Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Starting to take shape

I should have put this up a little earlier to show the slow progress but hey, I didn't so here we are. I feel good to begin to see what my minds eye has been seeing but no one else has. I got the little calf in but please understand that this is far from complete.

I recently went to see Eddie Basha's (local supermarket magnate) personal collection of cowboy art and then Sunday went to the Scottsdale Fine Art show and man oh man did I get inspired. Mostly by the $14,000 price tags on pictures such as this one. Of course they were better and done by real artists, but hey a guy can dream can't he. Amanda thinks I should remind you that you are viewing a tiny representation of the real painting. It is 48 inches by 30 inches. So open your imagination and think big.

Unfortunately, I've been so busy with Weed King that I haven't been able to blog much so I've lost most of my readers. Hopefully, I'll get them back one blog at a time.

Be well, do good.

Friday, March 26, 2010

I'm still on a Abe kick

Abraham Lincoln was once asked if he ever drank spirits or cussed, he replied, "No, I have Secretary Stanton in my Cabinet for that." See, Joe Biden has a role.

The overwhelming majority of soldiers in the Civil War were not much more than children - under twenty years of age. One such, a lad of fifteen, fell asleep on his watch and was sentenced to the firing squad. The lad's mother came to see Lincoln and Lincoln allowed as to how it had almost been impossible for himself to stay awake at fifteen and he ordered the boy's pardon. Months later the boy's body was recovered from a battlefield and in his pocket next to his heart was a picture of Lincoln which he had inscribed "God bless Abraham Lincoln."

Speaking of resentment he said, "Perhaps I have too little of it; but I never thought it paid. A man has no time to spend half his life in quarrels."

And finally this which reminds me of our current President and his opposition:

A leading politician took exception with the way that Lincoln was conducting things. The man had said he thought Lincoln should be listening to men that "had their hearts in it!"

Lincoln replied:

"You think I could do better; therefore, you blame me already. I think I could not do better; therefore, I blame you for blaming me. I understand you now to be willing to accept the help of men who are not of your party, provided they have 'heart in it.' Agreed. I want no others. But who is to be the judge of hearts or of 'hearts in it'? If I must discard my own judgment and take yours I must also take that of others; and by the time I should reject all I should be advised to reject, I should have none left - not even yourself. For be assured, my dear sir, there are men who have 'heart in it' that think you are performing your part as poorly as you think I am performing mine."

Harry Truman, another truly honest man said once, "The only thing new is history you haven't read." Meaning, it's all happened before.

Be well. Do good.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I'm reminded of a fella from Illinois

I've been reading some of the wit and wisdom of Abraham Lincoln, arguably our most beloved President. Watching the health care reform news I am greatly reminded of him. As beloved as he is now, he was greatly reviled by many people during his presidency. Not just southerners but many northerners as well. The poppinjay General McClellan was so disdainful of Lincoln that once when Lincoln had called to talk about the progress or lack of it in the war McClellan ignored the fact that Lincoln was in his house and went to bed.

If you are ever lucky enough to be in Springfield Illinois you must go to the Lincoln Presidential Museum. It is quite remarkable. One of the very interesting things there is a hallway dedicated to news articles that completely revile Mr. Lincoln. He is called every name in the book. It just illustrates how intelligent humans can also be completely wrong.

I saw on the Sunday morning news show that on the health care reform issue there were 6 lobbyist for every congressman. Including Dunkin Donuts and the cigar industry. Wow. No wonder it's rare for important stuff to get done. I noticed in the vote last night for health care legislation that one of the parties - to a man - voted against it. The other party had 30 some that voted against it but the one party voted - to a man! Really. Every congressman in that party found nothing redeeming to vote for. Nothing. Really. No wonder we are all disgusted with politics. I've never seen such devisiveness in Washington and I've seen every President and Congress since Truman. (Who also tried to pass health care reform).

Here's something of interest to you. President Richard Nixon was formulating health care reform that looked much like what was passed last night but got derailed by Watergate. Yes, the consummate Republican, Richard Nixon.

But back to Lincoln. How could you not love a guy who said, "A man's legs should be long enough to reach the ground."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Being the boss

Ain't being the boss great? You get to tell everyone what to do. You can have things your way. You don't answer to anyone.

Yeah right.

What it is, is responsibility. For starters you can't fail. If you do, it adversely impacts everyone that works for you. You wake up at night thinking of that. If you're smart you don't tell people what to do. You lead people to do the right thing on their own. If you are lucky enough to have good people then they will own as much of the responsibility for their success as you do. That's the formula for success, surround yourself with good, responsible people that own their jobs.

And that brings up the down side. The worst part of being the boss. You've hired someone that is not what you thought and that person is failing. And, worse yet, jeopardizing the operation. And you have to let them go. This just after they were so grateful, in this economic climate, to get a job. This is the worst. It's heartbreaking to have to tell an individual that they are not up to the job. Especially hard when they have family and need work.

This after the middle of the night soul searching. And, now you realize that the person can't be trained up to the job. It's not going to be experience that will change things. They just don't have the right mind for the job. The comedian Ron White says, "you can't fix stupid." Not that I'd say this person is stupid but the problem is unfixable. The abilities and the job are far apart.

So I'm the boss. And this problem stops at my desk. I've always believed that a sharp knife cuts clean. And the quicker the cut the better for everyone. Be honest and straight forward and be prepared to refuse the "I will try to do better." entreaties.

Sometimes I don't like being the boss.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Today that cubicle don't look so bad!

When I was young I worked in a Caterpillar factory building big graders and heavy equipment. Then I went to work for a company called A.E.Staley Manufacturing. Through a set of circumstances beyond my control I was moved from being an hourly union worker in the plant to being a salaried employee. This meant I worked for the company. I was a company man. I was given the opportunity to climb the corporate ladder. Which I did. One rung at a time for almost fifteen years. As each year passed I became more and more convinced that I just wasn't built to be a corporate man. Be in the office with suit and tie each morning at 8am. Work in the office until 4:30pm. One half hour for lunch.

Finally I became the almost perfect example of the Peter Principle which states that in a corporate environment an employee will be promoted until he or she reaches a level of incompetence. In other words, going up the ladder until you reach a job you are not good at therefore you will not be promotable and stuck there forever. Mr Peter said that this is why upper middle management that has been there for a while is usually incompetent. I don't think I reached that level of incompetence but I certainly reached a position that I didn't like and had a boss I couldn't stand. This is when I read the writing on the wall realizing that unless something highly unusual happened I was stuck there forever. Other cubicle dwellers in that department had been there most of their working lives.

So I quit, moved to Phoenix and became an independent entrepreneur. Something I turned out to be good at. But, now with Weed King, and with Amanda gone from the office with me as her substitute, and the phones ringing off the hook and Carol and I collapsing onto the couch every night, I look back and think;

If I'd stayed in that cubicle, I could be retired right now. With a pension. No worries. Old and fat and lazy. Watch the daytime soaps. Go to the Mall to walk two laps. Maybe belong to the Elks Club and go to the Friday night fish fry. Have little yip yip ankle biters with fuzzy coats and precious names. Let them sleep in bed with us. Eat popcorn for dinner. Talk incessantly about my latest ailment. Show people my surgical scars. Wonder why the Kids never invite me to dinner with their friends. Sleep late in the morning because there is no reason to get up. Wear a spot in the favorite chair until it is shiny with use.....................

Ah, never mind, the phone is ringing.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The New World

I don't know what Christopher Columbus felt like when he finally saw land on the horizon after months filled with scurvy and dysentery at sea. You have to remember he was looking for a new sea route to the far east. Kinda got off track. I'm sure one of the emotions he had was a kind of intellectual bafflement. (I may have coined a new term for What the hey?)

I think I have been feeling the same way. Looking at this new world I'm living in. I was listening to NPR 91.5 FM on the radio and learned about a new website that is posting - much like facebook - everything a person uses his or her credit or debit card for. It's a social thing, not a financial thing. This way - the web site designers say - you can keep up with the Jones. You can see that the Mrs. spent $400 at Banana Republic and the two of them dined at Chez Louie. The designers say this is to help you make decisions on how to spend your money. You can see what your friends are doing so that you can do it too.


Okay, it is understood that anyone my age is pretty set in their ways, but I'm typing this blog on a laptop, so I'm not hopeless. But, at the same time there are some things I just don't get, like wanting to know where my friend Charley spent his money. And there are definately some things I just don't want to become modern.

Like books.

I've heard of the I-Pad and the Kindle and can see the writing on the screen. But, I have a den. And in that den I have a wall length bookcase. And in that bookcase I have real honest to God books. And I love them. I love the way they smell. I love the way they feel. I can only set at a screen and read for so long but with a book I can go all afternoon. I recently picked up a book by Raphael Sabatini called Captain Blood. This was made into a great swashbuckling movie back in the thirties starring Errol Flynn. Half of you don't know who that is but he was the Tom Cruise of his day. The book is not a reprint. It is an original printing from 1922. The writing style is a little heavy handed, like it was then, but the story is a great one. Captain Blood was Doctor Peter Blood, a man who disdained politics but because of that and the fact he wouldn't choose sides between two - what he felt to be - silly factions, he is arrested and sent to a prison island in the south Pacific. One great thing leads to another and next thing you know he is the most celebrated pirate on the bounty main, exacting his revenge at the point of a sword. Great stuff for the romantic in us.

And it's a book. An old hard back book. And even when I'm not reading it again - I can look into my bookcase and there it is in all it's purple cover and gilded print glory.

And it's already downloaded for the next time.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

So Sorry

Things are crazy here at Weed King so I haven't the time to blog. So Sorry! I'd rather blog, being the gasbag I am. The phone -there it goes again - is ringing every two minutes. Where were these people in June through December. Oh well, make hay while the sun shines. As soon as I get a break I'll be back.