Latest craze - the silent disco
Nothing to do with Leadership. Or perhaps it is? Damn funny, anyway.
To lead others, first you must lead yourself.
Nothing to do with Leadership. Or perhaps it is? Damn funny, anyway.
A very brief snapshot from my novel, THE NEW AURORAS.
This is in the words of Lieutenant Herbert "Koz" Kozlowski. From the night he learned he was Koz no longer...becoming known as..CODENAME: TRIPOUT.
It was my wife Beatrix who suspected me all the while. Think she believed I was out there night after night cheating on her. God knows I spent all that time on streets -- if it was me, I would’ve thought the same damn thing.
She followed me that night. One of the biggest drug busts of the century, and she’s down near the docks watching the exchange. Guess it all looked stink. There I was, dressed in a suit and tie, hair slicked back, ready to make the handover, and soon their limo shows.
Out steps their ‘delivery girl.’
I didn’t know whether I wanted to take her or what, but damn those boys are practiced, I’ll tell you. You’ll never get a chance to touch ‘em directly. That takes forever, and with the spate of botched busts that had gone rotten up and down along the Eastern Seaboard, most of the big honchos weren’t going to make a personal appearance and take a chance being left holding the bag. So they’d send out emissaries. People to do their bidding.
And here waltzes out this babe with every possible nip and tuck that can be visited on a body. She’s got an envelope she hands to me, and then stands there, watching for my response.
What happens after this is a total haze. My mind draws a blank, so pardon me, see, if the memories are patchy. Ever since then, so’s been the rest of my life. But the head shrinkers tell me this is good for me, so let’s make ‘em happy, shall we?
Way it looked to me was that Beatrix was getting out of the car to shout a message. Like I said, if I were in her shoes, probably might’ve done the exact same thing. What was contained in that yell -- primal as it was -- probably contained the sum of all the frustrations of a woman who not-so-proudly called herself a ‘cop’s wife.’
Everything went into that.
All her fears, anxieties, and wishes for the future. But her cries were drowned out by the sound of sub-machine gun fire coming from the open windows of the limo. Bullets flying everywhere, those bastards took out their delivery girl. Their primary target was my poor Beattie. Guess they figured the deal was raw, and we were going to pay for it going south. I took two hits somewhere in my shoulder and my chest, they tell me, but I say to you now I don’t feel a thing, would you believe me?
But I didn’t feel a thing. It was like another part of me took over, like another source of strength was inside me, and was commanding me what to do.
As I remember it -- and lemme tell you this is hurting me just to bring it back to paper -- the first shot did in my Beattie. Most human beings would be hard-pressed to take one in the gut from any sort of gun, but these scumbags were packing some major artillery. I’m seeing her from across the open divide, convulsing, propped up against the wheelbase of our car, choking blood all over her white top, a sopping bloody mess. And suddenly I just make a run for it.
Bullets are flying all around me, but I’m charging in a straight line for Beatrix, oblivious to my surroundings (funny how the Port Authority’s police weren’t alerted to the situation - someone must’ve paid ‘em off to stay the hell away). I’m darting for her, like a madman, but not a single bullet hits me. (Again, this is all in the words of the guy I didn’t waste, so if there are some details missing you understand why.)
Picture this - it’s like time’s slowed down, and you’re seeing everything in super slow-mo. This is what it felt like to me later, when I learned to harness this power. You feel like you can pick the rounds out of the air like almonds, and throw them back in the other direction. That’s the ‘power’ I’m talking about.
My particular power.
So I’m running along, dodging everything, leaping through the air, and I’d be a damned fool if I told you I didn’t make that last huge leap from at least twenty yards out. It carried me clear to Beattie’s car, and I landed hard next to her - but still, scrapes and all, and having lost teeth in the exchange, I’m still not feeling any pain. I’m bleeding heavily from the shoulder as well -- gushing, actually -- But still not feeling an ounce of pain (doctors told me afterward someone who’d sustained my sorts of injuries would’ve blacked out from the first impact. They even called me a ‘freak of nature.’) I put my fingers to Beattie’s neck, or so it was told, but by then she didn’t have a pulse.
I pat my holster to see if my gun’s still with me, but on the mad dash between my car to Beatrix’s I lost it. I scan the horizon, they said, noticed it lying like ten feet from my car, and -- you won’t believe me, still -- but I can make out fine details from a distance of over a hundred feet, and that probably explains why I was able to see it from so far out.
But back to the story.
Meanwhile there’s this huge Lincoln bearing down on me with thunderous speed (I read that police report about two hundred times, so I know it off-by-heart), and from what I’d read, I had about a couple of seconds to jump the hell out of the way.
It was too late.
The limo comes crashing into Beatrix’s car, and the force of her car then hitting me sends me flying through the air.
I come landing on the tarmac with a thud. Wait, though, ‘cause it gets better.
I'm coming to the end of an extraordinary literary and visual exodus through 2000 years (or so) of Western history. I thought you might appreciate a mini "Lonely Planet" guide to my trip. It's also my way of debriefing.
Telegraph | News | Plane-mad teenager launches Oxbridge air service
Great article here called: Think You Manage Creativity? Here's Why You're Wrong.
For several years I've enjoyed reading Dana Blankenhorn's newsletter, A-Clue.com
In a recent TIME magazine article, economist Jeffrey Sachs describes how extreme global poverty can be eliminated by the year 2025...!!
(Better dressed this time)
As I mentioned in my last post, culture can be great or it can make life awful. Walking the Talk: Building a Culture for Success is a rare book that not only tackles the issue of culture, but gives a roadmap - based on actual experience in many organisations - for cultural change.
I met Carolyn at Auckland's iconic Hilton hotel, almost in the water on Prince's Wharf. I'm still working on the recording technology, so please forgive the slightly 'rough' sound on some parts of this. As always, your feedback is welcome!
Hear the MP3 here: http://www.simonyoungwriters.com/CarolynTaylorInterview.mp3
This just in from the Roger Hamilton newsletter:
“Yes, over the past year, the $15 billion fortune of which Forbes wrote has almost reached zero, and it will soon become absolute zero. But parting with my wealth will not be unbearably painful for me. I have realized that wealth, and especially vast wealth, does not in itself make a person free. I had to make enormous efforts to protect this wealth. I had to limit myself in everything that might harm this possession. I controlled my possessions; they controlled me.”
“So I would like to warn young people today, those who will soon come to power: Do not envy those who have great wealth. All that is important is you, yourself – your feelings, ideas, talents, will, intellect and faith. This is, indeed, the only possible and correct choice – the choice of freedom.”
“To breathe the spring air, to play with children, to read good books – all this is so much more important, more right and more pleasant than multiplying wealth and settling scores. Now, freed from the burden of the past, I am determined to work for the benefit of those generation that will soon take charge of our country. Generations that will come with new values and new hopes.”
“Wealth isn’t how much money you have.
It’s what you’re left with when you lose all your money.”
Mona Lisa Smile tackles some big, important questions about culture. Not just the culture of the 1950s - after all, that's kind of an easy target for us 2005ians, ain't it?
No, it should help us to question our own culture. And the very nature of culture. Look at the world portrayed in Mona Lisa Smile - there's no written rule that says a woman can't be a lawyer, can't stay single till she's 40, can't learn all sorts of things... etc.
There's no written rule, but there are all sorts of constraints on real behaviour, based on "what will people think"?
Of course this factor is still in play today. Less so in countries like New Zealand, Canada, Australia and (I guess) the USA - but there are still strong expectations on what you should be.
Are those expectations bad? No. People in general expect you not to go and kill someone. That's probably a good thing (and it's also good that we've internalised this, too).
Culture is neutral. It can be tremendously evil, as in Hitler's Germany or Mussolini's Italy. It can be simply deathly, as portrayed in The Office ("I'm a motivator!"). Or it can be remarkably positive, like... we need a few great examples!
The key is, realising it's there. Realising that there never will be a society where people can do their own thing completely; that there always is the perception of others to be aware of, and use either to your defeat, or your advantage.
Mrs. Brown is a touching tale of the relationship between Queen Victoria and her servant John Brown, the one man on her staff who cared for the person of Victoria, rather than her power.
At least, that's how he looked at things. And in believing that, he probably paved the path for his early demise.
See, his aim was great - to "see her safe". But his lack of people skills and inability to compromise made him a target for the jealousy and suspicion of other staff, not to mention the gossip-hungry public.
I don't suppose you could expect any different from a Highlander who's trained to be unswervingly loyal, and that's that. (I can make that sort of racial slur - I'm descended from Highland scots and had to learn the dark arts of compromise from my lowland ancestors).
Mrs. Brown is a really nice story, but also a sad look at what happens when we try to do everything ourselves. Strange as it seems, John Brown's character reminds me of a superhero - only he didn't have superpowers. He just had a super syndrome, and it killed him. And nobody cared except Victoria.
"Rick Herbst, now attending Yale Law School, may yet turn out to be the current decade's archetypal film major. Twenty-three years old, he graduated last year from the University of Notre Dame, where he studied filmmaking with no intention of becoming a filmmaker. Rather, he saw his major as a way to learn about power structures and how individuals influence each other."
If you're in New Zealand you can read what I was up to in January in the latest Marketing Magazine.
Radio station More FM is New Zealand's best small place to work. Not surprised - not only is it a lot of fun to listen to (when I actually listen) but I interviewed CEO Larry Somerville several years ago and he said you'd have to kill someone to get a job there.
Fantastic quote from JustSell.com today:
"...starting in 2000 the can-do attitude was killed by management choices intended to placate nervous investors and board members rather than benefit the company and its workers over the long-term."
Just giving you advance notice that I'll be uploading an MP3 interview soon - which means we will officially be podcasting. Well, I'm excited!
Over the weekend I watched The Man Who Would be King, a movie that's as old as me!