A dream deferred for a decade

Perhaps you’ve already heard about Andre Ingram. Maybe you’re a big fan of the Utah Flash, or the Los Angeles D-Fenders, or the South Bay Lakers.

Those are the NBA G-league teams for which Mr. Ingram has been toiling for the past 10 years. A decade of cheap hotels, bus rides and mostly empty bleachers. 10 years of working side jobs just to make ends meet. Chasing that dream.

On Monday, he got the call-up to the NBA… the one that he’s always hoped for. Not just hoped for, but worked for. Check out this excerpt from an article on ESPN.com.

Ingram makes it clear he is not bitter or filled with regrets after waiting this long to make it to the NBA. He says he remembers it all.

“Just staying with it,” Ingram says of what has been toughest about his journey here. “I mean, you get commended for kind of hanging in there and sticking with it like there wasn’t any doubt at any point. There was doubt. There were hard times. There was uncertainty.”

“They were fond memories. They’re not like, you know, angry memories: Man, I should be here. No it’s not any of that,” Ingram added. “… It’s a handsome reward for time put in. I’m thankful I have the opportunity, but there’s a lot of people that work hard. I’m grateful man. That’s all it is. I’m grateful.”

Last night, Andre Ingram made his NBA debut, in a playing-out-the-string game for the Lakers. He scored 19 points, going 6-for-8 from the field, including 4-for-5 on 3-pointers. By the end of the game, the home crowd at the Staples Center was serenading him with chants of “MVP!”

In that game, in that moment, the hard times are forgotten, the thousands of yesterdays don’t matter anymore.

How old is “too old” to chase your dreams? When is it time to give up? Never.

 

Serenity prayer in the social media age, from Saint Seth

Seth Godin has quite a bit to say about social media on his daily blog, and his words are worth repeating here:

Never smooth enough–a modern addiction

Once our needs our met, our instinct is to invent new ones, to find a fuel to continually move things forward, to bring that propulsive energy back.

Social media makes it easy to be both dissatisfied and to have a mission at the same time: Make everyone happy.

Every single critic silenced. Every customer delighted. Every prospect interested.

Sort of like your footprint in social media. It’s imperfectible. There is someone, right now, who’s miffed at you. Someone who misunderstands you. Someone who used to work with you who doesn’t any more, or someone who has the wrong impression of you and won’t even give you a chance. Not to mention the trolls, the ones who merely seek oppositional positions.

It’s imperfectible.

For every person who wants you to have bigger portions, there is someone who says the portions are too big. For every person who says your writing is too personal, there’s someone who wants it to be more personal…

Seeking a perfect sphere might be a hobby, but if it’s not giving you joy, it’s a lousy way to live. It’s an addiction, not a useful tool.

People have been talking about you behind your back ever since fifth grade. Now, of course, you can eavesdrop whenever you choose. Don’t.

Turn it off. Walk away. Accept the lack of perfect.

Better to make something important instead.

Or this one:

Your kitchen table

You open the door and the vacuum cleaner salesperson comes in, and dumps a bag of trash in your living room.

Or a neighbor sneaks in the back door and uses a knife to put gouges on the kitchen table.

Or, through the window, someone starts spraying acid all over your bookshelf…

Why are you letting these folks into your house?

Your laptop and your phone work the same way. The reviews and the comments and the breaking news and the texts that you read are all coming directly into the place you live. If they’re not making things better, why let them in?

No need to do it to yourself, no need to let others do it either.

And this one:  

Quick or smart?

Your smartphone makes you quick, not smart.

Every time you pick up your quickphone, you stop inventing and begin transacting instead.

The flow of information and style of interaction rewards your quickness. It helps you make decisions in this moment. Which route to drive? Which restaurant to go to? Which email to respond to?

Transactions are important, no doubt. But when you spend your entire day doing them, what disappears?

We can’t day trade our way to the future we seek.

 

 

It’s your third birthday – have a beer!

Don’t call Children’s Protective Services on me… I’m talking about a brewery. Braxton Brewing to be exact. Today is their third anniversary celebration (it was supposed to be last week but it got snowed out – thanks March!).

Braxton started with four guys and a dream. A father, his two sons, and a Yoda-like brewmaster.

L to R: Jake Rouse, Richard Dubé, Greg Rouse, Evan Rouse

Now they have two taproom locations, their beers are distributed in three states and their staff has grown exponentially. It’s a true American small business success story, and I couldn’t be happier for them.

My friend Keith Neltner created the killer logo

I worked with Greg Rouse, one of the founders, for 12 years. He left his full-time gig as a print production manager at our company a couple of months ago to take over as COO at Braxton. That was always the plan, but he was such a superstar at our company that our leadership had to hire two folks with 20+ years experience in print production to attempt to replace him. He was a great guy and a genius at what he did – we miss him dearly. But I’m thrilled that he’s able to work with his sons and wife every day now.

Nice job title!

I plan to drop by the celebration this afternoon, and if I do, I raise a glass to Greg, Tina, Jake and Evan, and to dreams coming true. #LiftOneToLife

 

We humans put the stink in extinction

A week and a half ago, Sudan, the last male Northern White Rhino, died.

The New York Times article is here. Below are a few quotes to ponder as a fellow resident of Planet Earth:

“This is a creature that didn’t fail in evolution,” said Thomas Hildebrandt, head of reproduction management at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin and one of the project’s leaders. “It’s in this situation because of us.”

“Sudan is an extreme symbol of human disregard for nature,” said Jan Stejskal, director of international projects at the Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic, where Sudan spent most of his life.

Every rhino species is under threat, said Cathy Dean, chief executive of Save the Rhino, an advocacy group, while the technical advances researchers are discussing may take 15 years to bear fruit.

“It may be too late for the northern white rhinos, but we still have time to save all the other species,” Ms. Dean said.

It’s on us. There’s still time, but the clock is ticking. Guitar god Adrian Belew tried to warn us way back in 1982, when he wrote this beautiful, bittersweet tune about the rhinos’ plight:

Odds and ends

Some photo phun (and one deep thought) to start your week:

Only in California can there be such a thing as an “organic” blow dry. It’s just air, right?

 

G is for ground, and S is for… Second Floor? Maybe it’s the Willy Wonka elevator and it stands for Space…

If it’s truly a hand-picked team, why are they looking for folks to apply? They must not be very good at hand-picking. 

 

Love the “diversity” shot, but the kid on the lower left looks like he is being held hostage.

 

Clearly the language has changed since this album was released.

 

I wish another small, Jesuit university had made the Final Four, but this is a nice consolation prize. Ramble on!

But seriously…

[No need for a caption on this one.]

 

Hawk(ing) eyes

World-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking passed away last week. He left us with several gems worth pondering:

This seems like a fitting song for Professor Hawking…

Get Smart about what you pay attention to

  1. Good news: we have unfettered access to all sorts of knowledge via the Interwebs.
  2. Bad news: we have unfettered access to all sorts of bile via the Interwebs.

Seth Godin knows that the best way to deal with the latter is to not deal with it at all. Here’s a recent blog post of his:

Your kitchen table

You open the door and the vacuum cleaner salesperson comes in, and dumps a bag of trash in your living room.

Or a neighbor sneaks in the back door and uses a knife to put gouges on the kitchen table.

Or, through the window, someone starts spraying acid all over your bookshelf…

Why are you letting these folks into your house?

Your laptop and your phone work the same way. The reviews and the comments and the breaking news and the texts that you read are all coming directly into the place you live. If they’re not making things better, why let them in?

No need to do it to yourself, no need to let others do it either.

 

Be Smart.

Don’t give in to the chaos (or the KAOS).

Take Control!

Create your own Cone of Silence.

 

 

 

 

I gave up whine for Lent

Thank you for reading.

Enjoy some meaty links for your Saturday breakfast

Don’t worry, I’m still a tree-hugging vegetarian. The “meaty links” that we’re serving up at the dubbatrubba café are longer reads/listens that are worth chewing on.

I recently posted about South African singer/songwriter/amazing human being Johnny Clegg. Here’s a great 50-minute interview and performance from a recent World Café:

Bill Janovitz is the lead singer of Buffalo Tom. He’s also a father. The latter is more important. He wrote a blog post back in December of 2012, about the Newtown school shooting. Sadly, it remains just as relevant today, in the wake of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (and dozens of other mass killings that have come since Newtown). Please read the entire post here… but if you don’t have time, please ponder these excerpts:

We may not be expected to stop every insane bomb-making McVeigh-like terrorist, nor will we stop every future mass shooting. But no one can deny that we need to start to take logical steps to regulating guns to make it more difficult for the most damaged among us to gain access to machines that slaughter the most innocent among us…

Each day that goes by without substantive corrective measures should bring each and all of us collective shame. As long as we are unwilling to take advantage our self-evident truths of individual liberty, enshrined in our nation’s most sacred documents, to speak out loudly and demand action, days like Friday should make us all feel ashamed to be Americans — ashamed to have done so little with the responsibility that comes with such advantages…

We have already failed these 20 first-grade children, as we have dozens, if not hundreds of others. What are we going to do to stop the next obscenity?

Speaking of gun violence, this article from German Lopez (formerly of Cincinnati’s alt-weekly CityBeat) is a must-read.

So while politicians often lean on mass shootings to call for gun control, the problem goes far beyond those incidents. Though it’s hard to fault them for trying; mass shootings, after all, force Americans to confront the toll of our gun laws and gun culture.

OK, let’s try to brighten things up a bit. Or not. Check out a Wired article about how social media is eroding our love/pursuit of knowledge. Here’s a quick excerpt:

Social networks, though, have since colonized the web for television’s values. From Facebook to Instagram, the medium refocuses our attention on videos and images, rewarding emotional appeals—‘like’ buttons—over rational ones. Instead of a quest for knowledge, it engages us in an endless zest for instant approval from an audience, for which we are constantly but unconsciously performing. (It’s telling that, while Google began life as a PhD thesis, Facebook started as a tool to judge classmates’ appearances.) It reduces our curiosity by showing us exactly what we already want and think, based on our profiles and preferences. Enlightenment’s motto of ‘Dare to know’ has become ‘Dare not to care to know.’

Along those same lines, here’s a long, cleverly illustrated, irreverent article well worth checking out, about how our Social Survival Mammoth can block our Authentic Voice… and how we can overcome that.

Anyone who disapproves of who you’re being or what you’re doing isn’t even in the same room with you 99.7% of the time. It’s a classic mammoth mistake to fabricate a vision of future social consequences that is way worse than what actually ends up happening—which is usually nothing at all.

Let’s end on a brighter, sunnier note, shall we? Bill Watterson (creator of Calvin and Hobbes, one of the greatest comic strips ever) gave a fantastic commencement speech at Kenyon College back in 1990. It’s well worth reading nearly 30 years later.

I tell you all this because it’s worth recognizing that there is no such thing as an overnight success. You will do well to cultivate the resources in yourself that bring you happiness outside of success or failure. The truth is, most of us discover where we are headed when we arrive. At that time, we turn around and say, yes, this is obviously where I was going all along. It’s a good idea to try to enjoy the scenery on the detours, because you’ll probably take a few…

…having an enviable career is one thing, and being a happy person is another.

 

Killing us softly with their tweets

Please spend a few minutes reading this story about how Russian trolls and bots are sowing seeds of discord in the U.S.

Data collected by the site over the past few months suggests that Russian social media accounts are now regularly seizing on divisive or tragic news to rile up segments of American society.

It’s nefarious, yet ingenious. Who needs tanks when you can just use tweets? Why develop nuclear weapons when all you need is a keyboard?

“Frankly, the United States is under attack,” Coats told the Senate intelligence committee. Adversaries “seek to sow division in the United States and weaken U.S. leadership.”

The intelligence community’s annual threat assessment, also out Tuesday, warns that Russia in particular will use social media “to try to exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States.” The report predicts those attacks are likely to target the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.

Now do me a favor. Start a Lenten “fast” and avoid counting on Twitter and Facebook for your news.

Because you’re being played, comrade.