The Cult of 27

Source: The Northern Light – Best-selling rock biographer explores the ‘Cult of 27’.

Cross lectured on “The Cult of 27” at the Fine Arts Building, Nov. 10 at an event cosponsored by Student Activities and the Campus Bookstore. The title of the lecture refers to the many musicians who died at the age of 27, including Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Robert Johnson and Jim Morrison, among others.

Anchorage was Cross’ last stop on a worldwide tour to promote his latest book, a biography of Hendrix titled “A Room Full of Mirrors.”

Cross said music can recover from being inundated with untalented bands and performers.

“I’m not sure who’s going to save rock ’n’ roll but there’s always somebody who will.”

Jay Leno’s Headlines: Nov 7 & 14 2005

If you’re a vegetarian, I don’t think you should take this offer…

Christina Flear’s cat Tommy loves wearing the cowboy hat.

Here is the most honest lawyer


Seeking good week

Peter Drucker Quotes

Source: Quotations Weblog ? Archive ? Peter Drucker dies.

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.

So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work.

The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.

Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.

We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.

Are We Entitled to Our Standard of Living?

This may be the real reason we invaded Iraq. The best laid plans….

Senator Charles ("Chuck") Grassley (Republican senator from Iowa; chairman of the Senate Finance Committee) recently made his feelings known:

You know what? What makes our economy grow is energy. And Americans are used to going to the gas tank (sic), and when they put that hose in their, uh, tank, and when I do it, I wanna get gas out of it. And when I turn the light switch on, I want the lights to go on, and I don’t want somebody to tell me I gotta change my way of living to satisfy them. Because this is America, and this is something we’ve worked our way into, and the American people are entitled to it, and if we’re going improve (sic) our standard of living, you have to consume more energy.

Reflecting on the assumptions underlying Grassley’s words, Jim Kunstler asks some Tough Questions:

Instead of preparing the public for changing circumstances that will inexorably require different behavior on our part, our leaders are setting the public up to defend a way of living that can’t continue for practical reasons. The question remains: are our leaders doing this out of cynicism or stupidity, or some other reason that is hard to determine?

Cynicism would mean that they know exactly what the score is with the global energy situation and our predicament in relation to it, and don’t trust the public to deal with the truth.

While I doubt that the President and his posse are too dim to comprehend the energy trap we’re in, there certainly is plenty of plain stupidity in the rest of our elected leadership, of which Senator Grassley’s remarks are Exhibit A. To be more precise, actually, Grassley’s statement displays something closer to childishness than sheer stupidity. It comprises a set of beliefs or expectations that are unfortunately widespread in our culture, namely, that we should demand a particular outcome because we want it to be so.

What I wonder is: when will my fellow citizens discover that their thinking and their behavior are unworthy of their history?  That we are entering a time when these things simply aren’t good enough, aren’t enough to meet the challenges that reality now presents. Or are we too far gone? It’s possible that we are. After all, life is tragic, meaning that happy outcomes are not guaranteed and that people who forget that usually come to grief.

Whole Foods: Looking At The Whole Picture

Source: Investor’s Business Daily: Looking At The Whole Picture.

For John Mackey, it’s all about living your passion.

His enthusiasm has helped Whole Foods become a major player. Sales in 1995 vaulted 86%; earnings growth hit triple digits the next two years. Sales grew an average 20% annually the last five years, from $2.3 billion in 2001 to $4.7 billion in 2005. Earnings per share nearly doubled during the same period, from $1.05 to $1.98.

How? Simple, Mackey says. "As much as anything, I followed my heart," he said in a recent interview. "Whole Foods Market had a dream of creating the highest-quality food store, and we created core values."

At its heart, the mother of Whole Foods’ core values is to make the customer happy — as well as employees, investors, vendors, communities and the environment. To do that, the company won’t sell food made with hydrogenated oils or artificial preservatives. It buys from organic producers and sustainable fisheries. Its meats contain no hormones. Employees vote on benefits packages and new hires. They wear no uniforms.

In addition, the company aims to double annual sales to $10 billion in the next five years — largely by using internal capital for growth. Mackey calls it "stakeholder capitalism." "Maximizing shareholder value doesn’t get employees, customers or the community at large excited," he noted.

While delivering on the earnings end, Mackey’s recipe for a fabulous store has made the company a darling of the organic food movement. It’s pleased employees enough with some innovative labor practices that they’ve shrugged off most unionization attempts — without Whole Foods incurring charges that it’s tried to quash organized labor.

Simple Start

Long intrigued by the inner life, Mackey studied philosophy and religion at two Texas colleges before dropping out. A stint living in a vegetarian co-op drove home the message, "you are what you eat."

In 1978, Mackey and then-girlfriend Renee Lawson Hardy decided they could express their ideals and still make a living. Passionate about food, he used an inheritance and borrowed money from his father to start a natural food store called Safer Way in Austin.

While it offered organic products, Safer Way distinguished itself from other local health food stores by selling refined sugar and eggs.

After a year, Mackey decided to build on his modest profitability. With $200,000 in financing, including a loan from a customer, Mackey and Hardy merged Safer Way with a cross-town rival. In 1980, the first Whole Foods Market opened with a staff of 19 and a structure that broke new ground for health food retailers. It was big, so it could carry many more organic products. And the aisles were organized like a typical grocery store.

Appealing to increasingly health-conscious and college-educated consumers has worked well. True to Safer Way’s original strategy, Whole Foods carries what’s good for you, plus what tastes and looks good. That includes gleaming fresh displays, racks of imported cheese and hand-made gelato.

Cheetahs could roam parts of North America?

Source: Wild animals could again roam parts of North America | Science Blog.

If Cornell University researchers and their colleagues have their way, cheetahs, lions, elephants, camels and other large wild animals may soon roam parts of North America.

…ecologists and conservationists have authored a paper, published in the latest issue of Nature (Vol. 436, No. 7053), advocating the establishment of vast ecological history parks with large mammals, mostly from Africa, that are close relatives or counterparts to extinct Pleistocene-period animals that once roamed the Great Plains.

The plan, which is called Pleistocene rewilding and is intended to be a proactive approach to conservation, would help revitalize ecosystems that have been compromised by the extinction of many of the continent’s large mammals, many of them predators. It would also offer ecotourism and land-management jobs to help the struggling economies in rural areas of the Great Plains and Southwest.

…large tracts of private land are probably the most promising places to start, with each step carefully guided by the fossil record and the involvement of experts and research.

Evidence shows that animals near the top of the food chain play important roles in structuring ecological systems and maintaining biodiversity, according to the paper. These keystone species — animals that contribute to diversity of life and which the rewilding researchers would like to reintroduce — play a disproportionate role in an ecosystem. Extinction of a keystone species can lead to homogenous landscapes with less biodiversity and different species proliferating and dominating the ecosystem.

For example, when humans almost wiped out wolves and grizzly bears in the United States, the species dynamics shifted. The loss of wolves and grizzlies allowed elk populations to soar. Elk, in turn, ate willows, a favorite food of beavers. As a result, along winter elk ranges in Colorado, beaver populations have declined by 80 to 90 percent. With fewer beavers to create dams that raise water tables, fewer wetlands developed to support willows. Today, there are 60 percent fewer willows in parts of Colorado where beavers have declined.

Similarly, after major predators became extinct in Montana and Wyoming, the number of moose, which eat willows, increased in the Yellowstone National Park area. The loss of willows has negatively impacted the numbers of nesting migrant songbirds.

DSL Trouble and Resolution

Yesterday (Monday, Oct 31) at 4pm our DSL connection died.

I reset the router without success.

I called BellSouth support and started talking to Bill.

Bill contacted his line technician and said he’d call back in 10 minutes.

Bill called back every 10 minutes for an hour.

Then we checked the router for proper settings. Bill was effective and knowledgable.

Bill said the problem was in the DSL connection and BellSouth would have a technician at our home by 7pm Tuesday (Nov 1) evening.

I told Bill that we have two businesses operating from home offices that are dependent on a reliable connection. I emphasized that being down for 24 hours was totally unacceptable and that I would switch to Concast internet if BellSouth couldn’t respond more quickly.

At 6:30pm I called Comcast and started ordering a connection kit.

At 6:45pm Ann came to my office and said DSL is on.

At 6:46pm I cancelled my order with Comcast.

This morning at 8:30am a BellSouth technician rang our door bell. We didn’t need his services since DSL was up and running.