INSITEVIEW- - tom shugart's weblog

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Frank and Al and Denise and Candle Number One

What, you might ask (the "you" being the mythical reader that might somehow stumble across the remnants of this once active blog), is the connection between the seemingly unrelated elements of the above headline?

Well, they've come together to provide some long-absent stimulus for me to post an insertion into this dustbin.

First, there's the ever reliable Frank Paynter. I can always count on him for a periodic needling if I stay away from here too long. He posts a comment in his customary puckish manner, wryly suggesting that it might be time for a "quarterly update."

Actually, Frank, it's been 2.5 months, not three--so there.

Frank's been touting his tenth blogging anniversary. Ten years? Jayzeus! I tend to refer to myself as a blogger from the old days ( as distinct from an old blogger, which I indisputably am). But Frank puts me to shame. I'm just a Johnny-come-lately.

Kudos to Mr. FP! Unfortunately, on the day of the marathon celebration that Frank is planning to throw, I'll be cramped inside one of today's ubiquitous sardine-can airliners, returning home from an obligatory trip I didn't want to go on in the first place. Admittedly a shitty way to be spending the last day of the year, but it couldn't be helped, for reasons I won't bother to bore anyone with.

My next headline element is "Al," as in Al Shugart, who passed on the other day. His passing was definitely an event that gave me the urge to post. While the world remembers Al as a tech industry pioneer, his significance for me was that he transformed my name from the obscure to the instantly recognizable, a fact which has required me with predictable regularity to respond to many of those to whom I am introduced, "no, no relation." Sometimes, especially at industry functions, I felt like wearing a sign.

I posted a humorous incident about this state of affairs back in my early blogging days. It was right after Paynter was just getting started with his well-known series of blogger interviews. I had the honor of being his first male subject. The immediate aftermath was a rash of "are you related?" emails. So I put up a post to set the record straight.

Anyway, Al Shugart was my kind of guy--brilliant, creative, irreverent, fun-loving, and dismissive of the establishment. This guy was wearing Hawaiian shirts to work decades before it became a hip way to show that you or your organization were leading-edge.

Al, who started out as an IBMer, was able to get away with thumbing his nose at the rigid IBM dress code of the fifties and sixties. That may not mean much to Gen-X or Yers, but if you were around in those days, as I was, and remember how quasi-militaristic things tended to be in the big business sector, including high-tech, you have to be impressed with Shugart's chutzpah. I'm proud to bear his name. Rest well, Al.

As for the last two elements of my headline, candle number one refers to the first day of Hannukah--a day when my family typically sits down to open the holiday greeting cards. To my surprise and delight, there was one from my old blogging friend and inspiration--the one, the only, Denise Howell, the esteemed pioneer of law blogging. To no one's surprise, the card featured adorable photos of her knockout son, Tyler. Equally without surprise, given the lad's lineage, is his pleasingness to the eye.

This has been a big year for Denise. Because of my absence from the blogosphere, I've missed out on most of it, as I have with most other bloggers of whom I'm fond. One of the things I'd like to do during the holidays is go through some of Denise's postings and perhaps offer some very belated reactions to what seems unfathomable, her severance from her former, supposedly astute law firm.

So--many thanks to Denise for remembering Jill and me, especially given my rather embarassing lack of attention to all the good folks like her in this space who have been so supportive in the past. Hopefully, you'll be seeing more of me in '07.

And, in the meantime, very best wishes for the holidays to anybody still out there.