Good night, 2008

Phoenix eve

Originally uploaded by Ron Coleman

What a year.

Fear of failure

Instapundit :

“President Reid?” I know it’s just a verbal stumble, but don’t scare me like that.

Failure Face

Come Glenn, we must face our fears!

Best of 2008: “With Donations Like That…” (August)

This is from August 11th:

With “donations” like this, you don’t need to sell things:

A bartender from Chicago, Stephanie works two jobs and wants to go back to college to study biology. After her roommate donated her eggs to a fertility clinic, Stephanie, who asked that her real name not be used to protect her privacy, said she decided to help an infertile couple and make $7,000 in the process.

Stephanie said if not for the faltering economy, she would not be donating her eggs. . . . “I make roughly $800 a week. The $7,000 will help, but its not going to pay for an education. I’m still going to have to take out loans,” Stephanie said.

Is selling something for $7,000 called “donating” now? It’s the word ABC uses in the headline, too.

Oh, and “Stephanie” the bartender’s economic analysis? Also donated, evidently. And worth every penny.

Comments are open at the original post.

Best of 2008: “Don’t Leave a Message at the Sound of the Tone” (July)

This first went up on July 6th:

Michael Arrington:

[A]n increasing number of people are just plain avoiding voicemail (for my impromptu and unscientific survey, see the comments here, which are predominantly anti-voicemail). It takes much longer to listen to a message than read it. And voicemail is usually outside of our typical workflow, making it hard to forward or reply to easily.

Typical voicemail messages today include things like “Please don’t leave me a voicemail, I rarely listen to them. Please just email me at” Many people don’t bother setting up their voicemail accounts at all. Then there’s my favorite method, the one I use personally – let the message box get full and then don’t empty it. Caller ID still tells me who called, and I can simply call them back.

How many times have you called someone back and said “I saw that you called but didn’t listen to the voicemail yet, Is it anything urgent?”

Senders often feel guilty for leaving voicemails, too. And to make sure you get the message, quite often people will follow up with a text message – “Just left you a VM, it’s important” – just so you know it’s there.

Yeah, don’t bother. If you have to reach me, voicemail is about 17th on the list after email, IM’ing, texting, emailing my wife, smoke signals, a Facebook poke and skywriting.

In the ’80’s we thought voicemail, the kind of mainfraim version of telephone answering machines that were the text-messaging of our college years, was cool. That got old fast, though. I remember being impressed when I worked for super-lawyer Ted Wells and finding out his voicemail was disabled. If you wanted to leave a message, you could leave it with his secretary. Awesome. This was about 15 years ago, and email hadn’t even become part of corporate life, but I already knew no one with anything better to do sat down tapping his feet scribbling down a message out of voicemail.

I never was able to get such privileges, although I did get to a point where my secretary’s job was to check my voicemail regularly and turn the message into an email … which doesn’t mean that’s always what happens, just that that was her job. I will stare at, or perhaps more accurately ignore, that little red light a long, long time if I have any semblance of an idea of what the message might be. In contrast, with my BlackBerry cellphone permanently attached to my hip, you’re likely to get a work email back from me within minutes, if not seconds, unless I really, really want to avoid you.

(This is not the same thing as wanting to actually be called up on my cell phone. I do not want you to call me on my cell phone. Have I mentioned email?)

Until I get it completely ripped out, though, all I can do is count on our receptionist (no direct dial number! yay!) to offer to take a message, and to allow “VM” through only with a disclaimer: “He doesn’t really check it.” Because I live in a hierarchical world, however, as long as it’s out there, it’s hanging over my head. That’s what Ted knew: Once someone leaves you a message, you’re “it.”

Sometimes the person leaving that voicemail is a judge. And when he makes you “it,” you’d better be aware.

But everyone else, don’t leave me a voicemail. Not if it matters whether I hear it.

Please leave a message… here.

Best of 2008: “Phoenix, God’s Oven” (July)

This was posted on July 24th:

Beautiful plaza in God’s oven, Phoenix

Originally uploaded by Ron Coleman

This is a really beautiful picture that, in the air conditioned comfort of home and after using two different computer programs to leach the excess photons out of it, actually makes Phoenix look like a place you would want to be in the summer for one or two minutes.

Have I mentioned that it’s not?

I could barely even open my eyes while taking this picture. That was with sunglasses. Dark ones. Of course there was also a waterfall in front of me. You never heard of the waterfall in the middle of the western Arizona desert? Yeah. Coleman Falls. It runs off my scalp down the smooth bed of my shiny forehead, cascades right past my squinting eyes, and deposits in the gentle basin forming around my shirt collar.

But with computer simulation, it almost as if the color green could be perceived by human sight in Phoenix in July. So you enjoy that.

Comments are closed here, open there.

Madoff: All you had to do was ask

Bruce MacEwen’s Adam Smith, Esq. blog quotes from an interview in Barron’s in which a major (multi-billion-dollar) potentional investor in Madoff’s hedge fund smelled fraud after an exasperating several hours of stonewalling by the “great man” and walked away without investing.

You’ve got to read these quotes to believe how bright, how flashing, how garishly obvious the warning lights were — if only you, as a hedge fund manager or other financial fiduciary — would stop worrying about not looking cool, do your job and ask the questions.

Attorney Ronald D. Coleman