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Thanksgiving 365

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As we enjoy another Thanksgiving Day, signaling the arrival of the “holiday season” and the obligatory “where did the time go” utterances, I am thankful for one of the best pieces of advice for daily living as offered by Nathaniel Branden in his essay called “Passion and Soulfulness.” 

In essence, Branden advises that we greet each new day with two important questions.  First, what am I thankful for?  Second, what’s next?

For over a decade I’ve been using a personal journal to exercise the habit of thinking on these two questions, and find such musings a calming start to the day; a thankful heart is therapeutic.

The second question focuses the mind on what’s most important for happiness and success in life, i.e., my next steps.  A free-range imagination will generate ideas from the prosaic to the divine–things that need to be addressed today, new behaviors I wish to adopt, and longer term aspirations and intentions for my life.

In “thinking by the process of writing” I find serenity, clarity and inspiration.  As I look back it seems the best self-help book I could imagine is the one created by me and for me.

Happy Thanksgiving indeed–365 days a year!

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January 28, 2014

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Wines of the Week (WOW):

  • 2008 Calafia, Napa Cab
  • 2005 Delgadillo, Napa Cab
  • 2010 Keever, Napa Cab
  • 2010 Emerson Brown, Oakville, Napa Cab
  • 2010 BV Georges De Latour, Napa Cab
  • 2010 Cambiata, Monterey Tannat
  • 2011 Terra Valentine, Napa Cab

Value-Price find, Emerson Brown, around $45.

Oldie but a Goodie, BV George De Latour

Interesting, the Cambiata Tannat, a grape variety that doesn’t get out much, but should.

Dead center of my Cali Wine palette, Keever, Celia Welch the winemaker.

Nose for News:

Jon Bonne’, SF Chronicle Wine Writer and Author, Winemakers to Watch in 2014.  Of note is Mark Adams, of Ledge Vineyards in Paso Robles.  He is the Asst WM at Saxum–on my list of a new wine venture to try in Paso.

Schrader Cellars announced their winter release, taking orders last Tuesday, Jan 18, at 9 AM, the opportunity to spend a minimum of $700 for four bottles of premium 2012 wine–it doesn’t get much better than these wines.  And the server promptly crashed, proving that the recession is over!  No fear; Schrader took a mulligan, and was ready for business the next morning, and to my knowledge it went without a hitch, selling out in 24 hours.  Perhaps ACA could consult with Schrader IT people for the healthcare website…

Shakeup at Eberle Wines in Paso Robles.  Always sad to see founders and family members become flotsam in corporate squabbles, especially one so well-regarded as Gary Eberle.

Quotes:

“What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?!”  –WC Fields

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Stags Leap District, Vineyard to Vintner, April 25 – 27, 2014

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Always a good time, involving 19 wineries in the Stags Leap District, a special open house, one-on-one access, culinary pairings and exclusive tastings.  You will be treated like royalty, away from the tasting room crowds.

For more information, check out their website, www.stagsleapdistrict.com/V2V

 

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65 Years of “Weddedness”

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From the Tracy Press, June 20, 2013

This notice of my parents’ 65th wedding anniversary celebration appeared recently in the Tracy Press.  It occurs to me that a brief historical account of selected facts is hardly testimony to what terrific parents we are lucky to have.

As I have come to learn, the real heroes in life are ‘ordinary’ people, most of whom you’ve never heard.  They are decidedly not the athletes, entertainers and politicians who dominate the media attention.

Thankfully for the four kids, grandkids, laws, in-laws and out-laws, friends, co-workers and fellow parishioners, their impact goes way beyond a brief statement of historical facts, to the heroic and unassuming examples they set.

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Beethoven to Foos

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Mom’s note to me about my piano lineage.  I was the first in the family, and she had the energy to keep me nailed to the piano bench for daily practice before I could play with the neighborhood kids.  Had some pretty good teachers, as we went from Tracy to Japan, where I took lessons from a Japanese concert pianist, and then on to Germany where I took lessons from Herr Jungling for three years.  This culminated in a piano solo at my high school with orchestra accompaniment–an awesome experience.  Mom hand wrote this note for me a few years ago to draw my piano lineage from Herr Jungling to Beethoven.  Kinda cool, don’t you think?

 

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I Don’t Want No Stinkin’ Problems!

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From across the cubes, “Corrie, we have a problem…,” then dead silence.  This type of pronouncement drives me crazy as a manager, co-worker, subordinate, “boss”, whatever.

It feels to me as if someone has left doggie-doo in a paper bag on my doorstep, lit it on fire, rang the doorbell and run.

Bring me an issue, but bring it with a thought process, and possible courses of action.  Don’t just dump the manure bag and then run and hide!

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Formal Fridays

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As an old fogie who has grudingly acceded to the casual Friday epidemic which began in Silicon Valley two decades ago, it makes me smile to see this article from the Wall Street Journal.

As a manager who has had to attempt to delineate between acceptable sandals and unacceptable flipflops in the dress code for casual Fridays, I would welcome a return to dressing up as adults.

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A Fact Check of the Facts…thanks to Scientometrics

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From Dec 24, 2012 Reason article by Ronald Bailey, “Half the Facts You Know Are Probably Wrong.”  Mr. Bailey cites a new book by Samuel Arbesman, “The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date.”  Interesting points,

  • Scientometrics is the science of measuring and analyzing science.
  • Scientific knowledge has been growing steadily at a rate of 4.7 percent annually for the last three centuries.
  • With the consistent growth rate of knowledge, it should not be surprising that many facts people learned in school have been overturned with new knowledge, and the relevant question is, at what rate do former facts disappear?
  • In one study of a specific field of medical knowledge, Arbesman found a half life of 45 years for former facts to disappear.
  • Facts are being manufactured all the time, and many of them turn out to be wrong–experimental results need to be replicated by other researchers to gain weight as a fact.
  • In 2011, a study in “Nature” magazine reported that a team of researchers over 10 years was able to reproduce the results of only six out of 53 landmark papers in preclinical cancer research.
  • In 2005, the physician and statistician John Ioannides published “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False”, citing reasons such as studies that are too small and that financial and non-financial conflicts of interest are common.
  • Ioannides concluded that “for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias.”
  • Another reason for the factual decay is that people cling to selected facts, and persist in only adding facts to their personal store of knowledge that jibe with what they already know, aka “confirmation bias.”

My conclusion?  We should be open to new knowledge all the time, and be loathe to anoint new information as fact.  Furthermore we should have a little more humility about our own set of selected facts by which we choose to live.

 

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Alone?

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My close friend Bob was going through a dark period years ago, including a separation and divorce, and found himself alone often.  One night at yet another solo dinner at California Cafe in Palo Alto, Bob was seated at a table for two for his meal.

In a moment of insight, he decided to take off his jacket and hang it on the empty chair across from him.  To self he said, “Tonight, I’m not having dinner by myself, but with myself.”

Genius, on so many levels!

So often when going through such difficult periods in our lives, a key learning is how to be alone without being lonely.  What a wonderful insight Bob had to help with that lesson.

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How Sick Do You Have To Be To Skip Going to the Gym? –Alina Dizik

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Another good piece on exercise when not at your best.  Cold okay, Flu–not so much.

Also, if you have the time, google Alina Dizik–seems like a hoot.

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