Thursday, February 28, 2002

Take It Easy

When's the last time you really took a nice, healthy break — like a day at a health club — massage, sauna, workout, swim, the works. I did today and it was such a treat — literally. Thanks to my friend Claire for taking me along as her guest.

Don't underestimate how much wear and tear your mind and body have endured since 9/11. Between terrorism, the economy, Daniel Pearl, John Ashcroft's "Happy High Alert Day" warnings and all, we all need a break. And don't say you don't have the money -- a friend can sponsor you. And don't say you don't have the time -- cultivate the fine art of calling in sick.

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Stop Treating Us Like Morons

I'm thinking about this and why it caused such a stir in 1999 and continues to cause such a stir. It really has little to do with marketing and everything to do with power.

And, I think it was extremely prescient, so perhaps, that's why it's back. We kind of took it for granted back then, when times were flush and we were living high on the hog. It's even more important now.

So if John Dvorak pretends he doesn't know what it means, I'm happy to explain it. Ironically, it's about the same powershift that occurred when mainframes became dinosaurs and something called the "PC" appeared on everyone's desk at work and at home. Surely John knows something about the revolution caused by the PC. If he just wants to make fun of it, yes, that's easy to do. But John, read it one more time with me if you're serious about "getting it".

It means, "stop treating us like morons," or maybe "stop committing economic and demographic violence against us." Try this:

1. Markets are conversations. (We're sick of being talked down to, talked at, lectured at about what junk to buy. We want to be on equal footing with the person selling and we want to ask them questions, get substantive answers and the Net let's us do that.)

2. Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors. (Is it too much to ask, to simply be considered a unique human being?)

3. Conversations among human beings sound human. (Not like silly advertising pitches.)

4. Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments, or humorous asides, the human voice is typically open, natural, uncontrived. (We know if you are a person. Stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes. That's what selling used to be, that doesn't work anymore.)

5. People recognize each other as such from the sound of this voice. (Everyone knows when you're talking to them like an idiot. We've all stopped listening. Unless you talk to us like a real person, we're long gone.)

6. The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media. (Instead of being privately assaulted in our living rooms with a salesman's phony pitch, we're able to ask a friend for the truth about the lemon he just bought.)

7. Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy. (We used to grant a salesperson some respect and believe he had some knowledge. With links, we can quickly find out if what s/he is saying is even remotely factual and their heirarchical status is thereby reaffirmed or seriously compromised. Just ask Jeffrey Skilling.)

8. In both internetworked markets and among intranetworked employees, people are speaking to each other in a powerful new way. (Just the fact that they ARE speaking to one another is powerful.)

9. These networked conversations are enabling powerful new forms of social organization and knowledge exchange to emerge. (You might think we're all more than familiar with the results -- new ways to work, new ways to learn, new ways to think -- but actually it's just beginning. Watch.)

10. As a result, markets are getting smarter, more informed, more organized. Participation in a networked market changes people fundamentally. (All true and it means you can't sell anything to us the way you used to, and that includes cars, pizza, books, Enron, war, taxes, etc That old standard cliche 'information is power' isn't a cliche for nothing.)

One last thing. I think this boat rose on a tide of women's long-term frustration with being treating like consumer idiots. We've always been spoken to like idiots. Most pre-1990's marketing is based on solidly misogynist assumptions. Marketing, until very recently, has been a classic verbally abusive enterprise. None of us women were surprised when this book became a bestseller. The whole paradigm of speaking to women consumers like easy-to-manipulate, easy-to-cheat, easy-to-fool MORONS disintegrated, when advertising tried speaking to men that way. No wonder our boy felt rage.

Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Big Fat Liar on CSPAN

Welcome back to the "let them eat cake" economy. Yes, Jeffrey Skilling was visiting the senate committee again today, helping them understand why he's still got 66 million dollars and the schnooks who worked for him are selling pencils from a tin cup on the street.

It all comes down to one thing — the very powerful and very wealthy think the rest of us are just so much unfortunate cheesy lawn furniture in their lives. Hopefully we'll all just fold up and blow away in the next storm.

Many of the CSPAN 800 viewer calls were united in one respect. They don't see too much of a difference between the Enronians and the politicians.

Opps! I spent $62,000 on lunch again!

Don't miss the piece today in the New York Times about the 5 Barclay's Bank guys who spent $62K on lunch in London and tried to put it through on their expense reports. It's all part of the same story, the rich are different from the rest of us ... they're smart and we're broke and stupid, or is it about to be the other way around?

Monday, February 25, 2002

In Case You Guys Hadn't Sold Enough Copies of Cluetrain

Fess up, Doc, Rageboy, David, Rick, did you pay John Dvorak to re-promote your book?! This man is manna from heaven. Do you know how hard it is to get ink on a book published four years ago? You've got Max Perkins sitting up and smiling in his grave.

Thanks to Mike Sanders @ Keep Trying for this. Repeat after me, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Bachelorette No. 5

Peterme's blog on dating is pretty funny. Good to know that chercher la femme is most effective on personals. Check it out.

No Heart Attacks Please

They say Monday morning at 9:00am is the time most heart attacks occur, so TAKE IT EASY. In fact, if you're at work, I'm giving you special permission today to do NOTHING. Most people try to do everything on Monday. The most productive and powerful thing you can do on Monday is to do nothing. It's very Zen.

There are, however, three things you should do today.

1. If you're at home, put on loud music to dance and celebrate the fact that you DID NOT have a heart attack. Do this at 10:00am. You made it, you're alive. If you're at work, go hide in the bathroom and play air guitar and celebrate as well.

2. Imagine your biggest rival or most hated person at work (or home) with a wide spectrum of bird poop on them today. When you meet them in the hall, think, "seagull" and imagine a nice plop of seagull shit on them. Later, at lunch, think "pigeons" and I mean a flock. Towards the end of the day, feel free to conjure up something from Hitchcock's The Birds, true aviary terrorism, complete with Tippi Hedren. This should keep your spirits up all day.

3. Draw doodles of your gravestone with your name, the name of your current job and company on it — how's it sound? Maybe it's time for a change.

Saturday, February 23, 2002

Samedi Soir

Yes, mes amies, it's Saturday Night again. Sex I promised and sex I shall deliver. Tonight I quote that definitive source, Cosmopolitan Magazine, which is probably (and unfortunately) read by more 12-year olds than anyone over 18.

But get a load of this. "Why don't you keep in mind ... that on many nights underwear isn't really necessary." Well, I guess the Cosmo girls aren't hanging out in Boston tonight where we're looking forward to a fairly butt-chilling 19 degrees F or -7 degrees C. Good night for knickers.

And don't even get me started on the "Sexual Seesaw" in their Cosmo Kama Sutra section. The person most aroused by this position will be the Emergency Chiropractor called in to perform a holistic Jaws-of-Life at $285/housecall.

The webmaster gets my vote for the ultimate titillation, leaving us hanging mid-sentence with this gem, requiring a "more" link to fill in the blank, "Your partner, leaning in front of you, butts his knees against your lower back, supporting you, and leans his torso against your thighs. (You can hold his ...more

Let me guess, " ... wallet?"

So Many Motherless Boys

We're watching the savage acts of motherless boys in the microcosm and a raging battle between yin and yang in the macrocosm. The ability to care for others, to nurture, to feel empathy, to feel compassion, to even tolerate the weak and vulnerable in society, to have any tolerance at all, is taught at your mother's knee and has fallen into disrepute.

The desire to be on top, to be in control, to be the one in power, to be greedy, to be selfish, to hold a gun to another's head, to possess, to belittle, to denigrate, to destroy, all these impulses thrive in a society where women are undervalued.

And don't think for a minute I'm only talking about countries where you see the parade of pretty blue burquas. Americans made a deal with the devil in the past few years, to consider jobs and money our fundamental religion and make sure women and children lost any value in the economic landscape.

Pearl Before Swine

So disheartened by this sad, sad business of Daniel Pearl's death, and especially the notion that they paid little attention to him being a reporter or an American, but the focus was on him being a Jew, I just couldn't blog a thing yesterday.

Thursday, February 21, 2002


It's hard not to let your heart wander abroad with grief, to feel for the families in the flaming train to Luxor forced to jump from the windows in desperation. And then to darkly imagine the pretty and handsome office workers in the WTC, coffee cups still on their desks, on a fresh September morning, choosing to fly superman-like out the windows to the plaza below.

You have to wonder if we are being radically rewired, to feel the feelings of a smaller and smaller world of all people, no matter how far away they live, as distance continues to lose meaning. Our hearts are constantly working overtime now, building a new infrastructure of connection, both exquisitely painful and perhaps of exquisite joy.

Wednesday, February 20, 2002

Weinberger Ink

Always good to see one of our boys from the hometown team in print. Check out David Weinberger's thoughts here in the new Fast Company. Maybe one of these days, we'll actually get to buy a copy of his book!!!

Matrullo Applies Hammer Adroitly to Nail

Hitting it smack on the head, as usual, Tom dares to dream of a user-friendly blogging paradise where words go in AND words come back out. Don't miss "exit strategy" in his blog.

Another Big Day for Big J Journalism

Don't miss the piece in the Boston Globe about Atlantic Monthly's little blunder. After turning away two over-40 year old women for internship positions by explaining in their rejection letters that The Atlantic Monthly is "unable to accept people who are older because our interns work very closely together and it won't work if they are of very different ages or stages in their lives." The magazine said "they regretted the letter Jackson [one of the applicants] received." I'll bet.

Let me think here ... Big J Journalism, oh yeah I remember how it works, you start by working at a "big name" organization as an intern, you put that rag's name on your resume, you're creating a platform for yourself, some other "big name" publication hires you because you worked at big name rag no. 1, and finally one day you actually get a chance to WRITE something at another publication because you can say you work currently at big name rag no. 2 and they notice that you first worked at big name rag no. 1 ... AND YOU THINK BLOGGING ISN'T SUBVERSIVE?

Tuesday, February 19, 2002

People Crave It

Interesting piece in the UNLINKABLE NEW YORK TIMES today. "Hijacking The Brain Circuits With a Nickel Slot Machine" by Sandra Blakeslee, under the fold on the Science Times section.

Check out this quote: "Several studies were published last year looking at monetary rewards and dopamine. Money is abstract, but to the brain it looks like cocaine, food, sex or anything a person expects is rewarding, said Dr. Hans Breiter, a neuroscientist at Harvard. People crave it."

I can see the cages of Harvardian rats, strewn with overdue American Express bills and ATM receipts.

Monday, February 18, 2002

Come Clean

Something's happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear ... We're watching the Enronians drop their pants (a few of them) and tell the truth about what was really going on. We're watching the poor pathetic guy who ran the crematorium in Georgia be forced to come clean. We've had it with hockey dads beating the shit out of fellow hockey dads and pretending they weren't. Enough with priests abusing little boys and being protected by their superiors. We've had it with lies. Come on, just come clean, tell me the truth!

My sisters and I used to watch To Tell The Truth when we were kids. We already knew TV sucked, so to make it more interesting, we mostly watched it upside down on the couch, our legs straight up on the back cushions, our heads nearly touching the floor, our braids flopping in arcs rugward, blood rushing to our 5, 10 and 12-year old heads. And even upside down, you could always tell who was telling the truth and who wasn't.

What A Drag It Is

Getting Old, as Mick Jagger once wrote, long before he was fifty. Living Code writes an interesting piece today about loss, with links to others on the "aging" industry in America, how much of the economy is based on selling "youth services" and in her reference to the book Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, how we are essentially always both living and dying a little.

It reminded me of the Japanese word "shibui" on Dane's list of words with no equivalent in English. It means "the beauty of aging." Talk about a word we'd have no use for in our culture!

Song For A Small Guy

As for 6-man, 1-woman bobsled event on blogocracy, David "JOHO" Weinberger, Tom Matrullo, AKMA, Steve Himmer, Mike Golby, Jeneane Sessums and Doc continue to amaze and delight us. (I told Tom Matrullo it was just too Olympic in scale for me to jump in — I can't even get out of the starting gate!) But let me point to a quote I've always liked and keep sitting on my desk.

Jorma Ollila, the head of Nokia put it well in a piece in Wired in Sept. 1999. The interviewer asked " ... Ollila how he felt about playing an instrumental role in transforming the ways we communicate. "What it means is that every individual, every culture, every nationality has an opportunity to make a mark as part of a team, because there is a medium through which to work," he said.

He paused for a moment, and added, "This is a song for a small guy. Do you know what I mean? The network, and the new economy, give opportunities for a small guy to sing his song and be heard. You might say that there are no borders now, and that we [Finland] would disappear as a country, but I think this has given us more identity. The access to information has made you aware of what is going on in this corner of the world, of the uniqueness here. That shines through much brighter than it ever did. Now we are there. We are part of the network."

Ollila hits on something really important -- again a big J Journalism dirty little secret -- the pretense of objectivity is grounded in an elite "from-less-ness." It's dehumanizing. I want to know WHERE you're from. On the network, you're in the same room with me, but what I love best about you, is that you could be half-way around the world.

Another reason we like to ask the 800-number customer service girl where she's located, how's the weather there, it's the last shred of humanity she's got.

Sunday, February 17, 2002

Spiritual Sunday, Sexual Saturday

I have a kindof a joke running with a friend that on Saturdays I try to blog something sexy and on Sundays something sacred. Wish they hadn't glued those days back-to-back, sometimes it's hard to shift gears so fast, but c'est la vie. I suppose that's the best thing about life — all those bittersweet juxtapositions.

In my church, this morning, we said a farewell to 15 people from the congregation who are headed to Honduras to do missionary work in a small village there. They'll be helping out in an orphanage caring for kids, digging ditches, building schools. Our church has sponsored a young Honduran teenage boy here in Boston for 5 months who's been getting multiple operations on his feet and legs — he was completely unable to walk before — and now returns to his village on his own two feet, walking. Miracle enough for me.

King Lear Says Welcome To Verizon

When I startup my DSL software early in the morning, which is not easy and the interface is extremely goofy, if it works, the booming voice of James Earl Jones says "WELCOME TO VERIZON" half knocking me out of my desk chair if my audio is cranked up. And I think to myself, Christ, even King Lear is a shill now, out there on the cyberstreet begging for dimes, nickels and quarters and I really start to worry about Cordelia if her dad is stuck panhandling in this way, his volcanic rage must be even worse than usual.

Saturday, February 16, 2002

BlogCon 2002

Ohmigod how cool, I can't wait! Meanwhile, what's the dress code — formal Linux tuxedo wear? Or maybe, hawaiian shirts only? Or maybe, surfer dude and dudette stuff? (Made ja look! Made ja look!)

BTW, I vote for Mandalay Bay where you can get good cheap deals and the Lazy River pool and the Big Wave Pool (with real sand) are the best.

Dane on Voice

Hey, I was ALSO so excited to hear David Weinberger on the radio the other day and I love the way Dane Carlson blogged about it here. After all the fascinating discussions about "voice" being part of the allure of blogs, it suddenly struck me that are no actual audio voices on blogs, and how great the real thing is. I think the "voice" issue is really about this media being the first one that gets close to sounding like it sounds in your head — and what we are really experiencing when we read Doc or David or Dane is a mindmeld — we get to walk around in THEIR heads for awhile. AND TALK ABOUT EXCITING!

Friday, February 15, 2002

Speaking of the Pagan Ethos

Good God Almighty, Rageboy is back with us! Rageboy has NOT left the building. We need you man — daily. We get a little crazy when we're not getting it every day. We don't like it a few times a week. We go nuts when it's weekly. Monthly makes us totally strung out. Keep not those gemlike insights unto thyself.

My bookmark calls your site, "all noise all the time" and I'm beginning to get a little surly when I read the "all the time" part.

Big J Journalists and Big W Warriors

If you haven't had a chance to check out Andrew Sullivan's Book Club do it. He won't start blogging about the book, Warrior Politics, until next week so you have time to read it now. It's only 150 pages.

For those interested in big J Journalists, it has a very interesting discussion about how the media may aid our enemies during wartime. "Another problem ...will be the unwitting collusion between the global media and our enemies. ... The power of the media is willful and dangerous because it dramatically effects Western policy while bearing no responsibility for the outcome. Indeed the media's moral perfectionism is possible only because it is politically unaccountable."

The book, Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos, by Robert Kaplan, is mostly about hero warriors (Churchill, Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, Livy, Achilles) and doesn't go into depth about journalism, but I think a bunch of you will find Kaplan's writing good and his thoughts provocative.

No More Drama

Doc, please get a Toyota. Any make, any model. Boring, you say? Maybe. Insanely reliable? Yes, yes. We used to live in Manhattan Beach, just south of LAX and did the trip up to SF/Sacramento to see friends and family all the time. You need a very reliable car for that junket. We fear the next missive will be from the caveman room at the Madonna Inn. Please, please, get a new car.

Thursday, February 14, 2002

When They Need Your Love On The Other Side

Thanks to Doc for telling us about Sean Fay's sudden loss of his young wife, Kelly. Let's all send Sean Valentines today and give him support.

It's been my experience that Sean is exactly right when he writes that God needed his wife for some important projects in heaven. Some dark losses in my life have been followed by near miracles that seem to appear out of nowhere. You learn to look up and give them a thankful wink.

The Invisible Heart

Happy Valentines Day. This is an interesting book about the economic value of those who love and care for others and how it is essentially ignored in the GDP and the economy and society at large.. Check it out.

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Ferrari Barbie is a Tramp

I'm sorry, but really, just look at her. Nothing but trouble. When I mentioned Barbie before, little did I know what a serious Barbie branding and co-branding effort was going on!

And how about the 1001 Arabian Nights Ken and Barbie. Now we see what they're up to behind closed doors. I wonder if she's read the original book— she better get out of there.

Her Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Games Fire and Ice outfit looks a little skimpy. And we don't recommend ski jumping in those heels.

My favorites are the Fantasy Barbies. The Goddess of Wisdom is a omnipotent babe. And I love the copywriter who came up with "Not since the 3rd century BC has a goddess had so many followers."

Admit It, He's A Babe

Okay guys, as for wingtips, I know this is a tough one to swallow, but Rumsfeld is a babe. He's a snappy dresser, articulate as hell, he's got a certain 'je ne sais quoi' about him. Talk about That 70's Show, don't miss these pix of Rummy, Cheney and Ford.

Oh David, Put On Your Wingtips!

Come on, Weinberger, don't get so hung up on the Wall Street Journal Do you really blush when we catch you reading it?

If I remember right, they were the first guys in the bigboypress to write anything important about a business book called ... what the heck was it ... oh, yeah, something about a train.

Waste Not Want Not

Since January 1, we've being looking at all our expenses with a sharp eye and been very careful spending money. Quicken made us realize our household budget was a very leaky boat. We were spending way money too much on going out to eat, and now we're eating at home much more.

The results after six weeks? Have we saved money? Yes. But even more striking, is how much weight Mike and I have lost! What the heck were we eating?

If you haven't read Your Money Or Your Life, don't miss it. It helps you realize, a penny saved is a minute at home with your family or friends — i.e., Take This Job And Shove It is always best sung to the key of flush (with cash).

Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Spring Makes Effort To Spring Forth

Under the edge of an icy wind, like a wink or mild flirtation, I can feel spring trying to get my attention. The yard is a mess of patchy yellowed grass, crunchy grey snow lumps and brown mud patches, but something is afoot. The days dawn at a bone-chilling 10 degrees but by lunch we've got 40! A battle is raging between cold and warm, and I guess I'll have to put my money on spring, though it seems a long shot at best.

Let's Get It On

Speaking of greeting cards, I like the musical Beatgreets — don't miss the Marvin Gaye Valentines Day card, very sexy, cool shoes and of course, a great tune.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Red envelope greetings to my mother-in-law Lai, my sisters-in-law Mui, Mae, Myra and bro-in-law Roy, also Ezzy, Yrene, John, Todd and Raquel. Wish we were in San Francisco with you all to celebrate like last year.

Auntie Mui rented a hotel room right on the Dragon Parade route and then we hung out the window watching the parade go by, while simultaneously watching it on TV. Unfortunately, the TV coverage was almost better than live. Here are some New Year's Cards!

Bloggers Roam The Earth

Andrew Sullivan is off to London, David Weinberger is off to Ottawa, Doc Searls is off to SF but I'm here minding the store in freezing Boston. The temperature dropped from 42 to 12 in one day today. I'll make a pot of tea and think about London.

I did a lot of business there in 1997 - 1999 and I sure miss it. Meetings at the Institute of Directors at 116 Pall Mall were always a treat, whether in the big tea room on the main level or the cozy wine bar downstairs. I loved coming back to my hotel in the coldest, grey weather imaginable always to find a tea tray with really good tea and really good biscuits. How civilized!

Sunday, February 10, 2002

I Stand Corrected 2X

Jean-Yves gives me a bunch of good reasons the Olympics should be in English and French. Je suis desolee, mon vieux! Merci beaucoup de me corriger! (Just corrected this AGAIN, since JY tells me it's "de me corriger" not "pour me corriger". Merci 1000X.)

Saturday, February 09, 2002

Jeux Olympiques Go Figure

(And I'm don't mean skating.) Not to take another crack at the French, but WHAT GIVES with the two official languages of the Winter Olympics being English and French?

I love the French language and I love the French people, but HELLO, I know I'm in a minority. Also, we're in the US and therefore, it should have been Spanish or why not be honest — it's the winter games, just do the whole thing in Norwegian!

Mesdames et Monsieurs ... here's a weird and funky old link.

Where Were You?

For some reason today I was thinking about that video of Osama Bin Laden and his buddies talking about where they were when they heard about the WTC attack and collapse. It's something hard to get out of your head, because whatever you think of them, they were doing the very same thing that we were all doing ... asking our friends the "where were you when you heard?" question.

Of course, there was that moment where you felt they were just LIKE US, sitting around after dinner asking one another about that, but that moment of connection was instantly obliterated when you heard them gloating about how many people they exterminated. Sick, sick, sick.

I was also thinking about God. I'm sitting around the table asking my friends where were they and I can't help wanting to ask God ... where were you? What the hell were you thinking, man? Maybe you were trying to get our attention. And maybe it was the severe shaking we needed to look evil in the face and do something about it.

Fun Lunch

I had the great good fortune to work with Bob Metcalfe in 1999 on his book, Internet Collapses and Other Infoworld Punditry and this past Thursday we had lunch together. Honestly, people who go around inventing things like ethernet intimidate the hell out of me, but I try to act like it's no big deal. I asked Bob if I could blog about him and he said I could say that he invented packet switching and that he built the internet with his own hands over Thanksgiving in 1968. Again, I think he was just trying to make me feel like a useless punk, since the only thing I've ever done with my own hands over any Thanksgiving was stuff a turkey.

So we had this almost perfect lunch — half food/half talk/half net — because we were in his office, eating at his conference table and every few minutes we'd talk about something and then we'd have to run over to his computer on the other side of the room and show one another something online like this, and then go back and sit down to eat and then we'd talk about something like this and then we'd bounce back over to the computer and it got me thinking that we really don't have this world very seamlessly integrated and I wish we could just get it together.

There are so many places I want really robust, really fast Net access while I'm doing other stuff — like waiting for luggage at an airport, eating at every restaurant, while I'm swimming in a pool, in line at McDonald's, getting a pedicure, any place you can do laundry, on a treadmill at the gym, at my kid's school. Bob, please work on this next Thanksgiving.

Friday, February 08, 2002

Day Of The Dead Mariachi Band To Play Linux GeekCruise

Well, not exactly, but check it out. The next Linux Lunacy geek cruise hits Mexico at Halloween/All Saints Day (Oct. 26 - Nov. 2) which means it can only be super cool, since it will coincide with Day of the Dead.

When I lived in LA, I went to Olvera Street downtown on Dia de los Meurtos and got the cutest little wooden box diarama, not much bigger than a box of kitchen matches that featured a 3D scene of 6 happy wooden Mariachi band players, playing La Bamba loud and long, partying their butts off, big black sombreros, very joyous, except they were dead, I mean, they were skeletons. It's always good to keep a little death around to remind you to carpe diem.

What's this have to do with the Linux Lunacy? Nothing, except that it means it will be a majorly cool cruise. Some guy named Linus Torvalds will be on board too, rumor has it.

Thursday, February 07, 2002

To The Best of My Recollection ...

At least Jeffrey Skilling, former CEO of Enron, had the balls to appear at the congressional hearings. My concern is that the folks at Enron seem to be suffering from a company-wide epidemic of Alzheimer's disease. Very peculiar how much they have forgotten.

I think there's only one reporter to follow on this one — Gary Trudeau.

I can't wait to get the teeshirt that lists the 2001 salaries of Enron execs on one side and the salaries of fallen firefighters, police and port authority workers on the other.

This is a good time to be brave and a bad time to be a spoiled, chicken shit, lying billionaire.

It's My Hometown

"Last night me and Kate
we laid in bed
talking about getting out
packing up
our bags maybe
heading south
I'm thirty-five,
we got a boy
of our own now
last night I sat him up
behind the wheel
and said "Son take a good look around
This is your hometown."

The Way We Net-Work

Doc is, as usual, hitting on some big topics when he mulls over the subject of Why We Blog. Go there quick and read it if you haven't, especially his simple "I work alone and I need to talk about something other than work — and work too — with somebody. Or anybody. And I'm probably not alone in this regard."

Read this again "other than work and work too" — or how about work intimately integrated with family, intimately integrated with food, intimately integrated with friends, intimately integrated with thought, intimately integrated with books, etc., etc.

There's nothing casual about what Doc is doing. He's SHOWING US HOW. How to live and work in a radically different way, supported by a radical infrastructure — the Net, but I mean the net(work of people, thought, etc.) too. It's our hometown. (It's what David Weinberger's new book is all about.) That's why we get so damned pissed off when Disney marches in and pretends they own the Web, and plants a Mickey Mouse flag of glossy Mylar and shouts out "We're King of the Hill."

We need to see this on a continuum. There's an evolution here that is bigger, deeper, wider than all the great stuff Daniel Pink wrote about in Free Agent Nation, all the important stuff Alan Webber's been pointing us to in FastCompany, all of Seth Godin's fascinating monthly pieces and books, all the open source sorcery Eric Raymond brilliantly reflects on in Cathedral and The Bazaar, everything Tom Peters has been writing about for 25 years, and of course, all the groundbreaking shit Cluetrain has delivered. But it's beginning to speed up and we're not even noticing. This train's gone from loco-motive to shinkansen.

Wednesday, February 06, 2002

It's My Birthday

I'm going back to bed to read my book! Perfect day!

Tuesday, February 05, 2002

Try 20 degrees F or -6 degrees C in Boston

And that's before the wind chill factor! But Erik Hansen and I braved the cold and grabbed the T down to Park Street Station to see the Patriots parading by in their duck boats. It was wonderfully UNDERproduced, that is, just the team, the owner, a few local big shots and 20 duck boats. It was so simple and plain, you wondered if the city figured they'd never win and hadn't planned a big event. The crowd was so excited — and a certain amount of jumping up and down was required in that cold — truly bone chilling.

Across Tremont Street from where we were standing, a bunch of construction workers were perched up on a scaffolding and one guy in his hard hat, brown overalls, long johns was leading us in "Give me a P" (he pointed his rounded outstretched arms towards his belly to make a P),"Give me an A" (arms in an A-frame shape overhead), "Give me a T" (arms straight out), "Give me an S" (the "S" looked like a kid practicing a dive sideways, arms hooked in front, one leg bent at the knee to the back), "What does it spell — PATS!" and 1.25 million crazy happy Bostonians were there to spell along.

We thawed out at McCormick and Schmicks on Columbus Ave, checking for signs of frostbite. The fish was fresh. The calamari was hot and spicy. Thanks for lunch Erik. You are NUMBER ONE!

Go To The Head Of The Class

Interesting stuff going on at Gonzo-Engaged, particularly Tom Matrullo's question about "why and how it is that any view of CLASS INEQUITY remains mostly obliterated on the American radar."

First, I don't get what a partyblog is exactly.

Second, I don't get blogs that have more than one voice — they confuse the heck out of me — friends at, are you listening? — they're like email addresses from BOTH husband and wife — I never know who the hell I'm talking to.

Third — Tom, Tom, Tom, everyone knows that the biggest dirty little secret in America is that there is no classism and everyone can grow up to be president (I mean, as long as you're a man ... and white ... and a billionaire ... and you grew up in a town with a zipcode like 06830) and if we went around questioning stuff like that, we would be undermining the fundamental myths of the United States of America. Don't Go There, Man!

Andrew Sullivan aka Oprah

Andrew Sullivan's starting a book club — great, great idea. I just got the first book with my birthday gift cerrtificates (thanks, Tracy!). Check it out at

Tomorrow's My Birthday

Shared by some luminaries like Ronald Reagan, Bob Marley, Tom Brokaw, Babe Ruth, Natalie Cole, Francois Truffaut (a favorite of mine).

David Weinberger sent a query out a few weeks back from a professor asking what was your favorite scene in a movie. My favorite scene is in a Truffaut movie, Stolen Kisses, Baisers Voles, when the hero (played by Jean-Pierre Leaud) stands looking in the mirror, just repeating his name over and over and over, "Antoine Doinelle, Antoine Doinel, Antoine Doinel," until it's an existential tongue-twister and mantra of complete mystery, i.e., posing the questions, Who the hell am I? What the hell am I doing here? What is life? (BTW, I could be dead wrong about which movie this scene is in. Truffaut made 4 films with Jean-Pierre Leaud playing Antoine Doinel. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.)

So for those of you who are quick to say mean things about the French, give them credit for their seriously primal existential angoisse, I won't say ANGST, that's way too German. And they've made some great films too.

Monday, February 04, 2002

This Been Happening To You?

Lately, when I get on my computer in the am, instead of checking my email first off, I find myself checking certain friends' and acquaintances' blogs to see how they are doing, what they're up to. In fact, I'll have the feeling I've already checked my email and I'm aware of what's up for the day — when I've actually NOT checked email, but rather done a quick blog scan.

I wonder if I'm making a transition into a new basic way of working/communicating. It reminds me of the transition (circa 1990 - 1993) from using other apps (like MS Word) to do much of my daily "work" to using email to do most of my daily work.

I remember discussing it with a friend at that time when it came to backing up work — what important daily work did I bother to back up, i.e., WHERE did I do my work? We both noticed it used to be in disconnected apps (Word, Excel, etc.) and it was beginning to be all in connected apps, email and internet.

Now I notice email is getting more secondary and blogging primary, but this may also be due to the massive amounts of dreadful spam I get — how many university degrees, credit cards and naked coeds could I possibly need? Is email too thin an information source -- even the personal ones from close friends -- and we need the deeper stories that blogs provide?

Asylum Seekers Trade Places with Enron and Andersen Execs

Enron Execs, together with their esteemed colleagues from Andersen, have been invited to visit Woomera in the Southern Australian desert, to learn how to sew their lips shut. They may even swap housing with the group. Enron execs will find their cozy detention camps may take some getting used to, but refugees are eager to choose from among several multi-million dollar homes in exclusive Houston neighborhoods and have also been invited to tour Washington, DC with special all-expense-paid pre-arranged visits to Congress.

He Walked Among Us

Bono from U2 mobbed by the Super Bowl crowd was such a wonderful thing to see. Redefines "security." Also his running/skipping/flying around the stage seemed to say "Listen, America, you taught us all how to be free and anyone who messes with America, messes with me and they better not try."

Strangely since 9.11.01, it's seems like people from OUTSIDE the US are best able to articulate how precious the American notion of freedom is. So many musicians and artists and just plain folks from the UK, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, worldwide are first to step up and celebrate American Freedom. They stand up against 9.11.01 as if personally insulted, personally wronged, personally injured.

Does American Freedom actually belong to us? Or is it our biggest export? At a time of such nationalism, I wonder if we're not actually watching a real global people's world rise out of those ashes.

Sunday, February 03, 2002

What A Game!

I don't even like football but that was incredible. Good year for PATRIOTS!

To Watch The Names Fall

To see U2 celebrate our freedom, to study the banner of name after name after name rise up behind them and then to see the grey banner fall like the first tower did, like the second tower did, to see Bono hold his hands in the shape of a heart — giving us a nod — then to open his jacket and show his true colors — red, white and true blue — to honor us, to honor them, it's a beautiful day.

Your Tax Dollars At Work

Yes, of all the deep pockets buying ads on the Super Bowl today, the deepest pocket is YOURS. Yes, Mr. and Ms. American Taxpayer, you bought two ads for over $3.2 million today!

Speaking of Super Bowl Ads

Check this out. BTW, I just watched the pre-game show and I sure hope the Olympics comes up with a theme other than USA or Patriotism — the Super Bowl's already done it to death for goodness' sake. Maybe they could do something about the Euro or the 70's or maybe something fun on tax cuts.

Best $175 Million They Ever Spent

"Now it gets interesting" is right. Remember that geeky weird new kid in school last year, who used to be named Andersen Consulting until he changed his name to Accenture? It only cost him $175 million! As for 'what's in a name', they certainly came up smelling like a rose. Per the link, everyone thought the name sucked then and that they had some of the worst adverts on the Super Bowl last year. Who will win the honor this year?

Saturday, February 02, 2002


Rageboy's reference to Nash led me to a list of Nobel prize winners — I liked the literature winners in particular, what a great reading list — which linked me to a bio of Joseph Brodsky (another former teacher who, thank god, forced us whiny students to learn many poems by heart and recite them when the spirit moved him) and his great speech at the Library of Congress about why we all need to read more poetry — which linked me to a Robert Frost bio, which reminded me of Birches, the perfect place to stop on a snowy evening that's more icy than snowy.

Spelling Bee

Yes, yes, sorry, I meant "m-a-s-t-u-r-b-a-t-e" in the previous blog entry. Just one of those things. Thanks for all the spelling help.

The Way We Play

When I was in college, John Irving was one of my writing professors and used to tell us there were only two things worth writing about — sex and death. Well since I've been writing about death so much, I'm really going to try to write more about sex. I read a really interesting article about how much more often creative people mastrubate than your average Joe, I'm going to go dig it up.

Meanwhile, let me link you to one of my favorite Americans, John Perry Barlow and his essay on being A Ladies Man and Shameless on

BTW, if the link doesn't work (sometimes happens), the "Star Firsts" are pretty funny with celebrities describing how they lost their virginity. Everyone from Henry Miller to Eve Arden to Cher and back around to Ingmar Bergman.