RIP Mr. Kennedy

27 08 2009

No matter what our politics are, we understand the loss of a family or friends when someone passes on. It’s no different for any of us to feel that silent respect for a loss. But it’s a little sad that whatever scandal, justified or not, is the point in a life that everybody remembers. As I sat down at my computer, of course the main news everywhere is about the passing of Ted Kennedy. So being of the age that I can still remember his biggest scandal, I typed ‘Chapaquitic’ into Google, not knowing the exact spelling. From that search I found out a somewhat morbid fact, in this article from The New York Daily News entitled “Whether it’s Chappaquiddick or Chapaquitic, Internet users search for info on famed Kennedy scandal“.
That fact is that I am no different than anyone else. The man had a long, impressive, and honorable life, not always in line with my beliefs, but a good life. That scandal at Chappaquiddick was to follow him his entire life. Whether it was justified or not, I can’t tell you, but it is profoundly sad that a person can do that much good in life, only to be remembered for one possible indiscretion. Below, I have included a CNET video of Mr. Kennedy’s statement from back when it happened. Make up your own mind on what happened, but let’s all let the man Rest In Peace. Here is a really nice obituary from the NY Times that goes deeper than I think anyone else on his life.

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A 15 Minute Perspective on Michael Jackson’s Passing

26 06 2009

“Did you see him man?” the South African Airways steward said to me.  I reply, “who ?”  On a plane between Johannesburg and Miami in January 1999 and the steward was absolutely pumped about whoever I should have seen.  “Michael Jackson man, the Michael Jackson!”  I said,” no you’re just messing around.”  Now the steward is out to prove his point to me.  He returns shortly with a flight manifest with something like 4 or 5 entries for “M. Jackson”.   I’m completely skeptical as that could be a Manny Jackson or Morgan Jackson or anything, but the Michael Jackson?  Come on!  So the steward continues on about an announcement when we stopped in Cape Town asking if there was a doctor on board.  I tell him yes I remember that  and he proceeds to tell me that was because Michael Jackson had fallen while getting onboard.  By the skeptical look on my face the steward could tell I wasn’t sold, so he said “you will see, you will see.”

So we settle in for the long flight and there are plenty of empty seats, so to give my pregnant wife and our daughter plenty of room to spread out and I move to an empty row and start to doze.  Half way in and out of consciousness, I peak out and see a guy coming down the aisle, stopping and chatting with people as he makes his progress towards the back of the plane.  The lights were low, so it was hard to tell exactly what was going on.

This slow progress goes on for awhile, but as on any boring long flight anything out of the ordinary catches my attention and this was out of the ordinary.  Coming out of one of my little cat naps, there before me with a kind smile on his face was the Michael Jackson.  Of course I popped up to shake his hand, but the fall when he was getting on board had swollen his hand so he offered his left hand.  Now being a sharing individual, I couldn’t imagine not introducing him to my wife and then 7 year old daughter.  We went back the few rows and had a really pleasant chat for about 15 minutes before he continued his progress towards the back of the plane.

That 15 minutes revealed something to me about the famous.  They are real live people with interests, emotions and interests.  Having just spent a year in Pretoria, three years after Apartheid had been abolished, I had gained some interesting perspectives on life and people.  That 15 minutes of discussing life in South Africa with Michael Jackson gave me a whole different perspective as I heard the “breaking news” on the radio yesterday.    Today there are Michael Jackson videos non-stop on the television, but nothing can replace my 15 minute perspective.

Just a note about authenticity, being still a little skeptical, I was pleasantly surprised when the “breaking news” from the airport in Florida announced that Michael Jackson had just arrived on a South African Airways and retold the story of him hurting himself on boarding in Cape Town.  So apologies to that steward who had a very smug look and added a “see, didn’t I tell you man?” to my exit.

Positively Expert – A Guest Post By Clint Van Camp

19 06 2009

Spent the day hanging without a truly miraculous friend today named Clint Van Camp.  The following is his latest:

“Becoming an expert does not always turn out to be something you are striving for.  Having faced three corporate layoffs from downsizing, one corporate bankruptcy, and a year off to combat illness has made me an expert of sorts.  It wasn’t the expertise I was planning on when I started my career 30 years ago.  If there is one thing I have learned, it is how positive vibrations will do wonders when it comes to downturns in jobs, economy, or life.  For positive vibes in troubled times you need family, friends, interests, and passions.

Know what your interests are.  When a layoff hits, take advantage of the extra time and use it to pursue interests.  It usually doesn’t matter what what the interests are as long as you enjoy the pursuit.  It could be family, volunteering, clubs, reading, writing, sports, church activities, attending classes, or any number of things.  Find your passion.

If you don’t know your passion, the layoff is a good time to figure it out.  Look around you.  What kind of things do you collect?  What kind of books are on your shelf?  What kinds of things do you enjoy doing?  What kind of pictures do you like to save?  What hangs on your walls?  What do you have in the closet or stowed away in a box.

My three corporate layoffs lasted 6 months, 4 months, and 2 months respectively.  That is a lot of useful time!  After the first job loss, I spent a couple of weeks figuring out what a layoff was for.  Then I stepped up my involvement in volunteering as a fire fighter, coaching youth baseball, and even providing electrical labor on the construction of a new church.  A couple of layoffs later it became teaching, writing, and workshops with people having common interests like writing and education.  This sharing of thoughts is where your friends come in.

My favorite layoff experience came in June 2004.  We knew the corporate division was in trouble when only one out of ten sites in the nation was generating revenue.  I was on the ninth tee in a golf tournament when I received a call stating I had officially been terminated with our building being liquidated.  My golf foursome roared with laughter, probably to the wonderment of other golfers on the course.  It only briefly interrupted our golf shots as we played out the eighteen hold tournament.  As an acknowledgement and celebration of transition, it was a great way to begin a layoff – with friends.  The job lost that day was one of the best I knew, working with some great people.  It was time to move forward without looking back.

Oh yes, you should dedicate time to finding a job during a layoff.  It will be a lot easier when you are enjoying some of the time you are blessed with.  They say being involved in extracurricular activities will provide networking to learn of potential employment opportunities.  This leads to the possibilities for interviews.

To summarize this new found expertise of handling layoffs, I would say keep your day job if you can.  But if you can’t, look to make the layoff a positive experience.  Remember to find your interests, drive toward your passion, share with friends, and keep the vibes on the upbeat.  Know that all is in the hands of God, positively the Expert.”

From There To Here

25 05 2009

In choosing what was best to share in a blog, I repeatedly came back to what I knew best…expatriation.  Years of living in far off places exposed me to different ways of seeing the world around me.  Initially I thought that expatriating only included physical expatriation, but have come to now understand that expatriation is more than just moving somewhere, it’s a state of mind.  It’s deciding not to be just another sheep in the pen. I won’t go into all that has made us all line up and happily give up our ability to think out life and just follow.  No, I’m not a conspiracy theorist.  I just see that I along with so many others for so long gave up our free thought, followed the crowd and had aspirations of being “the fat, bald man in the red BMW convertible.”

In the world of my Dad, you grew up, got the best education possible, worked 20-30 years, got the gold watch and then retired (sat down & died!).  Sound familiar?   I don’t know about you, but that didn’t work out exactly as advertised for me.  The world changed, the cheese moved and I mentally expatriated, how about you?  

We will explore what mental expatriation looks like.  We will look at resources gathered over time and new ones from the bleeding edge of technology.  

Have you been looking for like minds that refuse to be another sheep in the pen?  If so,  join me in an exploration of life and thought that you may have only suspected existed.  Let’s lock arms, look life right in the eye and give it a belly laugh!