Talk Like a Pirate Day

ARRRRRRRRRRGGGGG! It be Talk Like a Pirate Day! And I did a “Talk Like a Pirate” intro to Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code episode 463 today :-).

It’s also my birthday. And my Brother’s birthday. Hey, Todd, I forgive you for interrupting my 4th birthday by being born. Are you satisfied? Love ya.

howardgr Random Thoughts

How to Honor September 11th

I read this on Britt’s blog:

A September 12th Moment, Take Two There’s a lot of talk this week about the opportunity we had 5 years ago today to harness the world’s support into a golden age of cooperation and common sense to combat bankrupt policies and divisions to defeat terrorism.[Britt Blaser – Escapable Logic]

He writes more good stuff. This post is a tangent to that idea above, but an important one.

We’ve had 5 years of trying to honor September 11th, 2001 in some way. For many people I know, it is an awkward day. I don’t know how else to put it. It is not a holiday. (As Andy Rooney said on 60 Minutes the other night, we need a name for days like the Kennedy Assassination and September 11th that isn’t “Holiday.” ) People want to honor the day, and remember the people who died. But they don’t know how not to go to work. They’d rather be doing something else. They may attend memorials in their towns, or watch the ones on TV. But there is a deeper thing at work here.

It is my sense that people in this country want to take action to show that the brave people who died on planes, in office towers, and the halls of government are being honored. That those brave people, and the even braver rescuers – the ones who wore uniforms, and the ones who didn’t – did not die in vain.

We as a nation want to continue to honor and cherish their memory, and also to honor those who, upon hearing of the tragedy, did what Americans tend to do – they helped. 

After September 11th, in my area, a local food bank took clothing, boots, food, cleaning supplies, and trucked it to the World Trade Center. I saw all my neighbors there giving supplies. And everyone knew they were there because help was needed, and they couldn’t go dig on the pile, so they bought and brought. That’s what felt good and right to do.

Could we turn September 11th into a day of community service for America?

Could it be a day where we wake up, we’re thankful we’re alive to see the day, and (if it is not our daily routine) we go out and show others how thankful we are?

Could we clean the park, paint the firehouse, deliver meals to the infirmed, build a playground, create a house with Habitat for Humanity, send food and clothing to people in Louisana who may still need help? We can do that any day, I know. That takes a lot of effort, but thank God there are people who do that.

Could we give people the excuse, the permission, the emphasis that’s needed by making that day a day to do good work? To remind us of the spirit of America?

I say we can, and we should. Send your thoughts.

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This is a strong political ad. (Note, when you’re finished watching you’ll be directed to a page where they ask for you to support them in their drive to raise funds to run the ad on TV.)




Amazon Movie Service not so friendly

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds makes lots of sense in his article on TCS Daily regarding Amazon’s new UnBox video. Seems the thing ‘phones home’ all the time, and doesn’t really let you know that. That is a characteristic of spyware.

But now, it looks like they’re dropping the ball. Amazon’s new UnBox video service turns out to have some traits that are even more annoying than the impenetrable cellophane stickers they put on DVD cases…So, in summary, to be allowed the privilege of purchasing a video that I can’t burn to DVD and can’t watch on my iPod, I have to allow a program to hijack my start-up and force me to login to uninstall it? No way. Sorry, Amazon.

This isn’t the review I want to find when I go to look at a service. Contrast this with the new movie downloads from Apple. You can move them to an Ipod, at least, to take them with you. And, looks like with their new iTV you’ll be able to watch them on your TV. You can’t make your own DVD of this yet, Hollywood doesn’t have the stomach for it.

But, if it is useable, somewhat portable, and gets a little more content, I’d say we have a race here.



From 2003 – Who was I, Sept 10, 2001?

From my weblog from September 10, 2003, which is currently unreadable due to some sort of error, here again is the story of how I spent the 2 years after 9-11.

A lot has changed since then. But this is still a good story. – Peace.

Tristan Louis asks “Who Were You on September 10th, 2001?” It is a deep and profound question. How does one find ones’ prior self? How can one track the course of a life?
I found a little about the old me on my old, old weblog. In August of 2001, I was quite focused on the streaming media industry. I wrote a piece called “Radio, Radio,” in deference to the Elvis Costello song of the same name. At the time I was quite concerned about how some government rulings might kill Internet Radio (and I was right to be concerned).
Apparently, that August was a busy month – I didn’t blog again. I remember that we were focused on landing some clients at Sorceron. (RIP, Sorceron, no url anymore). We almost got Lehman Bros., too. But then their HQ got blown up on 9/11 along with one hope for the company’s funding and product set. The old me had been pretty annoyed at Sorceron, and had been looking for a new job or a way out. The way out came in October of ’02 when I was let go.

The double-whammy of having witnessed the fall of the Towers from a scant mile away and having lost a job was definitely life-changing. I spent some time with a career counselor wondering what I would do next. I realized that giving back to the community was a priority for me and just the next week I was interviewed and then hired to work at the Twin Towers Fund. The connection was a coincidence of meeting someone at a party who knew of a position, but I was wide open to a way to help in the 9-11 efforts and it was like fate dropped it into my lap.
Today, September 10th, 2003, I watched as our board of directors voted to close the Fund, and I looked back at what we accomplished.

In less than two years I led the operations of an effort that distributed in total about $165 Million out of 216 Million dollars (some had been distributed before I was hired). We gave this money to 545 different households, across the tri-state area and throughout the United States. Each household was called before each distribution by a member of the staff to confirm the delivery date for every one of the over 1,625 packages sent. Each package was tracked and logged. The Staff of 7 (shrinking to 5 then 4) was able to accomplish 95% of each funds distribution in 2 weeks. The final distribution reached over 90% of funds distributed in just one week.
Those tangible accomplishments are accompanied in my mind by the friends I made among those 545 households of fallen rescue workers, and the knowledge that even in the places where I was just a voice calling to confirm a check, I helped provide financial security and programs for these brave families.
I never thought on 9/11/2001 I’d get a chance to work for this man.

I was forced to bring together skills from all my previous jobs. The 7 of us had lots of outside help, but we did events, marketing, project management, accounting, budgeting, computer support, envelope stuffing, party planning, audits and shut down a charity according to a very difficult NY State code. I learned Leadership, with the capital L, from a man who worked for the man who wrote the book on it. I learned fundraising, strong-arming for free stuff, budgeting, accounting, guessing, seat-pants-flying and more. I learned strength from people who had spoken at five funerals a week and still went to work the next day and the next day.

I learned bravery from guys I never met, who were more than pictures on walls, names on flags or plaques or memorials or database entries. I took strength from the men and women who ran into two burning, shifting, dying buildings in order to save others.
I’ve emerged a stronger and more pragmatic person in the process. “Crisis” at work? Could be worse- I could have been working at 1 WTC on September 11th, 2001. Gives me a sense of perspective. Any day I get to go home at the end is better than that day for thousands of people. Kiss the kids every night. Tell the wife “I love you” and never, ever go to bed angry. Carry a flashlight on my keychain and an extra cell battery in my backpack, sometimes even an extra cell phone.
I watch the way my country has changed – it has become isolationist, grown more prejudiced and less trusting. By increasing security, we seem to generate more fear and unrest.
Some aspects are justified – some things we should have been doing. But in fundemental ways which I can’t fully enumerate, we’ve done more to hurt ourselves than the terrorists did to us.
I hope I can look back next year at this time and contemplate what I’ve done to make this better. My contributions at are a start. Intelligent discourse and debate are the cornerstones of a free society, and contributing to such is a contribution to the community and the world. So thank you to Tristan for asking the question. I’ve answered it for me, just by taking the time to think about it.