Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Printing Press Exemplum

Posted 02 Jun 2010 — by admin
Category Uncategorized

‘Print baby, print.’ For decades, that ditty championed the solidarity running the engines of commerce in the United States. Was there a way to verify its validity? In a special Treasury Department facility I visited, large letters on a wall proclaimed the raison d’etre to employees: ‘Print, or die.’

All around me, machinery churned and printed money nonstop, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Engineers remained on standby, ready to repair any breakdown in equipment. Paper inventory stacked to the ceiling, left no room to breath. As soon as some inventory was removed from the shelf, replenishment was immediate. The green ink used in the operation, flowed from holding tanks filled to capacity. I checked for exit signs to higher ground, just in case a tank burst. Overall, business looked good. I imagined plans by management to expand operations were in the works.

Never in history had a U.S. Government operation worked with such flawless precision. I told the green man, manning the ink petcock, how much the operation impressed me. I asked if the media was invited to do a TV or newspaper spread. I said Americans considered all government operations to be failures. This one seemed worth broadcasting loudly. The worker replied he was unaware of any future publicity. I found that strange. Was I wrong to think politicians passed up bragging rights for their successes?

I chummed with the ink man and learned more. The printing presses last year churned out tens and twenties. The preferred image on money printed this year was Benjamin Franklin’s picture: the $100 denomination. The ink man heard through the grapevine the money would be invested in the stock market. The Treasury would make sure. I was rocked back on my heels. Huh? Read More

Struggles and Triumphs of Writing My First Book

Posted 16 Apr 2010 — by admin
Category Uncategorized

The biggest struggle I faced writing my book, was learning how to write English. As a business executive, writing quality reports to my superiors or clients proved easy. My mind and my ability to compose words melded. Words on the page jumped out at the reader. Magic would describe the process. I’ve heard that many touts at racetracks are illiterate, except when reading the racing forms or odds boards. For now, call me a semi-illiterate.

My effort to complete a mature work, connecting action to thoughts was passionate. Needed was instruction and serious practice. I scribbled compared to writing business reports. I tried to connect with an editor to help. When interviewing prospects, they looked at my drafts and politely said I had a long way to go. I knew the samples were poorly written. The problem went further: What are you talking about? The subject matter is incomprehensible. Find another editor.

I eventually found my writing coach and editor, Ian Leask, who understood my thinking. At first, our relationship worked similar to a TV show or movie, as if I roomed in an insane asylum. I wasn’t actually locked up in a cage in a guarded building. He role played, metaphorically being a doctor, dressed in a white uniform, visiting his patient in a locked room. After reviewing a draft I’d sent, his opening mantra was consistent; did I know what sort of rubbish I submitted? The time allotted listening to my response was limited to one minute. My nonsensical response was to understand why the chapter I submitted had so many editing marks on the margins. Hearing his response, I dared not ask at what grade level my writing belonged. I needed strength to rise above my doldrums. Compose good sentences and logical paragraphs; you’ll be set free from the asylum and allowed to live with your family. That was the agreement. Read More