Friday, December 27, 2013

time zoned

After spending a full work week with my brother I have a different view of work schedule accommodation, and, with that, an adjusted view of family scheduling accommodation.

He gets up at 4 AM to go to work on a morning TV news show in Denver.  He gets home between 2 and 3 usually, then drives his kids around to various activities.  By the time he gets done with that, around 7 pm, his wife is home from her job, just in time to eat dinner with him if things work out, before he goes to bed between 8 and 9 pm.

4 AM is closer to the time I go to sleep, generally.  The people I have always worked with are the night people, the geeks, the ones who stay up late, and the ones who are waiting for them to help fix the problems they were unable to fix or never got around  to fixing during the day.

Now that we constantly work with a global community, questions and solutions come at us at any time of day or night, so it is far more complicated than just expecting the West Coast experts to weigh in after we New Yorkers and other east coat people have given up for the night.

This wreaks havoc on those of us trying to have a life outside of the bubble.

My acupuncturist would tell me that I should go to sleep by 11 and get up by 8.  Sounds great.  My wife says the same thing.  I wish it were so easy...

Sadly, the ever-expanding reach of technology and social media makes it even harder all the time.                  

Thursday, November 21, 2013

the hebrew word for "cling"

after listening to a lot, I think I understand why so so many Jews become Buddhists.  It is the exact opposite.  Judaism is all about clinging, and Buddhism is all about "letting go". Sorry to over-simplify, but this is important.   I read this fascinating piece in the New Yorker about a Hungarian right-wing extremist anti-Semite who ultimately discovered his grandmother was a Holocaust survivor.  He contactacted a Lubavitz rabbi and converted in a big way.  "God bless him", is all I can say.

I thhink that.s a little exrteme, but you know that I believe in honoring one's forebears, so go for it -- better than  the alternative, which is mass hatred and violence.    

Friday, November 15, 2013

the language of language

With such a polyglot globe, might it not make more sense to persue a single  non-verbal laguage than a verbal one?
Drive the jersey turnpike around the frank r. lautenberg secaucus train station for a look into the 1960's future.  Ramps like you write home about.  The World's Fair writ Federal Largesss  God keep you Frank!.  I wanted to put a picture here, but, I could not pick from the many that would do.  That must be tough.      

Friday, November 8, 2013

settings > privacy > x

The number of times I get asked for "secret" information is astounding.

Isn't it?  Iheard a great interview the other day with s "security expert" who was asked about those comanies that claim to be able to "secure your information online"  or "in the cloud"

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Work = joy

I was listening to a zencast episode the other day and what got to me was  the what she said about expecting happiness, because we talk about that a lot in my "small circle of friends" -- ok, there's a quote looking for attribution -- phil ochs'.   

on anther subject:
"If you love your work you are either really lucky or really stupid."
- O.B. Joyful
-no, actually not him.

The point was that there is an attitude about happiness in which we think things like, "if I only had___, or, if I could only___,... I could be happy.   Clearly this is wrong.  But learning this is difficult.

Many are called, but few are chosen

Is that why there are so many Jews in show business?

We were taking about stereotypes the otheer night.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

the meaning of faith

Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water, after enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Keep them coming

I have been thinking a lot about the immigration debate that is heating up now following the Boston bombings.  Sadly, many are using this sad event as an excuse to propose tightening immigration requirements, claiming that if we just did not let these crazy aliens in, we would all be so much safer.

This of course is disingenuous, as well as insulting to the many proud immigrants who have contributed much to our society.

Aside from the many stories of young people entering the armed forces to defend a country with mixed feelings about taking them in, there are plenty of examples like that of a friend I had dinner with recently.  He came to New York from India as a young man.  After years creating visual effects  for Hollywood blockbusters, he and his business partner created software to help our military find IEDs in Iraq, thus saving countless American lives.

Clearly some of us need constant reminders that our nation was built by immigrants, and we continue to need them.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Mario Cuomo Moment

In light of the events in Boston this week, I felt the need to introduce this phrase to the lexicon (or Blogicon).  It came to me last night when I did something stupid, again, and survived through pure luck.  I had dinner with a friend visiting from DC, and after he went back to his hotel I hung out for a couple more beers with some really interesting people I met.  This was at one of my favorite haunts near 29th and 7th Ave.  There are always a lot of cops parked around there, and recently they have been closing 29th Street at 11th Avenue, which makes my escape route to the West Side Highway several blocks longer.  At midnight I really hate that...

So when I headed out, I did not get too far up the West Side Highway before I realized that maybe it was unwise for me to be driving.   I had not been sleeping well and it had been along day.  So I pulled onto Riverside Drive and found a parking spot (surprisingly easy, as it happens).  Then  I called a car service to take me home (for ($51).  I had to return on the bus today to get my car.  Thi was the "Mario Cuomo Moment", when I realized that the rule of law is sometimes worth considerable inconvenience.  I could have been arrested for drunk driving and maybe even had my license suspended -- never mind the danger I posed to myself and others.  Truly a case of the law being there for  a good reason.  I did not consider the risk of mayhem, but the risk of legal repurcussions made me alter my behavior for the benefit of society.

I thought of this today when I heard the stories of people confined to their homes in Boston.  And we all benefit from their selfless participation in a society of laws.  Not a small thing.  We owe them thanks, and hope that their example continues to inspire communities throughout the nation and the world.  Co-operation and participation, no matter now inconvenient, is a building block of peace and security, at home and globally.       

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Keep On running, and jumping, and throwing, and cheering

Like all of us, I will need much time to digest the events of Patriots Day.

I believe my perspective is unique for several reasons that I would like to share here, and from my perspective, this tragedy should make us all stop and think, but NOT about the dangers of being at a big sporting event, but the unmatched joys.

I spent half my life as a runner, until a stroke took that pleasure away.  Although I never even considered running a marathon, I have always been fascinated by this particular obsession.  When I lived in Boston in the 70's and early 80's, I loved seeing the Marathon; some years I was lucky enough to see the runners from my apartment, and sometimes I went downtown to watch.

Although I always felt a little like an alien in the city, having grown up in the Berkshires (where's that?) and attending Boston University with mostly New Yorkers,  the Race was probably the only truly inclusive sporting event in town.  I never saw any evidence of the racism made infamous in the school busing days, even when African runners started winning the big medals, surely an opening for bad behavior.  Not that the crowd was much less rowdy than on St. Patrick's Day, just that jingoism did not enter into it.  It has always been a true celebration of the beauty and power of the human body and the magnificence of the human spirit, from the first sinewy champion to the last sweaty wheelchair-bound hero carried through by hard work and plain old stubbornness.  It always seemed that every spectator knew someone running.  What a lesson in the shared joy of human celebration of an event together, in a crowd, in a city, possibly the most important city in the birth of this nation.  What beauty!  What love!  One could almost hear Walt Whitman singing praises over the P.A. system.

Eventually I moved on, to New York, to find work and love, which I did, but still celebrated Patriots Day, even though my New York, and later, New Jersey, friends had no idea it was even a holiday, and thought the Marathon was that one that went through Staten Island.

I became a Mets fan -- even after '86,  the Mets were okay; my dad would have disowned me if I became a Yankees fan.

Yesterday brought me back to 9/11.  Thankfully for my family and me it was not as threatening, not the same sense of imminent apocalypse.  But we have many friends and relations in the Boston area and shared that sense of terror and vulnerability. 

There is one thing that I remember from 2001 that provided the greatest comfort, sense of normalcy, and hope: sports, and in particular large sporting events.  That first Yankees game in September 2001 was a celebration and a statement.

A celebration of the gift of life and the joy of shared experience in the world.  Although I had never been a big sports fan as a child, after having children and then especially after 9/11 I realized this power and the healing potential of competition in the arena, in the park, and on the road.  
Mike Barnicle, my favorite columnist from my Boston days and now my favorite TV commentator, put it best this morning on "Morning Joe" when he quoted another Bostonian using a classic local expression when asked about looking forward to the Marathon next year: "f-ing A".

Bruce Gionet
Teaneck, NJ
April 16, 2013

Sunday, April 7, 2013

bill is a regular guy, too

Saw NM frr. gov Bill Richardson on MTP this morning, and then found out he recommended chilling on the Obama Attorney General remark thing (may I suggest Oprettygate if no one has already).  I like this guy.

Monday, April 1, 2013

We've got it covered

When I was in high school, in the1970's, I carried a 35mm camera with me much of the time.  I saw my friend Michael Mullen's mom last year and she remembered this about me.  It was bulky, heavy,  and ugly, so that was a kind of a commitment.    But it also made me feel like I was part of an elite, a photographer.  I built my own darkroom and bulk-rolled my own black-and-white film to save money.  I wasted no shots.  Henri Cartier-Bresson was my hero -- the ability to capture that perfect moment and the patience to wait for it if needed.  Bracketing was carefully planned and recorded in a small notepad for later reference, especially for night photography, of which I did a lot, despite the wasteful nature of it.  Color film was saved for specific uses or when someone else was paying.

How times have changed.

Cameras are everywhere.  Our world is recorded in full color, from every angle, nearly everywhere we go.  Chris Harvey sent me a link to an app that enables you to walk point to point through Manhattan avoiding the cameras -- not easy I am sure.  I have not tried it yet.       

Sunday, March 31, 2013

bonfire of the marriages

I just finished watching a fascinating discussion on "Meet the Press" about the DOMA and Prop 8 cases facing the Supreme Court.
Lots of vitriol.
Many people, my dad included, cannot get past the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.  Honestly I  had a hard time with that too, even as the Mario Cuomo Liberal that I am.
 But then I picked it apart, and looked at at this way:
We in this nation (made up of states that need to agree on this because of common federal interests and laws) recognize a legal partnership called "marriage" that has a certain meaning, rights, and responsibilities, just as we have a legal entity called a "corporation".  Anyone can form a corporation, so why shouldn't any two people form a marriage?  It is a legal entity held together by a contract, notwithstanding the religious or cultural definition and context.
What is so difficult about this?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

regular old reality is hard enough

so I thought it was with iphones.  This is better.


So doesn't it seem like none of the stuff that happens in the world is that much of a surprise?

Like you remember reading Neuromancer and how it seemed so otherworldly, but it's pretty much here.  You taught me the word avatar, now it is in common use.  The same with "pixel".  I remember my Aunt had Jean Dixon's book, where she talked about  some anti-Christ rising in the East, and thinking in '93 that they would be back to finish the job.

The stuff on the news now is just absurd.  The inmates are running the asylum.  You can't make this shit up.  Look around.  People are nuts...

Here's an idea I heard:  It's all about gases now, liquids (oil, water) are over. 


Saturday, February 2, 2013

one minute taboo

The whole gay thing is so overplayed, isn;t it?

It's just another taboo, after all -- there are many, sexual and otherwise.  What about other bodily finctions?  And how they play into human behavior?  

Saturday, January 12, 2013

worth ruminating on

"I am happy that I have reached the point where I can die without regrets.
"It's not so much regrets, it's more like, I figured out since I almost died that reaching this point is a big deal.  Some people are born ready to die at any time.  Seriously.  Not me.  It took a while to be ready to understand that.  And I finally feel like I have enough going on, and enough of a record, that I will not disappear.  I venture to say that most people don't understand that."
-- bruce gionet 2013

Fantasy vs. reality:

"easy to separate: one involves blood (and/or other bodily fluids)"