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The cold of winter has finally settled in; but it does not mean the cold has settled in my heart. On the contrary, I have had cold at Christmas, and I have had warmth on Christmas. And of the two, I will take warmth!

Each year at Christmas, I am reminded of this sentiment. It was born from the cold nearly penetrating my heart at a young and tender age, but overcoming.

You see, as a child, I had a very warm and comfortable upbringing. In our neighborhood, in Chicago, we had a quiet street; filled with children to play; parents who were attentive; with lots of barbeques where all the neighbors gathered for hot dogs & hamburgers as soon as the weather was warm. Winters were always cozy with friends gathering on Christmas. Our home was modestly decorated with a single and simple Christmas Tree, but it was always warm and comfortable. That is until I was age 6.

In the spring of 1968, my Father was injured in the line of duty. As a result, we lost our home on that quiet street with all the children and neighbors and barbeques; and move into my maternal Grandparent’s modest loft in a four-story house built in 1900. My Grandparent’s lived in the country, 70 miles away, where a very practical and stoic people dwelled. That meant accommodations were equally, stoic. The loft was built by my Grandfather for primarily studying, but was updated in in 1945 as a bed room and again in 1967 with a more modern bath tub.

Modest, is a bit of a stretch. As is the concept of updating.

The loft was four rooms: A bathroom come storage area, a kitchenette which could fit two people, the living room – cum – Bedroom for my parents, and our bedroom and playroom. The update was to include an oil-fueled furnace built sometime in 1920, which required both manual fueling and manual ignition (that is sticking one’s arm into the furnace to light). It was warm in the afternoon and all night, but needed to cool all morning and through lunchtime. Gone were the barbeques, as this was impractical; gone were children play in the street, there was work to be accomplished with some time for children only after the work was done. Gone was the cozy and warm.

And then came the winter.

It was a bitter, cold, winter. Complete with blizzard which made playing outside impractical. My Father, too, became bitter and cold. Falling into alcoholic stupor, divorcing my mother (with a quite word from my Grandfather, never to appear again) and finally his death. All winter long, the cold was beyond description. The cold found its way into your brain, your heart and deep into your soul. I cannot recall a single day that winter when I felt a modicum of warmth. Christmas was equally cold. No tree, no decorations, and not a single stocking. We ventured downstairs on Christmas day. Although the temperature was warm inside my Grandparent’s quarters, the reception was anything but warm. I received two hand-me-down fire trucks as gifts from my older cousins (built sometime in the 1950’s, complete with sharp edges). I didn’t care, I played with those trucks for three years almost every day. It was a bright, merry spot in an otherwise cold day. Which, shortly thereafter, was retreated back to our cold loft. Fortunately, spring finally arrived. Warmth and renewal of a life came to all things, including our fortunes.

The winter of 1969 was not as bitter. And, surprisingly, brighter. My mother found ways to keep our loft much warmer. That included putting a cast-iron pot on the furnace to create steam which would keep us warm well into the morning. I remember the first time she tried this, I felt cozy! It was a memory the warm my heart, the feeling of warmth for Christmas after a long and bitter winter. Equally in my memory was the brief sting of cold. My Grandfather on Christmas eve had an unusual request, to help him bring a bucket of water from our loft, down the three flights of stairs to place outside our door to water the Reindeer. I felt the cold pierce through my fingers as I lugged that bucket down the stairs. When I finished and returned to the loft, I found two things that immediately warmed my heart. The first was a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, filed with my Grandparent’s old ornaments and a topper that dated back to the 1940’s. It was the most beautiful tree I had ever seen. The second was flashing on the wall. I likeness of Santa Claus, lighted by a bulb which flashed off and one, creating a warm glow in the room. I would treasure that decoration for many years, until I had to retire it in 2010. It would not be the only surprise that Christmas.

That night, my Mother showed me something extraordinary, on my bed was an electric blanket. It was set at a modest temperature, but I did not care, for the first time I would go to bed warm and wake up warm! You could have knocked me over with a feather I was so happy. The next morning, as the snow had fallen, my mother lead me to the window to show me a wondrous site. In the snow outside that window, were reindeer tracks! Just how my Grandfather did this I will never know. Which of course meant, if there were reindeer tracks, Santa must have visited. And he did. Under that beautiful tree was a stocking for me and my sister, and a huge wrapped gift for me. I had to wait until friends arrived. Friends! At Christmas. Just like in the old neighborhood! Children laughing and running around, adults laughing and chatting. And when I opened the gift, it was a “Light Bright”. Beyond my wildest hopes! I played with that “Light Bright” that day, and almost every day for many, many years. That had to have been the warmest Christmas ever, but I would be mistaken.

The year 1970 would literally change my world. My Mother remarried and her new husband decided on buying a new home in the suburbs. So, that summer, we moved in a brand-new house on a quiet street. There were children to play with all day in the streets. Although there were no barbeques, there were outings planed by our neighbors to the beach, or the zoo or the watching eachother’s kids while the parents went out. No more hard work, now just time to play and be a child again. But the most curious part of that winter, central heating. From a gas furnace, which heated my own bed room and the whole house. I remember on that Christmas eve, sitting by the grate and feeling the warm suffuse me. I remember that evening, going out to eat – us, going out to eat on Christmas eve! We had pizza by a warm chalet styled fireplace. My Mother and Step-father recreated that beautiful Christmas Tree. There were lots of toys and our stockings overflowed. But that was a secondary memory in my young mind.

The main thing I remember, above everything else, I was WARM.

Many things have happened since 1970, some good, some not. But the one thing I remember, not matter what, was to make Christmas WARM: Figuratively, and literally.

May your Christmas be equally as warm.
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Sometimes, you can have a successful deployment of a complex equipment/software and memorialize as another successful benchmark in your career. Sometimes, even with a thousand deployments under your belt, you still can have one project that goes completely wrong and the only thing you can say is, “Well, that didn’t work…not at all!”

I recently took a side-project with a startup. One of the focuses was deploy or create a platform for multiple users to access one of five calendars for various projects, appointments and dates. One issue that delayed deployment was, the stakeholders (that is the Chief Executive Officer ‘CEO’, and Chief Information Officer, “CIO”) could agree on which platform to use, and the CEO and CIO both had different needs and calendars already trying to work from. So here I am, the hot-shot MBA with experience in deploying calendars and, being brilliant with lots of deployments under my belt, decided on creating a solution for the company: If no stakeholder could agree on a single platform, I would recommend a platform and begin organizing, programing and deploying.

So, I chose a platform I was comfortable as a single user and configured for multiple users and for the platform’s software to run from an iPad. Simple and elegant. I made my recommendations on a Monday and spent the next four days creating and deploying the platform.

The result was less than encouraging. In fact, it was rather discouraging. “Well, that didn’t work…not at all!” was a gross understatement. It was not simple nor elegant.

The platform scrambled the dates, names and the contact information making the information useless and suspect. The CEO kept getting email bombed with useless reminders and calendar links which didn’t work, and the CIO was completely locked out of the platform. Needless to say, that Friday, they were both very unhappy with the results and wished to tell me so. In no uncertain terms. My ears were ringing an hour later after that meeting.

So, the following Monday morning, I met with both stakeholders and we agreed & decided on a simpler solution and an agreed platform. It took me less than a day to configure and deploy. It took about a week to fine tune without email bombs and verified the data was 99.9% accurate. The Monday thereafter, both were overjoyed and pleased the platform was up and running.

So, what went so wrong with this deployment? What did I learn from the project? Simple!

FIRST - IF NO ONE AGREES, THEN NO ONE GETS DEPLOYED:
It should be a no brainer, and yet sometimes innovators forget this simple concept. If you cannot get the people who will be paying for and using the platform to agree, in unison, you will never get a happy users. I should have walked the plans through with both the CEO and CIO, gotten their consent which included the benefits and downsides of any software or platform (cost, training time, easy to use, etc.) and get an implicit agreed; even if it meant holding their feet to the fire. Once the stakeholders agreed, the rest was simple.

SECOND – DON’T LET MBA THEORY CLOUD THE FACTS:
All MBA graduates have one shortcoming; they sometimes confuse theory for hard facts. They are trained to use theory in lieu of experience or fact to facilitate their careers until fact and experience can be obtained. The downside of this training is that MBAs confuse theory for hard facts and proceed untested with that theory. With consequences. I have seen it time and time again; sometimes MBAs lose lots of money, sometimes ending their careers. I had seen enough to avoid most of the pit falls. What I failed to take into account was my own mental blind spot. Because I had successfully used a platform as a single user, I theorized the platform could supply multiple users easily; the literature suggested it was not only possible but probable. This is what a good MBA does, researches the literature.
So instead of A-B testing or Stress testing or any reasonable amount of testing prior to deployment to gathering factual data, I proceed with the theory only.

The result was predictable. Had I stressed tested, or even A-B tested, I would have found multiple users crash the platform and the iPad could not handle demands of multiple users.

No matter how the theory appears to be sound, it is not practical until you put it into fact. And that means testing theory in harsh reality. If it survives, so do you. It's as simple as that.

THIRD – SIMPLE IS ELEGANT:
Although the latest and greatest toys impress your friends and adversaries, it does not mean it’ll work. In Gregory Moore’s 2002 book, “Crossing the Chasm”, a large part of his book discusses how consumers who want the latest and greatest usually are the test subjects for capacity and errors. It looks shiny, but doesn’t work. However, Moore believes that the greatest market to focus your sales effort to is the second or third generation of a technology which now has been tested and create the desire that everyone wants that technology.

Even the great Harvard Business School Professor, Clayton Christensen, espouses that, sometimes, the simpler technologies or existing technologies re-purposed to other uses, are the most efficient way to capitalize on technologies.

In other words, simple is elegant.

Just because this was a startup company, I should have not proceeded with a fancy and complicated system. I should have just stuck with something old-school and dependable and made my pocket richer quicker than my ear ringing. Now, they are happy and my ears can stop ringing.

Simple and elegantly.
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BLOGGER'S NOTE: I had originally posted this on LJ some time ago during the Presidential Elections of 2012. However, and to my shameless sense of irony, I found very little difference between that election cycle and the upcoming 2016 cycle. In this case, you simply substitute Mitt Romney and Bain Capital for Donald Trump and Trump Enterprises, Inc.

You may find the tone a bit harsh, at the time I was dealing daily with Business Students and Business people, which tended to lack a certain amount of grace and civility. However, I am unapologetic and unrepentant about the message conveyed.

Lastly, I do not endorse or subscribe to any candidate or party affiliation, I see all candidates and parties equally, to be avoided and to deduce their end game as quickly as possible.

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Take a char my dears, and let me tell you tel a story about how my theoretical and less than practical class work related to the Presidential Election Cycle and was actually good for something. I never would have thought my classes on business strategy would related to...well...the elections, but it really does! How? Here's how!

Last night, Westpig and I were on the Highway heading home. I was grousing and fuming about an article my classmates posted about a Wall Street Journal article in which, simply stating, that if you, an MBA candidate, are not graduating an Ivy League School (Wharton, Harvard, Tufts, Stanford, McGill or London School of Economics), and, if you did not study 70 hours to prep for an interview with Bain Capital or Boston Financial Services, don't bother even graduating.

Perhaps my Midwesterner sensibilities were rising to the fore-front (or as we Irish like to say, Getting my Dander Up and Spoiling for a Donnybrook); but to me, the whole East Coast / Ivy League hubris smacks of whinny-spoiled kids whose only attribute is daddy's money to network, or kissing up to someone who leveraging daddy's money - THAT'S it!
Then I added to our conversation, with a touch of Irony, "And as for Bain, how did that paper empire they wanted to build worked for them? Oh Yes, that's right, THEY BANKRUPTED 7 COMPANIES and displaced hundreds of workers in the process because they only looked at the numbers and not the process of how the companies would fit together as a whole!" This is a fatal mistake, not looking at structure, culture or supply chain can destroy a company - something now the Wharton, Harvard, Tufts, Stanford, McGill and London School of Economic are proclaiming as new and radical. A little late, I think; but I digress.

At which point Westpig turns to me and asked, perhaps to change the subject or appease the angry, honking, goose, "What's Bain Capital?"

I told her, "as I understand it, Bain Capital is a private equity firm which finds under-producing or troubled companies, leverages them, and turns them around at a profit."

Westpig shrewdly replies, "You mean like Romney's doing?"

Stop the Bus, Driver! The Harvard-Soviet intellectuals and Ivy-League dilettantes did not make the seminal grasp as quick as did the Piggy in 10 seconds as to Mitt Romey's end game. Another reason to be leary of Ivy-Leaguers and Harvard-Soviet intellectuals.

Ladies and Gentlemen, carefully think about this for a moment.
You have an under-producing entity, which in this case is a country which is suffering financially, and in a tender position for "leveraged" buyout.

What does any business consultant from Bain or Boston Financial do? Simple! Run the numbers, pitch to the company capital for change, then petition the stakeholders, file proxy statements, vote out the old managers and board of directors, and take over the business.

Run the numbers yourself, you will come up with the same conclusion.
If you can read a balance sheet, you can read the BLS statements, same skills apply.

And from there, the classic business consultant strategy takes form; just walk through the following steps with me:

* Step one: Mitt Romney ran the numbers; in this case, interest rates v debt v trade out v trade in v revenues. Troubled but can flip for a maximum profit.

* Step two: The United States of America is a perfect takeover target; weak management and under performing. Begin formulating takeover strategy.

*Step three: pitched to the company stakeholders, that is the Republican Committee first, that he can provide better management than the current directors and better returns. Next, formulate to the shareholders.

*Step four: You seen campaign ads? Guess what? You were petitioned to cast your vote in the company by proxy, as a stakeholder in the country, to change leadership and replace the current CEO and board of directors. Plan for wooing the shareholders and vote proxy to remove managers

* Step five: Did you vote today? Did you look at the ballot? I did, under each candidate's name were a list of delegates that person wins who cast their ballots at the Electoral College. This is a proxy statement for you to leverage your share to Romney's pick for the Board of Directors to change leadership which you filed duly and lawfully.

And behold, step six, you have a new CEO, Board of Directors and company managers.

Case study closed.

And who says a business education is not practical?
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 (BLOGGER’S NOTE:  Normally I don’t write business blog entries because I think the vast majority are bull.  However this biz blog for my own benefit, hopefully remind me not to repeat history and if someone else finds this beneficial, then it was worth writing!)

 

Working in Law Firms and Corporate Law cubicles for 15 years, you get second sense of what that Firm’s culture within 10 minute of walking in the front door; that is you’ll know if this is a firm you wish to reach out to or run like hell.  This goes beyond “going with your gut”, this is fine observation and candid examination.  Failing to make these observations will side-track you or restart at the bottom.  I have distilled this second sense into six basic items I look for when determining a good firm.  Take note of them.

1. Does the staff look jittery or shell shocked?

Everyone has an off day or bad moment, we can’t always be on our A Game every waking moment.  But use your senses and take a close look at all of the staff:  From the clerks and receptionist to the Paralegals and Secretaries.  Are they ALL walking on egg shells or look like Zombies?  If they all are acting the same way, do you want to join the undead?  No amount of money can re-animate your professional career. 

2. If someone tells you this is the greatest job or place to work, it’s not.

This is not about the person passionate about their career or product.  Because if they are candid and self-improving, they will find areas of improvement about their Firms or Products and share them with you so you may make your own determination.  However if someone tells you unequivocally and repeatedly that you are in the greatest job you can ever hope for or the greatest Firm ever and you should feel exactly the same way,  watch out, they have drank the Kool-aid and you are next in-line – and your career just became DOA.

3.  When your boss / mentors tell you to avoid people or be careful around, you just got knifed.

Now I am not saying you should ignore your boss / mentors when they suggest not interfacing with Senior Management and you walk in and jump on the General Counsel’s sofa.  But when they tell you to avoid, or only associate with, certain peers or Partners, or suggest for a specific Partner you should drop everything for and do or they will end your career, my only recommendation is unless you trained in Byzantine Court protocols or memorized Machiavelli’s “The Prince”, avoid that Firm entirely.  Because the same ones who give you the warning with all sincerity, will likely stab you in the back and end your career just as it starts.

4. Whose pulling your bosses’ strings?

It's rare if your boss or Attorney does not report to someone else or follow a directive.  The real question becomes how much authority does your direct report really have and who has the real authority.  In my career I had two bosses who had really no authority, it was derived solely from their direct report.  However, there was a big difference:  One which worked very closely with his direct report and pushed back when needed, which gave a balanced approach to managing the daily operations.  That gave his subordinates a sense of trust and not being thrown under the bus.  The other was, no kidding, a puppet; only to carry out the orders of all her superiors no matter how convoluted or confusing which, as you guessed, gave ZERO trust.  I had to buy a bus schedule just to keep track of which bus I was going to be thrown under.

The best way to determine if you have a puppet is to have a candid discussion with your peers about how much authority your direct report has and who is calling the shots by the end of first week.  If your peers are candid, will tell whether or not you have puppet.  If you have a puppet, cut the strings Pinocchio and run.  

5. Did everyone get the same message?

Sometimes you work for two diametrically different Attorneys with conflicting requests.  Granted, every practice has variations even within the same firm; that comes with the territory.  I’m not talking about the minutia of day-to-day stuff, I’m talking about if the shareholders are working in concert to make a firm profitable by agreeing to a joint principal or making their own empire and be damned the rest. 

You cannot read a business blog or HBR article without the pendant pontificating of "Mission" and enterprise wide understanding the mission.  Got it.  However, since Law Firms do not read either, the question of "Mission" is more convoluted.  Is what you are being told about procedure or form style or deliverables the same from the Associate, the Partner, the Managing Partner, and the Governing Partners?    Do you find the rules apply to all the staff, Associates, and Junior Partners, but NOT the Senior Partners?  If the message is completely different between in either stage, you got trouble.  If you find several carve outs of principals and protocols for certain Partners, you will are in real trouble?    Ultimately, no matter how good the money is, you will never find a comfort zone and ultimately you may not have a firm.      

6. Did your Attorney get a good night’s sleep or have recurring health issues? It’s Dollar_somatic!

This part is the most important, and most subjective, because it is a matter of individual tolerance and how much you can withstand.  This requires a real sense of self-evaluation. 

I have not met an Attorney who occasionally does not get a good nights’ sleep from years of trying to make 2000 billable hours per year.  That’s not what I am talking about. 

What I am talking about is when a crazed, hard core biathlon Trial Attorney starts losing sleep or developing ulcers about the Jury Trial which he believes should be settled but the Client, who is paying on time and top dollar, refuses to settle.   Or the M&A Firm which suspects their client is not acting in good faith when irregularities appear in the Financials, but does not challenge the client because the Managing Partners insist the revenue from that client takes precedence.  Then you have what I call Dollar_somatic.  That is, revenue pressure from Managing Partners becomes the over-riding factor in Professional responsibility.   This is becoming more common in mid-size to AMLAW Firms in the face of unprecedented challenges and financial pressures. 

Eventually, this will trickle down on you and everyone has a different response to and tolerance of financial pressure.  You may not have skin in the game over the outcome, but you may developed a greater detachment from clients –suckers to be milked– and suddenly you are in Golden Handcuff’s; you can’t leave because of seniority and money but cannot stand the work and guess what, your blood pressure is elevated.  Or you try to turn off your ethics and push through the work, and guess what, you got an ulcer!  Look carefully at this, self-evaluate and not just push this aside, or at your own peril ignore for this will hamper your career.

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It is time again, to endure the vestments, symbols, and rituals of Holy Week, that is Christians descendant from the traditions of the Church of Rome celebration of the death and resurrection of Jeshuwah of Nazareth, and for Jews, Observant and non, remembering the plagues, angel of death, and exodus from Egypt.

Yes, Easter (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday/Monday) and Pescah (Passover) fall concurrent this year – Oh, Boy and Oy, Vey!

I know I have a wide and diverse group of readers, from Atheists to Roman Catholics to Orthodox Russians to non-observant Jews to Pagans (Wicca and Azure True), so Holy Week has a wide and curious meaning to you all – unfortunately, the Pagans must wait a month for their celebrations. And if you are reading this, you have sophisticated technical understanding and wide social media foot print (LJ, Twitter, FB, VK, G+).

But to even this good high church Methodist-Episcopal turned Anglican, I am finding this year even more curious. When I used the word, “endure”, I am not being ir-reverent about the celebrations; I am stating a rather curious fact.

Tonight, we will join in celebration of the Seder with friends; and come Sunday morning before sunrise, we will sit with our Anglican brethren and sisters awaiting the banners, proclamation of the resurrection, and singing the old hymns, there will be one continuous theme – enduring yet another boring service.

It is slightly sad to hear the reading from the youngest child, now 14, of “Father, **why** do we celebrate this night” in a very bored tone, and to almost hear the Father say – because we have to, again – and I HATE Morotz! Or sit with well-dressed congregants before breakfast and coffee, surrounded by regulars and non-practicing Anglicans exuding false modesty and business-like good humor, all the whilst tired old songs song by tired people with children hosting banners archaic and tired AND bored looks on their faces.

It should not be this way. Yet, it is.

I thought, I could be at home in my robe and slippers and get as much meaning as I will at these moments. We could just tweet it.

Then I remembered – that what exactly happened last year. The Pesach was tweeted!

It was an ingenious idea by a couple of Rabbis to have Mosada (Moses) and the entire Seder tweeted. That is in 140 characters extract the exact essence of the Seder – what is the real meaning, “Dayenu"! People want u dead / enslaved evry day! UR Free! God saved U. Nvr 4get .ever!” (55 Characters)

It was great! I learned a lot.

And I got to thinking, why can’t same tweet-theory be applied to the Easter celebration?!?

Think about this for a moment – cutting through the symbols to the meaning, even if you do not agree with the particular dogma or doctrine, you can get the message.

Would that be enough? Dayenu?

And no snickering from the Pagans, this could be easily applied to Beltane or Samhane too – graphic but applicable.

In my imagination, I can envision this:

A tweet – HE’S Risen #Eastercelebration.
Replies – #HIRID (He is Risen Indeed!) [or Boyah! or WORD! YES!! ect.] #Eastercelebration

A tweet – links to reading from the old testament of the bible. And this is the neat part, multiple versions: The King James, the New Revised Standard, The Russian Synod of 1986 version, ect. But you get the drift, the version that has meaning and impact for you!
End with #HEtL (Here, ends the lesson) or #WoDL (the World of the Lord) #Eastercelebration

Replies - #TB2G (Thanks be to God) [or Boyah! or WORD! YES!! ect.] #Eastercelebration

Same applies to the New Testament reading and the Gospel readings.

Standard and esoteric stuff, right?
Ok, what if you ask why? Or does this have meaning today?

Here’s where you can explore what the meaning of those readings is today.
Open and free.
No restrictions.
You could have lively and thought provoking discourse.

Now, skip a head to the homily or sermon.
Here – the minister is limited to three (3) tweets, 140 characters each. No links.

Can they actually distill the message for their congregations in that short, concise message?

Then, post the exact three (3) tweets on FB, VK, G+.
Open discussion. That would be very provoking wouldn’t it?

And that would be Dayenu! #TB2G #Eastercelebration
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The other evening, I was enjoying a cup of new varietal espresso in a café, served by a voluptuous and charming Barista named Andi. She was tastefully adored with body art on her shoulders and possessed a creative skill and flair for operating the complex machines that produces espresso and cappuccinos. We began to chat, as customer and Baristas do about the coffee, the weather, and about life, when in the course of the conversation Andi revealed to me her University Major - Fine Art.

I had to take a sip of my coffee to hid the chagrin on my face because the though which crossed my mind was “how ironic and stereo-typical to have an Art Major as a Barista”.

After I was done and walking back to my office, thinking of Andi’s beautiful shoulder tattoos, and her shoulders in general, I began to think - When did the profession of Barista become a joke? The dumping grounds for college graduates with no practical skills?

I’ve met a few grads who successfully translated their perceived lack of marketable degree into the upstanding profession of Barista, as its’ done in Italy, but those graduates were few and far between.

So following this line of thought to its conclusion, the question becomes, “has it always been this way in America?”

The answer, “so it would seem.”

see the rest under here )
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I have two thoughts regarding Public Libraries:

-First, that Public Libraries are, without a doubt, the last hope for learning a community can provide its’ citizens.

-That being said, secondly, that Public Libraries are also the last place where reasonable budgeting and understanding of commonality exists.

You might thing this two thoughts are incongruent, but I make the argument that, citing the example from our locale, it is not beyond measure the two thoughts exist.

To help understand, I suggest reading a wonderful article from Gregg Lambert at 3 Geeks and a Law Blog about the Catch 22 of Library funding. I would read this first before going any further.

read the embedded story then press here )

Slighted

Sep. 25th, 2012 11:11 am
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Since 1998, the Good Friday Accord for Northern Ireland has held up remarkably well. I have heard from both official and unofficial sources that the wires are down, prosperity is up, and that the rule of law and justice is progressing; that the old slights have no longer the justification for either Orangemen or Croppy, Englishmen or Irishman, to wage protracted retribution.

Yet, you will have the occasional idiots for whom justice and peace is not a world they wish to participate; particularly those with long standing grudges and slights whom simply cannot let go! This is true in both the 6 counties, and the 50 states.

The later, the 50 UNITED STATES, is one that has particularly irritant in my view; the one which has by far the lest vested interest in a peaceful and just Ireland. That is to say, especially those Irish-Americans for whom a generation or two have lived within the peace and justice of America, far away from the wire and the Falls Road.

Case in point: The Ancient Order of Hibernia, or AOH.

This fraternal pro-catholic and pro-republic order was formed in the United States in the late 19th century for the sheer purpose of sponsoring groups in Ireland for home rule with any means necessary; some quite shadowy in the means department for a few years. Membership is very exclusive, authoritative genealogy of Irish ancestry and a letter from a Catholic Priest annotating membership in the church is a must for joining.

Quite the opposite of our local Irish Club; memberships is open to all whom are interesting the promoting and maintaining Irish culture; Irish or not. We have no interest in discussing “The Troubles”; and we are not a pro-religion group – Catholic, Anglican, Baptists, and Atheists all share interesting views on life and culture; which is the point of the Irish Club.

A point which the President Emeritus of the Irish Club made very publicly and very directly to our friends at the AOH local chapter. Which I believe was not taken well by our AOH friends, perhaps they felt slighted.

I had not realized how slighted the AOH felt until today.
The Catholic Cathedral in Tulsa today hosted an Irish Festival. How does this relate to being slighted?

About three weeks ago, I was surprised and excited by the announcement in the local newspaper that someone was giving a go at an Irish Festival! So I contacted the Cathedral by email for information and mentioned that some of the local Irish Club members were also interested.

I got an immediate reply from the Cathedral: The reply was, sorry the festival was cancelled, scheduling conflict you see. A bit disheartening, but things do happen.

Then yesterday, I read again in the newspaper that the Irish Festival was scheduled for today. I thought to myself, "this must be a typo on some ones part; hasn't the Cathedral contacted the paper to tell them the festival was canceled?"

Today, Westpig read on Facebook an announcement that the Irish Festival at the Cathedral was a success with many people attending and everyone had a good time.

Wait...how can this happen?!
I emailed the Cathedral, I got a written reply saying the festival was cancelled.

Then Westpig read further the Facebook announcement and found much to our surprise....the festival was sponsored by.....The Ancient Order of Hibernia. She tried to direct contact the AOH to ask some questions.

So far, the silence speaks volumes of information: As if to say, we do not believe you are Irish enough to celebrate with us at the Cathedral, susnoch! We did not take your slight lightly.

I would like to think this was a mistake on someone’s part; however, I too felt....well, a bit slighted.

But just like the Good Friday Accord, the old slights were slowly going away; but took the courage of old adversaries to make peace.

So it was a bit of a surprise to me when both the Monsignor of the Cathedral and the new President of the local AOH reached out after the festival to the President Emeritus of the local Irish Club. A sort of Reverend Ian Paisley shaking Gary Adams' hands moment.

The old lads of the AOH, the one's whom would sing "The Men behind Wire" were gone, displaced and scattered. They are replaced with a group whom want to celebrate both Ireland's past and future in fraternal order. And the Monsignor served in Ireland before taking his current post, and publicly acknowledged there was a complete error in the message sent to me.

In fact, both groups reached out to ask if the Irish Club would help for next year.

So, the old slights are fading. Perhaps there may be peace in Ireland and on the Prairie.
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(This paper was originally published by Walden University, 2012, under the title "Bio-genetic Innovation in food production – Benefits and Un-intended Consequences"; ID- 254037869. All duplication rights reserved)

Abstract:
Although Genetic Engineering on Food Production is an ancient practice, production of plant and animal food for consumption has increase in disruptive innovations in the past 92 years. This paper briefly looks at genetic bioengineering of Corn, Wheat, Soy, and Animal proteins to increase yield, disruptive innovation non-food based derivatives from innovation and reduce disease. This paper also looks at the unintended consequences human allergies and sensitivities as a result of the innovations, and how business using both Ettlie’s and di Norica’s models can reduce or eliminate harm of these innovations. The Author notes that further research is required.

The field of bio-genetic engineering is not new scientifically or from a business prospective; in fact innovations from both fields of study have produced disruptive and compatible innovations since 50,000 B.C. (Faerber, et. al., 2005). Jones would further defend the point by stating, “Genes change every day by natural mutation and recombination; humans have been exploiting this for centuries” (1999). What has caused marked, and disruptive, innovations is within the last 92 years is due to the advent of two global wars that strained production and ability to produce food for consumption (Connell, 1942; Dubner, 2012); converse decrease availability of arid land; and innovations in the production of foods from plants and animals become essential in a highly competitive market (Ettlie, 1983; Nordin, 2010). The vast hosts of bio-genetic engineering innovations are too broad to be reviewed in depth. Therefore, this paper shall briefly review three topics bioengineering that are both positive disruptive innovations (White and Bruton, 2008) with detrimental unintended as a results of the innovations (Taylor and Hefle, 2001; O’Brien, 2011; Merton, 1936; Jones, 1999). They are the innovations of plant genetics of corn (also known as maize), soy bean, and wheat; disruptive innovations as a result of genetic modifications of corn, soy bean, and wheat; bioengineering innovations in sequencing of proteins in livestock production to resist disease and increase valuable products. And lastly, this paper will annotate one detrimental result within the food production value chain, which is an increase of systemic allergic reactions in humans as a result of the above mentioned innovations. At this time, the Author offers a prospective for business leadership, particular to the study of management of technology and innovation within the strategy phase, how to minimize or eliminate these un-intended consequences (White and Bruton, 2008; Merton, 1936). At the same time, the Author acknowledges that the subject requires more extensive research and literature which can be conveyed or annotated within this paper. To start, an examination of the events which lead to both the emergence of genetic alteration to particular foods and the systemic reaction is vital to put this topic into prospective.

As Dubner notes, in the United States between 1914 and 1950 production food became a serious study for both business and government (2012); even though food production was a chief factor in the early study of economics, the sheer volume of production now required in shorter periods of time became the factor for business to devise disruptive and compatible innovations. The reason was twofold: First, two global conflicts which required large amounts of food for troops and civilians exported in addition to internal consumption. In fact, it was Wickard who quipped, “Before this thing is over, (the United States) will have to feed other countries besides ourselves” (1942). Connell was more blunt, “The American Farmer must feed himself and 54 other (persons)” (1974). Second, the United States decision to reduce imported foods products, and labor required to process and harvest food products, due to tariff and legislation caused abnoral strains on food production (Dubner, 2012; Wickard, 1942). The normal techniques of plowing and sowing more crops or reproducing more livestock was a natural reaction, however, as Merton noted, both had direct and un-intended consequences (1936). Those consequences were the dust bowl during the 1930’s (Wickard, 1942) and increase diseases in livestock; with a glut of beef and pork production resulting inflated prices (Connell, 1974). Again, another standard method and technique to reduce harm was for the US government setting controls on pricing marketing (Wickard, 1942) which did not affect the prices nor spur innovation effectively (Shapira and Rosenfeld ,1996); in fact, it had the opposite affect a two year reserve in beef and pork meats at inflated costs (Connell, 1974).

However in 1950, science and business in the United States began reviewing production of food both as a means of sustaining the growing domestic population, and as “a political weapon” to prevent detriments of loss of arid land for crops or disease to livestock in order to produce food for future war-time consumption as a measure of national defense (Nordin, 2010; Connell, 1974). It also should be noted this decision was also based the broad migration from urban areas into rural areas and increase of diseases in plants and moving into non-fertile areas with the goal of successful production (Dubner, 2012). This required a “Radicalism of modern food, production, protection, and processes (by) producing more high quality of Animal protein (and) increase farm output by 53%” (Connell, 1974). After 1950, famers increase effective production (Connell, 1974) by reducing the diversity of crops down to three aired crops (maize, wheat, and soy) and diversified the breads of livestock into newer stock for greater outputs of meats or derivatives such as eggs or milk (O’Brien, 2011; Dubner, 2012). This was due to disruptive innovations in genetic bio-engineering of corn, wheat, and the introduction of soy from Asia (O’Brien, 2011; Jones, 1999; Dubner, 2012). Which leads to the first innovation, altering genetic structures through bioengineering.

The genetic bio-engineering had three principal goals: increase the yield of each plant’s viable consumptive value, reduce destruction of crop from insects or micro-organisms, and grow the genetic seeds in non-aired soils. This was accomplished by isolating specific DNA sequences, copying other DNA sequences, or introducing organisms into the genes in a direct and controlled method into the nucleus of a plant cell (Jones, 1999; Faerber, et al., 2005). Using corn and wheat as the examples of bio-engineering, the result was production of larger and more viable wheat and corn kernels, that could be grown even in salt polluted soils (Faerber, et al., 2005), resist disease and organisms which promote spoilage after harvest, AND at a production rate of 333% for corn and 136% production rate for wheat (Jones, 1999; Faerber, et al., 2005). Even O’Brien conceded at the initial review of the figures, and paraphrasing for the innovations, demonstrated a viable business model (2011).

With better production rates and yields for crops which undergone genetic manipulation, the surplus can be made into newer disruptive innovations that are not food related but derivatives from food.
The second disruptive innovations are products created from the surplus of the innovations which complement existing technologies and markets. For example, Jones noted that soy and maize products have pharmaceutical applications in preventative human vaccines (1999). And Faerber and his colleagues at UCLA note not only the creation of vaccines from soy and maize, but specific vaccines which can be consumed and not administered via intra-muscle injections; reducing both cost of equipment and the risk of reduction of needle based infections (2005). A much wider application with broader appeal and compliment innovations is plastics from soy and corn instead of using petroleum at one third costs to produce (Jones, 1999; Faerber, et al., 2005). One needs look further than your morning Iced Late or your neighbors Frappuccino© at your local Starbucks’ store or franchise to see corn based plastic cups instead of petroleum based plastics. Harrington advises the cost of cup is 50 percent less with the “Greener Plastics” than with regular plastic composites (2010). With the cost of corn or soy based plastics, comes the final innovation, the increase production of livestock at a rate of 300% return with one-half the cost today than in 1950 (Faerber, et al., 2005; Dubner, 2012).

In 1950, scientists discovered that vaccines for use in livestock, when administered in smaller, daily doses yielded greater muscle density and bulk (Dubner, 2012) which lead to the third disruptive innovations: Better livestock growth and yields based on vaccines and genetic bio-engineering of livestock. This meant that livestock breeds not associated previously with mass animal protein production could be included into the food production value chain. For example, diverting production from the Dexter bread of Cattle, traditionally bred for meat and dairy production, into breeds like the Limousine Cattle which was genetically bred for lean meat production or the Swiss White for dairy (Myers, 2012). Likewise, most common diseases which keep muscle mass low or infection which deters growth rate can be eliminated with vaccines and advance livestock medicines (Jones, 1999). And, a very important innovation, large amounts of livestock can be kept in closer proximity before processing without infections or diseases affecting the meats or destroying the whole animal (Dubner, 2012). This discovery of small dosage vaccines also lead to innovations in high yield production of derivatives from animals such as greater yields in cattle dairy production and eggs from chickens (Jones, 1999). With rates of production in excess of 300% in both plant and animal based food production, the question raised then is what evaluations during the control phase should be raised about the life cycle of the innovation and what results have occurred as result of the innovations. Professor Robert Merton of Harvard University raised such a question in 1936 when he devised the model of Unanticipated Consequences in the American Sociological Review; which now is colloquially known as Unintended Consequences. This portion will examine briefly, the unintended reactions of bio-engineering with regards to food production.
In 1974, Philip Connell, raised the question and challenge of innovations in food production and consequences when he said,

"As Businessmen, you are really the people whom the consumer hold responsible for the price and quality of her food. It is your name on the package, and you are the ones who take the consumers money at the cash register. There is no question that we need to maintain and increase the supply of food, and that this food must be safe (emphasis added)". (Connell, 1974, p. 70)

It would appear that questions of safety, as an unintended consequence, due to disruptive innovation in food production are being raised as a consequence of bioengineering. O’Brien noted that an increase of allergies and sensitivities to foods in humans has increased as disruptive innovations and technologies in food production increased (2011). The reason for levitated allergies and food sensitivities, notes Taylor and Hefle, in non-technical terms, is during the bioengineering process a string of eight particular amino acids, ir-regardless of plant or animal genomes, form a protein called a novel gene within the cell nucleus (2001). When the novel gene is introduced by food into the mouth, it potentially reacts adversely with human immune-suppression system causing the body to react “as though it is under attack” (O’Brien, 2011). Over the past 40 years, the reaction to the novel protein appears to be unified in the literature and exponentially increasing each year (Taylor and Hefle, 2001; O’Brien, 2011), however the reasoning how the novel gene is formed still is unclear and contested within the literature (Connell, 1974; Taylor and Helfe, 2001; O’Brien, 2011; Jones, 1999). Moreover, this also leads to questions about the safety of the bioengineering innovations, which scientifically are inconclusive in the absents of direct causality of harm (O’Brien, 2011; Connell, 1974; Taylor and Helfe, 2001). That is to say, “The absents of harm does not mean it is safe” (O’Brien, 2011). Safe is the hallmark of any consumer trust in business. If a brand or item cannot be deemed safe by it’s segments, a firm cannot continue to operate. Holding in abeyance the legal and scientific debate over innovations and safety, as business leaders the question becomes how then can business create innovations which are either disruptive or complimentary into the market, with regards to food production which are deemed scientifically safe. This last part shall briefly address how business can innovate with some modicum of safety.

In 1983, Professor John Ettlie of DePaul University devised a model for innovation and policy with regards to food process called, Organization Policy and Innovation among suppliers to the Food Processing Sector. Within Ettlie model are two factors that directly correlate to the issue of safety, the first is Environmental uncertainty and the second is the rate of product innovation (1983). These factors can be employed during, what White and Bruton calls, the Planning and Gathering Data process in which the innovation is analyzed and should be considered within the strategy of planning innovation (2008). During this phase, Ettlie demands that the firm posse two question before formulating a strategy: First, What is the motivation for developing the innovation? Second, “How does one reconcile the apparent contradictions in the literature?” (1983); especially with regards to safety within bioengineered genes in the food production, there are many apparent contradictions which have not been answered by firms producing the bioengineered proteins. The questions, according to di Norcia, distill into the application and adherence of ethics (1994). During both White and Bruton’s (2008) Planning and Gathering Data phase and Ettlie’s (1983) Environmental uncertainty question, di Norcia firmly advises that a firm assess that, “complexity of technology development and the broad range of social issues involved, an ethical framework for controlling a technology is needed” (di Norcia, 1994). This must include a SEER evaluation of both the demand for the innovation and bringing an ethical prospective to reconcile the conditions in the literature during the gathering data phase: the Social, Economic cost to society and companies in defense, Environmental, and the human Rights of the stake/share holders in the innovation (1994). If any of the datum points have direct negative impact in result of deploying the technology, di Norcia suggests holding in abeyance diffusing the innovation until the datum point is resolved. This would suggest that any direct or indirect harm can be minimized or eliminated by deploying or diffusing innovation which could potentially cause a safety or risk factor. Though more research is required to fully evaluate the SEER model within the context of Food Production and innovations; do to both a lack of literature and research on the subject.

In conclusion, although bioengineering has held ancient place within the food value chain, it is within the last 92 years that innovations have increased with the diffusion of genetic bioengineering of crops and animals for greater production. It has resulted in greater consequences which call into question safety of food consumed. Before further innovations can be deployed into food production, business must assess during the innovation phase the ethics of un-intended consequences and how to minimize or eliminate these consequences.

References:
di Norcia, V. (1994). Ethics, technology development, and innovation. Business Ethics Quarterly, 4(3). (Pp 235 – 252). Retrieved from Business Source Complete.

Dubner, S. (2012, May 23 and 2012, June 6). You are what you eat, Part1 and Part2. Feakonomics Radio [Audio Podcast] Retrieved from www.npr.org/freak

Connell, P. G. (1974). Radicalization in Food Production. Vital Speeches of the Day, 41(3). (Pp. 70 – 72). Retrieved on May 30, 2012, from Military and Government Collection Database.

Ettlie, J. (1983). Organizational Policy and Innovation among Suppliers to the Food Processing Sector. Academy of Management Journal, 26(1). (Pp. 27 – 44). Retrieved on June 1, 2012 from Premier Business Resource Complete Database.

Faerber, J., Edwards, T., Goenawan, A., and Osawa,S. (2005). Genetically Modified Foods. A discussion posted to CMPE 80e discussion board, University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).

Jones, L. (1999). Genetically Modified Foods. British Jounral of Medicine, 318(7183). (Pp. 581 – 584). Retrieved on June 4, 2012 from http://www.ncbi.hllm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1115027/

Harrington, S. (Personal Communication, April 22, 2010). Noting changes in green plastics save the cost of a Starbuck’s store about 50 percent per cup less than traditional plastic composits.

Merton, R. (1936). The Unanticipated Consequences of Purposive Social Action. American Sociological Review, 1(6). (Pp. 894-904). Retrieved on January 13, 2012 from SocINDEX Database (Full Text).

Myers, T. (Personal Communication, Tulsa Zoon and Living Museum, Education Division, June 1, 2012) Regarding the decline of Antique Animals such as the Dexter Cattle due to changes in vaccines and GMO in animal husbandry.

Nordin, K. (2010). The Politics of Stigma: Starving on the Land of Plenty. Human Rights, 37(1). (Pp 6 – 8). Retrieved on May 30, 2012 from LegalTrack Database.

O’Brien, R. (2011, March 24). The Dangers of Genetically Modified Organism Food. [Video Broadcast]. TEDx Talks series. Austin, Texas. Retrieved on April 10, 2012 from http://youtu.be/rixyrCNVVGA

Shapira, P., and Rosenfeld, S. (1996). An overview of technology diffusion policies and programs to enhance the technological absorptive capabilities of small and medium enterprises. Paper prepared for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry. Retrieved on May 21, 2012, from http://www.prism.gatech.edu/~jy5/pubs/oecdtech.htm.

Taylor, S., and Hefle, S. (2001). Will genetically modified foods be a allergenic? The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, DOI: 10.1067. Retrieved on June 4, 2012, from http://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(01)39154-6/abstract

White, M. and Bruton, G. (2008). The Management of Technology and Innovation. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

Wickard, C. R. (1942). Our Food Production Program: Food is too precious to waste. Vital Speeches of the Day, 8(6). (Pp. 177 – 180). Retrieved on May 30, 2012 from Military and Government Collection Database.
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Is there a fine line between the narrative of the facts and the narration of the facts? This question I have pondered now for a month, and find the resolution as a whole allusive; stemming between my profession and avocation one as a scholar and the other as an artist. Both scholar and artist are at odds over the concepts of narrative of facts and narration of facts after listening to two conflicting accounts of the same facts. The scholar and artist take diametrically stance on the issue.

The scholar firmly reasons that the narrative of facts, carefully verified and tested, resolve in absolute agreement; only then defining the facts for context through careful analysis.

The artist whole-heartedly exclaims the narration is key to connecting peoples intellectually common facts first, then through the telling the story in the 1st person can a human embrace their emotions by connecting their heart & mind to the context and the artists’ intent.

Note I do not use the word, STORY, in this essay. STORY to the artist has one meaning and to the scholar has a completely different meaning.
Because to the scholar, a story can be biased and unreliable, but compelling anecdotal evidence when carefully reviewed and analyzed to support the facts. However, to the artist, the story is everything; facts are intertwined into the story to fit the theme to impact the emotions of the audience; sometime exactly, but sometimes imperfect and must be woven into the story to fit time and place.

Very similar to the accounts I heard recently, and conflicting.

In the United States, on the National Public Radio (NPR) network (well, the American Public Media distributing the program on NPR), there is a very popular radio show which employs both the scholarly narrative and the artistic narration in reporting their stories. The show is called, “This American Life”. Both the show and network are slightly underwritten by the government, charitable foundations, and a wide segment of listeners whom donate funds for continual programming. Sometimes “This American Life” will be dedicated to the scholarly narrative with a team of seasoned reporters, producers, and directors carefully reviewing the facts and then using a 1st person narrative to support the eyewitness accounts of the facts. Sometime a whole show is dedicated to the artistic narration, using popular essayist and writers to support the show’s theme weaving 1st person tales into the emotional consensus of the audience.

But sometimes, you have an intersection when narrative and narration come into conflict; with an audience who is accustomed to narrative and narration, this leads to questions of:

Who is right: The narrative or the narration?

And is there a right or wrong between narrative and narration?

And what happens when the scholar eagerly seeks narration of facts and an artist desires to have his narrative heard?

You have this scenario.
On January 6, 2012, Catholic or Western Epiphany day, “This American Life” released a perfect storm of narrative and narration in a program entitled, “Mr. Daisy and the Apple Factory”. Aptly timed, or accidently coincidental, since the meaning of this day for a person to obtain sudden enlightenment.

The narrator and narration of facts for this program is from author and storyteller, Mike Daisy. Since 2010, Mr. Daisy has travelled the US in his one-man show called, “The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs”. Daisy’s show is not an expose of Jobs himself, rather recounting Daisy’s visit and impressions of the working conditions of Apple’s largest Chinese vendor, FoxxCon: Excessive work hours, child labor, crippling injuries and exposure to toxins, even mass suicides to protest working conditions were the themes of both the narration and the narrative. The show had a small following, mostly playing to smaller audience.
In Autumn of 2011, producers from “This American Life” approached Daisy with the intent of dedicated an entire show to an edited version of “The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” with background reporting by the shows news staff; Mike Daisy agreed. After meeting with producers and reporters to check the salient facts of Daisy’s narrative, the show was produced for broadcast with the absents of one small narrative, verifying and contacting the translator Daisy employed on his trip to FoxxCon to confirm his itinerary and events told in his narration.

I surmise and guess that for “This American Life”, here was a story that seemed perfectly crafted to both stimulate the intellect and strike deep into the heart of its audience. A viable piece for capturing this segment of new listeners, and for generating revenue during the shows pledge week. Here the scholarly narrative appeared to support verifiable facts by employing 1st person narration and made a conscious decision, based on the sum of evidence presented and desire for prime ratings, to not research the evidence in totality.

For Daisy, I also surmise and guess that here was the defining moment of his work. He could have a national audience in the hundreds of thousands listening to his narration. “This American Life” was his prime segment, and a spring board for pushing his theme beyond the small theatres to the forefront of the American conscious; larger theatres, television appearances, greater benefit artistically.
But “Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” was not a scholarly endeavor, it was artistic endeavor; it was a narration by distilling of all the facts about FoxConn and all Chinese vendors for Apple, woven into a compelling tale perfect for broadcast. I surmise Daisy knew this, and likewise let his desperation and desire for a wider audience overcome his knowledge of the facts were distilled; or perhaps he was so married to the text, he could no longer separate the whole facts from the distilled facts; the narrative from the narration. Thus, Mike Daisy made the conscious to withhold disclosure, in particular the whereabouts of his translator.

So, on the Epiphany, “Mr. Daisy and the Apple Factory” was broadcast. In fact, it was the most popular broadcast and MP-3 download in the history of “This American Life”. Shortly after the broadcast, The New York Times published an extensive report on the issues at FoxxCon and Apple. Apple, in response to both, released a report on all aspects of foreign vendors, both what is lacking and what is improving. And finally, an independent auditor openly reviewed the FoxxCon facility for faults and improvements.
By all accounts, it was a win-win scenario for both Daisy and “This American Life”; the narrative and the narration were wildly effective engines of change. That is until someone decided, in kind, to take a closer look at both “This American Life” and Mike Daisy. No, not Jobs or Apple with vengeance, but NPR.

And here is the problem finally manifested itself, the intersection of narrative and narration finally collided in direct conflict for an audience who is accustomed to narrative and narration. Both “This American Live” and Mike Daisy were so eager & desperate for both narration and narrative, that the lines were blurred. Willingly by both sides. It would be like demanding an eyewitness to an event reported to write a 500 word essay to support the facts, or demanding David Sedaris fact check his essay about his trip or childhood before broadcast. Both are unreasonable, which is why you carefully separate the narrative from the narration; which neither side did in its desire for each other.

As a result, another NPR news outlet, with a reporter who was very knowledgeable about FoxxCon and China’s labor issues found some of the narration in error. Some of the key facts of Daisy’s narration did not match the narrative exactly. It started with simply with NPR making a Google search finding the translator, contacting the translator by phone and in person, and asking about the narrative and the narration in ‘Mr. Daisy and the Apple factory’.

Which is why in March, 2012, a broadcast entitled, Retraction, was aired by “This American Life”; one which “American Life” would expose the ‘inconsistencies’ and ‘fabrications’ Mike Daisy told on the program. And it did. It presented the narrative in a manner that was clear and scientific. Illuminate that Mr. Daisy was so married to the narration that he could no longer separate the narrative fully. However in doing so, it likewise expose to the general public a more subtle message, “This American Life” was so eager to tell the narration, it forego the narrative. It blurred the lines and was unrepentant in its broadcast; and did not clearly annotate how “This American Life” will safeguard the lines to protect blurring in the future. Likewise, Mr. Daisy was un-repentant in defending his narration; clearly noting it was an artistic endeavor and if the lines were blurred it was unintentional.

Which brings me back to my original question: Is there fine line between narrative and narration? In doing so, I had my own epiphany; not on January 6, but on April 21. The scholar and the artist found a commonality and thread of truth: The line between the narrative and the narration is not fine but very broad. The artist and the scholar know that line clearly. And know instinctively not to cross the boundaries of that line.
What blurs the line is when it then becomes conscious choice to move from narrative to narration based on desire. You know, that cardinal sin, which ethicist, parents, and Priests, warn never to yield to desire. Yet, desire seemingly overrode both scholarly and artistic instinct. A desire to become so intertwined and not separate narration from narrative, or desire to seek reward (from revenue to popularity) based on illusionary mutual commonality.

In other words, “A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be." (Albert Einstein). And never confuse the two.

I now listen to “This American Life”, but clearly differently. Knowing that the line was blurred, makes for an amusing narration, but clearly weary of taking stock of the narrative; because I know where that line ends and begins.
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There has never been a more exciting and turbulent time for the civil right of free speech, such as SOFA and PIPA protests; in part due to and because of the internet. Civil rights movements can occur rapidly with global high impact that expands beyond the limitation of geo-political boundaries, such as a country or region, with just a click of a mouse.

I think even Peter Marber 1 would be amused at his own ground-breaking work on globalization, which is now being applied in the form of peoples demanding a higher guarantee of civil rights along with a higher standard of living.

Because citizens around the globe via the internet are demanding a higher standard of free speech in tandem with physical protests and making the case before their governments, the impact is being felt by governing bodies.
When citizens begin demanding a higher-standard of civil rights and freedom of speech, those governing bodies now more than ever are confronted with the unimaginable changes in globalization, and confronted with the question of if they should or should not conform.

And if they conform, will the actions those governing bodies take create mostly social and legal positive changes or fall within the realm of what Robert Merton’s called unintended consequences2. Yes, some of the consequences are very obvious, such as Regimes which have not permitted free speech are toppled; or legislators confronted with mass outcry over draconian legislation limiting the right to free speech withdraw or amend offending legislation.
However, consider some of the unintended consequences. A repressive Regime is toppled and free elections are held to guarantee free speech, only to elect religious extremists whom repress yet again those peoples civil right to free speech. Or if you make speech too open, your ideas are used without your knowledge and without compensation to you; which hurts your creativity and possible people’s livelihood. Both are unpalatable, yet one directly affects most global consumers more than repressive Regimes is that ideas being absconded in intellectual theft. It is those consequences which leave the conundrum of either the lost of taxes, creativity, and jobs, or the citizenry cherished loss of free speech via the internet.

Intellectual theft is not a new subject. Over the last 20 years consumers around the world have lost a staggering 20 Billion US Dollars3. That amount alone is staggering for companies and governments to tackle within traditional legal settings; you cannot confront nation-states like criminals clapping handcuffs on national leaders; who will claim the nagging escape of sovereign immunity, over what is considered a “white collar” crime. One simply can walk into Bosnia – Herzegovina and find stolen ideas and duplications of poor quality in the open markets. Or walk through the streets of Hong Kong, Beijing, or Chengdu, and find a host of duplicated goods and services in the markets and sold on line, because those ideas are transmitted by the internet and shamelessly copied intellectual thieves in Sarajevo or Hong Kong easier than sending people to examine the product in person.
Both China and Bosnia-Herzegovina must face the consequences of their actions in the form of the world’s de facto policing body for trade and intellectual crimes, The World Trade Organization, or WTO.

The United States and The European Union have open cases against both countries and particular reprimanded China. This caused more tightening of policies within China to protect intellectual piracy and in doing so caused an extraordinary event. China is now a member of the WTO, which in turn now is the world’s largest consumer of goods, stands to lose revenue for Chinese workers in the billions of US Dollars, began its own action against countries like Moldova for intellectual infringement.

Such actions are welcome, but do not address the fundamental fact of how the ideas were originally stolen. That circles back to individual countries, like Britain and the United States, or wider bodies such as the European Union, to create individual and personal mandates to prevent intellectual theft. This meant each geo-political legislative body created laws or regulations to prevent intellectual theft, but also created as an unintended consequence a broad mandate for censorship, a heinous impairment to the civil right of free speech. The ‘net’ result is that citizens within those geo-political zones protested with ‘the net’ against these mandates, causing an abrupt halt 4. And since individual nation-states or wider geo-political bodies could not properly legislate preventative measures for intellectual theft within their own boundaries, it was time for a different tactic.

If nation-states could not stop intellectual theft do to inability to enact laws or legislations, then the next legal step is to make those same nation-states responsible for permit intellectual theft by assessing monetary damages through the WTO. The members of the WTO have drafted a resolution, called The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA for short. Thanks to Canada’s trade ministry which reveled the proposed legislation through their govement website5. The premise for ACTA is simple and direct: Make the nation-state pay dearly for permitting intellectual theft to occur.

This tactic is different because not individuals or business are not directly targeted, but the nation-state that houses all the routers and ‘last mile’ connections. It is also a tactic which cannot be easily held in protest of individual citizens or legislators. The tactic has also the benign diplomatic effect that nation-states relay on the good will of other nation-states for trade, taxes or tariffs, and law enforcement.

And these things are important to our lives, just as the right to speech. We need products and service just as much as other nations and be paid for our work, our government needs the revenue to do very basic things, like catch criminals before heinous actions can occur on our sovereign ground. All these things require money. Money that trade brings to ourselves and our nation-states; the United States Constitution, the hallmark of democratic documents, would suggest that, first “Provide for a common defense” then “promote the blessings of liberty”6.


But here again, Merton’s pesky unintended consequences returns in the form of fear for consumers and citizens whom cherish the right of free speech, fear of a faceless nebulas multinational organization imposing purported sanctions on all citizens in what is perceived as an overreaching attempt quash free speech.

I would have contended that WTO’s solution may have more positive benefits than detriments. I would have inferred that the perpetrators of intellectual theft do not believe free speech is a right, like China and Bosnia.

However, I was proven wrong this week, in a perverse Mertonian way, by representatives to the WTO from their own nation-states in the strongest language protesting the adoption and implementation of ACTA 7. David Tusk, Poland’s Ambassador to the WTO said, “"I consider that the arguments for a halt to the ratification process are justified," and has suspended the ratification for his country. Likewise, the European Parliament, has already made clear its weariness of ACTA, especially France’s representative which was quoted to say,

“This is relevant for the trade of fake shoes or bags, but what about data downloaded from the internet? If a customs officer considers that you may set up a commercial activity just by having one movie or one song on your computer, which is true in theory, you could face criminal sanctions.”

And this is undoubtedly changed the face of the civil right of free speech, when governments are binding together to defend against legislation which they see as overreaching and potentially targeting their own citizens. And will defend their rights of fellow nation-state citizens.

Yes, these are exciting and turbulent time for the civil right of free speech. When the citizen and the government are working, for the moment, “Provide for a common defense” and “promote the blessings of liberty”. Crossing the boundaries of the geo-political divide and united in cause over singular mouse clicks.



References:

1. Marber, P. (2007). Globalization and its Contents. In F. H. Maidment (Ed.), International business. (14th ed. Pp. 2.4) Dubuque, IA: McGraw-Hill Contemporary Learning Services.

2. Merton, R. (1936). The Unanticipated Consequences of Purposive Social Action. American Sociological Review. 1(6). Pp. 894-904.

3. Sterling, B. (2007). The sham economy. In F. H. Maidment (Ed.), International business (14th ed., p. 119). Dubuque, IA: McGraw-Hill Contemporary Learning Services.


4. http://ec.europa.eu/justice/newsroom/data-protection/news/120125_en.htm

5. http://www.international.gc.ca/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/fo/acta-acrc.aspx?lang=eng&view=d

6. Alden, J.E. (ed.) (1787). The Constitution of the United States of America. Preamble. Retrieved from http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=bdsdcc&fileName=c0801//bdsdccc0801.db&recNum=0&itemLink=r?ammem/bdsbib:@field(NUMBER+@od1(bdsdcc+c0801))&linkText=0&presId=bdsbib

7. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/03/acta_protests_grow/

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the_sn0wygoose: (Default)
“Packing up Christmas, it’s like a Joy Bomb exploded.”Tom Bodette

It is the day after the Epiphany, and a time for cleaning up to bits of joy in the form of tissue paper, gift bags, and small pieces of wrapping paper. Time for the “Christmas” UXB1 lads to come in and defuse the remaining joy bombs from leveling the house. However, unlike the thunderous cheers from the throngs of Londoners, my task will be met with only silence and a bit of sadness.

Sadness of enjoying if only for a fleeting moment, a time of festive play and comfort back to the world of responsibility and sober actions. A Sadness of seeing cursory peace and goodwill toward our fellow humans, only back to the sober reality of avarice and cruelty in the human condition. In the inverse of seeing the UXB lads fail in their appointed task and the bomb explodes.

And a sadness of failing also to understand and remember the meaning for our festive merrymaking, peace, and goodwill; that in the chaos of war, sober actions, and quarrel a single reason against the world stood for peace and hope.

So now, I continue to clean up the “Christmas” UXB, hoping no more explosions happen at close range. And knowing my purpose for cleaning is not the festivities but the peace for the whole year. Defusing one “Christmas” UXB at a time.


1) Hawksworth, Jack. “Danger UXB” ITV Production, 1979 London.
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"Why does, 'HAPPY EVER AFTER', start with death and tragedy"? Quote from T. Myers

My dearest loved and I have started a funny tradition at our home, before we leave, we wish each other 'a HAPPY EVER AFTER'; from the traditional closing line from the Brother’s Grim Fairy Tales, And they lived happily ever after. It was prompted by one day I jokingly wished her as she left for work, the old Roman Army’s salutation, "MAY YOU DIE WITH HONOR". She replied, "I want my happy ever after", so I replied, "May you have a HAPPY----EVER AFTER!" and this stuck.

That was until last night….

While giving my dearest a back-rup, her mind drifted into introspection and began considering all the Walt Disney Movies she has ever seen in her life. And came to the realization of one odd string in each story - every, HAPPY EVER AFTER, start with death and tragedy? - and thus the top quote and her exclamation to me, "Why does happy ever after start with death and tragedy?" Yes, an odd time for reflection, but she did have a good point. And one I had no answers for.

Think about it for just moment, I’m sure you can find plenty of examples. Every Walt Disney story has some form of tragedy within the story, or involves a character within the story dying or dead which forms the protagonist’s premise for their actions.
Some of my examples include Bambi’s Mother is killed and the forest catches fire, Nemo’s Mother and eggs are killed and he too is almost killed by a fishing net, Snow White and Cinderella have tragic lives after the death of their Mother, Aladdin is poor thanks to the death of his parents and left for dead by the evil Jafar, Lightning McQueen is locked up in Jail and loses his biggest race.

And these are the happy tales with lush soundtracks and smiling / kissing characters at the end of the movie. In an interesting side note: In the original Brother’s Grim story of Cinderella, the Step-mother is put to death for her cruelty by forced to dance in Red-Hot Iron shoes – yes, emotionally satisfying, but still exemplifies the premise for happy ever after from death and tragedy.



"BIT OFF MORE THAN I CAN CHEW" Frank Sinatra – "My Way"

I was mulling over this conversation with my love, at Midnight, with my 200 pages of reading for my paper due Thursday, my German textbook for my test next Tuesday, my Russian presentation materials for next Monday, my itinerary for both internments this week, and my grocery list for this week celebrations. It’s really easy to let settle into my mind the fact that life is full of tragedy and easily to fall into despair; to think Hey, where’s my happy ever after too? – especially when I’m listening to Frank Sinatra’s "My Way" on my stereo.

I wanted to say to the stereo, "Thanks, old Blue Eyes, is this the part where you get me pie-eyed in the private lounge of the Sands Hotel?"

And, I swear I heard him say through the stereo speakers, "Pally, if anyone needed a drink, it's you!"

After ensuring my sanity was in-tact, just my imagination needed some airing, I did the only reasonable think I could think of….I took a break, went up to the market and purchased a bottle of Coke-a-cola from Mexico and planned to have a drink at the Sands with Franky. If anything will keep my whit but make me mellow, this is it!

So with bottle in hand and me in my bar area, I turned on Frank again in the stereo and we commenced to drinking and talking. The lights a low as you would find in any Bar in any corner of the world, the music softly playing like you’d find on any late night, and my imagination was taking me to the corner table at the Sands Hotel. I wish you could have seen my imagination, but since you couldn’t….

Here’s a rough transcription of the conversation:

Frank - Look Pal, we all got our problems. Some we didn’t ask for, some we asked for.

Me – You said a mouthful, brother! But God, what’s wrong with wantin happy ever after?

Frank – Nottin’ wrong with it, but yous gatta go through a lota (redact) to gets to it; you gatta.

Me – Uh?

Frank – Look Pally, its simple. You can choose to be a bum, or do it your way. Just know whats important to yous and do it your way. Got it? Cheers!

Me – Yeah, Cheers Pal!



MAN VERSUS FATE Premise to Greek Tragedy

And I must admit, Frank had a point; a large universal point. And I was returned back into my own bar in my own home and into my own conscious. I looked from the Bar into my Library and glanced over some of the titles on the shelves: Greek Literature, Grim Fairy Tales, even a few Walt Disney printed stories.

Old Blue Eye's was right: Every great story of overcoming, from the Greek’s premise of Man versus their fate, to the real Brothers Grim Tales, to Walt Disney, started with either a wrong choice by the hero or the antagonist, or the situation forced upon the hero which included death or tragedy.

But it’s what the hero did with their misfortune that made the story into a happy ever after – they went through (redact) to get it. Instead of an Ibsen or Tolstoy and became a bum.

It all comes down to me - Do I want a happy ending? Oh, yeah, I want a happy ending, and I want to do it my way. What’s important, and on my terms. The rest will sort itself out. And that means, sometimes you got to chew it up and spit it out.


AND THEY LIVED, HAPPILY EVER AFTER The Brothers Grim

So, the next time I wish my loved, 'a happy ever after', and receive, 'but why does it mean death and tragedy?' I’ll tell her, "it because you must face death with honor before you have your happy ever after."

And if she looks confused, I’ll just tell her to have her drink with Frank; he’ll set her straight.
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Learn to Live, Learn for LIFE. Cossack Proverb

The more I am involved in my Graduate Studies, the more I have come to know that learning is life-long, and not in small bits. And at each stage of my life, I have come to the realization that learning is a staged event. Which passing moment and each milestone in my life an event worth cataloging.

At age 19, I was brimming with energy and enthusiasm but very little intellectual acuity. Sort of a squirell in human form. Best suited for technical education and entering the workforce. A moment of Learning to Live. Having lived, loved, made music, made love to live, it was time to move from just learning to seeing if I could learn and live.

At age 29, toward the end of undergraduate degree and looking forward to the world, it was a moment of changing from simply learning how to live, but living to see what you've learned is compatible in real live. Some worked, some did not. Much joy and much pain associated with learning, but in the end only one whom has learned can begin to live. Not as much energy as I did 10 years early, but more sound of judgement and of character.

At age 39, now with a family and change of careers, it was time to go back into the classroom for a post-grad certificate and hopefully a new direction for life. Working full time and school part time was a drain my my energies and life. I did not need the highest marks, just make progress and get the certificate. By now, I was past learning to live, but to understand that learning is not just a short process but an on-going process to appreciate life and the new joys it brings.

Now, finally, at age 49, my prospective and and goals are different from my younger days. I have embarked on a Master's Degree. I have had times which I have questioned by reasoning, and times I have rejoiced in it. Now, I am learning for Life. It is the whole of many years of learning that I am ready to take this challenge. I do not know where it will ultimately lead nor what toll it will take on my person, but I do know it will be another moment where I am learning to live.
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I wonder what Philip K. Dick would have thougth when he wrote his 1968 book if he would live to see virtual sheep graze safely in virtual meadows. Of if Androids would communitcate via electric signals independant of telephone wires or Microwave beams? Should have come as quite a shock. Something we, as a global society become very accostomed to, communicating virtually through androids to others virtually. And, we dare to dream with the other vitural Sheep.

Recently, Livejournal.com was subjected to outages which has effect my ability to communicating with virtual friends. But somehow, someway, many of these virtual friends have become real. Somehow bursting out of the Three Laws, and into our world. I suspect because we cannot see the visual clues the body projects, hear the affect of the voice, and because we cannot detect an accent or dialect, we cannot judge based on what we see. We only judge and form our opinions the words we can read. And in this, you cannot hide for long the contents of our mind and emotions. You must become open, and you become interconnected in the lives of others one or one-thousand kilometers away. You become intimate and connected; more than you can in 140 charactors.
And because of such a prolonged absents, I have begun to miss and mourn thier absents.

I miss Lucy's poems and stories of joy about her first trimester with her first child. I miss Anita's warth and wisdom, her pride in Gardens, and the love for her husband. I miss Olga's joys of graduating, the beauty of her photography, and the wonderings of what comes next in life. I miss Suzie's triumph lifestory (though I could read it here, if she would post more). I miss Tim's rants, Joh's thoughts, Kevin's musings, and Peter's poingnant yet crusty British remarks.

Some have contacted me, letting me know all is well with there life. Some I can and have visited in real life. But somehow, between the screen and the router, I miss the intimacy. And, it makes me sad: Like moving away or graduating, or a hundred other life events. And all with the same results. Like a dreamless night's sleep. And one where you can't simply count jumping virtual sheep to gently guide you into sweet virtual slumber.

I hope that the problems are resolved quickly and very soon. For like Mr. Dick, I do want to dream again of virtual Sheep.
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I suppose every great story from the onset has a way of capturing your attention and never letting it go.

From Charles Dickens’s, "It was the best of times..it was the worst of times...it was a time to try men's souls" in A Tale of Two Cities to "I should have known it would eventually happen!" in Spider Robinson's the The Time Traveler. Even the old fairy tales, from the Brother's Grim to Mother Goose, starts with the ubiquitous line, "Once upon a Time" to bring to mind a story from another time and place with life was not as it is now and holding your mind in the years of yore.

With that being said, it would be very appropriate to start this new Journal with this line:

This book was written by a Lad who could not write!


A rather catchy opening line for the first chapter, don't you think? A volume of work that I hope will be a catalogue of a long and producing set of writings. And now that I've grabbed your attention, let me give you reason for this odd and catchy title.

Most of my student and profession life, I have fought the great fight against Dyslexia and disgraphia, gaining the upper hand with immense amusement. After many years of writers, editors, instructors, and colleagues excoriating my written work, you start to look at the exercise of writing and having your wittings read and destroyed with some perverse amusement - almost to the point of deliberately writing something some obviously wrong that would draw some sharp comment or an edit mark.
I've often ask myself, why would I endure such criticism repeatedly?

I came to the stark and utterly open conclusion: I got tired of my fear of writing. It was impairing the means to which I express myself and that could no longer be tolerated personally.

So I began my carte d'entry into the odd world of writing for pleasure in 2006 with the social website, LiveJournal.com. Slowly documenting my life and my thoughts one day at a time. Eventually I found myself adding Meme's, amusements, pictures of my garden or performances, or songs which struck a chord in my mind. I was doing this more and more instead of writing about my thoughts that it was long longer what I deemed interesting to my mind - merely another toy to amuse myself instead of a tool to shape my mind.

That was until October 23, 2010. On that day, I had the most extraordinary meeting with a Poet, Linguist, and Musician that would quite literally change my life. Her name is Lucy. And for the first time in my life, Lucy saw my work not as some text to be dissected or berated, but as an expression of what she called, "my inter Language" to be expressed to the world at writ.

And for one, brief, shining moment, I dared to hope I could actually write with some clarity of thought. So I began to write Essays in my LiveJournal.com entries. Granted, my Essays may never reach the status of "genius" like that of the likes of Scott Simon, or Frank DeFord, or Jack London, or even Mark Twain. They are a beginning of what I hope will be a lucid and well receive collection of writings. More than just diary entries for historical review, but Essays that would be worthy of prolonged and thoughtful discussion.

While most of my Essays posted to my LiveJournal received no reply or comments from the wider list of readers on my Flist, Lucy saw each one and replied with encouragement either openly or in private letters with genuine affection.

Then today, July 14, 2011, another milestone of my writer life happened. Bastille Day. The odd day when the greatest Jail break in history occurred. Ironic, for it would appear that two great 'citizens' would dare to break my free of my own worded jail and into a new and wonderful world. It was on this day, Suzie and a person whom I may never meet with the ID of FilkFerengi, sent a code to begin this journal of Essays.

So, to FilkFerengi, Suzi, and my dear Lucy. Thank you for permitting me to start writing some very interesting thoughts and stories for a long time to come.
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