when it is friends and family laughing at me. Sometimes I think that if I scale back my ideas, theories and expectations I might be better off, somehow more content. After meeting with the man I met with today I know I don't want to. My life may end without the kind of success I strive for, but I never want to be known as someone who stayed on the sidelines and played it safe.

There is this great Teddy Roosevelt quote I love from a speech he gave in Paris just after the turn of the century. He said this:

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat ."

- Theodore Roosevelt

My conversation today reaffirmed that I want to be known as a man who is in the game, playing on the highest levels with the biggest minds. Maybe I deserve to be there, maybe I don't, but one way or another, I am going to find out.

No 1 of Consequence

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Love Monkey & Musical Meanderings

I watched the show Love Monkey on CBS last night for the second time. I really enjoyed it. It stars Tom Cavanagh who made a name for himself in the TV series Ed as a music executive that leaves a major record label and takes a job at a much smaller independent label. One of the defining scenes of the premier episode demonstrates Tom’s deep love of music to a young musician by knowing Sid Vicious’ real name. No Wife of Consequence recently went to the Bon Jovi concert here in Atlanta and had a really fantastic time. She loves music and feels a connection to it on a lot of different levels.

I am a pretty bright guy, but music is my kryptonite. That is kind of a running joke with my friends and family. Many times, if they have a question, I have the answer. However, if the question has something to do with music, they get to make fun of my lack of musical knowledge. Somewhere along the line I just missed the spiritual connection a lot of people have with music. This is not to say I don't appreciate it. I could listen to James Taylor or Sting sing every day for the rest of my life and I have an affinity for what No Wife calls, the simpering bitches. (Jewel, Lisa Loeb, etc.) I really love the Beastie Boys and some of my middle school years were spent break-dancing in the hallways at South Orange Middle School. I love listening to Billy Joel, but I can't tell you who played keyboard on album X and don't know that guitarist whoever from The Cars played a guest gig on the Ramones reunion album in 1978. It just doesn't go that deep for me.

I used to be friends with a guy from Chicago. He and I would go back and forth for hours about sports. I was a huge basketball fan at the time and it was always the Knicks vs Bulls discussion, because it was 93-94 when we were buds. He was passionate and learned about sports, but one day, I sat for an hour and listened to him talk about Grateful Dead shows he had seen. It was poetic. He was a spectator at the first concert the Dead gave after Jerry Garcia's heart attack and gave a riveting recounting of Jerry's appearance on the stage, markedly thinner than the last time anyone had seen him. He talked about how the crowd was silent for a moment, taking in the new Jerry, and how they roared for him.

I should have gone to more concerts. I think I missed out on something.


Just a brief side note, it has been brought to my attention that the blog has pretty much sucked since I started writing again. This is an observation I agree with for the most part. So I guess I ask my loyal few to be patient with me. I don’t have as much time to write as I used to and my voice is still rusty. I doubt my leisure time will increase but hopefully my rusty writing skills will sharpen up.

No 1 of Consequence

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Links and Opinions

The silly:

This story is the kind of thing that really adds insult to injury. Not only does your girl two time you, but your pet mocks you about it afterwards. Absolutely brutal.

The mildly disturbing:

With all of the absolute nonsense going on in the world right now, I think this story describes one of the worst ideas I have ever heard. Privately contracting debt collectors to hound dead beat taxpayers is an awful idea. Let’s put aside privacy concerns, which the article details, and talk about the fact that these people would work on commission. This rubs me absolutely the wrong way although I am having trouble articulating why at the moment.

The incredibly disturbing:

Alberto Gonzales defended the NSA wiretapping program and rejected calls for a special prosecutor. Well, golly gee! What this defender of The Constitution doesn’t say is that if he calls for a special prosecutor he is going to be indicted as well. Friends, Americans, interested observers from overseas, let me let you in on something; we are a Mickey Mouse nation right now. We are basically a dictatorship. Al Gore gave a powerful speech on the 16th on the dangers of what our government is currently involved in domestically. He related it heavily to the dirty tricks that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. endured and quotes the framers of our nation heavily. It is a long speech, but it is one that is worth your time to read. It is an erudite speech, but one that is worth looking up words you may not understand. ( I use it everyday.) It is a speech designed to spur people to action. Will it work? Will our Congress act and protect us from our government? Will our courts stand up and check the egregious excesses of a President that seems to have gone round the bend? Will the judiciary and the legislative use the checks and balances our forefathers had the vision to put into The Constitution when they wrote it? I hope so my loyal few. If you haven’t read Orwell’s 1984 now is the time. If you live in this country, you are living this book. Check out the full text of the speech over on No Politiblog of Consequence.


Monday, January 16, 2006

Early Morning at the Office

I get to the office early every morning. As a member of the senior staff I have a lot of responsibility and a lot of information gets processed through my desk on a week to week basis. The company uses the Trillian IM client for instant messaging during the work day. It is very simple and extremely useful. When people log on to the system there is a gentle high pitched tone it gives off. As people come in to the office and log on, all you hear is this quiet little doorbell noise over and over again. My company is growing very rapidly. When I first got here you would only hear about 10 or 15 of those little beeps. Now you hear close to 50. With each beep I get a little more energy. Coming to work every day is very cool. I implemented a new program for my direct reports that can put a little extra money in their pockets every week. It looks like it is really starting to go well. Some incredible things are happening here and it is amazing to be here for the ride!!

No 1 of Consequence

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Pictures from the new Georgia Aquarium

If you haven't read my post about the Georgia Aquarium, check it out here. I finally downloaded some of the pictures I took and am going to attempt to post them here. I tried to pick cool ones from each exhibit. Some of them are a little dark, but you should still be able to see the increible size and scope of the exhibits, enjoy. You can view all the pics at NoPhotoBlogofConsequence.

No 1 of Consequence

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

You'll get nothing and like it!!

Are you kidding me? Our active military, national guardsmen and reservists are some of the most patriotic, selfless people you will eve meet in this world. They sacrifice their time and in some cases, their lives, to protect us and maintain our way of life. We have a civil responsibility to compensate them for their time, not to mention the moral responsibility we have to make sure that they are treated with respect. They certainly don’t make a ton of money. This is a repugnant story. We suffer a massive national tragedy (9/11) and when our reservists and guardsmen report to close the barn door we tell them thanks, but you are responsible for your own expenses. What sort of backwards ass philosophy is this? This is an actual quote from the story, "If you don't like the arrangement, we'll make sure you get taken off this mission." The fact that this has gone on for 5 years and they still haven’t paid these guys is so indicative of an absence of reason in our government. I mean, even if you wanted to screw over soldiers, did you think it wasn’t going to get out? Did you think none of them would finally say, “Enough is enough, pay your bills, you deadbeat Pentagon lunkheads!” The fact that these guys had to get together and sue the government is just so sad. Wait until we see the class action suit from the soldiers who were sent into battle without appropriate equipment. That case should be a humdinger, pain and suffering, punitive damages, a litigator’s dream.

Respect those that sacrifice for the greater good. Maybe one day your life will be in one of their hands. Hopefully, at the time the hands will be holding the proper equipment and the person holding it will have been paid on time.

No 1 of Consequence

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

If you'll look to your right, you might find something interesting

Just wanted to give a quick run through of the links I have on the right side of this page.

The Sussmans in Israel. This is a great chronicle of a nice family that has decided to leave the US and move to Israel to pursue a life there. They write eloquently about the unique Israeli experience and absorbing themselves in the society. I wish they wrote more, but three little ones will keep you pretty busy.

The Bouncer is a pretty good blog. He has gotten a book deal since I started reading him and that hasn’t really altered his unique view of the world too much. He can definitely string a sentence together and is a pretty interesting guy. As with most writers he seems to be a neurotic mess. Woody Allen meets this guy. I never enjoyed bars or clubs in my life for a variety of reason. After reading this guy’s blog from almost the first post, I feel completely justified.

Paul Katcher has an awesome NYC blog. His was the first blog I ever read and was really the inspiration for this one. We share a deep love of the Yankees. I don’t always agree with him, but his blog is one of the best formatted you will see. He is a master of the net with a huge following that feeds him wacky links. He also travels a ton and is an avid photographer. He usually has some good pictures when he comes home from his many trips. He parlayed his blog into a regular writing gig on the now defunct Page 3 of I am sure he will be a featured columnist somewhere soon.

People, Places, and Things That Tend to Annoy Me is an angry blog. We have just begun to see content on it regularly and I never fail to laugh hysterically after reading it. I am sure it will bring much comedy as the weeks and months go by. I highly recommend it.

As I find more links worth reading I shall update the list. I promise only this. The writing you read will be decent. I can’t stomach blogs where the writing sucks, they just end up irritating me.

No 1 of Consequence

Bye Bye Herm and Lack of posting!

The Jets traded their coach for a 4th round draft pick. A 4th round draft pick. Is losing Herman Edwards a loss? Yes, it is. However, I think it is more of a loss because there is no one worthwhile to replace him with than I do because he was some kind of fantastic coach. He was a very positive motivational guy, but when it came to in game management, especially clock management he absolutely sucked. There were so many times that the Jets would blow an opportunity because they couldn’t get a play in from the sideline. It reeks of poor decision making skills. It routinely got to the point that I would scream at the television. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I like yelling at the TV, but only when something good happens. I scream like a madman because for some reason my screaming is helping them win. When they screw up my screaming penetrates the television, heads into space by satellite, shoots down from the satellite into the camera and shoots Herm while the guy holding the parabolic microphone has his head explode from the sheer force of my wrath. Bye Bye Herm! We hardly knew ya.


Sorry for not posting more regularly this week, but I have been away at a sales conference and have spent a couple of days catching up. I work with a great team of people at my job. All are bright, energetic and have passion for the company. It is hard not to have passion for the company I work for. We do some pretty amazing things. I gave a fantastic presentation and it scored big across the board. We work with some of the top companies in the world and really have become the darling of our space. I had a small technical problem during my presentation and later in the evening I kind of gave an impromptu lecture about what I was going to cover and how it related to our business model. I briefly talked about how my company can affect the global marketplace and how free trade is good. I am pretty passionate about it and apparently the CEO of my company overheard me. The last night of the conference he singled me out at dinner and had me give the same mini lecture. It was very cool and was a big hit. The end result of the sales conference and the emotionally draining visit from No Mom of Consequence is sheer exhaustion. I have my first link post written. It will be on the site soon.

No 1 of Consequence

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Airport Rant

I haven’t had what one would call any run-ins with the police. I have gotten my share of speeding tickets and there was a huge misunderstanding once in Philadelphia, but overall the police and I don’t interact. Post 9/11 I couldn’t imagine a situation where I would ever be disrespectful to someone in law enforcement. I even thanked and wished a Happy Holiday to a Crisp County Georgia Sheriff that gave me speeding ticket in November. Last night, some power tripping Atlanta cop pissed me off so much I wanted to scream. I was picking up No Mom of Consequence from the airport. She is barely mobile and while not wheelchair bound 100% of the time cannot navigate around something like an airport without the aid of a chair. Her flight came in very late and there were about 3 other cars waiting for people outside the airport. I pull up along the curb and wait for the attendant to wheel her out from baggage claim. An Atlanta cop ran me off and made me loop around, twice. It makes no sense, none whatsoever. There was no traffic flow issue, there were about 3 cars total in a space that stretches for over a quarter mile. There was no security issue as terrorists don’t strike when traffic is at its lowest. They don’t want to kill one person; killing one person is a waste of a bomb to them. What was it, you ask? Good question. It was this jerk off being so damn bored that he couldn’t think of anything better to do than hassle people. Even after getting out of my truck and explaining very politely that my mother was handicapped and would be wheeled out in a moment, this punk remained obstinate. I was really angry about it. I still am. I would complain, you know, call the police, and lodge a civilian complaint, but I don’t want to waste more of my time on this ass clown.

My point is this. If you don’t have to be a jerk off, don’t be. You may find life more fulfilling.

No 1 of Consequence

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Please don't shoot the Mormons!!

I am totally against religions that proselytize. However, as proselytizers go, the Mormons are among the most polite you will ever run across. Once when I was in college, one of my fraternity brothers, as a joke, ordered me a free copy of the Book of Mormon. These two young extremely white missionaries showed up in the blackest part of Philadelphia and offered, very politely, to educate me about their faith. I was less temperate and accepting then as I am now and while I didn’t treat them rudely I did openly laugh at them while explaining that Jews didn’t believe in Jesus rising once so the possibilities of me coming to the truth that he rose twice was pretty remote. Then one of my Irish Catholic brothers started questioning them about the Masonics, whatever they are. Anyway, my point is, these were two very nice young men who were just trying to serve their church in a peaceful way. Was it really necessary to shoot them, killing one and seriously wounding the other? Things like this make me so sad. I would surmise, if you follow this story to its conclusion, it will come out that this was some sort of gang initiation.

No 1 of Consequence