Appreciate first. Safety will follow.

I was in Glenn the Barber’s chair yesterday when he looked out the front window and said, “Uh oh.  Here comes ‘Noise’.”  As if that were the large, pleasant 40-something-year-old man’s nickname.  I could tell that there was a brotherly love there.

There was a twelve year old kid receiving what I expected was his first ‘real haircut’ in the other chair.  His Mom had dropped him off and run errands, knowing he’d be in good hands with the pillars of the local community who are fortunate enough to afford a session with Glenn or his assistant.

As ‘Noise’ entered the thin-doored bathroom, Glenn yelled after him.  “Why couldn’t you use the bathroom at your house?!”  If I could have bottled that ad-lib comic routine, I’d land a regular gig on SNL.

Glenn subtly hit me up for a donation to his church fundraiser, proud they’d just moved into the old synagogue down off Pequot; Zion something….  As ‘Noise’ settled cozily into the third chair, he was psyched for a ‘big meal’.  He talked about every soul food dish as if they were holy:  “Collared greens…  ham hocks… fried chicken…”  The list included 10 more items I wish I could remember.  “Oh, and macaroni with cheese.”  Cruel shoes before lunch I thought.

I was also jealous of Noise and Glenn for being able to move their heads to the unbelievably righteous, bass-driven, Marvin Gaye-style funk from 1975 while I had a sharp buzzing razor attacking the hair on my temples that my friends had never told me I have.

Obama, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and others looked proudly down on us from the wall.

Noise said, “I just thank Jesus that I had the good fortune to wake up and enjoy one more beautiful day on this beautiful earth.”  We all agreed we were fortunate people.  As I left, they each gave me blessings, and me them.  New London is a sanctuary of cross cultural exchange.

Yet some are saying, as the Police Department is shaken up a bit, that New London is becoming less safe.  Its been almost two years since 21-year-old artist, Mathew Chew, was stabbed and beaten to death by six punks just a couple blocks from our condo.  The six wanna-be gang members were quickly arrested and have been sentenced to long years of incarceration.  Since then, New London citizens have been educated, police have become more ‘community’ focused and only a few minor incidents of people being harassed have been reported – but there’ve been no gun or knife murders downtown.

This past week, however, a group of 10 men were alleged to have ‘beaten up’ on a visitor to one of our bars.  The victim claims to have been punched in the face, thrown to the ground and kicked by this ‘group of men’.  Police were on the scene within minutes and the victim was treated and released by L&M Hospital.

It all sounded suspicious to me.  A downtown bar had thrown a ‘welcome back college students’ event?  I’ve never seen anything like that publicized.  I walk my dog downtown every night and have never seen 10 men together except at one of our two local gay bars.

I’ve seen some chemically-effected, middle aged guys on bikes without shirts weaving through strollers on the pier.  I’m sometimes hit up by both local and transient wanderers who respectfully ask for fifty cents or a dollar, likely having heard that our local convenience store is a friendly weigh station.  But no one’s been threatening.

Well, I put on my Shirlock Holmes hat and googled the name of the victim and his home town.  It turns out our visitor had a couple different incidents a few months ago involving disturbing the peace, unlawful discharge of a firearm, interfering with officers…

He comes from a pleasant, colorfully named middle class town in New Haven County.  Without blaming the victim (I have no further insight – the local police have issued no further information), I can only speculate that some of this individual’s bad karma followed him here to New London.

Senseless violence doesn’t distinguish between rural and urban, between on-the-street and in your front door.  Idiots and wannabe’s could be living upstairs from you, in the house next door to you, or down the street near your kids’ bus stop.  We have to be vigilant.  But let’s not let ourselves be intimidated.  My dog and I have ears and eyes and legs ready to run.  We explore using his nose.  I will not be denied that right to roam.

Sure, violence might visit any one of us in a downtown.  But in the meantime, let’s enjoy each other and our cities.  We are truly lucky to have any day the Lord allows us to live.  Let’s not waste it in fear.

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Orlando? Not so bad.

I have a confession to make.  Over the years, I developed an antipathy to Disney.  When a friend would tell me they were going to Disney – most often with the wife and kids – I’d fein excitement for them, but we both knew I was insincere.  Disney – as middle of the road as one could imagine.  One giant Cracker Barrel.  A huge, overly-hyped mall.  Vegas without the slots.

Well, I’m happy to report that Disney – at least so far – is bringing me surprises.  Yes, the resort we’re staying in has screaming kids at times, but also some charming scenes like the woman at the Boardwalk this evening who said to her two daughters (with all three dressed in matching Micky t-shirts), “Ya wanna go see the enterTAINer?!”

“Yeah,” they screamed in unison, breaking into a trot!  I almost cried.

It was 39 years ago when my family first came to the new Disney World with my grandfather who shuffled his feet.  We enjoyed the ‘rides’ that were more like events: the Haunted House, Space Mountain (no ordinary roller coaster), Swiss Family Robinson and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas…  imagineering.  What a concept.  I remember being amazed then at the stories of how they’d lowered the trees in with helicopters, created all of THIS from swamp land.

Our Director of Photography asked me today, “I heard today Walt Disney had something like 50 square miles and he had a plan for it.  Can you imagine having a plan for 50 square miles?”

I had to confess I couldn’t.   Walt Disney created a legacy that would be very tough to match, but it’s fun to think about how one might try. What would one do with fifty square miles?

Everything in our complex is larger than anything in Texas.  The massive swans, dolphins and clam shells… the fountains, the fireworks at night, the water taxis that can take you through surrounding water areas to destinations unknown…. a realistic looking ‘beach’.  And I haven’t even seen the pool yet.

The service in this place has been fantastic.  No one lets you want for anything.   Service people work as teams.  Everyone is customer-focused. They put enthusiastic inflection into their voices to make one feel extra special.  Each has been well trained.  Disney is to service what France is to food.

It’s (as I remember) spotless.

And, here at the conference, I’ve had a chance to interview some amazing business minds, helping them to share their unique perspectives on how they’re applying advanced technologies.

A man from Norwegian Cruise Lines is helping his company tear down silos to create new outcomes, because his social media -enabled customers demand nothing less.  He even made me want to take a cruise.  OK.  One step at a time.  Disney was tough enough.  But if I were to take a long cruise, I’d want to do it the Norwegian Cruise way.  Free form cruises.  ‘Cruise like a Norwegian!’  I like the concept.

I heard a cool client with an articulate author talk about venturing into social media as a C-level exec.  If you check back here in a couple weeks, I’ll have the link to that video posted.  Let’s just say that was an amazing conversation.  I learned that, as bloggers, we should talk to our friends and we’ll make more friends.

One petro giant is using automation to help optimize its supply chain to deliver more cost efficient ways of delivering liquid fuels.  The fastest growing PC maker is using the same software to free its procurement people up to yes, quantify the bids, but to think more creatively on what is bid out and how.

Our hybrid imported-domestic crew merged and gelled, with an audio guy named Tom showing me that you can say no to the cookies and lose 50 pounds in four months.  I talked to a prospective client about a conference in DC in October.  And, oh, I might be going to Malaysia and/or Shanghai later this month…  yeah, it’s tough being me.

A ‘bar and grill’ dinner with talented colleagues and a chance meeting with a dear former client…  A day in the life…  And all in Orlando.  Who’d have thought?

Morsels from Henry V

Morsels of Henry V

As empty vessels make the loudest sound, so they that have the least wit are the greatest blabber. – Plato, but referenced in Henry V

While the opening ceremonies for the Olympics were being broadcast Friday evening, Henry V was beautifully presented by New London’s all-volunteer, Flock Theatre.   What a treat to picnic on the Custom House Pier with a simple banner-laden staging, basic lighting and some well-called sound cues on a breezy summer evening. Amtrak train whistles and engines pounded into the speeches like dramatic Hollywood SFX.  We were transported to battles with the large, LOUD cast shouting ‘ARRRRRRRRRR” as they brought us convincingly into the intensity – and absurdity – of war.

As I wasn’t familiar with the play (how did I escape reading that one as an English-Drama major?), I jotted down a few lines that hit me during the performance.  I went back and cut and pasted them from Google searches into a document and here share them with you.   I hope you might find some inspiration or other useful purpose as I have.  Perhaps take five minutes and absorb a few poetic morsels, an augmentation to the beautiful B-roll we’re seeing of England these weeks.   All quotes are Shakespeare’s (or are they?) unless noted. Did Shakespeare Really Write His Plays? A Few Theories Examined | Anglophenia | BBC America

 

Dauphin, I, iv

Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin,


As self-neglecting.

 

King Henry, III, i

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;


Or close the wall up with our English dead.


In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man


As modest stillness and humility:


But when the blast of war blows in our ears,


Then imitate the action of the tiger;


 

Dishonour not your mothers; now attest


That those whom you call’d fathers did beget you.


 

And you, good yeoman,


Whose limbs were made in England, show us here


The mettle of your pasture; let us swear


That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;


For there is none of you so mean and base,


That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.


 

King Henry, IV, iii

Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,


And say, ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.’


Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,


But he’ll remember with advantages


What feats he did that day. 

 

But we in it shall be rememberèd;


We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

 

And gentlemen in England, now a-bed


Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,


And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks


That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

 

King Henry, IV, i

No, not all these, thrice-gorgeous ceremony,

Not all these, laid in bed majestical, 


Can sleep so soundly as the wretched slave, 


Who with a body fill’d and vacant mind

Gets him to rest, cramm’d with distressful bread;

Never sees horrid night, the child of hell, 


But, like a lackey, from the rise to set 


Sweats in the eye of Phoebus and all night 


Sleeps in Elysium;

 

King Henry, V, iii

O Kate! nice customs curtsy to great kings.

Dear Kate, you and I cannot be confined

within the weak list of a country’s fashion:

we are the makers of manners.