One Man’s… Is A New Yorker’s…

I am in Downtown NY, a portion of Manhattan I have been to rarely. Most of my time has been in Midtown. This portion of the island is the financial district and most notable for Ground Zero, the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.

I walked about upon my arrival at my hotel given a need to stretch the legs after a day of travel. The skies were overcast and cold wind was howling. I strolled along the water, stared at the Statue of Liberty awhile and then headed back.

On the way back I saw two things that were very NY. The type of things spawned by having far too many people packed into far too little space.

Liberty Freedom Garden. What passes as a garden in NY is a slab of concrete. On top of the concrete are large rectangular metal containers filled with soil and things growing out of the soil. On top of concrete.

Even more amazing was that I passed through a walkway between two buildings. the walkway was wide for a walkway and the ground was a patchwork of stone tile. Half way through this walkway was a large sign about four feet high and two feet wide. The sign said “No Dogs Allowed in the Park”. THE PARK!!!!  There was no grass, playground equipment, or any other signal to anyone outside of NY that you were in a park. I was 20 steps from the street with tall buildings on either side of me. A park?

Only in NY.

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Caution X 2

If a company puts up warning signs do the powers that be think that they are no longer liable if something happens? There is no other explanation for the two side by side signs on the doors leading from my office to the parking lot.

Caution. Watch For Falling Ice.

Caution. Slippery Pavement.

I do not know about you but I am not talented enough to watch for both falling ice and slippery pavement at the same time.

Fathers Day 2009

(I am very behind in my writing so bear with some late news.)

Let’s start with the positives. I have a son who is basically a good kid, can be sweet and loving, and generally works hard. He stays out of major trouble—no drinking, drugs, arrests, etc. He is fun, funny and very well liked by kids his age, adults and little kids. Many people are not able to say those things about their children. I am.  

He can’t completely control the fact that he is a seventeen year old male with all the pressures, angst and hormones that come along with being that age. And yet….

I am looking forward to Fathers Day 2009. I am working on forgetting 2008. There were some things on the plus side of the ledger. We went out to a nice breakfast at a place we had not tried before. We saw the Hulk which I chose over Indiana Jones. I got some very nice cards and some presents as well. (Back to those cards later.)  I was with my son and wife from morning through night.

However, the one thing I wanted most I did not receive. I wanted a great day with my son. In an earlier post I commented that my sweet son had showed up at an unexpected time. On this day the expectations were high and missed…by a mile. The details are unimportant. Suffice it to say that his best that day consisted of indifference and at worst he complained, argued and wanted things done his way not mine.

For as long as I could I took a calm approach hoping the tide would turn. By mid afternoon I lost my cool. The message still did not get through. At the end of the day I went to my room rather than continue to be with him. He later came up and apologized. He was clearly sincere. I felt a bit better.

Back to the greeting cards. He must have had some premonition that Fathers Day was going to be trying for him. On both cards interwoven with some very nice sentiments he wished for me a happy day and “hopefully I will not get on your nerves.” Irony defined.

Being With A Prostitute. Was That Wrong?

spitzer.jpgDear Eliott Spitzer,

As Governor of the great state of New York and a former attorney general I would have thought that you knew the law.  Not right from wrong mind you. Or ethics. No I never expect that much from a politician, but a knowledge of the law–absolutely. Apparently you missed the statute that makes paying for sex a crime even in Albany. Even if you hold a high governmental position. A position of trust. 

Now I have nothing against you personally despite the fact that I lost more than a year’s pay when you righteously sued the company I was working for for something that may or may not have been criminal but was certainly ethically questionable. Tens of thousands of us who had nothing to do with that part of the business lost money or jobs. But I digress.

I feel for your wife who stood there gallantly while you apologized. (I would not have been surprised if she pulled a Lorraine Bobbitt on you right there at the podium.) Fortunately an apology makes everything right again. Sort of like when my son was little and I kissed his boo boos when he would fall. Can you kiss away the pain that you caused to your children today? I know that your mother must be very proud.

I assume that no apology would have been necessary if you had not been caught. It isn’t wrong if no one knows.

One of my friends had an interesting take on your situation. He felt that he would like to spend time with you to learn time and money management. He wonders how in your busy schedule you repeatedly found time to spend with the women of the Emperor’s Club. And at $4,500 a pop. That must be some pop! So much to learn from a man once known as the man Time magazine once named “Crusader of the Year”.

I am not judging you for what you did. Lord knows you were not the first or the first politician to hire prostitutes. I do think this situation drips with irony. (In fact the Chicago Tribune begins all videos with a commercial. The sponsor that played before your apology–The Bedding Experts. Beautiful irony.)

I cannot wait to find out how long you last as Governor and what you will do next with your life. My plan is to play your press conference over and over again. Nothing like good comedy.

Best regards,

48Facets

White Man Ironic Again

“A white man is part of a diverse world, people should never forget that.”  Richard Cutts

This wise retort to “White Man Ironic” caused me to take a a second look at what I said and what I implied.  

I implied that a white male should not be leading a seminar about diversity. I made this leap without explanation. Therefore my second implication was that this was so obvious that all would agree. I was wrong. Not only did Mr. Cutts point out the obvious but my very success friend PeachFlambe added depth and breath to Richard’s straightforward message. If you don’t read comments you should check out what she said here said before continuing.

So lets continue this dialogue.

First of all I am as a rule against superficial evaluations/discussions of a topic. To me that is how bad things happen, like finding your military stuck in Iraq. Yet I did this with White Man Ironic. Thankfully I was called out on it. There was a thought process:

  • white males dominate the leadership of Corporate America. Beyond the stats, I know it to be so because professionally this is the world I work in every day.
  • to clarify, I am talking about straight, Christian (or Judeao-Christian) white males(WM) since gay, Muslim/Hindu/Buddhist, white males I would consider outside the mainstream
  • as a white male I assumed that everyone who fell outside of my narrow WM definition would expect that someone from outside this definition would participate in the leadership of a diversity seminar. My assumption was based on a perceived need for a symbol of diversity, not that the selected moderator could not be well versed on the issues. Can a WM alone represent diversity? Would non-WMs find this believable? Can a WM truly know how it feels to be something other than a WM?

As Richard and PeachFlambe note, WMs are part of the world. Some WMs are capable of being part of a world that embraces others that are different than he. I surely hope that people who know me would put me in this category. Not all non-WMs accept others who are outside of their particular category.

That was not my point. I just thought that a seminar on living with diversity should have a more diverse leadership. Often saying less is more. In this case perhaps a bit more should have been said.

To quote PeachFlambe:

“Many people see me as an example of the “success” of diversity efforts (and their predecessors, which we used to call Affirmative Action.) I’m often asked to talk about my career to young people and give them advice on what it takes to be successful. What they are surprised to hear is that the people who had the most impact on my success were….white men. They were the ones who recognized my talent, mentored me, gave me opportunities, pushed me to go beyond where I thought I could go, and, yes became my friends. They didn’t do it because of any training program. They did it because they looked beyond the physical, cultural and social differences and saw my potential.”

I like to write. To have my voice heard. However, what I get the greatest pleasure from is debate, discussion and dialogue. Few things would make me happier than a greater sharing of ideas right here on 48Facets. Thank you to Richard and PeachFlambe for making my Sunday afternoon.

White Man Ironic

The company I work for tries hard to celebrate the diversity of people. They put on seminars and meetings to acknowledge peoples of all types by sex, race, sexual orientation, etc.

I was not surprised then by the latest poster advertising a seminar on helping your children embrace diversity in the world. The picture of the speaker for the seminar did catch my eye and cause me to smile. Did no one in leadership see what I saw? The person leading the discussion of diversity will be a middle aged white male. Can’t get more diverse than that!