Sunday, May 31, 2009

The case for transforming Park City

In just reporting how the last ski season ended, The Park Record, our local paper announced an overall 22.5% decline in sales tax receipts from the year before. This, by the way, is what I had predicted in November 2009. What is remarkable, however is that the season got worse as it went on. Consider this: December only showed a 5.5% decline, while January was at 18.8%, February 28.4% and March 33.4%! The trend is bad and doesn't bode well for the upcoming ski season.

Now there's something, our community could do about, it's re-invent itself, offer visitors a much improved product by beginning to link two of its three resorts and making a statement to the industry that it will pursue a full-blown interconnect between the seven contiguous Wasatch mountain resorts. This would create a formidable buzz, capable of lifting up sales in anticipation of the this transforming event. That's a no-risk innovation that has been in use and fully tested for almost 40 years in the Alps and is capable of doubling our on-snow visitations when the full linkage is completed. Local resorts shouldn't increase rates as it's rumored they'll do, instead they should enhance their creativity by linking up and only then, will they win big!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A matter of cut...

Yesterday has been rather eventful; first, Evelyne saw a pine tree being cut and immediately thought that our son Thomas could use the wood. We hitched our trailer, picked up the pieces and drove to Salt Lake to deliver the fuel. While we were there, we picked up some rabbit at the butcher, that we had reserved in the morning. Usually, when we call for rabbit, the meat is prepared and bagged for us when we come to pick it up. This time it wasn't, and one of the butcher asked me if I wanted the two animals cut or not; as a clueless macho in a hurry I simply said “don't bother.”

The following day when Evelyne opened the packets to prepare our favorite meat, she went ballistics as she discovered that the animals were dead alright but whole. While I took the blame for the “uncut rabbit,” I proceeded to play butcher and hash down the two bunnies into a multitude of tiny pieces not so much by choice, but as a direct result of my first “practice run.” At first, my spouse wasn't too impressed with the job, that she considered rather “unprofessional,” but later on admitted that the smaller morsels I had produced worked better in her preparation. I felt like an accomplished master-butcher!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Waking up...

I never take waking up in the morning for granted. Without that simple but so crucial step there's no today and everything comes to a screeching halt. If you know my life philosophy, you already know that for me, death is like sleep, and vice-versa. As a result, waking up in the morning isn't something trivial that I take for granted; it's a big deal; it's in fact a daily resurrection! By my book, folks who died in their sleep are some of the luckiest on earth. They don't see it coming and they don't have to fear anything. Sure, when that happens it's better to have your “house in order” an be ready for the sudden departure, but in living life as we should and with a bit of organization a hasty take off should never be such a big problem. So from that day on, don't just enjoy waking up in the morning; treasure it!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What can we learn from GM failure?

Lots of things... First and foremost, no one, how big it becomes, is immune. I would never have thought that this giant could crumble and do it as fast as it did. Second, it's always necessary to remain well grounded, humble and nimble. Finally, becoming too large leads often to deadly problems, not just for people and dinosaurs, but also for companies... With that in mind, I will now look at huge institutions with a more skeptical eye. Starting with “big governments” and their “big programs,” and of course moving on to giant companies like Walmart, Microsoft and Google. This guys had better be keenly aware that they are on walking on the edge of inertia and paralysis, and they must keep on re-inventing themselves as fast as they can... Those in the extractive business, like Exxon-Mobil can can get some assurance that as long as there's oil to pump out and that no one comes up with a compelling alternative they'll last. As for us, little humans, we've have never “arrived,” there always lots of pesky little things that will remind us that we are as frail as we are limited in power and time and, we better re-invent ourselves too on a continuous basis.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Difficulties teach us...

Do you want to learn something new? Embrace a difficult endeavor and you'll find a great teacher. The harder the task is, the more you'll learn and the more creative ways you'll find around difficulties. Last weekend, we watched our grandson Finn and this little guy - almost ready to walk - is relentless in his way to discover new things around the house, experience new situations and always find a path to what he wants. It's the embodiment of the innate ability we all have to overcome adversity and conquer the unknown.

The good news is that for him, it's just a game, an endless way to play. For us, difficulties stand as obstacles we simply don't deserve because we're too good for them and we've already pay our dues. Please, do me a favor, try to get back into your inner child, take a fresh look at what surrounds you and begin finding your way around “insurmountable” issues. You'll discover that you can conquer most of them because each hold the key to its secret, and given enough determination and work on your part, they'll be willing to hand it to you!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The "Detroit syndrome"

Choosing not to change in the face of compelling evidence to do so, is akin of self-inflicting damage or committing suicide. Typically, the accident occurs while the actors know full-well they're controlling the process, time is then running in slow motion, details are crystal-clear and yet they feel paralyzed and do strictly nothing to address a situation that is turning bad. This is in many ways what happened to our Detroit automakers that have known since 1973 that fuel efficiency would become a crucial issue, but chose to ignore it, while fighting “Cafe” standards as hard as they possibly could.

That syndrome exists in organizations, companies, governments and even families... So what is that “mental block” that stay in the way of change. Is it, as we often suspect, fear or is it also denial, disbelief, inertia, laziness or a huge ego and a sense of entitlement? I'd vote for a combination of all these factors with most of the weight placed on the latter. Now, the big challenge remains in circumventing this typical blockage and finding effective ways to move toward a goal that makes obvious sense for all stakeholders.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Starting a revolution

Last Friday, we went out to see “Che – Part I” about my friend's Ernesto forays into the Cuban jungle half a century ago. Our patience was used up long before the end of that armed-trekking movie and we finally left just before the closing credits. This said, I still believe that some “revolutions” remain necessary to change minds and advance issues. They don't have to be armed or violent though, and the best ones are generally short on arm-twisting and long on persuasion.

When paradigms become too fat, slow or comfortable to be removed and when "lowly people" have little control on big decision-makers asleep at the wheel, revolution is the only way. We could call it a sudden groundswell of “consumer demand” or a tectonic shift in mass-habits, but when the number of highly opinionated folks is large enough, it becomes hard to ignored and is eventually taken into consideration. I'm in the midst of starting a revolution, I am aware it will take some time, but when the new idea will be getting traction, change will flood without shedding a single drop of blood!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Is snow melting faster?

I've come to believe that snow is melting faster these days than it used to, regardless of the snowfalls. I also suspect that I know the reason for that faster melting rate; snow is much dirtier than it used to be. More pollution, more particles from more countries and more people are contributing to much dirtier snowfields that melt faster than ever before.

No direct relation with global warming, but just a “side-effect.” As everyone knows, the dirtier the snow, the faster it goes since it absorbs much more of the sun's energy. Since this is just a theory, my very own in fact, I was wondering if someone has ever thought the same way, written or published a paper about it or simply believe that I must be on the right track? I wasn't unable to find anything myself, so I wanted to open another “can of worms” and let them further soil the snow. Feedback, please!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Investing more calmly...

Since late October 2008, I've stayed totally out of the market. In the meantime, I made the right call when the market hit its low mid March and have also observed an interesting rebound taking place. Had I re-entered then, I would have made a 25% profit, another testament to the power of “if!” Coincidentally, I'm currently reading “House of Cards” by William Cohan that shows, among other things, how Wall Street is opaque to ordinary investors like you and me. This tells me that mere mortal like us can only take a bird eye's view at the stock market and approach it with a much longer time-horizon.

The problem is that we tend to observe it hour per hour, as if we were watching grass grow, and then we go crazy and become relentless. Since I'm not a day trader, that shouldn't matter, but the incessant daily observation of the stocks' ebb and flow makes me over-react and exacerbates my natural impatience. Away from that incessant scrutiny is a more profitable strategy consisting of looking at ups and down over several months and pegging a plan accordingly. Protection follows with smart stop-loss orders; when there's the need to re-enter, it's done by setting thresholds consistent with our observations and strategy and voilà, the system is now on auto-pilot. If this makes sense to you, let me know and I'll have some moral support...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cumbersome load

Yesterday was one of these days when we went beyond the normal and quickly escalated into the incredible and the surreal. We were at Home Depot in the hope of finding some material that could wrap around some long pipes running under our deck and requiring insulation. To make a long story short we finally found two 12 foot long, 25 inch wide, corrugated plastic sheets, that we now needed to bring home.

At first, I thought I'd make the quick 6 mile trip home, install my car-roof cross-bars and return to the store to pick up and carry the cumbersome items, then I had the “better idea” of sliding both sheets into the open sunroof, backing them into the rear of my station-wagon. The idea sounded good, we managed to slide the two corrugated monsters into the car, with one-third of them sticking out into the air. As we got in motion, a gusty wind started to blow into the 50 inch unintended sail that stuck out in the air requiring the driver and his passenger to solidly grab the plates.

At some point and at a low speed of 40 miles per hour, I thought we were cleared for take off and we'd be flying home; that was until the sheets folded under the pressure and now stuck vertically out of the sunroof, looking like a perfect sail. Still desperately holding to our cargo we manage to drive the distance home under the incredulous glance of other motorists and even a cop standing by the side of the road. We made it, unloaded our merchandise that in less than 2 minutes came back to its original shape and was ready for installation. Once more, we just had successfully dealt with the impossible!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Advice to someone dear to me

Live is precious, we only have one short one and it becomes incumbent on all of us to make the very best out of it. What I'm saying is the opposite of letting fate dictate our path in life; sure, fate can sometime play its role when we let it in "small doses," and that's okay because I believe it's also part of the “natural order of things...”

So, the first thing I wanted to say is start by finding out what you really want for yourself and what you most sincere dreams are at the stage you're in. We all have dreams that are dear to us and they don't have to look and feel like the next guy's. They are very much ours and are beyond judgment. There is no right, no wrong, there's just what's good for us. Finding out who we are, what our true values are, what makes us really excited, productive and happy is probably the most difficult project in anyone's life, but it is the most important, because if we are able to lay it down in front of our eyes it become our lifetime dashboard.

Can that vision change or evolve over time? You bet, it's our guiding light for the moment but it's not carved in stone. It follows our development and should evolve as we do. This means, that once you define what's dearest to your life, what makes you happy, comfortable, in touch with your own self and in harmony with what you want, you're set to go. You only have to keep that vision current and it becomes your guiding light. Whatever you find out may transcend the way you used to look at your career, your personal life and your relations to others. It takes courage to interrogate yourself, change your paradigms, discover your own answers, accept them as being part of you and resolve to change course if you have to. I'm totally convinced that if you want something really badly you'll always find a way to make it happen as long as you're willing to pay the price for it.

There are also the good and bad experiences. We agree that it's good to stay away from the bad ones and try – as much as possible – to reproduce circumstances that will bring positive and fulfilling situations. We should however remain open with the unknown and take a chance if a good outcome seems likely to come out.

No matter what your age is, what your obligations are or how seemingly tangled, puzzling or complex your life appears to be, not only you ought to start that process, but you owe it to yourself.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Deleveraging consumption, leveraging an alternative

Isn't amazing that until recently, America's GDP was 70% consumption? As consumers are in the process of deleveraging massively, this number is likely to go down and if the economy is to remain the same – or grow, what should take the place of excessive consumption? My thought is that the best route is to move towards innovation and quality. Not just in terms of what goes into products and “stuff,” but also into services, idea, processes, in our general approach to life in general, from lifestyle, education, culture, environment, all the way to health care. I won't say more for today, I just wanted to plant a seed, but promise that I will revisit that important subject very soon...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Where does Israel want to go?

Yesterday's meeting between Obama and Netanyahu showed some irreconcilable differences. Obama's body language spoke volumes as the two debriefed the press and it became clear to me that our President was not enjoying his guest and his positions. Like me, but for different reasons, Netanyahu doesn't want a two-state solution, and his long-term strategy probably consists into ethnic-cleansing all of Palestine of its Arab inhabitants. My view is that these two communities have no choice but live together and treat each other justly and humanly. In today's world, there is no good reason left for not doing it. By pushing his extremist agenda too far, the new Israeli Prime Minister will bring the issue of Israel's nukes on the table for the whole world to see, defeating any attempts to slow Iran's progress in developing its own. As it will continue to expend its colonies, the Zionist State may isolate itself further and become an undisputed international pariah. Why do we keep on giving $2.5 billion a year to an outlaw nation?

Monday, May 18, 2009

First time AT skiing...

Believe it or not, yesterday was my very first time out on my new alpine touring gear. For this lifetime's premiere, I picked an easy route; climbing alongside Deer Valley's Empire chairlift for a total 1,270 feet vertical gain.
All went well except that the exercise got the very best out of me. One-third of the way up, I was already exhausted, my heart racing into the “red zone.” Is it that I'd be woefully out of shape or no longer 20 years old? Sweating like a bull under the generous spring sun, I finally made it to the top 75 minutes later, half-dead and fully “out of juice.” I skied down Daly Chutes and my skis “borrowed” from my wife felt a bit “wobbly” throughout their 167 cm, but nonetheless held me up. My skins did a great job, my alpine boots worked perfectly and hinted that I didn't need to invest another $500 into a special pair of “AT boots.” I'll definitely do it again, but that won't be today!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Trendy or practical?

In our resort community, being trendy has always been a mean to an end to many, and looking good, living in a beautiful home, driving a cool vehicle and participating in the right activities has long been of utmost importance in a town where appearance has long trumped real content. Will this superficial lifestyle survive the current crisis? Hard to really tell, because hard times have not really hit yet as hard as they probably will, and for the moment, denial still remains the prevailing sentiment. Success and abundance have never derailed a practical approach and those who have espoused it are still going strong and are much more prepared to take the hard bumps and potholes the road ahead promises. In hindsight, being just “trendy” is never the long-lasting vehicle of choice...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

What constitutes "luxury real estate"?

A few days ago that question was asked from me after I posted a comment on our local papers' website. Here was my answer...

Let me attempt to answer that question. First, we're talking about “improved” real estate; not just a piece of raw land. Next, there has to be a large house sitting on it, and it has to be no less than 5,000 square feet. The inside must be what “today's discriminating customers want;” namely granite counters and marble baths everywhere, “distressed” wood floors, European tiles, Wolf professional stove (even if it hardly ever gets used,) SubZero fridge, “incredible” furnishings, “expansive” windows, “breathtaking” views, handcrafted finishes, at least one guest suite in addition to the master's, large rec room with home theater, three or four car garages and of course, heated driveway.Nothing for sure can be “dated”... Some of the above might not be needed if the property is a condo selling over $1,000 per square foot and offering direct ski access. Oh yes, the price has too be exorbitant and will probably “hold” for as long as as the property is listed and regardless of the number of similar listings. These features are just a baseline; I'm certain that I've forgotten many more, but it's a good start for appreciating the absurdity of “luxury” these days...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sick, tired or lazy?

Yesterday, Evelyne got food poisoning thanks to some undercooked hamburgers that I fixed on the barbecue; I simply missed the brunt of the attack through sheer luck. I didn't do anything the whole day though, simply because I didn't feel like it. I felt tired and because I always feel guilty when I don't produce anything, I've been wondering if I had also become suddenly lazy.

You see, laziness has always been a label that my parents affixed on me when I was a kid and it has stuck. Being lazy, in that context was really bad and every time I can sense a symptom of slowing down in my activities, I see the dreaded “virus of laziness” rearing its ugly head. Thanks God, I wasn't quite overcome by that terrible ailment. It was just a mild E coli attack!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

In pursuit of AT gear

For three or four years now, I wanted to get some all-terrain or randonnée ski gear. One of my plan was to do Chamonix-Zermatt and before I undertook that, I needed to get the right equipment. Well, for many reason, I remain stuck with regular alpine skiing, do an awful lot of it and still love it. This spring however, I finally took one step in the direction of “skiing uphill.” I found the price of the new equipment a bit excessive and while I had the right pair of ski for the job, I needed bindings and skins and these two were likely to set me off by more than $500 if purchased new.

I decided to take a chance and found through Craig's List a pair of used, 190 cm K2 with a pair of Fritschi Diamir bindings, the only valuable component of the set. I soon discarded the old skis, mounted the Fritschis on one of my wife's old pair of Dynastars, and discovered to my chagrin that one of the binding was shot. My $50 investment had just gone straight into the wastebasket! I didn't give up that easy though, and through my usual web investigating procedures, found out how the system worked, located the faulty parts, took them apart and found replacement ones that were graciously handed to me free of charge by a large Salt Lake City company that distributes this kind of equipment. While there, I purchased a pair of synthetic skins on sale and for just $140 I'm now in business and feel ready to climb mountains while there's still snow on them!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Deleveraging times

Since the end of 2008, American consumers have started to “deleveraging” massively in the way they spend money and consume goods or services. As I have said before, this movement is unprecedented and is the beginning of great worldwide income equalization trend. I like to say that when a worker makes $2 an hour assembling a VW Jetta in China and his counterpart makes upwards of $20 in Germany, something has to give, and we'll be starting to see the beginning of income decline in our so-called developed countries.

That process is likely to be protracted as well as extremely painful and may last a couple of decades, but my sense is that it has now just begun and marketers as well as economists should begin to recognize it instead of running forward to rosier scenarios. Things are going to change drastically folks, and those who will be ready to accept that momentous shift may have a huge advantage and seize some good opportunities. In a next blog, we'll try to explore what these can be, so stay tuned...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Our war policy in Afghanistan is clearly not working, it's totally broken. Should we keep on trying and find a way to fix it? No, we should get out of there as soon as possible. The Bush administration went there essentially to find Osama bin Laden who's probably dead by now and root out the camps that were behind 9/11.

It's now time to invest a fraction of what we've been wasting on that ruinous war into supporting NGOs that have the skills and tools to improving the lives of the people who live there instead of placating Karzai whom I can't trust and who is in power for his own enrichment. Between now and the time our army vacate the place, it would also be a good idea to try to tackle the poppy cultivation and think of more constructive alternatives to that activity...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Money and the American health care system

Our health care crisis comes from a few simple facts; doctors make too much money, pharmaceutical companies charge excessively for their products and insurance companies run all the way to the bank with what they manage to extract from us. Make no mistake, a reasonable solution to the US health care crisis can only come from a single-payer system, making away with Big Insurance and starting to dictate what we, the public, can afford to pay doctor and hospitals. As for drug companies, a nation of 300 million people should be able to get better discounts that most other countries in the world, instead of paying through the nose for medicine as we now do.

With that in mind, little wonder why insurance companies are suddenly willing to “play nice” and appear ready to sit down and “talk” with congress; they're beginning to fear that if they refuse to step on board now, they might start triggering a nationwide call for that single-payer plan. Then, what's the likely outcome? Simple, whatever new plan is developed won't be able to stop the runaway costs of three parties ingratiating themselves from our miseries. So later than sooner, we'll have have to either switch to a single-payer program or go broke as a nation. If our new administration and congress were a little bit smarter, they should save us this transitional stage...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Nothing is impossible, right?

I just received a message from my friend Alain Lazard who congratulated my gutsy attempt at reviving the idea of an interconnect between the seven closest mountain resorts in Utah. He's of course right and I know it; as he puts it, “you're attempting to climb a tall mountain, both literally and figuratively.” This is so true and I'm keenly aware of it; we live however in a world filled with realized bets that once were said to be impossible.

Those of us who have moved far enough into life know that if there's a will, there's a way and it's always some combination of belief, hard work and persistence that make these types of dreams come true. When I first came to America, I was spellbound when I read a book by Napoleon Hill named “Think and grow rich.” In that pop-culture, self-help piece of literature was a little phrase that stood out and encapsulated a philosophy that I've found to be so true: “What the human mind can conceive, it can achieve...” It never fails to work, even in the case of the most venal pursuits. The result – good or bad - always comes to fruition if we're willing to pay the price...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A perfect Snowbird day

Yesterday, Evelyne and I went skiing for yet another time, but since everything is now closed in Park City, we did the 45 minute drive over to Snowbird, which as the crows flies, sits a mere 10 miles away from our Park City home. The weather was quite cool for May, the snow superb, the skies blue and we had a terrific time. We arrived there around 9:30 am and when we stopped at 2 pm, we had skied over 31,000 vertical feet. In Little Cottonwood Canyon, the scenery always takes your breath away, the bowls are endless and with a thin Friday crowd dispersed on so many runs, we could ski as if we owned the mountain. On of the best part from my wife, who was skiing there for the first time, was the tram ride. At each time, it was pretty much packed with people who all had too much love for snow in their DNA. Many where boasting loudly how good they “could turn' em” and all of society's sexes, ages, styles and attitudes where statistically represented in the crowded 125 people cabin. All in all, this was a perfect day; I only pray it could be just a few chairlifts away...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Making things happen

It's not an exceptional that when all the elements are aligned for a decision and a move in a positive direction, nothing still happens. Wheels are stuck in place and for some mysterious reasons, the “nudge” that seems needed to get the entire convoy in motion is not applied. Why is that? In my view simply because we hate making decisions that translate into commitment, change and call for some upheaval in our well-ordered lives.

Now, how and where do we apply that force that precisely will set the desired events in motion? I guess it's about getting to even more enlightened people and show them how deceptively simple it would be to tilt the whole process into action, or perhaps provoke something unexpected, uncalled for, and even out of the rule-book to trigger the desired effect. I guess it's a bit like when you try to get a mechanical part unstuck, move a recalcitrant boulder or unclog a stubborn drain. You just need to work from different angles, find some catalyst and most often than not, labor at it a while longer...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Patience, anticipation and cultivation

I'm at the moment embarked on a project that is a bit like watching grass grow or paint dry. I prefer the analogy to vegetation than to the mostly artificial nature of colors. Good things seldom happen overnight; they need time to mature, get better and spring into vivid focus. The draft document that you left last night on your desk always offers an opportunity for changes and improvements the next morning. Time has an incredible healing and maturing power.

We all know that, but the problem we generally run into is that we tend to always start a bit too late with our plans for cultivation. The more my precious time goes, the more I realize the incredible power and influence it has on things that are so important to me. Starting “yesterday” allows us an incredible margin of safety, quality, and luxury. Have you started yet on “after-tomorrow?”

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Win some, lose some...

Competitive people would like to win all the times and are never looking for setbacks. Yet, at the end of the line, true champions are those who have been able to amass tons of victories as well as lots of defeats. Those who have given up after suffering a few grueling losses and had neither the coaching nor the faith to stay in the game just a tad longer never become champs. That's the real and sad truth, and rule number one is never to give up and stay in the game looking for that next victory. Don't get me wrong, I'm just like the rest of us; I hate to lose and often forget that winning is just waiting for me around the corner, it's just up to me to carry on and pick up the laurels. I need to remember that...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Me, worry?

I admit it, I worry a lot. In fact, I've always worried, and if all the things I've worried about should have come to pass, I'd would have disappeared from the surface of that planet a long time ago, have had a miserable life and most probably “doing time in hell” at the moment. The good news however is that I'm still here, and that 95% of my worrying was in vain.

Sure, like most individuals, I worry too much about elements that are not within my control. I don't usually worry about those I can influence, because I always make sure I do change them. I take the time to address these issues and have learned, over time, that procrastinating on them is not doing me any good. So now, what am I to do? Well, its appears to be pretty simple. I should no longer worry about things that are well beyond my influence or my control. Period.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Running like flying

I've always wondered why I love running so much. This morning as I was jogging, I was thinking about the difference between walking and running. When you walk there's always one foot that remains in contact with the ground. When you run, between the moment your left big toe kicks and your right heel lands, you're actually flying! You don't need a license to do that and no instruments either. This is probably why I find running so addictive and so attractive. More so even that skiing or biking, but that's true, I no longer fly when I practice these two sports!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Cost and quality

These days, there seem to be a huge deflationary trend when it comes to electronics. Computers that used to cost $1,500 can be obtained for half that price. I'm mostly talking about portable, laptop machines. They're generally more powerful, offer more memory and many more features that quantity of buyers may in fact never use. The unspoken problem however is that they don't last. In order to offer such rock-bottom prices, something has to give, and it often is the quality of their hardware.

Two vices come to mind: Flimsy keyboards that breakdown quickly and wiring between the body of the machine and the fold-down screen. I recently purchased a new HP computer and after just two weeks of use, one button next to the touchpad is already broken. I remember my first laptop; it was a NEC machine purchased in 1988. Quite revolutionary for its time; yet its hardware and in particular its keyboard were so well built, they'd put every new computers to shame. Oh, I forgot; that piece of machinery was made in Japan!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Values and life

The kind of values we hold define the kind of live we have. Yet, it's very hard to really know at all times which values are pushing us. We generally don't make them up from the get go and follow the road they are pointing to; we don't even know what they are; more often than not, we are pushed by our instincts to take certain paths and it may take us a lifetime to discover what they are as we go along.

At the end of the journey, a great number of individuals will never have any idea what their values truly were. If you take a moment to think about them, sort them out and bring them into focus while you still have time and can draw some benefit from the process, this could be a conscience raising exercise well worth the time and the effort. Don't delay, do it now!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Chrysler and Fiat

It's terrible what can happen when a patient is on its deathbed. Everything should be tried. When it was already ailing, the Mercedes medicine was applied on Chrysler with terrible results and today some folks have no problem applying a dose of Fiat on the ailing automaker. While I thought that such a rescue by Honda, or even Nissan would have been a hopeful remedy for Chrysler, I can't bring myself to believing that the Puntos and small 500s will revive our third car company.

As I was observing Belvidere assembly plant workers in their eclectic attire of jeans, t-shirts and shorts, I was rolling my eyes. It's now a matter of mixing American culture, Italian approach to auto making and miracles. I don't believe this cocktail can be any good...