October 9th, 2013 · family
Tonight I went to and had a great time at the Bethesda Young AFCEA Fiscal New Year Networking Event.
It was good to see long-time and newly initiated friends and be reminded that the current partial government shutdown will eventually come to some kind of resolution (eventually).
In addition, it is always great to go to something that touches either of the two greatest daughters that ever were. In this case, my younger, Tamar, is the President of the Bethesda Young AFCEA chapter, so she was very active at the event.
Having said that I came to the conclusion that tonight in the Federal IT field I clearly had jumped, or am in the process of jumping, the shark. For those unfamiliar with the term, it refers to the episode or timeframe that a TV show passes its time of greatest creativity.
Over the last couple of years we have gone from where Tamar was known as Dan Mintz’s daughter by the vast majority of people either of us ran into to where I am known as Tamar Mintz’s dad by the VAST majority of people.
I could not be more proud.
Tags: bethesda afcea
Evidently the winner or winners of the Nobel Peace Prize will be announced this Friday. This award, which at least in my opinion, does always recognize someone who has taken personal risks to demonstrate their commitment to peace and fundamental human rights, this year if awarded to Malala Yousafzai, would be given to someone who truly deserves it:
The fact that the Taliban feels compelled to issue a threat to harm her if this were to happen says too much about the Taliban. And the fact that the expected reaction in Pakistan is, as the article indicates, likely to be ‘muted’ says a lot about Pakistani society too unfortunately.
I have said for many years that, again only in my opinion, how women are treated in a society is the proverbial canary in the coal mine telling you how open or fair that society is. Societies that treat women as second class citizens hurts the society at large. It is not a coincidence that those countries that have better treatment of women tend to have more vibrant economies.
In that vein, a truly wonderful film which I have mentioned before which talks about the place of women in such societies which I would highly, highly recommend seeing is Wadjda, http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/wadjda_2013/. Quoting from Red Tomatoes, the “first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia’ AND the first feature film made by a female Saudi filmmaker. It is remarkable how a story about a girl who wants to buy and ride a bike has such wonderful life lessons to impart.
Andrea Di Maio, a Managing VP at Gartner, and one of the more insightful people I know, wrote an interesting blog earlier today entitled “Tempering the Enthusiasm About a Digital Economy: A Counterpoint”, http://blogs.gartner.com/andrea_dimaio/2013/10/08/tempering-the-enthusiasm-about-a-digital-economy-a-counterpoint/.
He notes the increasing acceleration of technological change and the impact on societies. While many positive results have resulted from such changes, at least for some, the cost to many as their lives are disrupted is high.
The impact on public policy: Is it more or less likely that Government can anticipate accurately the winners and losers and if not, how to decide on what (or if) to invest in OR the personal choices: does it make sense to specialize as much as we do in educational choices when the fields we focus on have a reasonable likelihood of becoming radically different as opposed to focusing on the more general capability of dealing with complex thought and problem solving?
People remark on growing income inequality, a serious problem. What if such inequality is largely based on the increasing split between those who are able to deal with rapid technological change, who become and/or stay wealthy, and those who cannot deal with such change, and thus become or stay much less well off. Middle-class existence may disappear if middle-class jobs do not exist, white collar automation may increase the likelihood of this happening.
A short interesting read, I recommend this as well as the other comments that Di Maio writes for insight into current technology issues.
Tags: andrea di maio
October 7th, 2013 · books
So I have seen the trailer for the movie The Book Thief twice in the last week or two.
And I teared up BOTH TIMES, I suspect that if my daughters ever actually read this blog they would both be laughing right now since they have seen many movies with me over the years.
I made the error earlier today of borrowing the book from my book-full wife and in-between class grading and work, and doing technology blog writing which I am behind on, I started reading it this afternoon.
When I got to page 37 and read:
* * * A DEFINITION NOT FOUND * * *
IN THE DICTIONARY
Not leaving: an act of trust and love,
often deciphered by children
My first thought was that I hoped that my daughters thought that of me. My second was I was going to hard a hard time with the book too.
Tags: the book thief
September 30th, 2013 · life
It occurred to me the other day that as a mostly consultant these days that if we won one of the multi-hundred million dollar lotteries, I would have to tell myself I was not coming back to work.
Somehow that seems less satisfying.
September 22nd, 2013 · life
So today marks a pretty significant date in my life.
As of today, September 22, 2013, I will have been married (to one person) for 50% of my life.
It is not entirely clear what I should consider the takeaway from that fact.
It does occur to me that my two daughters opinion that I am a true nerd is probably exemplified by the fact that I thought to even calculate when this would be true and then put it on my calendar to remember it. Ellen and I are ‘celebrating’ this milestone (for me, we passed that percentage for Ellen a while ago) by going to the Nationals game this afternoon (what was the last home game until the rain-out of last night making this the penultimate home game) and going to the Michael Buble concert at the Verizon Center this evening (Ellen likes Buble a great deal, I still wrestle with how to pronounce his last name).
On reflection, my conclusion is that I was truly lucky to find someone who cared enough about me, and was stubborn enough, to put up with my obsessions and insistence on I guess everything I wanted to do over the years and who, with me, raised the two best daughters that ever were. While I do not always remember this fact, I am blessed by those around me, especially Ellen.
September 22nd, 2013 · life
So there was a thread by a friend of mine about what channel they left their TV on for their dogs when the dogs were left home alone. The conversation wandered to the dog channel on direct tv, http://www.directv.com/premiums/dogtv.
For $4.95/month you too could have your dog watch a ‘scientifically proven’ way of providing relaxing entertainment, that is relaxing entertainment for your dog.
While evidently there is some additional thought being given to creating a cat channel, right now when you type “cat channel” into Google right now, you get things like this:
teaching you that there IS a Cat Creek Montana (who knew). So now all those residents in Cat Creek Montana who own a dog can have happy, entertained dogs for only $4.95/month.
My first thought is that perhaps I am too easily distracted, like the, well, dog, in the movie UP, when the dog saw a squirrel, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxYYPziLdR4.
My second thought was to ponder people who subscribe to the dog channel, I guess this represents still another part of modern culture I am not in tune with.
September 20th, 2013 · family, life
I have been very fortunate not only in whom I married but also with the parents that are part of the deal. Both my father-in-law, David Elow, and mother-in-law, Barbara Elow, are very special people.
Both of my daughters have had many valuable moments with both of them, especially as the daughters have become young adults; something I never had growing up having met my only surviving grandparent only one time. My father-in-law has provided me with great and useful, and sometimes necessary, business and life advice during my checkered personal history.
But here is the thing, my father-in-law has historically been a pretty buttoned-down personality. Serious. Adult. Appropriate. Sort of the anti-me.
Except for his long-time desire to own an MG. Years ago, he bought one, which he took great pride in, but after some number of years he sold it.
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I enjoy reading a blog called the Conversable Economist. Yesterday, the blog entry was about Global Trade, http://conversableeconomist.blogspot.com/2013/09/shifting-patterns-of-global-trade.html.
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There is an interesting article in the current issue of Commentary Magazine, about the definition of genius, noting that the term is used pretty widely these days about many people, http://www.commentarymagazine.com/article/i-dream-of-genius/.
There was on particular quote I liked from Schopenhauer defining the different between genius and talent:
“Talent is like the marksman who hits a target, which others cannot reach,” wrote Schopenhauer. “Genius is like the marksman who hits a target, which others cannot see.”