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Gee whiz. I am back.

I pissed off a friend last week. We were meeting for lunch. I told him that I would call his cell when I got outside his office. No entry by the way unless a receptionist buzzes you in.

I called but no response. I texted but no response. I called again and no response. Suddenly he came rambling out of his office building door with his phone stuck in his ear. I told him to get the phone out of his ass. No question I was a bit acerbic. But he’s one of those guys who takes every call. One moment you’re having lunch with him and the next moment he has the phone stuck in his ear.

It’s a disease. Sometimes you wonder if it’s a phone they’re holding or a leash around tied around their neck.

Anyway, he was upset and old me that my comments were unacceptable. I told him that we could cancel lunch. I would go to my car and drive back home.

The awkward moment passed and we trudged off to lunch. I offered to pay. He was cheap enough to accept. I guess we were both steamed but I realize that with this guy (who by the way is generally a good guy) I had built up one thick book of stamps because of his phone habits.

I don’t know if and when we’ll have lunch again but if we do….
I am going to ask him to turn OFF his phone while we’re having lunch.
Mine is set on vibrate and I don’t answer it if I am with someone unless I have forewarned them that there may be a call I have to take.

Unfortunately, he’s not the only one. The lack of being present in another person’s company is an epidemic. Phones are great tools but we’re losing our social IQ.

My bad on my words. Turns out he was on the phone with a customer. I told him to tell them I was some crazy street person. Who knows. Maybe I am.

Hiatus-R-US

On hiatus for a while.

 

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http://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/files/2010/10/gone-fishin.jpg

I guess there will be a great deal of second guessing about Obama’s decision to pull US troops out of Iraq after 9 years but IMHO it is the right decision.

We need to get out of the Middle East. We can no longer afford the bill for keeping troops in this area. Afghanistan needs to be next. Our problem is really Pakistan anyway.  That country is playing a two-edged game. They are dealing with Muslim fundamentalism and also they have to deal with their traditional enemy which is India. If Pakistan is destabilized and Nukes end up in the wrong hands then India will be sound the alarm. They will be threatened long before we are.

There is a good chance the Iran will extend its influence over Iraq and even Syria. This may be inevitable. Let Iraq and Syria, predominate Sunni countries deal with it. Let it bleed Iran to death. Let them die the slow death. All the Mullahs in the world can’t stop that humpty dumpty fall from grace.

It is our time to become energy independent of the middle east. Short of the danger of nuclear war, we need to seek other sources of energy. Besides we still have a close relationship with Saudi Arabia. We are their navy and air force so we lose nothing. For the moment we still hold the dagger and can thrust it into the heart of the geo area if need be.

But our direction should be homeward. We have bankrupted ourselves trying to be the defender of the world.

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Tomorrow morning I fly to Seattle with my family to begin the funeral games for my father-in-law.

After all he was the former Governor of the state and so the funeral promises to be LARGE. Really large. Not JFK dies large but large enough for a common man of immigrant parents who scraped and clawed his way joyfully to the state house, worked hard and made an impact one way or the other.

When I met him I was an independent with little use for either party but he was my personal favorite among Democrats. He had the knack of listening, understanding and not taking it personal. In today’s polarized political climate we could use a few more like him. He actually believed in working with the party across the aisle.

I once asked him why he never stood for national office. He would have been a natural for a cabinet position or even Vice President. He told me that he knew where he belonged and where he had the most influence and power and that was in Washington….STATE, that is.

So he’ll get quite a send off. The Rosary, the mass and the burial. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. If he had been Jewish, he would already be in the ground. But dying Catholic is another thing. As a person he may be forgotten in a generation or two except for one big thing. The Evergreen Point Bridge is named for him.The Albert D. Rosellini, Evergreen Point Bridge.

I was once stuck in traffic on the bridge and so I called Albert on my cell phone.

“Hey Richard,” he greeted me.

I told him I was stuck in traffic on his bridge.

“Albert, I know what the D stands for now. It stands for Delay.”

He shot back with that laugh of his, “When they name a bridge after you, you can’t be choosey.”

The Albert D. Rosellini Bridge

april_79_seattle_02

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This is the reason some people cannot get jobs while others can.

“Now this is the Law of the Jungle—as old and as true as the sky;

And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.

As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk, the Law runneth forward and back;

For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.”

Rudyard Kipling

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Hunters don’t protest. They can’t waste the time. They need to spend their time hunting. Life is not fair and it is not equitable. But all can and will eventually have to face this simple fact…

Hunt or die….

My father in law died this morning.

He was 101.

Up until age 99 he had it his way. Then he fell, broke his hip and despite gallant attempts to regain his freedom, he ended up in home for the aged and gradually lost his vast and well used independence. No one’s fault. He was just very old.

But the term, he lived a full life is more than appropriate to the way this man lived.

I have never wanted to live to 100 much less 99 but if I could have his health and mobility prior to his accident, I wouldn’t it mind so much.

He always said Tutto va bene!

All is well.

He was controversial but then the great ones always are. All I know is that when I joined the family in 1980 he welcomed me right away. Heck, he was a life long democrat and no one in the family could figure what the hell I was.

When Clinton raised taxes during his first term we had a conversation about it. He said “Good government costs.” Of course he was being slightly humorous. Later when the democrats lost control of both houses in congress he said, “Well, we may have gone too far.” We both laughed at that one. Once he called me at work and my admin answered. He said The Governor was calling.  She stumbled into my office and blurted out that The Governor was on the phone. When I picked up and told him her reaction he laughed. “Good. I wanted to shake things up.” In 1991 we were out on the beach at Vashon knocking back a beer and were discussing the 1992 elections. I asked him what he thought of Mario Cuomo’s chances. Cuomo was the favorite at the time. “Oh,” he said, “I talked to him. He’s not running.” I was surprised but asked him who would be a good candidate. “You’ve never heard of him,” he chuckled,  “but we have a guy from Arkansas we think is pretty good.”


President John F. Kennedy and Others in Convertible, Seattle, 1961President Kennedy rode in a white convertible at the head of a parade of cars along Fourth Avenue as more than 50,000 people cheered his arrival in Seattle.  Seated with the Chief Executive is Governor Albert D. Rosellini and Senator Henry M. Jackson.Photographer: Seattle Post-Intelligencer Staff PhotographerDate:1961Image Number: 1986.5.31188.1To order a reproduction or to inquire about permissions contact photos@seattlehistory.org or phone us at 206-324-1126. Please refer to the Image Number and provide a brief description of the photograph.

My father in law played with the big boys. That’s him on the right next to JFK.

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Here he is with Elvis at the Seattle World Fair.

I cannot open a browser without a picture of Steve Jobs staring out at me. What makes it even more poignant is that I am opening that browser with my MacBook Pro , my iPad or my iPhone.

You see a friend of mine once told me that if I wanted to be free, why not be free now. He was talking about buying a Mac and tossing the virus ridden-PC/NT/Windows world aside once and for all. In 2006 I did just that. Haven’t had to deal with a virus ever since.

I do deal with this though.

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It’s the pin wheel that goes up on the screen when your Apple Computer is digesting something it can’t quiet handle.

For all Jobs did, he never quite got around to getting rid of this pain-in-the-ass.

But in the scheme of thongs it is gnat because the rest of Apple Computing world is free.

I never met Jobs. I met many of the L’Enfant Terrible’s of the valley but I missed Steve. Oh, I knew people who knew him. Some knew him very well.

I knew Jonathan Schwartz the guy who presided over the Sunset of Sun Microsystems. I was the HR dweeb in charge of the acquisition of his little software company back in 1996. Jonathan really respected Jobs and told me more than once that he would  was going to vest his Sun shares and then leave the company and go to work for Steve at NeXT. Of course he never went. He stayed and rose from a director to CEO and NeXT was bought by Apple so that Jobs could come home and save the company he had co-founded and then had been fired from.

The two friends took divergent paths. Both became CEO’s (again). Yes, that part matched. But where Jobs knew exactly what he needed to do, Schwartz didn’t.

The difference was that Jobs wouldn’t  give up on his vision where Jonathan had none. Not really. The only thing that could take Jobs out was disease and death (the end of most of us). McNealy, Schwartz’s predecessor knew that Sun’s day was over so he brokered a deal with “The Larry”. And that ended that.

The company where I prospered and enjoyed working at better than all of the others (Sun) was put of out of its pain because it leaders, in the end, couldn’t make the tough decisions.

But Jobs  could and did make those decisions. That’s what set him aside from most Silicon Valley leaders (leaders with a small “l”). He channeled Howard Roark, didn’t give a damn and did what he saw was right.

Schwartz was everyman even though he would never admit it. Jobs was not everyman and he wouldn’t have cared if you got that or not.

It is a sad commentary on me that I could have worked for Jonathan though. I liked him. He was approachable and smart. Just not the genius-creator visionary that Jobs was.

Okay, blah..blah..blah..

Too many people are saying that about Jobs right now and I am just a small voice in the great ocean of employees and former employees of Silicon Valley tech companies. But I was a warrior too. I knew the fight. I went through the battle. I won and lost and always showed up for the next game. In the end I worked for myself even if it was a company of one.

But never for Apple. I never really wanted to work there. I was concerned what would happen if Jobs and I collided.He could be a terrible swift sword if you didn’t say what he wanted to hear and one of my weaknesses was saying exactly that. What they didn’t want to hear.

He was uncoachable you see. I am talking about from an HR perspective. Not from the creative genius perspective. But in the end that was all that mattered. He drove the engine that created products that I now use and value.

Good-bye Steve Jobs. I never knew ya. It was all for the good.

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