INSITEVIEW- - tom shugart's weblog

Sunday, March 31, 2002

A Timely Death

Wired News reports that the dread Hollings proposed legislation---the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act (CBDTPA)---is dead for now!

Cheney, Please Stay Home

This from Andrew Sullivan on our latest foreign policy fiasco:

": So Cheney's trip has resulted in a new rapprochement between Iraq and the other Arab dictatorships; it has allowed the Arab dictators to announce that they are ready for 'peace' with Israel, while they funnel the arms for the necessary war; and recent events have been manipulated to make it seem now as if Arafat is the man genuinely seeking a cease-fire while the Israelis are preparing for a new assault. This is one of the biggest diplomatic messes the United States has managed to help bring about in many a long year. Arafat wins; the terrorism-sponsoring Saudis win; Saddam wins; Palestinian terrorists win; and the United States is humiliated and Israel pushed into an unending war of attrition with every neighboring state. Hey, how about some more "peace-process," huh?"

Saturday, March 30, 2002

Another Miracle!

I don't think my aging heart can take much more of this. Indiana comes through again! Against all odds. You wonderful Hoosiers, can you do it just one more time? Unbelievable!!


Mike Sanders suggests a new Google game, Persuader. He says to try writing a paragraph containing the top ten current Google queries in order, spread the word, and then see what happens to your hits.

OK, Mike, I'll give it a shot. Here's the paragraph Mike suggested:

The Oscars awarded Halle Berry a pre-Easter present as well as bringing Elin Nordegren and Jennifer Connelly to our attention. I don't know much about Alex Baroni or Ostern, but Passover is coming and I think Ali G and Celine Dion are involved in some sort of controversy.

By the way, the top ten current queries can be found at Google Zeitgeist.

Friday, March 29, 2002

Radical See-Saw

Son Jonathan emails from Prague that he's on his way to Poland for Easter weekend, accompanied by a Catholic girlfried of Polish ancestry. She's going to take him to Easter Mass, probably at the cathedral in Krakow (where John Paul held forth before becoming Pope). I think that this may be Jon's first time ever in a Catholic church, let alone a service and venue of this magnitude. I'm sure it will be quite a spectacle for his young Jewish eyes.

The following day, he heads out to Auschwitz. What an emotional swing that's going to be! Can't wait to hear his report.

Thursday, March 28, 2002

Old Hat?

Jason Thompson at Muse Unlimited offers some excellent commentary on Lisa Guernsey's piece in today's New York Times. Guernsey's article is entitled, "As the Web Matures, Fun Is Hard to Find." As you would imagine, it's generating quite a bit of comment around the Web. Thompson's is among the best.

Guernsey states categorically that "the Web has lost its luster." Thomspson has a different take on it. He says that it makes as much sense to say that the Web has lost its luster as to say that books have lost their luster because there are some crappy books being published. Interestingly, Guernsey notes that "blogs are often cited as the last bastion of interesting material."

Wednesday, March 27, 2002

Happy Passover!

18 people coming over to the house tonight for Passover Seder. It's going to be a tight squeeze, but worth it. It's my favorite religious observance. Jill has written an abbreviated service (Hagaddah) that everybody loves. It takes only 20 to 30 minutes and covers all the important points. Being a psychotherapist, Jill has also given it a psychological flavor, using the celebration of the release from bondage as a metaphor for freeing ourselves from our own internally generated bondages. Good stuff, honey! I think you should market it.

Monday, March 25, 2002

The Hoosiers Are Back!

Great article today by Andy Latack on Mike Davis, the resurgence of Indiana babsketball, and surviving the post-Knight trauma.

Friday, March 22, 2002

Score One For the Little Guys

I remember the night, back in '97, when family friend and consumer advocate lawyer, Sheila Canavan, told us at a dinner party that she was taking on First Alliance Mortgage on behalf of some little old ladies who had been hosed by this predatory lending giant. It's one thing to take on the occasional lost cause, but we thought that maybe Sheila was stretching it on this one.

Well, shame on us. We underestimated her. She worked herself to near exaustion for over two years going after these bastards--unscrupulous lenders who were luring old folks into deceptively written and ruinous mortgages, often driving them into bankruptcy and then taking over their homes.

Their legions of high-priced attorneys kept Sheila and her team buried in a flurry of motions, week after week,month after month, hoping to deplete the team physically, emotionally, and financially. Sheila refused to give up and, eventually justice was done. The New Tork Times today reports the happy conclusion. I hear she's going to take the money and retire to the Red Rock country of Utah. You earned it, gal!

Thursday, March 21, 2002


You beautiful wonderful Hoosiers! You listened to me. You did it! I'm bouncing off the walls, jumping, screaming. Man, I wish I was back in Bloomington right now, knockin'em back at Nick's English Hut, my old sweet watering hole.

So there, you non-Mike Davis believers. We could be in the Final Four! Will that get you off his back at last?

Halley's Fabric

Halley Suitt blogs about blogs in Halley's Comment. Halley thinks bloggers are stitching together a new literary form and makes these observations in her outstanding blog:

" Blogs are like quilting bees. We couldn't make this large quilt without everyone else's stiches. Each link connects another story or thought or insight. Blogs embroider voices, graphics, songs, deep thoughts into their fabric. No literary form invented before now comes close to what they do. Blogs are unique. Technology has shaped a new way to communicate. Blogs aren't about the blog you are reading, but rather about the connections between all the links, referrers, blogrolls and embedded intelligence they witness. "

She concludes with this stirring thought:

"The Web is the mid-wife of blogs. But blogs are born of our care and consideration for others, which we have finally realized is a life or death proposition. "

Halley has lots of good links in this post. Check it out.

Hoping Against Hope

My Indiana Hoosiers have the unenviable task of going up against Duke in tonight's battle of the Sweet Sixteen. Lots of rabid folks back in my home state of Indiana are giving coach Mike Davis a hard time because he's not Bob Knight. Get a grip, folks. Mike's got the confidence of his players and is doing just fine, thank you very much. Besides, isn't it a relief not to have all that bad press any more?

There's not a coach in the country that wouldn't love to have recruited Jared Jeffries. But he chose none other than Mike Davis. That ought to tell you something. Go Hoosiers! You'll probably lose, but show'em what you're made of. Make those cocky Blue Devils sweat for it.

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

Jumping Into the Tank

The irrepressible Elaine of Kalilily clues me in with her post today about a new team blog--Blogtank:

"So what am I doing in the middle of this? At the moment, I take my place in the rocking chair, over there by the window, where I can play the little old lady who sits and knits and listens. And then, when everyone else feels overwhelmed by all of the incredibly amazing ideas and concepts and solutions being shared, I stand up, click my knitting needles for attention, and organize the creative cacaphony into clear, precise, and implementable strategies. Then I rip off my cozy shawl to reveal a short, spangley party ensemble, I put on my dancing shoes, and we all go out and party. Bloglife. Ya' gotta love it.

Stay tuned for the further real life adventures of the Blogtankers: Our Force is With You."

I'm not staying tuned, Elaine. I'm joining, if Gary Turner will have me. I'm sending my application as soon as I complete this post.

Microcontent News

Thanks to Jordon Cooper for alerting us to the launch of Microcontent News, a Corante spin-off, whose mission is to cover the world of web logging. John HIler's introductory article is stirring reading to those of us getting immersed in the personal publishing revolution--and it will help shed light on the movement for the curious non-blogger as well.

Hiler asserts that Personal Publishing is "nothing less than the birth of an entire new industry." He likens it to the personal computing revolution:

"If you map Personal Publishing onto Personal Computing, it's the mid-1970s. Popular Electronics just published the first article on the MITS Altair, the first desktop computer in the world. Microsoft just wrote the first BASIC language for the Altair. The Woz just demo'd the first Apple I at a meeting of the Homebrew Computer Club.

And just about that time, the first issue of Byte Magazine was published, followed shortly after by Dr. Dobb's Journal of Computer Calisthenics and Orthodontia.

It's in that proud tradition that Corante is proud to announce the official launch of Microcontent News: The Online Magazine for Weblogs, Webzines, and Personal Publishing! "

I'm definitely signing up for a subscription!

Tuesday, March 19, 2002


OK. Some of the other guys have been blogrolling the great new team blog, Blog Sisters--another creation of the indefatiguable Jeneane Sessum. It's time I got on board--so it's now officially going on my blogroll.

All you men out there, go check it out. A very good read, and no male-bashing. Besides, how can you resist that tagline: "where men can link but they can't touch."

Rants From the High Country

Ed Minczeski declines my invitation to blog, but does manage to exercise his writing jollies in his latest email, ranting on matters political. Ed lives in Jackson, Wyoming where our fearless VP occasionally repairs to his ranch.

Ed had asked if my wife was seeing a spike in her therapy practice due to angst stirred by terrorism. I replied that the greater fear around my neck of the woods was of Ashcroft, Cheney, and Gang--which was just paranoia as usual around here. Thus, no perceptible increase in the shrink business. Ed replies:

"You're absolutely right on as to who's the scariest of them all. Don't forget to include Trent Lott & that bunch of bible thumping abortion clinic bombers. Do you know when Cheney comes to hang out in his little Jackson hideaway we get to listen to round-the-clock F-16 patrols, which is absurd. Those guys are orbiting at 20,000 ft. which means an assassin in a motorized hang glider could be in and gone and never show up on a radar screen. That's probably why they've got sharpshooters all over the place, in the dim thought such an attempt could be foiled from the ground. It's very dark around here on moonless nights.

But will anything dissuade the D.C. maniacs from plunging into the Iraqi snakepit, compromising our relationship with Israel in the process? I'm sure they'd like nothing more than to use the promise of Arab support for such an endeavor as a pretext for selling out the Israelis. At least that's the way I read it. There's plenty of anti-semitism , rampant & latent, in this country to support pulling the plug - I hear it all the time. The wind never has stopped blowing against the Jews."

Selling out the Israelis? That's a stretch. Too many cold nights on the high plains fueling your conspiracy demons, Ed? But anti-semitism? Unfortunately, my good friend, you're right. That ain't no fantasy.

Monday, March 18, 2002

Ice Talk

Thanks to Jordon Cooper for the mention in his blog. I had approached Jordon with an ice hockey question--why does the NHL play on smaller ice than the International Rules which prevail at the Olympics, thus diminishing the quality of NHL contests? (If you watched the Olympics, you could clearly see the difference).

He's from north of the border and clearly a hockey nut, so I figured he would be the perfect guy to ask. I got more than I bargained for. Jordon posted a thorough and informed reply.If you follow hockey at all, you'll find it interesting reading.

Sunday, March 17, 2002

Latest Discovery

Catching up on my blog reading today. Denise Howell's post of 3/11 refers me to another great new find--Kalilily Time. Not only great reading, but a couple of interesting personal connections: Elaine's birthday is just one day from mine! And she's a fellow sexagenarian--an unfortunate rarity on the web, it seems. Elaine says she's on a quest to find other aging bloggers.(Disquieting thought: are we too old to say "aging?" I have to confess, it's a convenient euphemism. Hell, my sons are "aging," too. But screw it. I'm sticking with the euphemism).

Elaine blogs:

"As one gets older, one often feels isolated; time seems to pick up its pace while we slow down. We are sandwiched between generations who need us for all kinds of things. The internet offers connection, and blogging offers meaningful connections selected from a world-wide pool of like-minds.

The problem, of course, is that many over-60 individuals never really got into technology. Just about all of the thoughtful bloggers I've encountered are of the age at which they could be my offspring. I thoroughly enjoy interacting with them, and I love the idea of playing "cybermom." But it would be enjoyable, as well, to blogverse with people who are sitting where I am now. So, if anyone reading this knows of any, please send them my way."

OK. Elaine. Here I am. "Here I am." Those words resonate as I refer back to Elaine's first day of blogging. (I like to look up why people blog):

"I like having an audience. Even my poems are usually written with an audience (sometimes of one) in mind. It's why I ballroom dance. I'm a performer at heart. I need ways to say to the world: this is who I am. Look at me. Pay attention. It seems to me that that's at the heart of why everyone else who keeps a blog does so. In a world where we all have to live up to expectations and assume roles for survival purposes (our own and others) -- caregiver, mother, employee, citizen -- it's so satisfying to have a place where one can BE who one is. Or in some cases, where one can BE who one wants to BE. It really doesn't matter. We can create who we want to be or be creative with who we are. Either way, one has an identity, a voice. In a way, it's kind of a new art form -- or at least it can evolve in some cases into such. How cool is that!"

Saturday, March 16, 2002

One of the things I love about getting involved in the world of blogging is how I keep on discovering great blogs. My latest find is Jordon Cooper. Mike Sanders blogrolled Jordon and I in the same post and that brought it to my attention. Actually, Jordon is a fellow member of the Gonzo Engaged team blog, but I had never managed to check out his site before.

Jordon has a sweeping range of interests. His blog is an excellent resource and takes you over a wide landscape.I recommend it.


Searls and Weinberger are on the warpath--and rightfully so. The object of their ire is the dastardly Security Systems Standards and Certification Act being put forward by Fritz Hollings and his Senate Commerce Commitee. Doc is proposing a march on Washington. Right on, Doc! Charter some buses for us Left Coasters and let's go descend on the Capitol.

Here's some of what Dr. W had to say:

"The venal, frightened a-holes we call U.S. congresspeople are getting close to enacting legislation that will effectively kill the sharing of creative works, and will hamstring the US computer industry for that matter. The Security Systems Standards and Certification Act is Fritz Hollings' extremist response to the entertainment industry's demand to have their stranglehold on creativity backed by law and hardware."

This is scary stuff, folks. Get off your duffs and let 'em know how you feel.. The addresses and phone numbers of the members of the Senate Commerce Committee are here. You can send an email to Hollings via a Web form here. Do it!

W Gets It Right For a Change

Remember when George W use to rail against nation-bulilding? The change of direction is certainly welcome. This is America at its best, the spirit that helped a devastated Germany and Japan become thriving democracies.

Friday, March 15, 2002


David Weinberger's latest book, Small Pieces, Loosely Joined: A Unified Theory of the Web is almost ready to roll off the presses. Can't wait. I'm getting my order in now. Tom Matrullo has written an early review-definitely worth checking out.

Thursday, March 14, 2002

Time Trippin'

Mike Sanders is at it again--posing the Big Questions that cause brain-warp as you try to wrestle with them. He's been addressing a question of real relevance to bloggers--the time issue. I would imagine that all of us who are caught up in the engaging enterprise of blogging struggle with this issue. How do we keep up with all the good blogs? How much do we write about our personal story? How much do we cut corners by just doing links to good stuff we've seen, accompanied by brief comments? Why do we do it the first place? (my reasons are expressed in my first blog post. Jeneane has delved into this extensively in her blog). Do we risk wasting our time or diverting it from more urgent matters?

Mike quotes some of John Hiller's excellent observations on this. Thanks for that, Mike. Anyway, Mike solicits reader's comments to the following:

"Time-economics, what exactly does this mean? Is it how we spend our time - productively, purposefully, meaningfully, wastefully? I have been thinking about the time issue, in terms of both blogging and reading blogs and the articles they point to. Has anybody else thought about how to define time-economics? What is wasted time? How does it fit into the bigger questions of meaning and purpose? How precious a commodity is time?"

I guess I'll take a stab at it, Mike. The key lies in your next-to-last question: "How does it fit into the bigger questions of meaning and purpose?" You ask about the use of the term, "time-economics." Good question. "Economics" is associated with money, and "Money" shares some commonalties with "Time."

Money and Time both have the illusion of being very real. Indeed, about as real as you can get. Money is tangible and measurable. You can use it in an infinite variety of ways. Time is tangible and measurable on the face of every timepiece on the planet. Again, you can use it in an infinite variety of ways.

In actuality, however, time and money are not "real." They are both inventions of man--highly useful--created for the purpose of facilitating human interactions. But they are not Fundamental Entities of the same realm as those that are "really real"--Purpose, Meaning, Experience, Love, Energy, Power, etc. They are representations of those entities. People, for example, often describe the essence of money as Energy or Power or Spiritual-Connection-to-the-Abundance-of-the Universe," whatever. The point being, if you want to address your money situation, first address the fundamental abstractions underlying it.

Using this analogy, suppose we say that that the essence of Time is purpose and meaning, or that time is the representation of purpose and meaning? I remember a popular workshop of the 80's, "The More Time Workshop." Their slogan was, "You can't manage time (because it's not really real), what you manage is experience." The idea was that, instead of looking at time, you looked at the quality of experience that you intended to produce, and let your time-based agenda shape itself around that.

This philosophy is behind Stephen Covey's approach, isn't it? He stresses building out your plan from the foundation of your governing principles. (Correct me if I'm wrong, Mike).

So what's the point? To put it as simply as possible, I guess it's that we should evaluate our blog time in terms of our purpose and meaning and quality of experience and not by the mathematical yardstick of minutes or hours passed.

Truth is, I'm just groping and hypothesizing here. Any comments welcome.

Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Brandy on the Aegean

My younger son, Jonathan, is doing a semester at Charles University in Prague in conjunction with his regualr studies at the University of Wisconsin. He's spending spring break in the Greek Islands. Wow! Talk about showing up the old man. The best I ever managed was Ft. Lauderdale and 200,000 drunken fools.

Jon and his mother picked out our recently expired cat, Brandy, at the SPCA. They did it as a surprise for me and Jon's older brother as an offering to cheer us up on our return from an unhappy road trip (the details of which shall remain witheld). On learning of Brandy's death, Jon emails the folowing:

"In the innercity ghettos, gang members pour out liquor
as a symbol of mourning. I poured out some cognac for
Brandy on the island of Ios, where Homer was buried,
according to legend. The sea water came up and washed
away the cognac and pulled it into the sea.

I definitely think about her, but I think about how
she changed me as a person. It's weird to think how a
cat can have such an incredible effect on a human, but
Brandy had the magic touch. Her spirit will always be
with me."

That was part of a birthday message to me, by the way. Far better than any material gift. Love ya, Jon!

Tuesday, March 12, 2002

Here's part of what AKMA writes in regard to my traumatic experience:

"The God with whom I have to deal does not jerk us around "for our own good," to get our attention or to wrest us from a fixation with mundane tasks or to withdraw from us a much-needed rest. God promises that there's a deep sense to the created order, involving even the horrific moments--a sense that (as Eric points out) defies reduction to "justice," but which captures a wild, boundless rhythm and harmony and draws them to completion. God's completion is not simply a happy ending (nor a tragic ending)--it's all *way* too complex for that, and that completion catches up tragedy and comedy into a breath-taking consummation, a climax I can't begin to anticipate. I can only trust that the God who promises that death is not our end will keep that promise, and that sadness and loss somehow come
together in the fulfillment of that promise with a kind of recognition, a kind of realization that addresses what cannot be justified."

And further on . . .

"God's utterly complex dealings with us, which we oversimplify by calling "God's will," involve us in ambiguous roles in shady scenes with heroes and villains and buffoons and dear, dearly beloved friends whose place in our lives no one will replace, which neither their death nor ours will eradicate. We and they will live.

That doesn't make things all right, or fair; it doesn't make God "good." It means that in a messy, uncertain, often cruel world, love can not be vanquished by death. Love suffers wrongs and bears grief--but love endures, where death will falter and fade away.

I don't think there's a lesson. I don't think there's a purpose, not the way we recognize purpose in a perishing world. There's ten years of love, and there's more love holding you and your wife together, and there's love you can't see wincing for you and for her and for your cat and for this world of mortal cares.

I believe in that love, in those promises."

Monday, March 11, 2002

Eric Responds

Eric Norlin, bless him, has emailed the link to his blog post about the near death of his beloved dog. I can now add Point Number Four to lessons learned: God demands attention--whether you like it or not.

Here's the bulk of Eric's piece. Definitely deserving of a reprint:

"On Saturday night, at approximately 6pm Mountain Time, I married the woman I love. Flowers and dresses and vows, oh my. Rageboy was even there -- guffawing at the Cluetrain reference that my minister-turned-web-designer father inserted into the sermon.

It was joyous.

Today, my English Setter, Norman, almost fell over while standing in the kitchen. In twenty-four hours he had gone from hyper, squirrel hunting maniac to lethargic, no-eating, no-walk zombie. A trip to the vet has revealed the worst: an immune disease that gives him a 40 percent chance of surviving to the weekend.

At one point in my life I was a seminary student. Not in the traditional sense, mind you, but as a person deeply interested in the western theological traditions -- I was a seminary student. An ex-Tibetan Buddhist, turned archetypal psychologist, turned reader of Martin Luther (didn't he post some theses?).

And now, standing betwixt my marriage and the possible death of my best friend, I am reminded of the theological stance that I argued so vehemently at one point: God is not just.

A just and loving God does not inflict pain upon creatures that have only loved -- be they dogs or babies. A just and loving God would not-- as the Roman Catholics believe -- send unbaptized babies to a state other than Heaven (be it purgatory or hell). All of the liberal, feminist, creationist, Matthew Fox believing, bullshit theology can never truly argue that God is just. Because in the end, their arguments must resort to this: God is just, but we are not capable of grasping the nature of his/her justice.

This is pure and simple bullshit.

God (and I should tell you that this is a bit specious as I'm a polytheist) does not live by justice because the very nature of "justice" would imply a standard to which God is accountable. Rather, God is all about attention. Be it hatred or love, either emotion is attention paid to God (just ask Job). Hating God does not displease him. He is a God of attention -- he does not simply love, sometimes he hates, and rightfully so. But it is attention nonetheless.

God is not just -- he is attentive.

He is loving in his attention, but not just.

Likewise, I am not always loving -- but I am attentive. "

Synchronicity Blues

In the rush of getting involved in blogging, I've been letting some things slide. Unpleasant stuff like taxes, spring yard work, the usual litany.

I wake up in the middle of the night with a very clear message. This kind of thing doesn't happen to me very often--especially the nature of this particular message. I lay there, sweat-soaked, with a very clear sense that it's useless to try to get myself to do any of this stuff, or to find a way to compartmentalize my activities so that more gets done. I've been through that a million times. It never works.

What usually works--the only thing that ever seems to work--is when I surrender--give up the illusion that I control anything.

"God, Nature, The Infinite, Whatever, controls everything," I remind myself "Therefore, I'm just going to turn the day over to the Deity and see what happens."

Now I'm not a very religious guy, and I'm sure as hell not the type who goes around intoning aphorisms like, "let go and let God." Nevertheless, this experience is very real as I confront the day ahead. If the past is any guide, I usually have more results when I'm in this frame of mind than when I'm seeking to be the honcho who makes it all happen.

It's now mid-morning. Things have been going quite well, but I notice myself beginning to slip, falling into the familiar knee-jerk assumptions that the free ride is over; it's going to be a struggle to keep myself on track; I had better find a way to whip myself back into the groove; etc.

I then remind myself of the frame with which I began the day. The experience returns--the very vivid experience--that I had had earlier when I had put the day in God's hands. I smile again, spirits lifted.

Immediately following, a horrific racket on the front porch. A vicious, attack-type dog has grabbed our sweet cat of ten years by the abdomen! He has her in a death vise. The owners, who were walking the dog but obviously not controlling it, and myself, are beating on the dog desparately, trying to make it let go. No force seems to be able to loosen the grip. I step inside to make a frantic call to Animal Control. The owners and dog--cat still attached--split into thin air. I drive frantically around the neighborhood. Cops come and join the search. Animal Control goes door to door.

Nothing. Not a trace.

It all happens in a flash. No chance to experience any feelings other than blinding grief and outrage. Later, the thoughts start to gel. Like the beleaguered Job, I start to question the Heavens. What's going on here? I thought when you got yourself connected with the Deity, beauty and wonder emerged. Synchronicity of the serendipitous kind. Is this some kind of joke? This is my reward for surrendering my ego and deferring to the Almighty?

Yes, of course, shit happens, but not, presumably, when you've got your spiritual ducks lined up--as I thought I had today. Don' t the Zen Buddhists say that the Infinite sometimes plays tricks on you in order to reveal Itself?

"Well," I ask myself, "what's the lesson here? There must be a lesson here that I'm supposed to learn. Why else would something so terrible be happening?"

Not necessarily. Event A happens, then event B, then C. They're either connected by some narrative or they're stand-alones. They contain a lesson or they don't. No way to prove it either way. So it all comes down to personal choice. Do I choose that there's a lesson here or not? If I choose in the affirmative, how do I know what the lesson is? Once again, it falls on my shoulders. Create the lesson myself or forfeit it.

An hour later I step out on the deck to water the plants. Unbelievable! My cat, to whom I've already said my good-byes, is lying there, half-alive. Somehow, she's crawled back to be with us at the end. But maybe it's not the end? Got to get her over to the vet to see if there's any chance.

"Yep," the vet says, after x-rays. "We can do extensive surgery with 90% odds that she'll make it."

I don't even think about the money. "Do it."

Two days and $1,700 later, the cat dies. The trauma was too much for her to survive. Now I really want to punch the walls. Eric Norlin, you wrote a beautiful piece about God and your dog, Norman, when he was almost a goner. I can't access your archives. Help me out here. I'd like to re-read that. It might be helpful.

I had resolved not to incur any debts this year. So no plastic to the vet. I fork over the green that I had saved for our spring vacation.

Lesson One: what's a vacation for? To unwind; to re-connect with my wife; to experience new dimensions of myself. I don't have to get on an airplane and go to an exotic destination for that. It helps, but we can drive for an hour, spend the day at the seashore, and get the same result, if we're willing to allow it to serve that purpose.

Lesson Two: I ask Jill if ten years of a sweet cat's love is worth the sacrifice of one vacation trip. "Definitely," is her reply, and mine.

Lesson Three: the most powerful feeling that I'm left with after all the intense trauma, the anger, and the overwhelm, is the simple feeling of love--and the unimportance of money--that washed over me when I gathered the cat in my arms and rushed her to the vet.

Love over Money. A pretty prosaic lesson. God over Ego. Dirt simple, but "Oh so easy to forget," I remind myself as I reflect on all the psychic and spiritual energy that I've let drain into Mere-Matters-of-Mammon since the high-tech and marcom bust around these parts.


Thursday, March 07, 2002

Jeneane Leaps Forward

Jeneane proposes a model whereby blogging might become an income-generating enterprise. Pie in the sky? It's a possibility, but I wouldn't dismiss her ideas just yet. Here's a sample (in which she's referring to the Gonzo Engaged team blog):

"Think of how easy and smart it would be for companies to throw us some work over on RGE. They might leave us a post in some yet-to-be-made blog request box "Need help marketing from our audiences inward, from the bottom up--you guys have any ideas?" Then we launch a private team blog off of RGE, add the client to that blog with the specialists from RGE that are the best at solving that particular problem, and the conversation moves forward. Ideas, applications, web sites, collateral all spawn from that. Of course, the client pays to join the private team blog, and for everything we do to put our ideas into action. cha-ching."

Keep those ideas coming, girl! Meanwhile, check out her full piece.

Wednesday, March 06, 2002

My Favorite Advice

Highly interesting stuff over at Mike Sanders outstanding blog, Keep Trying. Before going into that, let me say, that in using the same template as Mike's, I hope that no one interprets that as imitative. There are only so many Blogger templates, after all.
Mike's work stands as a model for me--a fine example of what can be done with a blog. However, I would be a fool to attempt to imitate what he does so well.

Mike has unleashed a torrent of interesting comments with this challenging question:

"Anybody have any thoughts on life and beyond? "

I'll pass on that one, except to repeat a sentence from A.K.M.Adam's response to Mike's question:

"I try my best to go where I'm called, and to help neighbors along the route that looks right to me."

Actually, I do have a thought about life, come to think of it, but definitely not about the beyond. Mike states that he finds Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People primarily a spiritual approach. Well, maybe…. at least in the sense that Covey asks you to locate the governing principles that underlie and animate your life. Can't argue with that.

As for Covey's advice, "Be Proactive / Begin With the End In Mind / Put First Things First," can't argue with that either--if Achievement is what matters most in life.

Personally, for my advice, I turn to Jean Shinoda Bolen. She's had much more impact for me than Covey's bromides:

1) Be the container that holds the dichotomies that are present in your life

2) Show up

3) Tell the truth (most especially to yourself)

4) Be unconcerned for the outcome

Getting My Bullshit Toghether

Thanks to Doc for pointing to The Real Joe Blog and its Affirmation Bullshit Generator. Very entertaining!

Now I know where to go when I need to buck myself up.

Tuesday, March 05, 2002

Our Theological Presence

More from AKMA:

"While I've been trying to keep the theological content of this blog a seasoning--rather than a main course--a number of correspondents have acknowledged my voice among you all as a theological presence."

I've told AKMA that I wish to add myself to this group of correspondents. He is obviously filling a void that exists in this space that we're all attempting to co-create. He continues in his blog with this reaction to our acknowledgements:

"I'm listening, and I'll try to honor the complexity of speaking to your hearts from my own, with all our differences and shared interests. Thank you and, if I may say so, God bless you."

And God bless you too, good Reverend.

Monday, March 04, 2002


AKMA blogs that he's probably willing to let me off the hook, but adds: "It would be fun, though, to split more hairs on this later."

Yes, Adam, it would. Split all you want. But if you're looking for a jousting mate, I'm afraid that I'd be hopelessly outclassed.

Another Buddy Who Writes

No sooner do I have an insight about a friend who would be a great candidate for blogging than another one pops up. This time it's Ed Minczeski, my old college buddy and one-time fellow traveler on the booze/poetry/find chicks-who-like-writers circuit. His email awaits me in my in-box. We manage to get off our asses every six months or so to exchange news.

Ed managed a more successful transition to respectability than I did. Sold a ton of insurance here in the Bay Area, then packed it in and moved up to Jackson Hole with lovely wife, Harriet. Somehow, they manage to scrape by in the playground of the gazillionaires. Ed sells the odd parcel of real estate, and Harriet, interior decorating. So if you've got the bread and want to buy a slice of heaven, Ed's your man. If you've already got your slice and need to redo it, get Harriet.

Anyway, Ed would be a flat-out natural for this blogging scene--a man who can really turn a phrase. And, he's got a bit of the Gonzo in him--a man who can get downright Hunter Thompson-esque on occasion, given the right mix of fuel. Matter of fact, Ed may well be the guy who turned me on to the original Gonzo, come to think of it. So back atcha, Ed. I'm going to bug your ass about bloggerdom.

Sunday, March 03, 2002

Magical Evening

Jill and I resolved to have more fun in 2002. Last night, we contributed a notch to fulfilling that pledge. Got together with a favorite couple, Neil and Jane Levy. We decided to act like tourists and go see a San Francisco tourist fave--"Beach Blanket Babylon." It's been playing to sold-out audiences without stop since 1974. A real show-biz phenom, but you know how it goes. When you live somewhere, you tend to neglect the must-see tourist attractions.Both we and the Levys have been here for three decades and have never bothered to go see this local treasure.

A wonderfully balmy evening--a rare SF occurence. We precede the show with a stroll down the always vibrant Columbus Ave. Bubbly people spilling out onto the sidewalks from the Italian eateries. We go by the still-kicking Lawrence Ferlinghetti's City Lights bookstore and are heartened to see four gigantic banners hanging from the third floor rooftop. Each poster shows a face with a large American flag covering the mouth. The posters say, in sequence: Dissent / Is Not / Un / American. Way to go Larry. May you live forever.

We pop into one of the many Italian joints for a pre-show dinner. Over pasta and Chianti Classico, I reflect on what a natural Neil would be for blogging. A semi-retired law professor who loves to write and does so with wit and the soul of a poet. I won't bug him about it now because he's leaving in a few days for the South Pacific to write his next travel book. But when you get back, Neil, I sure would like to get you to join me in bloggerdom.

Saturday, March 02, 2002

Business Slump In Denver?

Hmm....ever since I noted about a week ago that we weren't seeing much activity on Eric Norlin's blog anymore, there's been a flurry of posts. Good to have you back punching, Eric. Hope it doesn't mean that your business is falling off.

More Legal Freebies

I've fallen a couple of weeks behind on some of the blogs that I really enjoy--Denise Howell's Bag and Baggage for example. It would be even more difficult to keep up if it weren't for the fabulous job that bloggers like Doc Searls do in surveying the scene and keeping us linked to an unending array of good stuff.

Anyway, back to Denise's blog. She just keeps on giving. Maybe pissing off some lawyers as well. More free legal goodies, this time about patents and also fair use parameters for deep linking.

Friday, March 01, 2002

Falling In Love

Two days ago, I said I wanted to find the full quote on blogging and "falling in love with the world"---which I had speculated was from Chris Locke.

Turns out I was correct. Chris has saved me the trouble of doing a search by emailing me the source--Bombast Transcripts. The exact quote is:

“What is happening on the net is that people are falling in love with the world all over again.”

Jeaneane puts this quote in excellent context in her blog.