Mid-Feb Blues

I try to walk 5 miles each morning, but sometimes I cut it to 3. Today was 3. There was about 4” of fresh snow and the sidewalks were a mess and also, I had an early meeting to prep for. Internet was down at the house and so I couldn’t do my prep at home. I woke up at 2:30, walked, showered and went to TRW building at 5:30 because my first meeting was there. Or so I was told. When I got there and opened the invite however, it indicated the meeting was at CCAC. So I drove over there. Then I got a text that said the meeting was actually at TRW. So I drove back there.

Dickish behavior. What is it that causes people to be dicks? Is it genetic? Are some people born to be dicks or do they learn it from others? I am talking about systemic dickish behavior—not the occasional outburst or bad day or over-reaction in the heat of the moment. But people who simply elevate their own desires and wishes over the desires and wishes of someone else. This is especially intriguing in relationships. People who profess to love someone else, but then continually dictate that the other person must act a certain way. Few people can accurately describe what love is—but we do know by now that love is not attempting to curtail someone else’s contentment by using whatever leverage you have to control their behavior. That is dickish behavior—not love-based behavior.

I have to work with a few dicks too–but that is to be expected. Just one or two.

All humans have flaws of course. But most people develop some level of self awareness by their 30’s or so. And with self-awareness comes the ability to understand that your desire to control others is a flawed approach to engaging in relationships. But not all people apparently.

I finished reading ‘Say Nothing’ by Patrick Radden Keefe this morning. A very clear, informative and descriptive account of some specific events surrounding the troubles in Northern Ireland. This book focuses largely on the December, 1972 disappearance of Jean McConville, a 38-year old mother of 10. McConville was abducted from her home, in front of her kids, and never seen again. Her body was discovered only in 2003; she was assassinated by agents of the IRA, but the identity of the killer has never been identified. This book purports, with strong evidence, that Marion Price pulled the trigger with her sister Dolores Price by her side. Dolores and Brandon Hughes, central figures in his story, maintain that Gerry Adams was head of the IRA at this time and personally ordered the killing and disappearance. ‘Disappearing‘ was a particularly henious form of revenge because the bodies were secretly buried, so the families had no closure. They could never really be sure that they were dead or had perhaps gone in hiding. With most executions, the bodies were left on the streets as a sign to other possible informers or traitors to the cause.

I started ‘Man’s Search for Meaning‘ by Viktor Frankl. Not sure why I am choosing such dark themes just now. Maybe it’s the grey cold winter days. I am nearly finished with the massive ‘Warmth of Other Suns’. It’s brilliant. Sad, tragic, but historically intriguing and very well written. But also very long.

Insomnia is back. Which is bad for my health, but very good for my reading habit.


When I was 17, I worked at a steel plant for a summer. Same place where my dad worked making steel grating. I worked on a big saw with a guy named Mike Dalton who was around 25 or so. We became friends. We got paid on Friday’s. So every Friday at our lunch break, we would take our checks to the chicken shack down the road by the IGA and they would cash our check and we would get a chicken dinner. Mike’s mom worked there so she always gave us a little extra. We rushed back to work and had enough time for a couple of euchre games with the other fellas before we had to get back to the saw.

Mike had a huge old Lincoln that rolled down the road like velvet.

Friday nights, I would often go to Mike’s house. He was a hard drinker, although mostly just beer. But he basically drank a 12-pack every night. On Friday’s we’d sit on his front porch and watch the traffic go by. He had been dumped by his girlfriend and was pretty depressed. But we would drink and talk for hours. He was a good guy.

This was the job where I got a lesson in unions. Mike and I would cut about 40 lengths of grating every shift. We cut around 40 because that was the shop norm and all shifts were expected to conform to that number. We could easily have cut 100 or even more, but Mike deliberately kept our production to the shop norm. This provided leverage for the unions—they could scale production up and down as they saw fit, based on what messages they were trying to send to management regarding wages and benefits.

I was wondering whatever happened to Mike. He was a really good hearted and smart guy, who, like so many from that little town, got caught up in an inertia of circumstances that made it hard to break away.

Past week was full of normal work drama. Maybe a little worse than usual as realization sets in about the state of our program. Seems like we will almost certainly run out of runway before we get fully tested. I delivered a document to the executive sponsors that articulates what I believe appropriate next steps are to address our systemic issues that we have so far refused to acknowledge. The recommendations will be ignored, as most of our advice has been so far, but it is my job to try and so I will.

Couple of pics that popped up on Facebook from two years ago on this date. I was working in Tokyo and hit the Hyatt Park Tower for my martini and a cigar.

Couple of other random pics just for fun.

No other news of note.

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