Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Neil Gaiman - Make Good Art Speech

If you haven't read anything by Neil Gaiman yet,  you should put it on your birthday list now.  Here is a speech he gave, it is worth a listen.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Permission to be uncool!

I watched this Oprah thing with Brene Brown, and really liked what they are selling.  Instead of disengaging and pretending we are cool, we need to be uncool and engage.  Try to fix the world, don't hide behind a shield of cool.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

California - too big for Fox news BS?

I enjoyed this article by comedian Bill Maher, where he touts California's economic turn around.  Just a few months ago, California was in the same shape as Illinois, headed toward a financial cliff of their own making.  They have embraced the entire Democratic agenda, and voted out almost all of the Republicans.  How have they performed this economic miracle?  They raised taxes, and cut spending, at the same time!  What a radical concept.

Maybe this is something Illinois should embrace?  We have raised taxes, but cutting state spending at the same time?  We should try it.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Why Buy a New Car?

Was talking to a friend about buying a new car.  He told me that new cars were mechanically the same as the 10 year old cars, but his new luxury car is an entertainment system.  It has maps, fancy stereo options, automatically puts cell calls on the speaker.  His advice, if you want that, buy a new car.

I have been running around in the last generation of cars for many years, no backing camera, no Bluetooth, no screens.  But, I hardly drive anywhere.  I can connect an iPod to the stereo, and have a CD player.  My car has some dings in the paint too, but only 90k miles.

Would you trade in, if you were in my shoes?

Focused on Something Else

I only want to write so much, and I'm focused on something else.  Sorry for the delay. :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Rita Cheng Gets a Tip of the Hat

I haven't been impressed by SIU's management since I became an adult.  Universities have been getting their funding cut for years, it isn't an easy environment.  But, that doesn't excuse that SIU's administration has been so darn stupid and wasteful, for so many years.

I wasn't living in town when Rita Cheng got hired, I hear she is smart and capable.  I also hear, she is pushing for improvement as hard as Poshard will let her.  Good for her.  If that is true, I'm looking forward to Poshard's departure.

This year, I read the transcript on the State of SIUC address.  It is good.  Finally, someone has looked at the how SIU does business, and started trying to fix it.  Imagine, recruiting better students?  Giving better students money to come to school here, and spreading that money over 4 years?  After all, if you can't afford the second year, who cares if you come for the first.  Maybe more important, she is capable of giving a speech that explains what SIU is doing and why.  Trust me, gets very old.

Last time SIU had a capable leader, that seemed to be talking about doing all of these common sense things, they fired her.  Maybe things weren't bad enough yet, but now they are.  Go Rita go.

Of course, your comments are welcome.

Happiness = Reality - Expectations

I have been amazed how difficult it is to hire and train the current generation of new college graduates.  Just saw this blog post and it is worth a read.  The whole idea is right on target.  I'm thinking it applies to other people then, Generation Y Yuppies.  People who work for the state, who can't be fired maybe?

I love this quote -
For those hiring members of Gen Y, Harvey suggests asking the interview question, "Do you feel you are generally superior to your coworkers/classmates/etc., and if so, why?" He says that "if the candidate answers yes to the first part but struggles with the 'why,' there may be an entitlement issue. This is because entitlement perceptions are often based on an unfounded sense of superiority and deservingness. They've been led to believe, perhaps through overzealous self-esteem building exercises in their youth, that they are somehow special but often lack any real justification for this belief."
 You mean a very cool tattoo doesn't make you special?  Custom ear rings, what allow people to see light through your ears doesn't make you special?  I have always felt that outworking everyone made me special, that has mostly worked.

How about you, are you special?  Did you earn that, or are you just entitled?

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Kevin Lucas "Apocalypse"

Carbondale marimba master, Kevin Lucas has a new piece out.  That is a lot of percussion. :)

Friday, August 30, 2013

Letters to the Editors - A Complaint

A week ago Monday, I decided to write 3 letters to the editor, of three papers, and see if I could get them published.  The Nightlife, published my letter in their next issue, a couple of days later.  The Southern Illinoisan published my letter today.  But, the DE didn't publish my letter, at least not yet, and it was the more provocative of the bunch.  As a matter of fact, I don't think the DE publishes letters to the editors anymore.

So, another goal is missed.  Only 2 or 3 letters published.  Only 1 of 3, inside of a week.  Have to find something else to try to achieve.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cheapest Places to Live in the US

Our neck of the woods has a majority of "The 8 Least Expensive Places to Live in the United States."  I was kind and put the link to all at once, I had to do that stupid page though them one at a time.  Hate that.

What I looked at the demographic data for Carbondale, from the 2000 Census, we had the smallest number of attached garages of any small city in the country.  We also had the highest percentage of high school and college graduates per capita. 

Calvin and Hobbes writer, Bill Watterson's Uplifting Advice

Here is a link to a recent comic by Bill Watterson, the author of Calvin and Hobbes.  I love the honesty, he realizes his job is sucking his soul out of his body, so he quits his job.  What a concept, you hate your job, you are doing terrible work, so you quit.  So honest, so ethical, got to love it.

Computer Passwords Compromised

I'm sure everyone, knows someone, who has been hacked.  I have had my credit card compromised twice in the last 18 month.  For a while, computer scientists have known that passwords on websites aren't safe.  I figured out how to do something like this when I was 16, it is nothing new.

It isn't a matter of if, it is a matter of when.  So, watch those credit card statements carefully for charges you didn't make, and hope someone invents a better way.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Student Center Replaces Their Restaurants

A nice article in the DE today, about what the Student Center is doing about their lack of restaurants.  Turns out the previous manager of restaurants in the Student Center wasn't making enough money, so they pulled out at the end of last Spring Semester.  Fair enough.    What is interesting about the article is that SIU has decided to buy some franchises, and run them with Student Center staff.

A review, running a business is hard, but running a restaurant is a killer.  The Student Center has run lots of restaurants over the years, and it was always a disaster.  There are a few state employees capable of running a restaurant well.  The combination of bad service and poor food prep is a killer.

SIU, it would be smarter to outsource.  Lots of Student Centers, across this great country of ours, have allowed small local restaurants to open a branch, with great success.  I suspect it would be a better path.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Firing 10% of SIU? A Reasonable Request.

Don't know if you caught my letter to the Nightlife this week.

I was talking to someone I respect, about that letter, who works at SIU.  They asked me, if I wanted to get rid of 10% of SIU employees, how would I do it?  They told me that the secretary ranks have been cut already.  Someone else told me the painters in housing are way down too.  A third person told me that University Museum has been cut from 22 employees to 5 (22! I don't know, but 22?).  Maybe there isn't any more fat?  Ha ha, good one.

Do we all agree that if you are working at 25% of capacity, you should be fired?  Let's just start with that.  You aren't working, and you can't be rehabilitated, you are gone.  No tenure, no union contract, no person should be protected, who will not work.  That alone would fix much of the problems.

Let's start with a simple idea, someone needs to go into the administration of SIU and debone it.  Just like a fish, you have to go in and examine things, and throw the part that can't be consumed away.  It isn't easy.  I have done it, but heck, when I'm in those positions, I make a lot of money by having the right sized staff (or at least lose less).  The fish isn't the problem, it is the bones.  Repeat after me, it is lonely at the top.

Let's start with the easy stuff.  Everyone who cuts lawns should be gone, and that work should be outsourced to private industry, no skill there, easy.  Moving stuff?  Painting?  Phones?  Networks? Hanging blackboards?  Replacing ceiling tiles?  Everything that isn't the mission of the university, should be examined and outsourced, or eliminated.  You aren't thinking that the big manufacturing plant has insourced everything, do you?  There isn't a more expensive blue collar employee, then State Civil Service.  Every administration department that has less then 10 people, that has a director, assistant director, a staff member or two, and a secretary, is likely overstaffed.  You could just start to examine the small departments, and work up from there.  It is likely that 2 people do the work, and everyone else BS's, isn't it?

If you work at SIU, walk out of your office, and go down the hall, counting offices.  How many offices contain someone who would be fired, if they weren't "employed" (not works there, just employed) by SIU?  Can you make it 10 offices, before finding someone who should be gone?  As you walk, how many people have terrible jobs, where there isn't enough work to do, so they are trapped in the highest paying job available to them?  I can see those departments, staffed for the one day of the year when they maximum work load, and bored out of their minds the rest of the time, from here.  The trapped people should be freed to pursue a challenging and rewarding career.

SIU is out of balance.  In a perfect world, the employees, customers and owners are in some kind of balance.  What the owners of SIU, the citizens of Illinois, through their duly elected officials, are trying to tell you that they aren't happy.  So, they are cutting your money, until balance is restored.  For too long, the employees of SIU have taken more then their fair share, you should fix it, before something really bad happens.  If you want to argue that most all universities are this way, you are right, and the citizens have decided to fix it.

I'm listening to the Avett Brothers at Red Rocks in the background, isn't it amazing what you can get on the internet?

Enough for now, more about this later.  Of course, your comments are welcome, assuming you don't want to do it anonymously.

Cool new feature on Blogger

When I was in town last, 6 years ago, I had lots of comments on this blog.  At that time, you could moderate all comments (publish or not publish), and I did that because I got tired of the spam.  I just looked, and now you can eliminate anonymous comments.  I did that today.

Be happy to have you play, but now, you are going to have to supply an identity of some sort.  The good news is that almost everyone has one these days.  Bad news, you will have to be like me, and expose at least a little bit of yourself.  I hear it makes for a more civil discussion, we will see.  Yes, you can make you points better, if you have to own them.

Let me know what you think.

Friday, August 23, 2013

SIU Entry Signs

I really don't know if adding these fancy brick signs, at all then major entrances of SIUC was a good idea or not.  They cost $100k or $250k each?  I'm not sure about the ROI for it.  It is marketing, and it is often hard to figure out if the money you spent is worth it.  But, I do have something to say about the way the sign was implemented... Who was the genius who put the stupid Wendler era logo at each end of the sign?  We all know that logo is the first thing changed on University campuses these days, for most any reason.  Why would anyone think that this logo wasn't going to be changed in the near future?

What do you think, were these signs worthwhile?  Should they have added the logo?

Ran into Bill McMinn

Speaking of the not lazy, I ran into the Bill McMinn the other day.  He mentioned my blog piece on him and how his childhood friends mention having read it.  It is interesting when you have a well read blog, you get up the search engines for certain subjects.

Bill is still looking good, but says he isn't ready to take the REC Center back over.  I guess he got smarter after retiring?

Carbondale Nightlife Letter

I wrote a letter to the editor of the Nightlife, that appeared in this week's issue.  It was in response to Chris Wissmann's editorial "A Eulogy for Glenn Poshard."

Yes, I'm calling for a 10% reduction in staff of SIUC.  They are doing no work, they might as well go.

As always, your comments are welcome.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Architecture of SIU - little look at Morris Library

It is fun to walk around SIU and look at the architectural choices that are made on new buildings and try to understand why they were made.

Let's look at Morris Library for a minute -

Here is a picture of the original look.  There was a very expensive remodel (claimed to be $14M, but there was administration staff from all over campus working it all the time.  Surely, it was way higher), and the choice was made to modernize the facade of the building.  While the facade was being changed, all the brick fell off, and a whole lot of money was used to repair the damage.  To me, this is the definition of a bad remodel.  The building went from being clearly identifiable as being built in 1955 or so, to being built in 1995.  Neither building is classically beautiful (as many building on campus are).  I would have no gripe with this decision making, except they ran out of money before they moved the books back into the library.

There is no doubt that the building needed a soup to nuts refresh, after years of abuse.  Thank goodness the State ponied up the money for it.

I'm working toward the new administration building, stay tuned.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Three Distinct Business Communities of Carbondale

It is often helpful to start thinking about things in a very black and white  way.  In the most simple case, Carbondale is divided into 3 distinct business areas: SIUC; Medical; and everyone else.  It is interesting how few people know of anything outside of their own business area.

Like most people in the "everyone else" category, I'm interested in SIU.  We all follow SIU, because most of us are in the service businesses, that support SIU, their employees and students.  We know who is naughty and nice in SIU management.  We hear all the rumors.  When I talk to professors, they are always amazed by how much more I have heard about University Politics then they have.  When you are making money on people, and not making money by sitting in your office staring at a black board, you need to know.

I know nothing about the medical community in Carbondale.  I'm not sure that anyone, outside of the medical community does.  I figure, they are like the mafia, in Good Fellows, we are the chumps, and many/most are using the general public as boat payment plans.  It is hard to party with the chumps, when you are feeding off of them.

The "everyone else" group is your standard collection of small business men, insurance agents, restauranteurs, and a few fools like me.  I think that we believe that if there is to be economic growth in Carbondale, if the number of students doesn't suddenly turn around, it had better come from us.  We also know how incredibly difficult it is to deal with the City of Carbondale, and their economic development arm, the CDBC.  In particular, if you aren't a local.

I remember when I used to have comments.  I guess you shouldn't stop blogging for 5 years, if you want that to continue. :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Lost Card File

I enjoy looking at business cards, that people have discarded.  It is almost a hobby.  I find one on the ground and try to figure out, did someone drop it on accident, toss it in disgust, or was it a failed hand-off?

Found a card at the end of last week, in the parking lot across from the Student Center.  It is for Chad Trisler - Director - Students Rights and Responsibilities.  After reading the department name, I had a big flash of Animal House, "fat drunk and stupid is no way to go through life son."

I have to wonder if SIUC had a 4 civil service, many student workers, department/empire to accomplish this task 30 years ago?  As I remember, there was one person associated with Student Life to handle it in 1980.

Makes me wonder, who Chad was talking to that day, and why did they throw his card down in a parking lot?

The Great Deception of the Lazy

I went to one of Ed Benyas's Summer Concerts a few weeks ago.  There was an intermission, and I was standing in the lobby, talking to a friend and another guy who I didn't know.  A former SIU Administrator (hereafter referred to as TA) walked up.  TA has a special place in my heart, because I wrote in this blog that he should be fired, 6 or 8 years ago.  TA greeted the other two people, and gave me a cold shoulder.  OK, fair enough, I did write that TA was worthless and should be fired.

At that moment, I again realized the great deception of TA.  TA is lazy, didn't love the work, was a bad manager, who sat on top of a large and worthless organization at SIU.  TA doesn't like me, because I wrote about it.  What TA is deceiving itself about is some idea that everyone didn't know that they were doing a terrible job.  Let me tell you, if you suck at your job, everyone around you knows.  Just because they are polite or worried about politics, doesn't mean they are stupid.  Even worse, by being a bad manager TA dragged down the performance of the 50+ people that worked for that group.

When I was writing my lists of Worst Administrators of the Year, and Best Administrators of the Year back then, I wasn't hearing from my readers, friends or family, I was wrong.  I heard I was right, about other people I should call out for doing a good or bad job.  When I came out against Sheila Simon's run for mayor of Carbondale, I received dozens (if not 100's) of replies, suggestions and complaints.  But, TA?  The people who worked for TA wrote me messages congratulating me on my good choice.

If you want to make SIU better, you would need a system where there is management, and consequences for not working.

Of course, your comments are welcome.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

What My Plans Look Like

People often ask me what I'm planning to do.  I could lie and tell them I have it all figured out, but that isn't true.  I know a direction, a possible target, but getting there is so hard.  Have to love this little picture, it shows my truth.

Thanks to the commenters that pointed out I missed the credit on this.  From "This Is A Book" by Demetri Martin.  Sorry Demetri, sometimes you need an editor.  Check a video here - NSFW, but funny stuff.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Pay Every Employee a Commission?

My mother forwarded me this blog posting.  I have written here, that I believe in giving everyone a piece of the company, stock options, or something.  That is great when you are planning to grow your company big, but what if you are going to keep it small?  This article is a small case study about how well profit sharing works.  Everything changes when everyone has a piece of the action, I believe it is the only way to go.

I don't know how I'll do the next company, but you can bet there will be a tie between the company and the people that work there.  Stock options, profit sharing, something.

Of course, your comments are welcome.

Worst Performers the Happiest?

Or how bad management ruins companies.

From the WSJ the other day, Bad at Their Jobs, and Loving It.  I know it is more stressful to care, but the worst performers should be driven to perform or get out.  If you work at a place where this article is true, shouldn't you be looking for a new job?

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Twitter is Public - Fire Me!

I was reading about this webpage - Fire Me.  I keep telling myself, whatever I write here is going to be public information forever.  Glad I don't really care. :)

I used to work with an idiot, but he told me that before you send a nasty email, and your finger is quivering over the send key, don't send it.  Wise advice.  Now extend that idea to everything you type on a computer, and you should be OK.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Boom goes my hard disk!

I had all sorts of things to write about, and my hard disk died.  Called Apple, there is a recall on the hard disk, so they replaced it for free.  Great, but if they had told me, I could have replaced it before it crashed and killed my productivity for most of a week.  Would have been easy to take my personal data over, without messing with the backups.

BTW - Apple support is great.  Local computer shop, they get a disk FedEx, replace it, back in your hands in 3 days (maybe 2 if you chase the shop, they can't call, better to have marginal service :)).

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Trip report - ACBL's NABC Nationals in St. Louis

My father and I just spent 6 days in St. Louis playing duplicate bridge, had a great time, thought my few readers would like a trip report. 

We stayed at the Chase Park Plaza, it was cheaper then staying in the hotels next to America's Center, where the games took place.  It is a grand hotel, near the Central West End, and Forest Park.  Recommended, at least at the price I paid.

Restaurants in St. Louis we tried, after researching on the internet -
Pappy's Smokehouse - great BBQ, go early.  You can get steak fries, but they aren't on the menu.  Hard to imagine that 17th Street and Bandana's can't be as good, but they aren't close.  We got there at 11:25 and waited for 20 minutes.  At 11:45, the line was over an hour!
Brinco's Mexican - next to Pappy's.  Very good and reasonably priced.
Brasserie - Central West End.  Lower end French.  The salad with poached egg and onion soup were great.  The floating island dessert is just too much.  Recommended.  Take me and let me pay would be my advice. :)
Pi Pizza - Central West End.  Thin crust was pretty good, but not world class.  Would try thick before I started going somewhere else.  Good salad.  Quatro's is better.
Tortillaria Mex - Central West End.  Not as good at Brinco's, but in that trendy date neighborhood.  Food is OK+.
Mango - Downtown.  Very good Peruvian food.  We ate lunch there 4 times and really enjoyed it.  Lunch was $50, so kind of pricy.

It is amazing what a great tool yelp.com is for finding restaurants.  My results are much better then using the concierge at a fancy hotel.

We played a bunch of games, came away with 15 gold and/or red points.  We learned a lot, found there are things you can do in the club games, that the better players at the nationals punish you for... Oops!  :)

I'm sure we will do it again, it was fun.

What I have been listening to lately - The Avett Brothers

I have tickets to see them in Nashville on May 18th.  Looking forward to it.  I like how they switch the lead singers, seamless switching back and forth, higher and lower.  Reminds me of "The Band."

Thursday, March 14, 2013

1 in 3 Counties dying off?

Here is the article.  I guess if you are against population gain, this is good news?  Might be time to forget about tourism, and try to get more immigrants to move to Southern Illinois?

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Is Quinn trying to do the right thing on the SIU BOT?

We have read letters from the Poshard supporters, we have read about the SIUC results.  I have been asking myself, is Quinn trying to do the right thing?  Let's review -

  • By almost any metric, if we are judging SIU's performance, almost all of the upper-level SIU administrators should be fired.
  • The reason Poshard wasn't fired a couple of years ago was that he engineered a political event, with the help of the Blagojevich appointed BOT members.
I appears to me that the BOT has been a political boy's club, and not a body that serves the best interests of SIU, for many years.  The political coup they pulled, didn't solve any problems, or help the university.  If I was on the BOT, you can bet that Poshard would have been fired by now.  How can you do as badly as he has done, and keep that job?

Don't know Quinn, don't know his motivation, but replacing the political members of the BOT with people who might put SIU first, before petty Illinois politics seems right to me.  They are on terms, there is nothing that says they have to be reappointed.

What do you think?  Should Poshard be fired?  Is Quinn trying to do the right thing?  Feel free to comment anonymously.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Bitter Pill - Time Magazine looks at US Health Care

60% of US bankruptcies are from health care costs!  Time Magazine's cover story this week analyzes 7 bills and sees where the money goes.  It makes me so sad, it is so broken.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Just Saw "Traces" at Shryock - Fantastic!

I always had season tickets to all the shows at Shryock, but not with it this year.  Went on a whim to this show.  Got a good single ticket, at the last minute.  What a great show.  Tip of the hat to the performers and the Shryock folks that booked it.  Need to figure out what is coming and get tickets.  What a blast.

Everything is on the Internet somewhere, so here is a little sample of what you missed -

Saturday, February 16, 2013

From the Joke email pile

Southern Illinois in the winter, 55 degrees yesterday and 37 now?  Just got this a few minutes ago -

I get this poem every winter & every winter I love re-reading it.
It's a beautiful poem and very well written.

A poem by Abigail Elizabeth McIntyre

The End.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Sitting On Top - my buddies claimed that Wendler was a great Chancellor?

I was sitting with the good old boys at lunch a couple of weeks ago, and one guy showed up late.  He sat down and ordered, he always gets a Reuben sandwich, which is good at Quatro's.  Not long after ordering, he announced that Walter Wendler was a fine Chancellor of SIUC and he doesn't know why he doesn't still hold the job.  There were some nodding heads from other people, but I was shocked at his opinion.  I announced, in my typically shy way, "I thought that Wendler sucked."

After the torches were extinguished and the pitch forks put away, we started to talk about why we thought what we thought.  Their argument was that Wendler is a Christian Conservative, a gentleman, a fine fellow, a man of well measured thought and excellent manners.  My argument is that Wendler, as leader of SIU had a simple job, that was to write the master plan, man the bully pulpit to support that plan, and try to steer the bureaucracy that is the SIU administration to have the best results possible.

So, I asked my friends, "did any of you believe that Southern at 150 was a good idea, or even possible on the day it was published?"  The answer all around was no, everyone knew that Southern at 150 was rubbish.  So, Wendler was a terrible Chancellor and I think they now agree.  Still a man you would be happy to call your friend, but who cares?

There are two reasons I write about this now, first, I see the new Chancellor has thrown Southern at 150 into the trash (where it has always belonged) and is starting again.  Don't know if she will write a plan that is possible, that the people who work at SIU might support, but it can't be much worse then Southern at 150.  Second, I found an old DE article about my blog yesterday.  From the end of the article -
"He may be one of those people who wants to keep it the way it was 20 years ago," Wendler said.
 I have to admit, yes Uncle Walt, I wish SIU was as good as it was 20 years ago.  I wish the Football team was playing in the old stadium, and that money had been spent on the mission of the University.  I wish the enrollment was as high.  I wish the standards for grades were as high.  I wish the students were that skinny.  I wish the graduates were as employable.

I have written here about my failures, and I'm going to write more about success and failure.  In Carbondale, SIU is the big fish and this is how you make a big fish fail.  I don't see Poshard doing better, but maybe Cheng will?

Of course, your comments are welcome.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wow, those guys are big

Caught this article about Yao Ming (retired NBA center) and JJ Watt (NFL Defensive Player of the Year, 6'-5" tall and 295 lbs) meeting.  It is amazing how big Ming is.  I'm 7" and 120 lbs smaller then Watt, and he looks like a child.

SIU is failing - a suggestion, follow the money.

I have written about SIU Carbondale in detail, in the past.  I'm not planning to start dealing with them (much), but a little comment.  If you spend all your money on fast food and milk shakes, you are going to get fat.  If you spend all your money on drugs and booze, you are going to get stupid.  If SIU spends all its money on football stadiums, basketball arenas, and administration buildings, they are going to lose students.

Research universities are about teaching students and research, not about sports and administration.  As soon as SIU starts spending their free money on the things that actually drive their business, things should start to turn around.  I'm not expecting it, until Poshard is fired/quits to explore running for governor, but maybe then they will stop messing around and do what is right for the "University?"  You can always hope.

Of course, your comments are welcome.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Comments, I forgot about them.

In the old days, when I had hundreds of readers, I got lots of comments.  Lots of good stuff in the archives of the blog, I had forgotten until I reviewed it a couple of days ago.  Now that no one is reading, I get a comment anyway.  As you know, if you see it pulled out, I'm going to make fun of it. :)

Talking about an old post on the American Tap the commenter says -

Sorry man...I call your bluff. It is now 2013 and nothing has been done to fill this "hole". Local shops like Booby's and El Greco are gone...You also forgot to mention Brad's relationship with henery's daughter. Kinda crazy but the only reason I saw this post was somebody told me Henry has been released on bond...What a scumbag!!! 
As my now, 6 year old post says, it was the right thing to buy the American Tap and take it down.  Booby's died the death of a burned out owner, with no clue how to make a decent sandwich, or to several better competitors in their market space (you can choose which story you like).  El Greco's is closed today because the owner got an offer to sell the building he couldn't refuse.  I'm expecting it to reopen soon.

Brad and Henry's daughter?  He should be so lucky.  She is cute and the story is she is smart and nice too.  I hear nothing about them being a couple.  I know it is crazy, but I feel story for Henry.  Sounds like a juror broke the rules and cheated him of a fair trial.  Don't know if he gets off if the rules aren't broken, but that isn't the way the US Court System is supposed to work.  If he is found innocent on retrial, he isn't getting those years in prison back.

Back to the idea of restaurants closing - who cares?  Service businesses come and go.  We should cry about SIU losing students and factories closing.  There will always be a better restaurant opening and killing off the old places.  That is capitalism and it is a good thing.  I'm good with the American Tap land being empty, when it is needed, someone will buy it and build.  That is capitalism at work.

Monday, February 11, 2013

A thought about raising a daughter

My oldest child is my only daughter, she is off at college doing her thing.  I guess we all miss our children when they move away, and I miss seeing her.   I remembered that when she was very young, maybe 3, I decided that I would going to play only female singer/song writers for her in the car.  Let creative women be the soundtrack of her childhood.  Since I drove her around a lot, headed toward half the rides before she was 8, and most everyday for the next 8 years after, she heard the songs I programmed for her constantly.  There was a revival of pop/rock woman singer/songwriters in those years, and we listened to many of them.

The day she turned 13, I picked her up from the Rec Center after swim practice and played her a male group - The Who's Greatest Hits.  She said, "this is really good, did you just get it?"  She didn't know that in my 6 CD changer, I kept a CD just to play for her.  I told her the truth, I had owned it for years.

I had seen this Funny or Die bit before, but I recently stumbled on it again.  Reminds me of Susan Boyle, but that was a real surprise.  We listened to Jewel quite a bit, and this whole Karaoke gag reminded me of those days.  We saw Jewel in concert, and she really can hit all those notes every time.  The Who song I played for her first was "Won't Get Fooled Again," that is good stuff too.  Funny, once my daughter didn't drive around with me anymore, I stopped listening to the collection of women singers.  Makes me wonder if I would still like them.

Often you do the right thing, the result is good, but no one knows what or why you are up to.  You just do it, knowing that the result might or might not be related to your acts.  You don't do it because you want to be thanked, but to make the world better.  Children make it so easy to do the right thing for their benefit, much harder to reach out to others in the same unselfish way.  Maybe, we should be trying harder to act unselfishly, for the greater good?

facta, non verba

I recently found my old iPod Shuffle in the bottom of a moving box.  It was something I took to the gym with me, several times a week, for a few years.  It looks pretty beat up in the picture, but it works fine.  It was still clipped on the very robust headphones that are required to survive the gym 5 days a week.  I had forgotten the quote on the back of this iPod, "facta non verba" or Deeds, Not Words.

As I start my second tour though Carbondale, attempting to help with economic development, I need to remember this lesson.  Everyone can talk, only a few people do.  That is my goal, to do something good.  It wasn't that I didn't try last time, I just didn't succeed.

As I start thinking about starting a company again, there is a little tingle of excitement, of danger, of possibility.  Unfortunately, those are only words, the deeds to make it go are much harder to come by.

Of course, your comments are welcome.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Local Company goes KickStarter.com

Grit, a new headphone company based in Southern Illinois, has launched on KickStarter.com.  My ears don't work with those ear plug things anymore, but I think I might buy one anyway.

Take a look.