Saturday, September 18, 2004

Alejandro Sanz - No Es lo Mismo

I was disappointed that Robi Draco Rosa didn't win at the 5th Latin Grammy Awards earlier this month. After listening to No Es lo Mismo, I can understand why Alejandro Sanz did. Four awards, no less:
1 No Es lo Mismo Sanz 6:04
2 Hoy Llueve, Hoy Duele Sanz 4:52
3 He Sido Tan Feliz Contigo Sanz 3:52
4 Try to Save Your S'Ong Sanz 3:41
5 Eso Sanz 4:17
6 Labana Sanz 5:28
7 Sandy a Orilla Do Mundo Sanz 3:27
8 1 2 Por 8 Sanz 4:40
9 Al Olvido Invito Yo Sanz 4:21
10 Refálame la Silla Donde Te Esperé Sanz 4:50
11 Lo Dire Bajito Sanz 4:33
12 Si, He Cantado Mal Sanz 0:21
The songs get progressively better through the album. It's too bad I miss out on the lyrics. Seems three years of high school Spanish didn't help. But wait, after the forth time around, some of the words are coming back.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Corrs - Borrowed Heaven

Borrowed Heaven
As good as the performance was, the songs from Borrowed Heaven sound so much better when played from beginning to end:
1. Summer Sunshine (Corrs) - 2:53
2. Angel (Corrs) - 3:25
3. Hideaway (Corrs) - 3:17
4. Long Night (Corrs) - 3:47
5. Goodbye (Corrs) - 4:08
6. Time Enough for Tears (Bono/Friday/Seezer) - 5:03
7. Humdrum (Corrs) - 3:43
8. Even If (Corrs) - 3:02
9. Borrowed Heaven (Corrs) - 4:21
10. Confidence for Quiet (Corrs) - 3:10
11. Baby Be Brave (Corrs) - 3:58
12. Silver Strand (Corrs) - 4:25
In fact, I like all their albums. Some weekend, I'll play them all back to back. That should be an enjoyable treat.

Question of God

There was nothing new for me in last night's Question of God. I don't hold out hope that the second part next week will be any different:

Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud with Dr. Armand Nicholi
This program explores issues that preoccupy all people. What is happiness? How do we find meaning and purpose in our lives? How do we reconcile conflicting claims of love and sexuality? How do we cope with the problem of suffering and the inevitability of death?
This and the review for the show was enticing enough. However, it didn't live up to expectation. Come to think of it, four hours is not enough time. Using Lewis and Freud as props were not sufficient. They come off as anecdotal distractions.

The question of God shouldn't be so hard. It should be as simple as gravity, something that all of us not only experience and know, but can demonstrate.

For those who are interested, Bertrand Russell gave a convincing agument (at least to me) on one side of the issue in Why I Am Not a Christian : And Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects, which should really renamed to Why I don't believe in God: ....


I was looking forward to attending the SPIN (Software Process Improvement Network) meeting last night. After a two month summer recess, I was ready to meet up with old professional acquaintances. Besides, the scheduled presentation, Real Time Process Improvement with SCRUM was of particular interest to me.

Not only didn't my former colleagues show up, Sutherland's presentation didn't address any "Real Time" issues. In fact, there wasn't anything substantive on SCRUM either. Instead, he gave a lengthy history of the events that lead to it, none of which was very convincing. Nevertheless, it was an interesting trip down memory lane.

It turns out that one of the turning points in the shift away from a water-fall model of project management occurred during the implementation of CCPDS-R by TRW. This coincidentally occurred at the same time that I was at MITRE, involved with the CSSR project by GTE. You see, MITRE was the general system engineer for the United States Air Force that oversaw both of these projects among many others.

And there I was, in S building's conference room at MITRE, the host of SPIN. It's remarkable how little has changed in the appearance of the company's campus. It is as well kept as it was 18 years ago. But alas, everyone I knew then have either left, or have retired.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Gone like a dream in the night

The title of this entry could be the title of one of Maligna's poems. So, what do you say Mal, ready for another challenge?
You are betrayed. You fought for something you did not get. And the glory of the armies and navies of the United States is gone like a dream in the night, and there ensues upon it, in the suitable darkness of the night, the nightmare of dread which lay upon the nations before this war came; and there will come some time, in the vengeful Providence of God, another war in which not a few hundred thousand men from America will have to die, but as many millions as necessary to accomplish the final freedom of the people's of the world.

-Woodrow Wilson
A prediction after World War I, as recited by Robert McMcNamara in The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara

Monday, September 13, 2004

Journal keeping - the art of living and learning twice

That's the title of the inspirational article I read three and a half years ago. It speaks RyukyuSoul's recently entry Why blog?. I'll just include the highlights from my copy:

March 22, 2001

Author: Kathleen Hirsch, Globe Correspondent

It was another writer's words more than a decade ago that prompted me to build a window seat in my living room devoted to memory. His book, "Time and the Art of Living," urged me to become more aware of how I used my days, to learn to better treasure them, in order that I might live into the wisdom of knowing with some clarity what it was I really thought, experienced, loved.


My journal is the place where I set these images down. Also, where I give vent to doubt, resentment, desperate wishes, struggles, and the dredgings of dream - all the unexpected, unhoped-for miracles of the every day that we call "life," but rarely get around to cherishing as we should.

Journals have given my life an expansiveness that simply living each moment of it doesn't, because, in writing it down, I live it twice, the second time often more imaginatively and deeply than the first. The impulse, always, is insight, a deeper glimpse into meaning. In the journal, I gather what Virginia Woolf has called, "a mass of odds and ends," verbal snapshots, snippets of quotations, recipes for living, in the hopes that when I return to them weeks and months later, the collection has, in her words, "sorted and refined itself and coalesced . . . into a mould, transparent enough to reflect the light of our life, and yet steady, tranquil compounds with the aloofness of a work of art."


As Deena Metzger, another advocate of journal-keeping, writes, "One can say that one of the basic conditions of contemporary life is the unfulfilled longing of the self for the self." This is where the journal comes in.

In lives that can feel like a beautiful but tangled garden, in which we can't see what's what, much less attempt a harvest, the journal is a powerful ally in preserving a sense of order and continuity. It forces us to slow down. Simply choosing to spend 15 minutes observing, instead of dashing, puts us in a different relationship to our actions. When we write, we pay attention. We begin to see and to honor what is unique to our journeys. We become more adept at peering beneath the surface of matters, to inner workings of the soul, and through this to the heart of those questions we may be asking ourselves (or wanting to ask) without having had the courage before.


Far and away the question I am asked most often, however, is: "How do I sustain the discipline of journal-keeping? How do I do it day after day?" A journal isn't an object, much less a duty. It is a relationship. Like most relationships, there are a variety of ways to make it work over time. The key is to give yourself permission to use your curiosity about your world in ways that work for you.


Acquaintances have changed careers, left partners, plunged into new forms of creativity, all because their journals have pointed them in the right direction and haven't run away when the going got rough. Most of those who maintain serious spiritual practices keep journals. They are a writer's basic tool. But journals make even the most ordinary of us pilgrims and artists in our own rights. Becoming larger beings, risking spiritual growth, daring to envision, plan, and, finally, act on change, learning what we love, are all possibilities awaiting us within the blank journal.

For more on journal writing, try: "A Walk Between Heaven and Earth" by Nina Holzer (Bell Tower), "Life's Companion" by Christina Baldwin (Bantam), and "A Voice of Her Own" by Marleme Schiwy (Simon & Schuster), and "Leaving a Trace" by Alex Johnson (Little Brown).

Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper Company
Record Number: 0103220031

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Dan Fogelberg - The Innocent Age

1 Nexus Fogelberg 6:04
2 The Innocent Age Fogelberg 4:15
3 The Sand and the Foam Fogelberg 4:19
4 In the Passage Fogelberg 6:28
5 Lost in the Sun Fogelberg 3:53
6 Run for the Roses Fogelberg 4:18
7 Leader of the Band Fogelberg 4:48
8 Same Old Lang Syne Fogelberg 5:21
9 Stolen Moments Fogelberg 3:12
10 The Lion's Share Fogelberg 5:10
11 Only the Heart May Know Fogelberg 4:09
12 The Reach Fogelberg 6:30
13 Aireshire Lament Fogelberg 0:52
14 Times Like These Fogelberg 3:02
15 Hard to Say Fogelberg 4:00
16 Empty Cages Fogelberg, Kunkel, Putnam ... 6:24
17 Ghosts Fogelberg 7:16

The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara

I would have rather been outside yesterday enjoying the beautiful weather instead of being homebound nusing a sore foot. So, it was just as well that I watched this documentary.

Most notable is the characterization of Curtis LeMay by McNamara. Some might remember him as the vice president running mate to George Wallace in 1968. When he commanded the Strategic Air Command after World War II, he was quoted:
"if the U.S. is pushed in the corner far enough we would not hesitate to strike first." ... when pointed out to LeMay that preemptive attack was not official national policy. LeMay replied, "I don't care. It's my policy. That's what i'm going to do."

-- The Button: The Pentagon's Strategic Command and Control System, Daniel Ford, pg106
Chilling isn't it? Anyway, here are McNamara's eleven lessons:
1. Empathize with your enemy.
2. Rationality will not save us.
3. There's something beyond one's self.
4. Maximize efficiency.
5. Proportionality should be a guideline in war.
6. Get the data.
7. Belief and seeing are both often wrong
8. Be prepared to examine your reasoning.
9. In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil.
10. Never say never.
11. You can't change human nature.
BTW, this film won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.