"Avoid moderation in all things." Tom Peters
Great Easter morning walk in VT. Passed this old truck. Came back and took pics. Kinda keeps you grounded.
Last week Florence!
[See the small picture sample.]
This week doing taping for Audiobook version of coming Little BIG Things—8 a.m. to 5 p.m. shut in a vacuum—in a 6 foot by 6 foot room.
The slides I'm posting are for an event that took place last Wednesday. Tom's been all over the world and had Internet access, but the mountains of Ecuador proved too big an obstacle. We hope he enjoyed several days of being out of touch. In a scenic location. Sounds good to me.
The event was the Seminarium Ecuador in Quito, short for San Francisco de Quito, the capital city. Be sure to look at google maps, wikipedia, and other websites to learn more about this fascinating place. It's in the same time zone as Boston, but worlds away.
If you attended the Seminarium, please give us your comments, and if you'd like the slides they are here.
Lucky boy. (He said for the 1000th time.) Had a lovely full-day seminar with wonderful folks in Luanda, Angola. It's said to be the most expensive city in the world—oil related activities booming, and relatively thin infrastructure; hence demand exceeds supply in the likes of the hospitality industry. But now the construction cranes have flocked to Luanda—oil, oil, and more oil (OPEC's #3 producerer?) and available credit courtesy, mostly, the Chinese. At any rate, I enjoyed my brief visit, and was overwhelmed by the kindnesses of my seminar hosts and participants. Progress, oil or not, is remarkable given that Angola is but a half-dozen years past a multi-decade, brutal civil war. As I prepared my "all-knowing" "guru remarks," I couldn't help but reflect that 90% of audience members over, say, 35 were far wiser to the twisted ways of the world than I.
[Get the PPT slides.—CM]
Sorry, editing-editing-editing again this week. (Then, on Saturday, off to Angola and Saudi Arabia.)
Once again, AWOL. This time a weeklong trip to India followed by a 40-hour journey from New Delhi to Austin TX via god-knows-where-cubed. Then back from Austin to Boston, logging my third consecutive midnight in the air—followed by a return to intensive book editing, about round #6 or #7 or #8 as I figure. (And the editing to a manuscript that was supposedly "ready to go" when I started the half-dozen or so rounds in late June—summer, where did thou go? Snow predicted for VT tomorrow, and also for Toronto where my carcass will be, eh?) At least at an Austin signing for airport managers and board members, I had the thrill of autographing 250 sets of our galleys. And all this from a body that's 23 days from finishing up its 67th year—dear God Almighty that's frigging old.
FYI, one other highlight ...
Last Saturday at 3 a.m. my home phone rang. It was my Hong Kong client canceling yesterday's event—just hours before I was due to leave. I inform you of this because it means that my "after 40 years" trip to Vietnam also bit the dust; hence no [brilliant, incisive, soul-searching ...] commentary associated therewith.
Off to Seoul tomorrow!
Before I leave for Hong Kong-Korea-Delhi, I thought I'd catch up with "stuff" lying in my file from my last trip to Holland-China.
I think I'll do a new feature, TomChirps. I am not so keen on Twitter, but I am keen on short (140 characters—or so!) comments on stuff I deem important, not egocentric posts about my-life-as-tom having a secret Cinnabon at the Omaha airport.
From the Shanghai Airport [above] to my Beloved Kubota in West Tinmouth, Vermont [below]. Susan decorated the Kubota with daffodils from her garden to commemorate my return; and I've already drawn blood from my bramble cutting!
You know it's been a long trip when your day's highlight is doing three full loads of laundry.
March 7-March 28:
VT-Boston-London-Abu Dhabi-London-Boston-VT-Miami-Bogota-Houston-San Antonio-Dallas-Boston-Frankfurt-Vilnius-Tallinn-Helsinki-Frankfurt-Boston-VT.
40,000 miles (I know, nasty carbon footprint).
30 time zones.
Total home time 18 hours.
1 Sinus infection.
2,500+ uniformly delightful people from 6 countries on 4 continents including U.S.A./N. America.
Lucky me.* **
(*Dunno why, but a couple of guys bitching loudly about Lufthansa boarding about 5 minutes late, on Saturday morning in Frankfurt, really pissed me off—I said, "We should all be so lucky as to be here." Americans criticizing a German airline for a 5-minute deviation was amusing.)
(**I won't deny I'm so damn tired I feel near tears.)
By the time you read this I'll doubtless be in Bogotá. And I will doubtless be treated with great kindness. Such has been the nature of 99% of my experiences outside the U.S. (and in!) over the years.
Yet for reasons beyond simple logic, I must pause and offer a big-humongous "thank you" to my hosts in Abu Dhabi. I can't measure it on any scale, but the kindness and thoughtfulness and engagement I experienced are way out on the tip of the tail of a normal distribution that encompasses all 3,000 (more or less) of my speeches.
One tiny episode is characteristic. Quite unusually (thank God), I picked up some damnable airplane bug-virus, and my voice was, almost instantaneously, cracking and unclear and sliding downhill. During the coffee time before the seminar, while croaking to one of my hosts, he suddenly turned on a dime and said, "We must get you hot water with honey and ginger." Magically, he managed to make it happen in a flash.
If you were a 100% cynic you could call it a matter of self-interest. But the genuine concern with which it was done was, well, wonderful. Throughout the croaky day, various folks told me to "calm down, save your voice." Etc. Etc.
The wee example is indeed characteristic—but the overall warmth from everyone I crossed paths with will nurture me for a long time to come.
(I think it's why I keep doing what I'm doing.)
(FYI, the honey-ginger-hot water mix was a great help.)
I returned from New Zealand sunshine to the above-below in Boston. Welcome home, Tom!
To finish NZ musings, and break a self-inflicted rule ...
Though not musical, I can say that New Zealander Hayley Westenra has one of the most pure voices I've ever heard—if you happen to be new to her, which I reluctantly admit that I was, I recommend you seek her out.
(The pictures above and below are from the "back yard," all of about 9X9, of our wee Boston abode. Above, obviously, table and chair; below, a sculpture.)
Off to see Bruce Springsteen tonight—68,000 of us stuffed into Gillette Stadium. Thunderstorms predicted. Let you know how it all turns out on Monday.
What could be a better welcome home (from Korea, Mexico, Croatia, Argentina) gift than Susan's Peonies in bloom.
But there's a catch—only in Vermont. (Or perhaps, also Nome, Alaska.) That is, I realized that this time next week the days will have begun to get shorter. Hence, I am suffering A.SAD. That is ... Anticipatory Seasonal Affective Disorder.
As I said, only in VT!
Tom is keynoting (for three hours) the Korea Design Forum 2008 in Seoul. He tells us that Korea is making a concerted push, as a nation, to become a "Worldclass Design Hub," following the sort of value-added strategy that Tom has participated in before, in places such as New Zealand and Taiwan. Check out the first ten slides. Together, they amount to a new Design Manifesto, drafted (according to Tom) between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. (?!) Korean time.
You can get the PPT here: Korea Design Forum, Seoul
Spent a couple of days in D.C. last week. Saturday (before Mother's Day) bright and sunny. Long walk.
Georgetown, C & O (Chesapeake & Ohio) Canal. America's Internet 2.0. (Arguably the Pony Express was Internet 1.0. Or was it pamphleteering surrounding the buildup to the Revolutionary War?)
Far end of Memorial Bridge, Seabee Memorial. "Seabee" from "CB"—U.S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion. Navy combat contractors, born in World War II, first notable service at Guadalcanal. Sailors recruited directly from the Union halls. Motto: "Can do." (John Wayne made a Seabee movie. Sailors in "South Pacific," subject of a current Broadway revival, were Seabees.) (Yrs truly served with them in Vietnam—I stop by, pat the marble, salute, and say hello to old friends.)
Vietnam Memorial. Over 58,000 names, listed in chron order—from 1958 to 1975. Many visitors last Saturday. Mothers of "the names"?
Waterproof book with all the names, locations. Youngster looking for name, granddad?—typical rubbing.
Recent tribute. Dozens each day. In fact, one soldier's family left his Harley at The Wall. (Gov't keeps all stuff—not available for public viewing.)
25E, 62. East 25 [each wall section is numbered], line 62 [up to you to count]. LT David C. Hall, USA. College roommate.
How many of ours died in Vietnam? One answer is: 112 "Halls" alone.
Cathy has been bugging me for spring-on-the-farm pictures from VT. Herewith are four:
(1) the chickens are out and about
(2) the tulips are finally blooming
(3) new porch furniture—it's warm enough to move outdoors
(4) construction of Susan's new studio
Happy Spring! (I know it's almost over for some of you—we're just gearing up. And, of course, for others of you south of the Equator, winter is just around the corner in our "little" "global village.")
On this day of global market madness, I'm in Pittsburgh talking to leaders at PNC Financial Services Group. At first blush, "Ouch" would seem to be the order of the day. But hold on. First, through good sense or good luck or both, PNC's subprime exposure is minimal. Moreover, the company has a bushel of awards that distinguish them as far different from banking's mindless conglomerators. PNC is a 2007 "BusinessWeek 50" top performing company, on Fortune's "Most Admired" list, on numerous other lists such as "Best Companies for Working Mothers," "Top 10 Companies for African-Americans," "Top 50 Employers for Women," "CIO 100 for Technology Excellence," etc. So, why do they need me? Beats me, but I'll do my best to roil the waters here and there.
[Slides are here.—CM]
Speaking in Madrid today for HSM one more time. You'll find 4 PPs. One is the "Long" version of the Keynote. Next, the Main Event keynote. Then, two shorter presentations for a couple of company presentations to Ferrovial [PPT] (infrastructure—including, God help us all, Heathrow) and Starcom [PPT] (a media-creative services giant). The 28-day trip ends Tuesday, with a little help from Lufthansa. Should be fun getting questioned by Immigration. Here will be my answer to "What countries did you visit?"
Planned to "pop into" the Prado, my favorite museum in the world—my hotel room only 50 yards away. Line when I arrived Saturday was, I'd judge, almost a quarter-mile long, and I don't think I'm exaggerating. Sunday, my last chance, was the same by about 11 a.m. So, on the advice of the concierge, adding a little of my usual conservatism, I got in the queue at 8 a.m. Sunday for a 9 a.m. opening. I'd guess I was about #150. The problem was that it was colder (about 25°F, -4°C) in Madrid than in VT; but I persisted, despite totally inadequate clothes. I'm used to Madrid at 95°F, +35°C, its summer #. Net was, it was, as always, worth it. (I once flew from SF to Madrid and back to see one picture here—Brueghel's "The Triumph of Death." I'm sure that'll draw Comments. Never done anything comparable before or since.) At any rate, above and below are a couple of crowd pics at 6 p.m. Sunday, a mix of tourists, including a ton of Japanese, but mostly locals, including a heavy youth component. Hats off to the Spanish for Museo Del Prado's just-completed renovation and for the popularity of the museum.
("Public" thanks for getting me through "all this" to, especially, Abbey Bishop, Nancy Paul, Klair Sirianna, Ivy Gustafson, the inimitable Harry "He Da Man" Rhoads; and Cathy Mosca, Erik Hansen, and Shelley Dolley for keeping the Blog up to date. A special debt of gratitude to the Interpreters here, there, and everywhere, whose job when I'm racing and colloquial, approximately always, is much harder than mine!)
Twenty-five days, nine countries, and 19 presentations into my current trip ... I'm zonked. Hence my delay in posting my Lisbon presentation. Belatedly, here it is—from Lisbon, with HSM as organizers, and pal Tom Kelley once more as my partner.
Sorry! Belated posting of my PowerPoint for Mind Consulting in Bologna. The audience was "SMEs"—folks from small and medium-sized enterprises, lots of owners. Loved it! (SME execs, worldwide, take no crap. As I said, love it!) Susan and I came to Bologna after spending my birthday in Venice. We loved Bologna, especially Saint Stephano's church; but the pictures above and below are from our magical sojourn in Venice!
In Brussels at the moment, getting ready for a speech today. (Snowed last night. Very, very light—but snow nonetheless.) I put together yet another "master"—built around a dozen Big Things "we" "gurus" typically get wrong; I called it "Guru Gaffes." It is by far the most highly annotated presentation I have ever provided—hope that meets with your satisfaction. (Let me know!) Pictures from Brussels above and below—above, World War I memorial; below typical Eurocrat office facade—the centerpiece of Brussels, home of the EU!
I am not complaining—I've enjoyed my various engagements in the past 7 days. (It's the people, stupid! Everywhere! I feed off them with what seems to be an insatiable appetite.) On the other hand, I guess I'm not surprised that I've been falling asleep in various poses, then snapping out of it a few minutes to an hour later in exactly the same position in which I faded out. In the 8 days that encompassed Saturday through Saturday last, I've given nine seminar-presentations in three countries—marked by 27 hours with the lapel mic in the "on" mode. (Plus a number of media interviews, some, well, interminable—I'll go on forever if the interviewer is well prepared, but I am a bit testy when it's clear the interviewer hasn't done any prep.) Travel was: Tupelo to Memphis to Boston to London to Madrid to Buenos Aires to Frankfurt to Zurich; it encompassed 40 hours in the air and it appears 25,000 miles ... or so. (Lufthansa, as usual, takes the honors.) And all this during the week before my 65th birthday—I think a shrink might argue that I was trying to prove something to myself. Susan would argue that I did, indeed, prove it—that I'm an idiot. I, of course, will reserve judgment. I slept in Sunday in Zurich, then enjoyed a looooong walk through and around this lovely city—zonked or not, it is a privilege of the first order to have such opportunities! (And, yes, the Swiss are tidy—I don't even think the pigeons are allowed to poop.) Now in the midst of prep for a 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. seminar ("all day" in my lingo).
(Above, a gorgeous Japanese maple on the hotel grounds—in full fall farewell plumage. Below, street vendor roasting chestnuts—Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich.)
I am finishing my 2-day stint with HSM in Buenos Aires. The "speech du jour" is to executives of FEMSA. The enormous consumer goods company, headquartered in Mexico, is, among many other things, the second largest Coca-Cola bottler in the world. Tonight: Back to Europe, more specifically, Zurich.
[The link for the PPT slides is below.—CM]
FEMSA, Buenos Aires
I do love London and feel fully at home; I've been coming over here since serving a summer stint as a midshipman in the Royal Navy in 1965. I gave two speeches at the London Business Forum today, and have another two ticketed tomorrow. How I made it through, I don't know. Though still suffering bigtime from jetlag, I nonetheless stayed up, tracking every pitch in Game 4 of the World Series—Jonathan Papelbon's capper occurred at 4:08 a.m. Greenwich time, just 37 minutes before my wake-up call. It's a long way from my new Kubota in Tinmouth, VT, to the shop windows of London being dressed on Sunday—see above.
I'm in Tupelo, Mississippi, today, courtesy the North Mississippi Medical Center. Among (many!) other things, NMMC is a 2006 recipient of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award—the "Nobel Prize of Enterprise Excellence," as one observer put it.
Now, NMMC is stepping boldly forward with an innovative health education program aimed at children in general and childhood obesity in particular. (Our HHS secretary described it as a problem that is worse than terrorism.) Called "HealthWorks," and modeled after a pioneering program invented by Memorial Hospital of South Bend, Indiana (skip the Notre Dame football quips, please), the program aims to rock the world—and, God knows, we need it.
I am speaking to several groups here, from the medical center and the community at large, and despite the cold (Tupelo is colder than Boston today), having a great time—Southern Hospitality matched with Olympian Aspirations of Excellence.
In Korea last week I had a long discussion with a BigCo CEO about the Japanese and Chinese (and Koreans). While I think I passed the implicit test, I was reminded of the obvious: We far too often spout utterly useless words like "European" or "Asian." Maybe the Chinese and Japanese and Koreans share skin tint to some extent, but otherwise they have about as much in common as America and Albania and Afghanistan. Well, that's hardly the case, but you know what I mean.
Implication: Eliminate the use of terms such as "Asia"—as in "the Asian management style." Eliminate: as in zero, none, never, naught, zip.
I had the privilege today of speaking at the opening plenary session of the 8th annual World Knowledge Forum in Seoul. My fascinating position in the lineup was immediately after Colin Powell, who keynoted, and immediately before Philip Rosedale, founder-creator of Second Life/Linden Lab. (I had to wonder if I was just a space bar between the two.) In any event, the meeting has a lineup that rivals that of Davos—and it's a lot more fun to be doing this in Seoul, where, despite the looming nuclear neighbor to the north, there is an "Asian optimism" missing in the rest of the world. I was lit up by the whole thing. But my afternoon actually topped my morning—my 3rd and last speech of the day was to several hundred students. Such groups lift the heart—but they're also stressful; young women and young men will not tolerate the bullshit that their elders, unfortunately, often become immune to. Back to VT tomorrow—long flights but worth it.
(Incidentally, I'd be hard pressed to adequately express the warm feelings I have for General Powell. He is, through and through, a remarkable person—and a million million miles from being full of himself, unlike many of his peers with whom I've had similar dealings.)
I love Sydney. I ended my stay with a 2-hour powerwalk in one of my favorite venues anywhere in the world—the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain. Above you'll see one of the gardens' century plants in bloom—they can grow several feet in a day when they explode from their dormancy. (I thought one was an intruder years ago, when it appeared instantly outside the window of my San Francisco house.) Below "the mother of all trees."
Speaking to Taleo today—an SF-based software company that provides sophisticated stuff to abet Talent acquisition, development, productivity enhancement, and retention. E.g., it takes about $100,000 to recruit an employee, and $500,000 to find and train a replacement. (LONG and FINAL versions of slides attached.) Above and below you'll see a couple of slices of my favorite city in the world (along with London). An "Uncle Vito's" "restaurant" is as SF as the Golden Gate—though I can assure you that San Franciscans didn't name the street—see the sign—after the current resident of the shack at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Below is one of the premier reasons for my love affair with San Francisco—incredible diversity; not so many cities with dispensers of the Philippine News, I'd judge.
Kenya, per my analysis, was the SIXTY-FOURTH country in which I have been lucky enough to present. And to say "the best of the lot" would be an insult to my many wonderful hosts, from OMAN to MAURITIUS to NEW ZEALAND to SIBERIA. But I'm tempted. I have rarely, if ever, had such a warm welcome (to Susan & me); I have rarely, if ever, had such wonderful interactions with seminar participants. So I'll simply send along the slides—and offer a hearty "thanks and Godspeed" to my new friends from Nairobi, et al. (See you soon, I hope.)
[Slides from the event in Nairobi, where Tom spoke to close to 500 clients comprised of CEOs and top management who are clients of KPMG Training Solutions, are available with the links below.—CM]
Excellence. Always. Section One, KPMG, Nairobi
Excellence. Always. Section Two, KPMG, Nairobi
I'm heading to Africa tomorrow for walkabout in Botswana and a seminar in Kenya. Be back, God willing (hey, they're beheading folks in Nairobi), in 2 weeks.
My GRP yesterday was three. That is, Gross Rock Product. I've been clearing hiking trails on the Farm, and specifically clearing around gorgeous boulders on Tinmouth Mountain. Today I eked out 3 hours of hard labor—and revealed, sort of "Zen-like," three spectacular boulders, the largest of which was 6 X 12 X 8 feet. Hence a Gross Rock Product of three.
As I headed for a long hot shower that I hoped would reduce my back pain to mere agony, I thought about home writ large, Tinmouth Mountain, Vermont, and the United States of America—and our 231st July Fourth. I/we are lucky—300 million lucky dudes—rancor shadowing Iraq notwithstanding. The Freedoms I "automatically" express and enjoy on my Farm and in my professional life are truly amazing, especially if your reference point is a scant 250 years ago—as I mentioned in a recent Post, I'm reading about the history of the idea of freedom per se. For me, born in 1942, I am also reminded on 4 July of the state of terror that existed in the world when I arrived—i.e., Holocaust and human butchery in general were in full swing.
Hence, putting the likes of Middle Eastern madness and views about this year's decisions by the Supremes aside for 24 hours, we have much to be thankful for, much to be worthy of a hot dog with catsup lathered with reckless disregard of its effect on post-July Fourth girth.
Back to the rocks ...
I enjoyed myself beyond measure, but I had one helluva first six months of 2007. With brutal abandon, I simply piled up too damn many frequent flyer miles. I will mostly be on my beloved Vermont farm for the next five or so weeks—pursuing as nasty a manual labor schedule as my physical self can take. (And loafing—i.e., reading.) Work "of the head" will be minimal, unless I talk myself into one of several pending writing projects, which I hope I don't.
The upshot is that my Posts will be sporadic—and the posting of PowerPoint presentations nil. (NB: I've spent the first three very intense "days off" learning Microsoft Office 2007—which has #%$^ all in common with the '97–'03 version; I successfully side-stepped Vista, only to be fully ensnared by its cousin. Hint: I am in a very bad mood.)
Okay, it's actually 63. That is, the 63rd birthday of the Allies' start of the bloody process of liberating France. Alas, I'd forgotten until, while on my run in Georgetown on the ancient C&O Canal Towpath (a 70 or 80 mile trek in full), I saw French, American, and British flags on a tiny shop front. The owner, with curlers in her hair, almost shouted "Thank you, America" as I passed with a Navy hat on. (Haven't gotten anything but grief-vitriol overseas as an American of late*—so it came as a shock.) Anyway, she is very, very French, and has had her shop for about 15 years; she topped things off with an invitation to stop by in the afternoon for champagne.
Hats off to our Normandy vets, now all in their 80s, from the U.S., Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, etc.—brave members of a true "coalition of the willing."
*In the past, overseas, I've observed dismay at the resident of 1600 PA Ave. But this time it's inclusive—we are all getting grief.
Alas, Memorial Day finds me on the road. Then again, there are a lot of our troops on the road today as well. My thoughts go to everyone who is serving, but especially to those in Iraq and Afghanistan. And a particularly special thought is aimed at Keith Bishop, husband of our Abbey Bishop. Thanks, Keith.
It seems odd to combine thoughts of Iraq and beautiful Mauritius. But it's where I was, and you'll see a bit of it above and below. Note the lovely (to me) old boat that also served its time, and no doubt with distinction.
As wealth grows in India and the Middle East, and as Boomer restlessness accelerates from every corner of the globe, Mauritius stands poised to become a primo travel destination. Middle Eastern investment money is already flowing in, full tilt.
(Am in Göteborg, Sweden, as I write.)
Only for an ESPN seminar could I scrap the tie and show up with a Johnny Unitas shirt and [Washington] Nats hat. Above and below, the next day re-construction, courtesy Abbey Bishop.
Tom's caption from yesterday, repeated below, was supposed to go with the photo above. Now we see what he means.
[T.T.D./Things To Do: Run like hell when the volcano pops ... a lesson from my recent visit to Pompeii.—TP]
[T.T.D./Things To Do: Run like hell when the volcano pops ... a lesson from my recent visit to Pompeii/see photo above.]
Susan and I spent 3 days in New Zealand on the fabled Routeburn Track, arguably one of the world's great treks. (She was antelope, I was ... whatever.) I'd say "I couldn't have made it without my trusty Leki pole," but as you'll see below (photo credit to Susan Sargent), it let me down mid-trek. We've reported it to the manufacturer.
As we celebrate President's Day, it seems appropriate to look back at 09/11, courtesy my New Zealand trip. On 0211, we were in Christchurch, heading home. On a short walk, I spotted an odd sculpture on the street. Turns out, see above pic, that it is a tribute to 09/11's firefighters; moreover, it is made of twisted beams from the Twin Towers—sent by request to NZ's Christchurch firefighters. The next morning, on more or less the same walk, I came to realize that the memorial was but a block from the HQ of the Christchurch firefighters battalion. Though it was 6 a.m. (light in NZ!), I decided to knock on the door, figuring that the HQ would be manned 24/7. Indeed it was, and I spent an emotional 15 minutes thanking, as a U.S. visitor, the firefighter who answered the door and, via him, his colleagues for their thoughtfulness. Fact is, I was to my surprise in tears for most of the conversation—as (good God) I am as I type this. The memorial is one of just five such artifacts in the world. In 2002, Christchurch was hosting the world firefighters games (their Olympics); since they were the first such games since 09/11, Christchurch decided that a memorial was in order—and NYC cooperated, as you can see.
Commander Kurt Wendelken, SC, USN, was seconded to CENTCOM's HQ in the Middle East. We have been irregularly corresponding—which started with the tompeters.com Blog. Kurt recently honored me with a CENTCOM soldier's cap, with my name inscribed in English and Arabic. As you'll see below, I posed with the cap—photo credit to Abbey Bishop, our VT major domo. I figure it's not dishonorable for me to don the cap, in part because I was a ground fighter (builder-fighter working with the USMC) in I Corps Vietnam in 1966–68.
P-day should remind us all, regardless of present turmoil, what the 207-year-old U.S. experiment is all about.
See pictures above and below:
Top: attacked (no exaggeration—it happens) by a sea lion on Stewart Island, NZ, on February 10—I was in his space, and he wanted to nap on the beach after ingesting a large fish (and, yes, I was that close—no telephoto lens!).
Bottom: Home in VT, February 14—2.5 feet of snow, temp minus 4º F., wind gusting to 40 mph.
(More NZ commentary-pics to follow.)
Tom reads some poems about rain and sand flies. (Apparently an abundance of both at this time.)
In California, the story goes, anything over 50 years of age merits the title "antiquity"—I suppose that includes me! On the East Coast the # is more like 100 to 150 years. (Of course, that blithely ignores the fabulous Spanish settlements in what became California—that pre-date by 100 years the Pilgrims not landing at Plymouth Rock in 1620.)
But that's not my point.
My point is ... Athens. It is, yes, bizarre and wonderful—in a nondescript square, one casually comes upon a little sign tacked to a wall: "Façade of Hadrian's Reservoir."
Now that's antiquity!
(Sorry—no photo. I forgot my camera on that walk, but I did take a note.)
Off today for 5 weeks. Greece-Saudi Arabia-San Francisco for the next 14 days (4 seminars), followed by nearly 3 weeks of New Zealand summer hiking, including the Routeburn Track. I'll be silent during the NZ sojourn—no computer allowed, by direct order (including inspection) of my dearly beloved spouse. (She has a point.)
The air travel wearies. The hotel room same-same deadens the soul. The "nights away" add up and up. But ...
Call it self-indulgent if you must. But as a small gift to myself I just went through my entire 226-slide deck of photos at Flickr.
What a lucky fella!
Rome at Easter.
Madrid & Madrid & Madrid.
And L.A. and Mackinac Island and Maine and Atlanta and Wichita and ...
And Orlando & Orlando & Las Vegas & Las Vegas ...
Packed into 12 months, 33 of 65 events outside the U.S., a lifetime's worth of experiences and new friends and opportunities to spread the word about startling new ways to work and serve and shape a "career" worth savoring.
Yup, one lucky fella!
"What's Tom been up to?" is a question I am often asked. I thought it was a good question, and that "beats me" was a lousy answer. So Abbey and Cathy and I pulled together the attached general & specific analysis of the last five years (including, God willing, the rest of 2006). We'll also Post it under "Tom's Bio and PR" (in the nav menu on the left).
Back "home" (Annapolis, where I grew up) for a wedding this past Saturday. Spent the preceding and following nights in Oxford, MD, heart of the "Eastern Shore" (of the Chesapeake). Little sleep due to the deafening sound of Canadian Geese headin' south. The Eastern Shore flyway is one of the most important eastern migratory stops—and the migration is an amazing and moving sight to witness. In a couple of weeks, I think, there will be millions of our feathered friends parking here.
The picture above is "morning in Oxford on the Tred Avon River;" below is an oyster boat, with tongs, berthed at Tilghman Island. (A couple more pics are at Flickr, including one of the rare bits of humor, from an Eastern Shore political poster, surrounding the upcoming election.)
When I got back from my seminar in Barcelona, the dusk was approaching. I quickly changed and hit the streets—in search of Gaudi. I did the "male thing" ... and refused to ask for help. Hence, both I and my Sony DSC-11 zeroed out.
(Guess I'll have to come back. Which is a great idea.)
What we're talking about on the front page.
Before blogging became all the rage, Tom was posting book reviews and Observations (essentially early blog posts) to this site. You can find the archives below.
What we're talking about
on the front page.