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Saturday, May 5, 2001

The Bloom Is Back On the Rose      Thinking inside the box. Spring One.

     Oh those poor, pitiful New Yorkers.

     The bloom is returning to the rose.

:::::

     I got a free lesson in anger management. In fact, I'll share it with you, in the form of a game. Someone in that long list of web producers over there on the left in the On Deck Circle sent me the friendly piece of advice below, no charge. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to associate the lesson with the person. Use the Add some lucid confusion dotcomments link below to make your guess. The first person to get it right receives notoriety in one of the hottest up and coming web magazines out there. I'm good buddies with the publisher. Got your thinking caps on? Here's one way to deal with anger:

     "Hi. I am here for my son's medical records."

     We can't release them.

     "Here is the power of attorney, the relevant statutes, and here is a letter ruling from the attorney general for the state of ..." [it's in the southwest. there's the first big hint]

     But we have to call the main office.

     "Okay, when you are finished with that call, call the president of your company whose private number I have right here and who I spoke to 30 minutes ago. He is waiting for your call."

     It will take time...

     "Thats okay, I can help or do it myself. But make no mistake I will not be leaving this office without the records. Oh, and here is a ream of paper for the copy."

     Totally new mindset for these folks, but by god, they produced. The HMO has reorganized, two therapists were shown the door, his case manager is motivated, my wife [hint number two] is happy and I feel much better. Anger management seems to be the diagnosis of the day in therapy circles for some reason. Probably repression of their own issues. After all, going postal on your therapist in not recommended for getting your own therapy ticket punched.

:::::

     Well, there you have it. Think you know who sent me that great advice? Actions speak louder than words. Go ahead, tell me who you think is my new favorite amateur psychologist:

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Friday, May 4, 2001

     The latest release of QuickTime, version 5, adds support for additional file formats, including Flash 4, Cubic VR, Shoutcast, and the Sorenson Video 3 codec. The new player also has an inline component downloader that allows it to recognize and download third-party plug-ins.

     The Head Lemur is a poet. Who knew?

     The mirror-loving red wing blackbirds are back. That's three years in a row, in May. WTF?

     Hey, It's Boris.

     Some great pick-me-up email helped with the funk. I was called a cherished brother (not by Dave, he calls me Boogie), a silent friend, and a contrary dear one. All in all, a pretty good showing. Added to the gratitude list. 

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Thursday, May 3, 2001

     My psychologist keeps insisting that anger is holding me back. She thinks I've reached a plateau and won't continue to get better until I release pent up emotion. When I was a drunk there was enough anger for two lifetimes. Now apparently, I've reached the other end of the mad spectrum. I've become a doormat, carrying acceptance to an unhealthy extreme.

     Well here goes. I am enraged that Kaycee has to die so young. I am disgusted that one of the kindest hearts I know has to endure one pain-filled medical procedure after another. I am thoroughly pissed off that care givers have to work so hard to cover bonehead management decisions that their own health and attitude suffer. I am frustrated that good people who share their creations don't get more credit for their efforts than they do. It irritates me that some of the best personal reflection goes almost unnoticed. I am furious that one of the most conciliatory individuals is often the victim of the most viscious attacks. I am outraged that the callousness of past loved ones has turned a beautiful rose into a shrinking violet. The fact so many who love their work are being forced to leave when others who hate what they're doing, yet continue to hold on, confounds me (and that may even include myself).

     I have contempt for those who cast themselves as victims. None of the fine individuals I've mentioned do. Instead they comport themselves with dignity and grace. I do not respect whining, hopefully that isn't how this comes across. So there, maybe my therapist will be happy with me now. Probably more to come.

:::::

     Remember me telling you about my R&B thing? Got another one for ya. Proving again she has become the queen of sampling, multi-talented Janet Jackson's All For You offers an excellent variety of heavy metal, dance tunes, romantic ballad, soulful rhythm, and if you can believe Janet covering a sample from America's popular hit of the 70s, Ventura Highway, in the melodic Someone to Call My Lover, then you get the picture. And no, I'm not too old to listen to Janet Jackson. :P

     One more thing, if you want to be Bluzz of the Week, you'll have to top this.

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Wednesday, May 2, 2001

     According to the U.S. Office of Technology Policy, the number of female computer science graduates fell from a 1985 peak of 35.8 percent to 27.5 percent in 1994 — its lowest level in almost 20 years. Joan Korenman, director of the Center for Women and Information Technology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County is working to shift that trend by the time the next report is released. Apparently, girls think computers are bad for their image. As a result, there are few role models to teach them otherwise. Ms. Korenman hopes to change all that by improving IT awareness and attitudes. Additional material: Carnegie Mellon Project on Gender and Computer Science. Speaking from my own experience, Information Technologies can be a pleasurable and rewarding career that is gender neutral. C'mon girls. It's chique to be geek.

     Along a similar vein, Age Discrimination Is Alive and Well. In the new economy, technology companies are more interested in young, quick on their feet scraggle heads. It wasn't always so. In the 1970s and 80s cutbacks generally affected the short-time junior employees. Fuzzy faced kids had to brown-nose their way onto the cherry projects. Experience and "the company way" were deemed important to long-term success. Seniority meant job security. The Internet explosion in the nineties changed all that. Companies have little tolerance for stuck-in-the-mud, set-in-their-ways greybeards. That's fine, but they also give little credence to a willingness or ability to adapt. Frankly, neither attitude is right. Age discrimination works both ways. This essay highlights what each demographic brings to the table and why a balanced mix of all age groups can benefit any project.

     Diversity in the workforce has faced an uphill battle over the years. Many likened it to quotas or affirmative action. Some participated for less than noble reasons. The "old boys clubs" of the 1950s still remain in large segments of American corporate culture. The newer generation of workers is coming on board with different attitudes and understandings. Male and female, young and old, atheist and spiritualist, black-white-red&yellow — all can contribute and mold a better future. There is still a long way to go, but diversity of opinions and ideals can't help but improve exchange of information and ideas. The technology sector is the perfect place to lead the way.

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Tuesday, May 1, 2001

     Nothing we don't already know, just needs to be restated occasionally. It seems we read another article every day about the demise of the Internet. Typically though, they are coming from a business perspective or from the journalist's instinctual self-survival. Let's face it, very few in positions of executive power really understand the Internet. They tend to look upon it as low-cost marketing or another manner of entry into the distribution channel. Their definition of Internet equates to new economy. When business isn't booming they scream the end is near.

     You and I know better. The Internet is just a tool. It started that way and, if anything, technology improvements have enhanced the capability. It's a tool of communication, of information collection and dissemination. Who among us doesn't awaken to check our email before brushing our teeth? Imagine going back to the days before email. It's also a tool for creative expression. Do you paint, play a musical instrument, keep a daily journal? With the increasing ease of web publishing, creative spirits can express themselves like never before.

     Some smart cookies in the business world will eventually figure out a growable application for online customer access. I suspect it will be more related to service rather than product and demand rather than supply. The Internet is first and foremost a pull technology. In the meantime, they're missing all the fun. Many of us have been around here for five, six, seven years — remained below the radar, and leveraged the Internet tool. It is a community builder, an entertainment provider and a whole lot of cool chaotic anarchy. Mr. Chief Financial Officer — remember that when Mother's Day rolls around. I'll be sending a snazzy homemade webcard. How about you?

:::::

     Speaking of Mother's Day, it started in the U.S. nearly 150 years ago, when Anna Jarvis, a fellow West Virginian, organized a day to raise awareness of poor health conditions in her community, a cause she believed would be best advocated by mothers. She called it "Mother's Work Day."

     In 1905 when Anna Jarvis died, her daughter, also named Anna, began a campaign to memorialize the life work of her mother. Legend has it that young Anna remembered a Sunday school lesson that her mother gave in which she said, "I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mother's day. There are many days for men, but none for mothers."

Don't Forget Mother's Day May 13th      At one of the first services organized to celebrate Anna's mother in 1908, at her church in West Virginia, Anna handed out her mother's favorite flower, the white carnation. Five years later, the House of Representatives adopted a resolution calling for officials of the federal government to wear white carnations on Mother's Day. In 1914 Anna's hard work paid off when Woodrow Wilson signed a bill recognizing Mother's Day as a national holiday. It did not end happily, however, for Anna Jarvis.

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Monday, April 30, 2001

     Kitty and I have been playing. Why don't you come out and play too?

     My wife thinks I have a thing for black women. Actually, I have a thing for all women, but what it boils down to is I like R&B music. And all the best R&B singers these days just happen to be black. Take for example the two ladies most recently filling my ears. Sade's Lovers Rock continues the tradition of haunting vocals from Nigerian Helen Folasade Adu. Lovers Rock is the first collection of new work by Sade in eight years. I've missed her ... fabulous web site too. Since springing on the scene about a decade ago, I've been enchanted by Toni Braxton's deep, soulful voice. Her other two efforts were geared as adult contemporary while still maintaining hints of R&B, The Heat is more pure R&B. I guess Lynn will just have to get used to my thing.

     His sense of individual existence, of separateness from the physical world around him, evaporated like morning mist in a bright dawn. He saw things "as they really are," he recalls. The sense of "I, me, mine" disappeared. "Time was not present," he says. "I had a sense of eternity. My old yearnings, loathings, fear of death and insinuations of selfhood vanished. I had been graced by a comprehension of the ultimate nature of things." — complete story

     Last day of the month, another of those farewell to the vanquished days. Large group leaving the ranks of the employed, close to 40 this time. The "parties" are tough — congrats on your career, hate to see you go, sorry you couldn't cut it. We started with about 200 in February, now we're down to 80, more to come (go) on May 31st. Hey, that's a holiday, isn't it?

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Sunday, April 29, 2001

     There's a new face on the Internet Brothers cover. Trying to improve the "teaser value" for those who enter through the front door, I've added brief snippets of content with links to the full text. The teasers can be easily rotated on a weekly basis, helping the guests get a taste of what's here. If it seems to go over well in the coming weeks, I'll probably work on upgrading some of the older content to the new format. I've tried to set it up with external includes where possible, so future maintenance should be a snap. That has been the biggest holdup in upgrading the old stuff to a more contemporary look and feel. That and Netscape 4.

     Happiest birthday wishes for that lovely Jezebel.

Bluzz of the Week      Sunday means Bluzz of the Week. Through this feature, I'm searching for the brightest, funniest, most controversial or otherwise intriguing comments from the previous week's forums, journals and blogs. It wasn't the news anyone wanted to hear, particularly a young mother. Sharing the ultimate pain in hopes of benefiting others may be the grandest personal valor. If you find a true treasure you'd like to nominate for future Bluzz of the Week, even if you wrote it yourself, please let me know.

     We learned the sad news behind the urgency of Kaycee's trip to the ocean last week. What we also read was her mother Debbie's painful reaction to the worst nightmare any parent must endure. Words have meaning ... Kaycee's mom was somehow able to share a few ... words that will be valuable to anyone, anywhere, any day. Debbie is a remarkable young woman in her own right. Exhibiting strength of character and perseverance throughout the long ordeal with her lovable daughter, Debbie's Journey Toward the Rainbow was forced down a new path last week. This is a woman of extreme grace and dignity. Here are a few reasons why:

     "I could tell by the look on her face it was weighing heavily on her mind. Cloudy green eyes met mine. I have known for some time she has been keeping something from me, however I also knew she would eventually tell me when she felt it was appropriate."

     "Kaycee's voice shook with emotion. She did not mince words. In a matter of seconds I sustained the worst crushing blow a parent ever will hear. "Mom, I'm dying." It felt as if my heart had been ripped from my chest, thrown to the ground and stomped on. I watched the tears roll down [her] cheeks. I heard nothing but the sob and it took my breath away. The sound had come from me..."

     "I eased back to gaze at her face. My hands cupped her cheeks. She did not try to squirm away as she did when she was younger. She did not laugh and smile and tell me, "Mom, you're pinching me." I saw the proud young woman she had become, and the child she would forever be to me. I told her I loved her with all my heart. She asked me to forgive her. I wiped my tears and shook my head. There was no need to forgive, she had done nothing wrong."

     "I have tried to summon words to convey. They end up broken, bits and pieces of sentences. I have this heavy weight sitting on my chest. It is agonizing. Yet, my vow is to make each moment a gift from God. Kaycee had been persistent about the trip to the ocean. I now understand her determination and motivation. I am going to help her achieve what can be achieved." — Debbie, somewhere on that journey toward the rainbow.

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

 

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