Hope for the Hermit Kingdom

If your knowledge of current events extends beyond that that Miley Cyrus is the latest to sing in carpool karaoke with James Corden, then you’re probably aware that we seem to be having a little kerfuffle with North Korea. Just to bring everyone up to speed, the boys in Pyongyang have decided that they want to start punching above their weight by firing off a series of ICBM’s just to let everyone know that “we could hit the west coast, you know, if we really wanted to”. Certainly, that would be annoying, but recently our intelligence services have determined that they now might have the capability to pop a nuclear warhead into one of those things, a prospect that has more than a few people on edge. You can knock off your generals with howitzers and have your own half-brother killed in broad daylight—after all everyone needs a hobby–but the […]

Off Target

You never know where your competition is going to come from these days. I think it all started when major retailers decided they wanted to broaden the scope of their offerings to consumers. The lines, over where to go to get what, started to blur. Do I want to go to Walmart to pick up some underwear and a package of hot dogs; should I buy that big screen at Best Buy or is it more convenient to get delivered; 50 rolls of toilet paper and some meat at Costco; or, of course, the biggest conundrum of all—what in the heck do they sell at those Tuesday Morning stores? I like choice and convenience, so imagine how excited I was to read the news about Amazon—the guys who let you buy anything from your La-Z-Boy to a defibrillator—purchasing Whole Foods. Who doesn’t like the ability to buy War and Peace, […]


We’re all familiar with phrase “lost in translation”. Since words in one language may not have direct equivalents, or even mean something entirely different, in another, they sometimes have undesirable connotations for their intended audience. For example, in some Asian countries Kentucky Fried Chicken’s “Finger Lickin’ Good” slogan translated into “Eat your fingers off” which was a bit of a barrier to successful market entry, and you probably won’t find Puff’s tissues on drugstore shelves the next time you visit Germany since the term is a colloquialism for a house of ill-repute. If this has some of you wondering about those Chinese characters that you had tattooed on your arm, my advice would be to avoid wearing sleeveless shirts next time you’re in downtown Beijing. The converse of these incidences of international misunderstandings, are words and phrases that maybe do a better job of expressing something than our own […]

Coming or Going?

My wife likes to read People Magazine, and I’ll confess I’m not immune to sneaking a peak every now and then—who doesn’t want to know why Ben and Jen finally decided to go through with the divorce? Over time, I’ve noticed a pattern in the magazine’s editorial content. Normally, the big feature teased on the magazine’s cover is about the life altering event that some “star” has just experienced or overcome. Although they never address the really big issues, like how does Kim Kardashian make it through the average day with an IQ that doesn’t reach room temperature, there’s usually enough turmoil in the lives of the rich and famous to keep things fresh and topical. Periodically, however, there’s a lull in the action and they need to offer up a topic that they know their readers are always interested in, which, in this case, is weight loss stories. Nothing […]

Detroit. Data Center Capital of America Redux

Note: Saw that Apple just bought 2,000 acres and plans to spend $1.3 billion to build two new humungous data centers in Waukee, Iowa. We wrote this blog a few years ago but the same question still applies: “Why not Detroit?”

Life is good in Altoona, Iowa. With the coming of Facebook, servers will quickly outnumber the community’s 15,000 residents and the city is poised to become one of the country’s leading data center destinations. The citizenry of Altoona is ecstatic at their good fortune. The economic benefits alone are too numerous to consider. The police department is contemplating adding a second car, the country club might add nine more holes so members can play a full 18, and there’s a rumor going around that Krispy Kreme might be coming to town. Yes indeed, the gentrification of Altoona has begun—and good for them. I have nothing against the good people of […]

What if They Developed a Standard and No One Showed Up?

For those of you old enough to remember, and if you’re not, you can ask that “crazy” uncle as every family’s got one, back in the 60’s many in the counter-culture liked to propose the question: “What if they gave a war and nobody came?” The apparent purpose of posing this hypothetical was to demonstrate that war was a binary choice, along the lines of: would you rather play Scrabble or Twister? Unfortunately, history continues to demonstrate that war, like youth sports, tends to generate more than its share of participation trophies. Although international conflict proved that it wasn’t the best vehicle for illustrating the potential ramifications of choice, this does not mean that other examples of this all or nothing mode of thought don’t present us with the opportunity to ponder new sets of imponderables. The latest entrant into this metaphysical sweepstakes centers on the Linux Foundations’ newly announced […]

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