Wednesday, November 30, 2011

“Occupy...” takes a winter break!

As the “Occupy movements” here and there are getting dismantled, I bet they're only going to morph into hibernation until waking up next spring. It's in fact a good thing that the local police forces are taking the protesters out of their potential cold misery, allow them to regroup, really get their act together and begin a serious national dialogue at the same time our two political parties get ready for their big 2012 campaign.

For the politicians, this couldn't have happened at a worst time. The “Occupy movements” just planted the seed, established the new “1-99” paradigm, convinced 75% of the American public that it makes sense and that our main problem is the work of corrupt politics, combined with the greed of both Wall Street and Big Business. The movements will now have to articulate their demands, if and when they do it, how and the big question is how will it play?

How can the Republican Party defend its “no new taxes” pledge? How can the Democrats tap into that discontent or jump onto that bandwagon without smelling bad or will these traditional parties' unease lead the way to a viable third-party movement? Of course, one could always surmise that this populist movement will peter out, but I don't believe the odds are in favor of that outcome....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Winterizing before skiing

Getting back on skis is a very complex and tedious process. It's not just getting the skis ready and removing a toy from inside a ski boot; it's much more comprehensive than that... Following yesterday's “slip and fall” incident, my wife decided to accompany me skiing. That was a great idea. We had some sun, there was almost no a single soul on the ski runs, no errant plastic sheeting either, balmy temperatures and great snow.

All was just perfect, until my wife asked me to check the vents on her ski helmet. Hers were shut closed as they should have been in November. I asked her to reciprocate and tell me what the status of my helmet venting was. As expected, it was wide open, letting the cold winter air in, in spite of my recent haircut.

I must be close to brain-dead or in heat, because I didn't feel anything. Once this major failing was discovered, my spouse asked me to raise my arms enough for her to discover that both vents, under each arm, were fully unzipped. My climate control settings obviously demonstrated adjustments made back last spring when temperatures were vastly different than today. What would I do without my better half?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Plastic sheeting on snow!

As I was skiing yesterday, I went over a loose piece of clear plastic sheeting that must have been blown around and had landed on the ski run. Because it was clear, I wasn't able to see it and, as I was putting my ski on edge and leaning accordingly, I felt a sliding sensation, having both my skis slip laterally from under me.

It was as if the carpet of snow was pulled away by some malevolent elves, and I took a brutal fall, the harsher, as the terrain was fairly flat in that particular area. That weird incident had never happened to me before so I guess I had to live through it to be able to tell the world and (perhaps) learn something in the process. After I picked myself up, I realized to my dismay that I had sprained my left thumb. Another hard lesson that I will remember!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ah, that first time!

On Friday, I summoned my courage, loaded my skis into the back of my car, grabbed a pair of still cold boots (they stayed by accident inside our cold mud room,) got the rest of my gear and drove to Canyons for a few hours of skiing fun. It had been less than five month since my last outing in Snowbird, on July 4th and here I was again, hoping to make a few turns on some brand-new snow.

The weather was snowy, the crowds gone shopping, and I did an impressive number of laps on one of the five lifts that were opened to the public. I still remembered how to “turn' em,” even though my first descents were a bit tentative, but now I believe that I can begin my 58th ski season with reasonable confidence!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Floppy-joint running

A few days ago my wife was remarking that my running looks totally relaxed. I acknowledged that I follow the same precepts that help me so much when I ski, I try to stay as loose as possible in my joints, especially hips, knees and ankles. I'm also making a concerted mental effort in thinking I'm light and that I'm barely touching the ground, as if I were floating.

This of course is easy for me to say and put into practice when I'm running with my spouse who, by virtue of her gender alone, suffer the same handicap women do when dealing with men, a significant difference in performance due to weight and muscle mass. When I push myself, lightness yields to brute force and at that time, all these loosy-goosey benefits vaporize...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Checking-out Woody Allen's work

After seeing a great documentary on Woody Allen, we decided to return to his work and watch one of his movies. As we got into the quirky show and as we patiently watched it to its bitter end, we were reminded why we are not super fans of the artist.

While he's a wonderful observer of human behavior and can weave a few good jokes around his deep understanding of human nature, he is a very poor story teller and that's where he loses most of his public, except perhaps for the French who tend to like the inherent absurdity of some of Allen's films. This was another rich experience reminding us that without a good story, there's not much entertainment left!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tahrir square revisited...

The military government that has been ruling Egypt since Mubarak exit is not really ready to relinquish the power. As demonstrators are reminding the arm forces that it's now time for them to leave the scene, they get butchered. Yet, we're giving 1.5 billion in military aid and another 0.5 billion in civilian assistance to that country.

We should have plenty of leverage in telling the military that they need to control themselves and stop killing their civilians. Yet, our Department of State remains conspicuously silent on that topic. I might very well be that Israel prefers to see the Egyptian Army in power instead of the Muslim Brotherhood and is extremely effective in steering our foreign policy to its utmost convenience...

Deer Valley food update

Interview with Jodie Rogers Executive Chef of Snow Park and Empire Canyon Lodges

Go 11: First Jodie, remind us what’s your philosophy at Deer Valley Resort?
JR: The biggest thing we’ve done in the past two year was to turn to three fundamental principles: Local, sustainable and fresh ingredients. Fresh ingredients have always been a big concern for us. This year I was lucky enough to be invited on a couple ranch tours, in Bear Lake and in South Dakota. We work with Niman Ranch where traceability is available and easy to check. They work very closely with us and make the effort to understand our needs. For instance, all of our lamb, in all in our menus, comes from Bear Lake. Our beef comes from many of the Niman associate farms. We’re staying away from unnecessary antibiotic, steroids or things like that. Freshness is paramount with us.

Go 11: Do you treat seafood the same way?
JR: Absolutely! Heather, our seafood chef at the Seafood Buffet, has been leading that way for many years already. She follows the “Seafood Watch” at the Monterey Bay Aquarium daily and purchases accordingly. For instance, we can trace back all of our oysters to their origin and to the actual fishermen. Now, our guest have come to expect this kind of quality from us! Not only are we doing the right things, but our guest expect us to keep that lead.

Go 11: So tell me, what’s new this winter at Deer Valley?
JR: First at the Grocery~Café, we are working very closely with Copper Moose Farm for our field greens, beets, herbs and other vegetables that can be grown in our harsh environment. As far as the Seafood Buffet is concerned, Heather having her crew go back to the roots of some classic dishes. As an example, this season Heather had the idea of serving Pazole with the DV twist. Instead of buying ready-made cans of Hominy, she’s taking the dried corn and making it from scratch. The seafood Buffet chefs will continue to follow what’s sustainable and we’ll advise the chefs be creative within that parameter. The Day Lodges will continue with Niman burgers and homemade bratwursts. We’ll keep everyone focused on these goals so that our chefs understand our local sourcing, make sure it remains a priority and use it as creatively as possible.

Fireside Dining is opening an extra night, Saturday, and that will go from three to four nights. All the lamb will be sourced locally, from Bear Lake. We’ve also gone local with some of Salt Lake’s Creminelli cured meat instead of importing them; Creminelli is really good, they source Berkshire pork and other high quality ingredients as local as possible… The Mariposa is going to offer a great southwest sturgeon dish this winter to continue our quest in trying to stay sustainable. Royal Street Café is focusing on using lots of local cheeses, like Beehive, Rock Hill Creamery and Gold Creek. Our Day Restaurants will incorporate all of these into our other menus as well. Royal Street Café will also still serve their fabulous homemade meatballs, that by the way are also sold at the Deer Valley Grocery~Café…

Our big focus as far as management is to see even more consistency out of our three Days Lodges. Now that we’re Number One for the fifth year in a row, it behooves us to maintain our lead, ahead of the competition by continuing to strive for culinary perfection.

We’ve had a lot of construction going on this summer and some of it involved rebuilding the whole employee dining area at the Snow Park Lodge as we had outgrown it. Since it caters to our own staff, it also gave us the opportunity to offer an extended menu along with faster service, and this is not small stuff as, if we’re able to make our own people happy, we can be sure that they will make our guests even happier. That may sound like “back of the house” but it will have a huge impact on the “front of the house” and their interaction with our guests!

On the cocktail front, the Park City Area Restaurant Association had upped the ante by organizing a cocktail contest twice a year and we’re participating along with the other Main Street establishments. We’ll be featuring the winner of the last contest, the Easy Street Cocktail, that will be on all our menus. We will also feature more seasonal drinks and cocktail and we’ve also upgraded our wine and liquor list. Finally, we’ll be offering more live entertainment in the afternoon at the EBS Lounge, during weekends, with some of our best local musicians…

Go 11: Sounds wonderful! Where do you get all that inspiration?
JR: Our guests drive us to become better, especially when they do vote us continually Number One in Food and Beverage, on-mountain dining, specially. The good comments we get from our guests make us want to be better. Our chefs are also a very creative team that is always on the lookout for new things and are key in keeping our lead. I want to give them every opportunity to try something new and wow our guests.

Go 11: How do you gather that feedback?
JR: Our guests are pretty verbal, and we get lots of comments, phone calls and emails, helping us to steer our offerings in the right direction. We’re are labeling our menus to indicate all the gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian items as we get these questions all the time, and it’s sometimes hard for waiters to keep up with all these details even though we keep on educating them as well on all these issues.

We have an eight-day rotating menu for our kids ski school, and while we’ve always cater to Kosher, this year our menus will also display the gluten-free options. Further, our ski school menus are all nut-free and we take all the necessary care in the kitchens to avoid cross-contamination so kids can eat with total peace of mind. The bottom line is that if anyone has some special needs, we’ll take care of them!

Go 11: Is the improving level of the Park City, Main Street restaurant benefiting Deer Valley?
JR: We all help each other. The more demand we place on certain ingredients, the more choice we get from suppliers and the more that quality improves. That’s a huge help from all of us. When I first came to Deer Valley I couldn’t get coconut milk; you know, I come from Australia and I couldn’t get any of it and I got so frustrated! Because we have such a diverse and talented pool of chefs between Main Street and Deer Valley, there’s a friendly and highly productive emulation that elevates the quality of the food served and benefits everyone. Our guests too are very diverse and come to us with pretty sophisticated tastes and a fine palate that push us all to become better!

Go 11: You’ve wet my appetite; when can guest samples all that wonderful food?
JR: Very soon! While our Grocery~Café is always serving food, Royal Street Café will open the last weekend of November and then the weekend of December 3, all Day Lodges will welcome the skiing public. Then on Friday, December 9, our Seafood Buffet will be available to diners, followed by Fireside, the last one to open, on Wednesday, December 14. Mark your calendar and come sample our wonderful food!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Presidential Candidates

It's almost like the weather forecast; unpredictable and changing all the time... Among the eight remaining presidential republican candidates, the leader of the pack keeps on changing depending on the last stupidity uttered or the most blatant act of misconduct. The front-runner has gone from Sarah Palin to Donald Trump, then to Michelle Bachmann, Texas Governor Rick Perry and marketing guru Herman Cain.

At some point last week, it was Ron Paul's turn, and now Newt Gingrich gets the advantage. The truth is that they all share one common feature: They stink! Still left to take the lead are Rick Santorum and Jon Hunstman (the less mediocre of that dismal group!) So no wonder their right-wing electorate doesn't quite like what is offered to them and pray for a miracle when it's time for the winner to duel with Obama.

The candidates fielded by the Grand Old Party are in line with its ideology: Tired and passé. As they keep on making fools of themselves and showing out they are so out of touch with the world we live in, they are likely to cast a very negative shadow on the members of congress and senate that claim the same ideology and need to be re-elected. At least, I hope so!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Top of the board

When I worked in a ski school, back in the late sixties to mid-seventies, in the French Alps, the pecking order was defined by seniority. The more senior a ski instructor would be, the better and more business he or she would receive. As time would go on, and through attrition, one would crawl up the board – yeah, there was such a thing as a board in full view of everyone who happened to walk into the booking office! - and as your name would climb up, business would improve significantly.

I didn't stay long enough to live through the glory of being at the top or the infamy of retirement, but that day would happen when a ski instructor reached 61 (at my former ski-school anyway.) By then, your name would be erased from the board, you would become a non-entity and could only work when former students requested you specifically, or during peak season when overflow demand would allow it.

Today, I was wondering were I would stand in the “planetary board,” if there were such a tool, to rank the earth population. Out of 7 billion, what would my rank be? After a long afternoon or research, I computed that out of a planetary average life expectancy of 67.2 year, I would rank as the 462,327,112th oldest person living on the planet. That's still quite a sizable group and I won't worry too much about my ranks getting overly thin, at least for the next couple of weeks...

How should I say it?

As an independent voter, I feel extremely frustrated at the failure of negotiating a debt reduction agreement by the bi-partisan “group of twelve.” This bleak outcome clearly is the fault of the Republican Party. I wrote to my congressman and my two senators to tell them the same and added that I simply hoped the GOP would get a bruising defeat at the 2012 election!

Their regressive party is costing investors money, hampering the economy, remains stuck in its dogma, backwards and out of touch with reality. Enough is enough and now, I need to make a video that is compelling enough to rally the troops!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Are we laughing enough?

The answer to that question is probably a resounding “no.” Last night, we saw a bizarre if not downright bad movie at the Park City Film Series (Beginners) and returned home to watch the first part a wonderful documentary on Woody Allen that made us laugh to the point that we forgot everything about the mediocre film we just saw. This went a long way to reminding us what our daily problem is: We just don't laugh enough.

Our politicians (Republicans, particularly) are spoiling our life with their leaders crying foul for nothing and their focus on the glass being half-empty. These people are rotting the country and should all be deported! What we need is balance the budget, get rid of all American religious and tax-adverse right-wingers by sending them to Afghanistan, and start laughing while we watch them put on the funny clothes folks wear over there, including burkas for the ladies, and while finally John Boehner crying for a good reason. Only then, will we be liberated from the scum of the earth and able to laugh more!

Gear Mania

As I was wondering if I should get some new skis this season, I saw a full ski rack inside my garage and the first order of business would be to make some room for a new pair. Since I can’t decide which pair I should get rid of, this becomes an easy decision to make. For a while, I had considered embarking on the rocker-ski adventure, but as I have shared before on this blog, I’m still hesitating about that design and while I can appreciate these skis might help me greatly in bottomless powder, I still have a few unresolved issues with them.

First, and as I’ve also said before, the longer rocker design won’t fit my car ski-box! The other part of my dilemma is that I have fallen in love with Deer Valley’s tree skiing and not just its nicely gladed runs, but the more challenging, tight turning skiing like the one found in Centennial trees. Rocker skis are a bit longer than regular boards, and when the turning radius gets tighter, every extra inch that stick in the front or in the back might be just enough to grab the next spruce or aspen that happens to be in the way.

To top it off, I still can’t picture myself riding these curvaceous boards on corduroy, moguls and hard-pack as I get to, or return from my powder stashes. All these good reasons mean that I’ll continue to use my semi-fat skis (90 mm under the foot) for another season. Hopefully, I’ll be able to eventually get used to the feeling and move to a shorter length as I also get a bit older, but frankly, I’m not ready yet and may have to labor at tiny bit more while in deep powder!

I hope you’ll fully understand my position with regard to double-ski-camber designs: I’m intellectually and practically not ready for them yet! Since I am all set and very happy with my current poles, the only area that is left for me to worry about is that other, all-important piece of equipment, the ski boots. Mine are still okay and I can see another full season in their sort-term future. This year, I will just add to my closet a pair of specialized boots that I’ll use for accomplishing other tasks. That’s right, I want to seriously get into alpine touring this season…

I already own a pair of skis dedicated to that pursuit, complete with skins and special bindings, and the only missing component is the pair of touring boots that I just purchased today. Will I use that “AT gear” – as it’s called – in the middle of winter? Probably not very often, but as April rolls around and Deer Valley Resort closes for the season, I intend to be all over the back-country, exploring ridges, bowls and glades where snow will continue to linger during the following weeks and even months. This will keep me fit and prolong a season that never begins early enough and always ends far too soon!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Yeah, just a break

As we were strolling around the block yesterday, we literally “fell” on that flock of Canadian geese (Branta canadensis) that had landed during the snow storm and were taking a well deserved break before taking up in the air again in V-shaped formation. Like most geese, these ones are naturally migratory with the wintering range being most of the United States (I thought they went to Mexico, but these evidently didn't have the right visas for that!)
Perhaps they had heard of the local Wasatch Brew Pub and just wanted to sip a cold beer before resuming their trip. Apparently the early migrations in the seasons are quick and don't cause these long stop-overs. The one we saw were the usual stragglers, the ones never seem to get going and get their act together fast enough. We'll check today if they're still on the ground!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Travel safely!

This morning as I was driving to Old Town, Park City, I was passed by a small Honda that sported a bumper sticker proclaiming: “Jesus is my car insurance.” It's not that I have anything against "Jesus" as insurance coverage, but it makes me a bit nervous to drive amidst folks that could trust the brand so much that it ends up being their only coverage, especially following a recent snowfall!
I love to drive on snow, but not around people like that. Makes me want to slow down a bit, let them get far away from me and even perhaps, instead of driving myself, ride the town free bus. I know, I can always cancel my current coverage and try this “other brand”

Friday, November 18, 2011

The inexorable passage of time...

Recently, our son turned 33 and that other marker gave us a chance to get together with his family and friends and together, celebrate the passage of time. The evening was fun and festive and was another subtle reminder that time takes no break at all. Just like a formidable glacier, it keeps on pushing forward no matter what happens on the outside.
When we're young that crawling motion seems interminable and just feels like watching grass grow. As time goes on, the pace picks up and today, an entire day seems to be discarded before it can even be contemplated prior to putting it to good use.

It's true that we fill every possible opening in our day with some type of activity and we wedge even more stuff into it with our new penetrating technology that sucks even more time-space out of the equation.

Perhaps we should stop doing anything, go crazy for sure, but appreciate the silence, the time that goes nowhere and – again – would seem to last forever...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Learning a new skill

Getting to learn a new craft takes time and this is precisely what I'm still doing with my video productions. Over the course of one year, I have produced more than 200 short clips and keep on learning daily about shooting them right, getting better organized, editing them faster, adding some creativity in the process and most importantly learning from my mistakes, errors, omissions and mediocre results.

My progress are not instantly translated into a spectacular learning curve and instead, I'm crawling along and it will take time for me to get better – which by the way is totally acceptable – and this is something I'm looking forward to on a daily basis. Knowing that I'll never reach that elusive “top,” that there will also be ample room for learning and improving my skills is incredibly stimulating and keeps me going. I'm really glad a came across that new hobby!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A complicated first step...

Last evening, I attended a meeting about the newly proposed connection between Canyons Resort and Solitude, another Utah mountain resort located in Big Cottonwood Canyon, the adjoining valley to Park City. Talisker, the recent new owner of Canyons announced the plan sometime this summer. Since Park City Mountain Resort seems to be against the idea of connecting with their neighbor to the West as it (wrongly) fears a hemorrhage of skiers and riders to their struggling competitor, Canyons decided to jump over to the next canyon by just proposing a “people mover” under the form of a 8-passenger gondola that would go from the middle of their resort (around where the Dreamscape lift is located) up to the ridge and down into Solitude's base area.
The ride would take about 11 minutes. There would be no unloading at the top; this would strictly be a “people-mover” to deflect criticism from environmental activist groups like “Save our Canyons.” At first, the lift would be used for winter operations only. A combined day lift ticket (Canyons-Solitude and perhaps Canyons-Solbright) would be offered and a surcharge would apply to season pass owners who wish to ski the “other side.” If successful, the plan would be implemented for the 2013-2014 ski season, if Canyons is able to jump through the environmental hoops and other hearings that promise to be be quite formidable.

For that, Ted Wilson who for decades has been a leading champion of environmental causes in the Wasatch, served twice as the Mayor of Salt Lake City, and more recently was Utah Gov. Gary Herbert's senior environmental advisor, has just been hired as the environmental point-man for Talisker so he can better deflect the environmentalist pressures against the idea.

To me, this is a step in the right direction, albeit a very complicated one, that may serve as a catalyst to get Park City Mountain Resort out of its apparent lethargy, but true inertia and obstructionism, on that entire issue. If and when that first “connection” is achieved, the dominoes will start falling and the Utah Interconnect may slowly become a reality. Wouldn't that be nice in the country that put a man on the moon, invented the GPS, the Internet and the iPhone, to see that we're finally able to catch up – 45 years later – with the French Alps!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Senna, Prost and the rest...

Last Sunday, we finally saw a great documentary that we missed during the last Sundance film festival and that ended up winning the Audience Award. This documentary made of actual footage pieced together retraces Ayrton Senna career, his rivalry with Alain Prost, and his political struggles with the then head of FISA Jean-Marie Balestre.

All protagonists come out – at least in my eyes - as pretty bad guys, rotten by money and ambition and paints a rather dismal picture of the world of Formula One. This said, a definite, must-see movie.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Steve Jobs: One last thing!

As I was extolling the greatness of the latest and official biography of Steve Jobs, I omitted to link his professional life story with whatever is being teach in schools and particularly business schools, where the end – namely making money – still remains the name of the game. This means that every action a successful leader should take must be correlated with profits.

This stands in stark contrast with the best way to create a durable and successful enterprise by sheer forces of passion, commitment and focus on quality or any other unique characteristic an organization can generate. Companies that began and lasted by staying true to that approach have always been the most successful financially despite the foibles and idiosyncrasies of the their leaders that might not have been a textbook example of corporate behavior.
That passionate leader is the hot wire that let the current of success pass into the organization. Remove that leader through demotion, sale of the company or any other reason and the “magic” too often disappears. This elusive and potent life form is unfortunately a dimension that business schools and case studies haven't been able to put their fingers on...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Steve Jobs' biography

I just finished reading that wonderful book yesterday. Right, I think this is a wonderful compilation of the life of someone that will stand tall for a very long time in the pantheon of modern economic history. It had other personal meaning for me, as Jobs' career coincided with my times in America. I witnessed that incredible story from the sidelines without fully understanding its impact on our society and our economy.

The book provides a balanced view of a man that was far from perfect but was relentless in his pursuits and who made a deliberate choice from the get-got, between changing himself and changing the world around him. He chose the later and it worked for Apple. During my entire professional life, I've never had the chance to encounter people of his caliber. I've worked with people that emulated Steve's brash approach but lacked his backbone or were more likely to take shortcuts; people like him were indeed not visible in my professional surroundings.

Would such a success story be possible outside of America? I doubt it very much... Reading that book re-enforced my belief that America is indeed the ideal place to get spectacular things done and go places. Thanks for showing the way, Steve!

Saturday, November 12, 2011


There was a moment yesterday – at 11:11:11 am to be precise, when all numbers of my prestigious Casio digital watch were all the same. Six pairs of number “1” across its LCD screen and I missed that! Later during the day, Claire Christensen Kippola, my former work colleague reminded me that if there were a “Go 11 Day,” that was it, and she proceeded with sending all her best wishes.
I had totally forgotten about the “Go 11” moniker, it's special meaning, like skiing with tips pointing down and going straight and braving fear, etc. Go 11 has become my guiding principle, something I practice everyday, whether there's snow on the ground or not. It's been now more than four years that I write this blog every day, both in English and French and it still goes strong; at least in my biased and so distracted mind!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Saving my dreams on... video!

Last night I had a dream that's worth talking about. I was dreaming that I was “saving” a dream on some sort of computer memory card or drive, for review a a later time. What a cool deal that was! That dream lasted for a very long time and really worked me up and got me all excited as I floated between the conscious and unconscious state while not totally waking up.

I thought to myself: “Must write a blog about that one...” Of course this morning I had to come to the realization that it was just another dream of mine! But again, aren't we saying that “whatever the human mind can conceive, it can achieve?”

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lutz vs. Musk

Last night, Charlie Rose, my favorite journalist was talking with Bob Lutz, who was pushing his latest book and after his career with Chrysler is still acting as advisor to GM's new CEO, Dan Akerson. The man who says that he is a “true car guy” sounds in fact like a know-it-all and a dinosaur while his statements fly in the way of what would make me buy a General Motors car, even though I want to “buy American” when I purchase my new one.

Next in the interview was Elon Musk the the charismatic CEO of Tesla Motors, the Silicon Valley electric-car start-up who also happens to be the CEO of SpaceX, that other newbe in the private-rocket business. In many ways, this man is another Steve Jobs and the interview of these two men sounded to me like “out with the old, and on with the new...” Both are featured in “Revenge of the Electric Car,” a new documentary that's now in limited release across the country, which explain the two opposite characters are making the media round together. Bob Lutz now fully deserves to go into full retirement!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Volunteering or not?

It's well past “that time of the year” and I haven't decided yet if I will participate or not as a volunteer in helping with alpine racing at Park City Mountain Resort. While my wife reminds me that there's no need for an old guy like me to freeze his rear-end for hours on end watching young racers go down the hill, I feel a bit uneasy passing that opportunity.

It's not that the compensation is worth the pain I'll have to endure; if I can stick to the grueling regimen of working six days, I get nine free lift tickets that will enable me to ski – on some occasions – at what used to be our sole ski place in Utah for twenty-three seasons.
Except for Thaynes and Jupiter, there is nothing for me to enjoy while skiing Park City, but these two spots can be fun, especially if I am in the company of my kids or some special friends. The work is rough, the pay is thin, but the sliver of pleasure appears still worth it to making me consider the endeavor. I think I'll do it one more year!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

François “Formica” Hollande

Last night, we watched a TV segment made around the man that will challenge French President Nicholas Sarkozy sometime next spring. The depiction left us thinking that the man that was just picked by the Socialist electorate during the October primary, was a consumed politician with few ideas and just the goal of being elected. A true “vanilla” or better yet “Formica” personality that see another François – Mitterand this time – as he guiding example.

The pure product of the ENA, that French school that churns out professional public servants. With that, it seems to us, that if doesn't screw up too badly and can leverage his terrific sense of populism and his “textured” language, Sarko, as we like to call him, might get another five years at the Élysée Palace...

Monday, November 7, 2011


It used to be that when you'd write someone a letter or would leave a voice mail message asking for something, you might get a response. Daily experience seem to bear that more and more, this expectation is no longer something one should take for granted when it comes to email, other modern communication or even traditional ones like snail-mail and the like.

Lack of “free time,” communication overload, lackluster overall content quality, computer illiteracy or an emerging lack of civility are making a dent in what used to be a common practice. People receive messages and chose to ignore them all, whether they're good, bad, important or trivial. In the face of all that, what are we to do?

I guess ignore the growing practice, don't take it personally and carry-on. When people just don't care, we only need to take a good measure of their indifference and perhaps, keep that in mind the next time we think of communicating with them...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The end of nostalgia

When I reached mid-life (how do you define that time period with any sense of accuracy?) I tended to be nostalgic. Beatles music and the like occupied my thoughts and this time period in my life lasted a good decade from the mid-nineties to roughly 2005. It might have been a way for me to “catch my breath” and wait for that so important “second wind!”

Today, I'm well past these bittersweet days and my focus goes entirely to the present and the future. In truth and in retrospect, I find nostalgia very regressive and a definite drag of my ideas, creativity and energy. I feel that I have grown out of that mindset and I am committed to use my present time to prepare for a continued, exciting future. I'm only nostalgic for the time I might have wasted being... Nostalgic!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Economic schizophrenia

When the financial crisis hit America in 2008, we all agreed that the entire United States was under the influence of credit (the new age drug) and needed to deleverage. We went from saving -1% to saving around +4% four years later.

Since our GDP was 70% consumption based, any sane and pragmatic person would immediately assume that consuming less would hurt the GDP right? Of course it did! Now we're complaining that the economy is not as buoyant as it should and that unemployment – among other scourges – lingers on. This contradiction of thoughts illustrates our Nation's economic illiteracy or our incapacity to make healthy decisions!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dressing the part...

When we go running in the morning and the first thing we do is check the outdoor temperature. If it's anywhere over 40 degrees Fahrenheit , it's great t-shirt and short weather; if it's sunny, my wife will wear a pair of sunglasses.

If it's between 30 and 40 degree, it's time to don a jogging suit and if it's between 20 and 30 adding a hat is generally a good idea. Below 20 we add a pair of gloves and below 10 or 0, we add a ski jacket. Now that you've learned the rules, you can come and run with us!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


At the end of the line, we ought to be judged on how well and how close we've arrived to reaching our full potential. True, potential for development and achievement varies vastly from person to person and as a result, some can reach tremendous heights while others' achievement may seem unspectacular or not in line with what the fashion or the trend of the moment dictates. In fact our various potentials can take so many different forms and measures that they can't be compared like mere objects.

The true measure stands in terms of what we've accomplished personally against what we could have done. I'm asking the question myself. Have I done as much as I should have to reach my own, full potential. The answer I seem to get back is “not quite, and by a long shot...” Okay, I'll gladly revisit the issue.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cold feet?

The theme is timely; since yesterday snow has begun to appear all the way down to Park City and last night, half-way into my sleep, I happened to think about the subject of cold feet and men. This is indeed a condition that males have to grapple with at one point in their life. How did I do with it?

Like anyone else I struggled a lot at first at first and showed my very worst in terms of hesitation, doubting, changing my mind and making U-turns. I was lucky though that I experienced it very early in my life and had gained ample practice by the time I became a young adult who had to make life-binding commitments. The good news is that since that time, my feet have become increasingly warmer!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Seven billion and what next?

Yesterday was the agree-upon milestone indicating that humanity had reached the awesome population of 7 billion inhabitants. Just as a reminder, the 6 billion mark was reached only 12 years ago. Reactions have mostly been muted. People care a lot more about short-term bumps like the Greek crisis than catastrophic upcoming issues like overpopulation. The only question some folks ask is whether there will be enough to eat. That's understandable; these must be already obese, overweight or on their way to enter either one category. They don't want an empty table they'd have to share with billions of others.

Food, in fact, is not the main problem. The spooky side of the issue is that we are far too many and are wrecking the environment and its complex ecosystem at breakneck speed. That destruction of nature is a lagging consequence of overpopulation in a world that – at best – was meant to comfortably support between 1,5 and 2 billion people. Today we're crying that the environment is in shambles, gets warmer and is going to the dogs. Well, this is the consequence of the 5 billion level we reached back in 1987.

Wait until what today's 7 billion of us will do to the earth in terms of irreparable damage; the problem is that we won't know for at least one or two decades. The solution that no one has the courage or common sense to address at the highest, leadership level is that it's time to stop making babies. Not in Japan or Italy, but in Africa and Asia, among other places, and unlike reducing global warming and rising sea levels, family planning is a no-brainer!