Missing People

Well, I’m missing friends and family. Would not have expected this.

Can’t really visit with my parents or others other than by my phone or message or email. Missing seeing my friends at church. Miss working out in the gym with others that I know. Missing running occasionally with my running partner. Haven’t seen my sister or brother in weeks. Have seen my daughter and son-in-law some but trying to generally keep a distance from my son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter.

Having to do zoom meetings instead of going and sitting down with friends. Was supposed to teach a class at church this quarter but that blew up so I’m missing that experience too.

We dropped off about 30 care bags for a group we are in, some of our neighbors, some nearby family and some nearby friends. That was fun.

My calendar is nearly empty now which is so weird. Can’t even process that.

I hope wherever you are and whoever you are with that you are being safe and careful.

I hope you know you are loved. Reach out and connect.

Mark

A New Normal?

After this Covid-19 experience, whenever that is, what will go back to normal and will have a new normal?

Education is going to be transformed in multiple fashions driven by the realization that much of our learning can be done online without the need to be face-to-face with a teacher or a class. This will have huge impact on higher-ed in particular.

Will we return to shaking hands again?

What about churches where we pass communion trays across a row of strangers and where our kids are dropped off in a smaller class taught by someone and with some others that we don’t know or don’t know their health stories or practices. What about our older church members who go to church faithfully week after week, but suddenly they are going to realize their health may be impacted by that which they’ve done forever.

What are the 2nd and 3rd order impacts of this economic impact to our cities? Some leaders have suspended rent and evictions and the like. Well, what about the people who are expecting that rental income or need to remove a misbehaving tenant from their property? When Mayors close all the bars and restaurants, what about the employees losing their jobs there and the owners who are losing their income? Then what happens to them and their families?

See We’re not going back to normal in the MIT Technology Review.

The Order of Time

If you are in to books on science subjects, I’ve got to recommend The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli. It is a book about time and what is time. It is frankly speaking stunning.

I’m now listening to it for about the 4th time. It ranks on my all time nonfiction list of books there with The Information and Scale on my reading list books. Outstanding and much to consider.

Trump

I’ve been stewing on what to say about the Christianity Today article Trump Should Be Removed from Office on 12/19. What to say? He was elected by the US voters with the process and ground rules in place to win the nomination and the general election. Yes, social media probably distorted viewpoints, but in the end, he won. He is the US President.

He has done some things that are directionally correct in standing up to some foreign powers and in intending to call out some who really need to be called out. He has, perhaps, appointed more judges and perhaps we’ll have more balance in our courts for a season.

But here is the deal. He is fundamentally not a good person. The CT articles states:

The reason many are not shocked about this is that this president has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration. He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals. He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud. His Twitter feed alone—with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders—is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.

James Comey wrote this week on Twitter:

I’m not here endorsing or defending Comey and I think the Democrats are equally a nightmare.

The impeachment process in the House has been a show itself. The Democrats wouldn’t let the Republicans bring some witnesses and then the Democrats are stunned and can’t believe the Republicans won’t let them bring witnesses to the Senate trial. Further, Pelosi holding the articles up and not delivering them to the Senate for trial as she is supposed to do further magnifies that all of this is a show.

Trump may directionally get some things right, but he is not a good person and he shouldn’t be the leader of this country.

I suspect the Senate will convene and quickly put this to an end by acquitting or denying the claims. Then the show will continue with the next chapter.

The Democrats may do another impeachment. Trump will tweet away. And our country will continue be led by a morally bankrupt person who we elected.

Shame on us. Shame on the Republicans. Shame on the Democrats. Shame on all of us.

Three days after the CT post, I saw this online:

As I read the Christianity Today essay, I was reminded once again of the words of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: “You can resolve to live your life with integrity. Let your credo be this: Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me.” Donald Trump is bringing an avalanche of lies into this world. It’s time for Christians once again to consider whether they want those lies to come through them—through their votes and their voices.

https://frenchpress.thedispatch.com/p/christianity-today-exposed-the-reality

Let’s find better people to be our leaders at all levels of government.

The case of the traveling package…

So on November 28, I ordered a gift for my wife for Christmas. On 12/3 it shipped via FedEx Smartpost where FedEx ships the package to the local USPS office who then delivers to the home. No problem so far.

The shipment arrived at FedEX on 12/3 as shown below where it then moved to Dallas and then to Fort Worth. All seems good so far.

The package then ships from Texas and arrives in Edmond, OK, persumably at a local FedEx site? Not sure. The package is then listed as in transit to my local USPS office in Arcadia, OK but something happens. Barcode unreadable?

Seems like someone spilled coffee on the package at the Edmond FedEx site? Or tore the barcode? Or what? But no worries, the label is replaced and it leaves the site. Should be less than 10 miles from my home and the label has been replaced.

But here is the rest of the FedEx log file so far and note we are now six days later and the box has not arrived.

So my package that was 10 miles or so from where I sit got back on a truck and went to Texas again. Then it decided Arkansas is lovely this time of year so it drove over there for a while. Then it went back to Texas, this time to a different Texas site. It left that last Texas site last Friday (today is Monday) at 10:07 AM and it has not been scanned since for three days.

USPS is not acknowledging any such package and no more updates from FedEX.

Now the good folks at @carbon2cobalt have refunded my shipping costs but really, they should probably charge me more for the amazing scenic journey this package is taking. The stories it can tell.

It is a busy time of year and instead of being mad, I’m enjoying the journey. Cheers to all the delivery men and women who are driving on bad roads, long hours, in bad weather to get those packages where they belong!

Been Away and a Recommendation

You know, I believe in posting here, but I seem to let the days get by without doing a post. Sorry about being so negligent.

I need to, right from the start, recommend a book to read. The book The Infinite Game by Sinek is perhaps a masterpiece. It is the story about how business and everybody is thinking and acting short term and not long term. Businesses and Wall Street think about quarterly profits when they probably should be thinking about the long-term. Our tax codes drive us to support this thinking. The same with our political parties and government. Everything is about the short term, the next quarter, the next election, this session of congress, etc. The result is we are killing ourselves. I’ve so far read about 75% of the book but highly recommend it already. Every American should read this book and then use it to inform their thinking in the next election cycle.

So I ran in the Disney Wine & Dine 10K and Half Marathon Two Course Challenge last week. I never think of myself as a fast or very good runner which is probably what most runners think of themselves. However, I looked at the run results after the half and I ended up in the top 15% of the runners in my gender and age group which stunned me. Ok then, I’ll keep running and pressing on. I run another half marathon in 10 days in Tulsa.

Regarding the book above, there is mention of a group of oil rig guys getting together to spend time together and basically become more open with each other. The result of their time invested in this fashion is their rig became a high performing rig, with minimal downtime, high output, and low environmental impact. Their time together made them each realize that they all come to the workplace with issues, insecurities, and vulnerability but they mostly hide it behind tough guy personas. When they realized they all felt this way, their performance as a team dramatically improved. They began trusting each other.

I think we all think this. We aren’t good runners. We aren’t good teachers. We aren’t good friends. But really, we are doing the best we can and we are doing ok. And we can make a difference in the world around us and with the people around us. Even if in just one person.

Listen, just make a difference in one person’s life tomorrow. Be bold. Say Thanks. Say Hi. Hold the door open. Make a difference. The world needs more people making a difference.

Welp

Two or three days ago, I re-downloaded a Solitaire game on my iPhone. I used to have this on my phone, but dropped it years ago. I don’t play games on my phone. I started playing it a lot while sitting around at home the last couple of days.

I found myself winning about 28% of the games and I think I told my wife I owned Solitaire. She informed me that some of these games only present you with winnable deals of cards. Turns out I had that on. I was only getting winnable deals and I was winning 28%. Deflated.

So far this week, I’ve run 24 miles. More than last week. I’m finding that I’m slower than I hope to be and I’ve maybe realized that I’ll never really be much faster. Getting older. Running a ½ marathon in 16 days. So there is that. And, I’m tired of Garmin telling me my runs are ‘Unproductive’ which I find totally unacceptable, demoralizing, and not helpful. Hey, I’m out there. My friend ran the Chicago Marathon this past weekend. Jealous.

I don’t know where you are or how you are doing but I hope you are well and you are surrounded by friends.

Conversations and Listening

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship and friends lately. I’ve mentioned a few times before about this, but it has been been and remains on my mind.

A couple of weeks ago I flew to SF and had an evening catching up with some dear friends that I used to work with at STX. We had a great evening catching up and talking about the past and the future. Most have moved on to new adventures and it was a great evening. One is lucky if some of the people you work with become your friends.

One of my friends recently wrote about learning to listen better on her blog. and it deeply resonated with me because I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately and trying to be a better listener (put that phone down). I’ve read from several places how important it is to deeply listen to others and listen to understand, not listen to respond. I’ve been trying to be better at this in the last weeks and months. I think she spoke somewhere on this recently and I would loved to hear what she said and has learned.

In the last few weeks, I’ve had a number of conversations with people that I’ve not known before and they’ve not known me. I’ve just been in some new situations and traveling and other so I’ve had the chance to meet and visit a lot of new people. In almost every conversation the other person has proceeded to do almost all the talking about themselves; about their situations; interests, and about whatever was on their mind. The conversations have been tilted way towards them and their lives. In fact, it has gotten to where I’ve been conducting an experiment, after a while, to see if at any point they ask anything about me or what I do or what I think about X, Y or Z. I’ve been amazed by this! Is this the norm and I’m just now noticing it or am I just meeting a skewed sample of people lately?

Someone wrote that if you want to be come an interesting person, then be interested in others. I’m trying to be more interested in others.

Hope you have a great week. And I hope you are surrounded by good friends. Blessings.

Ripples Through Time

I unfollowed Westbrook (@russwest44) online. I can’t bear to see his posts these days. Sometime later this year in the NBA season, he may break the all time triple double record in the NBA and he won’t be wearing an @okcthunder jersey. Can’t bear to watch it. I will, of course, welcome him when he returns to OKC, but I might leave after he is introduced because I’m not sure I can watch him play against us.

I’ve been running a lot lately. I aspire to get more consistent and walk less, but the universe may have encoded into its very DNA that I will never be much faster/better. It might be like the message encoded into Pi in the book Contact.

I’ll close with this….

A friend of mine is very sick and fighting cancer. We are doing all we can to help. One of several reasons for our fighting for this fierce friend is that years ago, this friend treated our high school aged daughter as a real person, connected with her and included her. It meant so much to my wife and me. Our choices and actions ripple through time. What good you do today ripples through time. Always lean towards doing good. We stand with this dear friend for many reasons, and this is one of them.