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Showing posts from 2008

Fortunately, Donuts are Here

Dear members and constituents,

Can you believe this is the last Friday this year we will be sharing donuts? Even more incredible, the next donut Friday is on January the 9th, 2009! What to do? During times like this, I find it useful to think of those less fortunate than me. The businesses getting sub-standard telecommunications services because they are not yet Level 3 customers. The homeless having to seek shelter so the sub-freezing overnight lows don't kill them and their kids. The millions living in sub-Saharan Africa below the poverty line, wondering where their next meal (let alone a donut) is coming from. Three weeks without donuts does not seem so bad now, does it?

Fortunately, today we feast on warm donuts, thanks to Jeff Martin, our donut boy. So bring your holiday cheer down to my office and enhance it with a donut or two. And since I won't be writing these "manifestos" the next couple of weeks, let me take advantage of this opportunity to wish you a Merry …

Out-of-Control Donut Urge

Dear Members and Constituents,
Do you ever get the feeling things are a little out of control? Sometimes I do. I feel no sense of control over the current mass-hysteria-induced self-fulfilling downward economic spiral. People hear a recession is going on, so they take evasive maneuvers -which feed the aforementioned recession. A little closer to home for me, the surprise passing away of an aunt and this week's round of lay-offs were two things that have recently made me feel like a helpless spectator.

Whenever I get that feeling, I focus on those things I can control. I control my facial muscles to smile as I control my fingers to type this message. I was recently made aware of some Christmas lights you can control over the web. Even better, it's totally free and benefits Celiac Disease research (you know, folks who cannot eat donuts because they contain gluten -I can't think of a more appropriate cause)

Now, if -like me- you feel an uncontrollable urge to consume a donut, y…

The Hiatus is Over

Dear members and constituents,

Has it been two weeks? Somehow it seems longer. Perhaps it's the fact so much has happened. Mumbai, Thanksgiving, black Friday, cyber Monday, recession is official, snow and a new COO. Perhaps it just seems longer because, unless donuts are traditional Thanksgiving fare in your family, chances are you've gone two weeks without one. I am leaning towards the latter: two weeks without donuts is just too long to go without.

Hopefully you're in the office on this bright, crisp late-Fall morning so you can swing on by and bite into your favorite variety. Jen Artley provides the circular pastries to break our fast (breakfast, get it?)

Happy Friday!

Carpe Donut

Dear Members and Constituents,
What do you call it when your sister is in tears because the only tool she has to search in the dark for her lost shawl is a bioluminescent sphere? You ready? It's a glow-ball find-a-shawl cry-Sis'. Yeah, I know, it's bad. Very bad.

On a slightly more serious note, had you looked at yesterday's Top 10 Google "Hot Trends" you would have found no trace of a global financial crisis. Sure, Mauritania is in trouble (two of the top ten trends focus on it) and there is a pet chain allegedly abusing puppies, however, the majority of the searches --six of them-- are for celebrities (the remaining trend, if you are counting, is for a movie called "Twilight"). You might argue searching for crisis-related topics is unnecessary due to the constant bombardment we receive from the media. You might also argue the more serious trends get buried deeper and cannot be uncovered with a cursory sampling. I, for one, think this mundane samplin…

Thanksgiving boot camp

Dear Members and Constituents,
You may or may not realize there are just under two weeks left until Thanksgiving. You may or may not be asking yourself why you should care. For those of you in the former camp (i.e. those asking yourselves why you should care), I will tell you. If you care, you can prepare!

Let me explain. Of all the pretexts Americans have found to take a day off, Thanksgiving day is the one most characterized by dietary excesses. The problem is the average health-conscious urban professional does not adequately build the stamina for this kind of food overload. To put it bluntly, for most, Thanksgiving day arrives without the appropriate level of physical preparation. Think of a poor soul showing-up to run the Colfax Marathon without any prior training. How do you think they would fare? The sad part is most folks seem surprised when discomfort and drowsiness bring their Thanksgiving day eating binge to a premature end.

Fortunately, time is on our side. Two weeks is adequ…

Dolphin Donuts

Further evidence to indicate higher life forms are attracted to the donut. I found this video fascinating --so I figured I'd share it with you. I think they should change the name of these things to "dolphin donuts" ("air-core vortex rings" is too hard to remember)

Donut Cling

Dear Members and Constituents,
Permanent. Unchanging. Eternal. You could argue these three attributes are absent from our human experience on earth. I believe the gradual realization and internalization of this fact results in a natural desire to hold-on to things. Early in life we are care-free and relatively unattached. Our parents provide for our every need. Shelter, health and friendship are seen as unalienable rights. Soon enough we realize material objects are not always with us. Somewhere along the way something gets broken, lost or stolen and we decide we need to cling to what's left, lest it happen again. Naively, we embark in a lifelong process of material wealth accumulation. On this journey we discover some people betray, leave or simply die. We cling to those who remain. Eventually, our youth and appearance start to show signs of deterioration and decay. In this age of plastic and cosmetic surgery, miracle diets, gym memberships, online dating, orthodontics and manicur…

April on Halloween

Dear Members and Constituents
Happy Halloween! While I'm at it, I suppose I should also wish you a happy All Saints Day (tomorrow) and a happy All Souls Day (Sunday). Why is it we have three days in a row of holidays with a strong association to death? Why now? Why not April? Perhaps it's the dead leaves falling off the trees (leaves are green and growing in April). Perhaps it's the prospect of winter knocking at the door (the prospect of Summer in April is not as ominous). Whatever the reason for the tradition, there is no reason you and I should be somber this morning. Quite the opposite, it seems appropriate that April Slater, our newest member, delight us today with an assortment of five dozen donuts. Come grab an orange donut with brown sprinkles or, if you're feeling adventurous, you might grab a brown donut with orange sprinkles. Whatever you decide, come on down and let the sweet taste energize you and make you feel alive.
Happy Friday!

Ode to the Attack Ad

Dear Members and Constituents,

A wise man said,
(or so I've read)
of politics don't shout.
In spite of it,
I must admit
the ads I'd do without.

Dirt, mud, slime, muck.
These ads just suck,
regardless of persuasion.
Mislead, attack.
Can't take that back,
you've said it to the nation.

If you believe
a dem as chief
is an "Obama-nation";
Or you disdain
John S. McCain
as "Bush re-incarnation",

I'll tell you what
I think of that:
I have a disposition
to cast their type
(despite the hype):
as crafty politicians.

When all is said,
we've been mislead
to think we have more choices.
When all is done,
they're mostly one
despite their different voices.

With all this bull
we all should pull
to hasten this election.
Just roll the dice.
No, don't think twice.
Be done with the selection.

I've said my peace,
my mind's at ease,
thank God that Friday's here.
There's donut choice,
thanks to Ms. Reuss.
Come fill your heart with cheer!

Happy Friday!

Donut alphabet

Dear Members and Constituents,
Anyone been craving donuts every Friday? Good heavens! I just keep longing. My near-obsessive pastry quest really seems to underscore very wild Xtremes. Yearning. Zoning.

Sometimes, things are more than they seem. Notice anything odd about the my opening thoughts? If you're observant, you already know the words in the preceding paragraph each begin with a consecutive letter of the alphabet. It's appealing to think things can have a deeper meaning. Sometimes, however, what you see is what you get. That's the case with today's donut selection. Five dozen Krispy Kremes (and some donut holes to boot) courtesy of Mack Greene. Enjoy.
Happy Friday!

Before you jump out of your window, have a donut

Dear Members and Constituents,

It seems one would have to go to a desert island to altogether avoid the stories circulating the financial news media. While I have intentionally tried to tune some of it out, I have noticed a few things.
Our stock price has been sliced in half, despite being in one of the industries that should be considered the most shielded from current events. I think this is yet another case-in-point to indicate the stock market is driven more by irrational mood swings (fears at times, exuberance at others) than by efficiency. I consider myself a long-term investor, so I have vowed not to look at my next 401k statement and hope once the panic has settled, people will realize the fundamentals are strong. The government is trying to spend money in hopes it will help. Someone forwarded me an article that looks at the $700 Billion stimulus package as a "cost per homes passed" (which I think is a particularly useful way of thinking of it). If you look at it this …

Milestones

Dear Members and Constituents,
Why does the average household change their primary residence once every 7 years? Having gone through this experience this week, I have to wonder about this milestone. And why doesn't milestone rhyme with forty-one, despite ending in the same three letters? Having turned that age this week, I have to wonder about this as well. And why would anyone move on their birthday? Having read the preceding, you all must be wondering. Fortunately, there is another milestone this week no one need wonder about. The Friday Donut Club is now officially a five dozen donut club. Stacy Jackson (who is celebrating another milestone of her own today -- her anniversary) does the honors with 60 delicious LaMar's donuts, so come and gormandize on these special treats to your heart's contentment.

Happy Friday!

One Dozen, Two Dozen, Three Dozen, Four...

Dear Members and Constituents,
What comes to mind when you think of the number five? We have five fingers in each hand, five toes in each foot and five senses. Five continents, workdays in a week and players on a basketball team. Five lines in the pentagram, books in the Pentateuch and sides on a pentagon. Five wheels on a car (if you count the spare), five Presidents (who report to Neil Hobbs) and five buildings at Level 3 HQ (come on, you've all heard of building five thousand!).

What about five dozen donuts every Friday? Stop rubbing your eyes, you read right. The Friday Donut Club has experienced a recent surge in membership which has swelled our roles to record numbers and taken the current rotation beyond our five year anniversary. Last week, four dozen donuts did not hold-up long enough and I'd be surprised if they do this week. If, as I suspect, we don't end-up with sufficient donuts to last the entire day, I am seriously considering amending the first rule of the Fr…

Picture a Donut

Dear Members and Constituents,
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I used to think that meant pictures were a very efficient means of communication. Lately I've been wondering if that is truly the case. If you consider one thousand words take-up approximately two 8 1/2 x 11" pages using 10 point Times New Roman font, one might argue efficiency depends on the size of the picture we're talking about. If the picture in question is a 4 x 6" print, then I would have to say that is very efficient. If we're talking about a large format such as a fold-out picture in a magazine (don't go there... think National Geographic) or, say, an oil on canvas; then I would argue it may be more efficient to use a thousand words to convey the message. Then again, efficiency is not usually the primary objective of large format pictures (which, by the way, reinforces the notion I'm advancing). In the end, it may come down to cognitive styles. Pictures work much better f…

I love a rainy day

Dear Members and Constituents,
Did you hear about the guy who drank a fifth of Scotch at the bar and then proceeded to drive his car around in tight circles at the establishment's parking lot? Those were some DRUNKEN DONUTS! OK, bad joke. I just figured that on a rainy day like today our dampened spirits could use a little well intentioned (albeit poorly delivered) humor.

Something that has a much higher probability of success when it comes to ensuring your day starts off on a bright note are donuts, and I'm delighted to say Sarah Baack delights is today with four dozen such treats from LaMar's. They are looking very provocative and clamoring to be eaten, so come on down and delight your taste buds with a delightful bite of your favorite pastry.
Happy Friday!

A Case for the Media's Obsession with Donuts

Dear Members and Constituents,
I've been keeping myself fairly insulated from world events over the past few weeks. Avoiding news media and their sensationalism has been refreshing, however, when I heard Sarah Palin had apparently given a rousing speech on Wednesday, I thought I'd find out who this Sarah Palin was and what else I've been missing-out on. What I found increased my appetite (literally, more than figuratively). Maybe it's the fact that today is Friday and I have only one thing on my mind. Maybe, just maybe, the news are peppered with subliminal donut messages. Here are a few that struck me:
Chrome: Google's new browser with a comic book instruction manual. Don't tell me the application's colorful icon does not remind you of a donut.Cosmic Ghost: A Dutch grade school teacher discovered an unknown cosmic object -- probably a cloud of hot gas punctured by a central hole 16,000 light years across and illuminated by the "dying embers" of a n…

Visit to Ecuador

Dear Members and Constituents,
In our casual conversations, many of you have asked to hear about my pilgrimage to Ecuador. I must admit I have found this line of questioning particularly hard to address. How do you characterize a month-long trip within the confines of a short hallway conversation? Invariably, my answers have been a combination of a pause (drawing a blank for something clever to say) followed by some comment that falls short of doing the trip justice. Given these circumstances, a top-ten list seems like a suitable mechanism to give you a taste (à la David Letterman)...

From our home box office in Cuenca, Ecuador, here are the top ten highlights of my trip
10. Family. With 31 of my paternal Grandfather's 55 living descendants (not counting their spouses, or my wife's family) residing in my hometown, the list of relatives to visit was extensive to say the least.
9. Friends. Four high-school buddies in particular. You'd think 24 years later they would have matured…

98.2 degree Olympic fever...

Dear Members and Constituents,
As the Games of the XXIX Olympiad wind down, it appears I have developed an immunity to the Olympics bug. There, I said it! Sure, I heard of Michael Phelps. Ate gold medals! (OK, bad joke). I even caught a glimpse of several media-selected sports in which the U.S. had strong gold medal aspirations (and for all I know got them), and was disappointed that the 20K men's march event --where Ecuador won a silver medal-- was not broadcast because no U.S. athletes were in contention. However, it is far from an all-consuming addiction. Lots of world records being broken in water sports... yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Failed baton passes... huh?

I suppose that is why, as some of you have correctly pointed-out, despite the ripe parallels between Olympics and donuts (Olympic rings resemble donuts, medals are round, China has 48 gold medals --that's four dozen, etc.), the topic has been absent from this forum. A deficiency I intend to remedy immediately.

In the Oly…

Time might change me, but I can't change time

Dear Members and Constituents,
What whimsical, weird and outright wacky weather we're witnessing! The searing summer sun on Sunday finally fell victim to the freezing fall drizzle I'm feeling this freaky Friday. It's like the seasonal switch was flipped leaving no room for a transition from summer to fall. Granted, fall does not officially begin for another month so there's plenty of time for the weather to wax and wane between the two archetypal patterns seen in the past seven days. Personally, I like the variety and am sitting back, kicking my boots up and enjoying the show.

In a way, it reminds me of the sudden end to our current donut rotation last Friday giving way to the beginning of the new donut rotation this Friday. Julian Kiss kindly agreed to help the Friday Donut Club turn this new leaf by commissioning TimeWise to bring his inaugural contribution which also inaugurates the new rotation. I have not heard back from anyone regarding days you cannot bring donuts…

Donuts Forever

Dear Members and Constituents,
It's 08/08/08 (at 08:08 AM). Is that cool or what! Why do I find this pattern fascinating? Why does that smooth succession of zeroes and eights somehow make the date (and time) seem special? Perhaps it's just my innate desire to predict, and even control the future that subconsciously attract me to patterns in general. Let's face it, whether we care to admit it or not, we all find things like symmetry, balance and repetition appealing because they give us the false illusion of control.

Perhaps it's the fact that zeroes resemble donuts and eights (sideways) resemble the character used to represent infinity. Just think: donuts intermingled with eternity: what a soul soothing thought. Then again, perhaps it's just the fact that this is the first time in over a month I will get an opportunity to consume a donut that has got me all giddy.

Whatever the reason, the fact is donuts are here, thanks to Danelle Vitale, who was torn between delegati…

From good to great

Dear members and constituents,
We all engage in it. That hallway exchange meant to show a friendly gesture, good will and acknowledge some form of social interaction is warranted between you and the person you're greeting. It goes something like this: "Good morning, how are you today?" and the reply can range the gamut but is generally conveyed in positive terms, something like "good and you?". With the fast pace of modern life, you only have time for one more volley before you're out of ear shot (or have to stop and make a real conversation). While the positive response sandwiched in the middle of that short chatter is usually nothing more than a formality, I believe creating a meaningful scale that uses these common responses in a hierarchical manner might help us to convey more useful information in what has otherwise become a rather ritualistic formality.

I propose the following scale
Never better (this has to be at the top, if there were something better …

A minor character flaw

Dear Members and Constituents,
How much does a character typed on an e-mail contribute to global warming? Until recently, I had taken it for granted that electronic communications were "clean", with zero impact on the environment. I started having second thoughts when I read 1.5% of the world's electric supply is consumed by server farms (and growing at a fairly substantial rate).

Rather than go on faith alone, I figured I'd do the math... Before we go on, here are the disclaimers on my analysis: (a) it is based on the top results of my Google searches, (b) the math was not double-checked, (c) sources were not scrubbed for reliability and (d) they are not cited. Therefore, (e) these findings should be interpreted as directional.

If we consider there are approximately 150 billion e-mails being sent every day and the average number of words per e-mail is about 110 -with an average word length (in the English language) of 5.1 characters, then we have approximately 30 quadr…

Année 216 de la République / Mois de Messidor / Décade I Jour du Duodi

Dear members and constituents,
Last week marked the fourth anniversary of the Friday Donut Club and not even I remembered it. I suppose it only goes to prove that if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it... well, you know. My, how time flies! And it does not matter what calendar you use, the progression of time is inevitable. Whether you think of today as June 20, 2008 (Gregorian Calendar); Sivan 17, 5768 (Jewish Calendar); Jumada t-Tania 15, 1492 (Islamic Calendar) or even 12.19.15.7.15 --15 Zotz 10 Men-- (Meso American Long Count Calendar) the fact is that day counter on your calendar will move ahead again tomorrow. I think it was a wise and anonymous e-mail chain letter sage who once wrote "you should not focus on how many years you are able to put into your life. Instead, try to put as much life as you can into the years you are given" (Or something to that effect, the precise wording eludes me, a curse I must live with due to not having forwarded tha…

Friday the 13th...

Dear Members and Constituents,
On this "lucky" Friday the 13th, I thought I'd lighten the otherwise somber outlook with an old favorite joke I enjoy re-telling from time to time. You may have seen this classic comic strip. It has two panels in a side-by-side layout. On the left panel you have an angelic figure, surrounded by clouds being addressed by a bearded man in a robe. The quote reads "welcome to heaven, here is your lyre". On the right panel you have what appears to be a demon addressing a condemned soul with the words "welcome to hell, here is your accordion". Now for all you accordion lovers out there, I have nothing personal against the accordion. I think it is a fine musical instrument when used in moderation --kind of like spices with food, it's OK if you use a little... but use too much and... you get polka.

If you were to use food (instead of musical instruments) with the aforementioned comic strip, I will let you pick your own persona…

WWBFS? (What would Ben Franklin say?)

Dear members and constituents,
Is silence golden, or, is it the squeaky wheel that gets the oil? Is it wiser to save for a rainy day, or, eat, drink and be merry -after all, tomorrow we may die? Does God help those who help themselves, or, is it those who wait upon the Lord who will renew their strength and fly on wings like the eagle?

If the early bird gets the worm, is that maxim prompting those whose diets do not include vermin to rise late? And what does it mean when people tell you not to take any wooden nickels? I bet a hand-carved wooden replica of Jefferson's effigy would be worth more than a mass-produced five cent coin.

Conventional wisdom is sometimes vague and often contradictory. It is not surprising, therefore that, when it comes to donuts, conventional wisdom is sometimes wrong and misguided. I would therefore advise you to experience a healthy sampling of the four dozen Krispy Kreme donuts we have today ready and waiting (courtesy of Jeff King). Come and get them!
Happ…

Full Circle

Dear Members and Constituents,
What goes up must come down (unless it goes up so fast it breaks-free from Earth's gravitational pull and is headed for the Oort cloud). Similarly, what starts must end. It seems the seeds of culmination are planted with every inauguration. But can the beginning be the end? Donuts are circular, so you could say the beginning is neatly concealed beneath the end. Curiously enough, today is the first and last time Collin Geis is donut boy. So this is, in effect, his alpha and his omega appearance. He delights us with four dozen LaMar's donuts (I'm sure he'll miss them when he moves to Maryland). So start heading this way, grab a donut and before you know it you will end this Friday on a high note.
Happy Friday!

Double the pleasure, double the fun

Dear Members and Constituents,
On this, the 2nd consecutive Friday Glenn Russo does the honors as "donut boy", I was thinking about the many ways we use the number TWO in our daily lives. Today, due to the holiday we have a half-day of work (1 divided by, yes you got it, TWO) and I'm sure we are all pretty excited about that. All things digital would not be possible without the binary system (uses only TWO numbers, even though the number two is written as "10"). And then, of course, any number to the power of TWO is that number squared...

I propose today, however, we focus not on the squares, but rather, on circles. Yes the round pastries we are all eagerly awaiting to consume have arrived. So come around and grab a donut... or two.

Happy Friday!

Get pumped... donuts are here!

Dear Members and Constituents,
Can you imagine paying $6.00 at the pump for a gallon of gas? It's only a matter of time. Over the past week, I've been having an on-and-off debate-of-sorts with Marshall Carter as to whether the "gas tax holiday" (proposed by two of the three people in this country with realistic presidential aspirations) is a good idea. AAA says 1% less people are planning to drive 50 miles or more this Memorial Day holiday and the NY Times finds people in areas where mass transit is a realistic alternative are increasingly choosing that alternative. The "pain at the pump" is having an effect on people's behaviors which trigger gasoline consumption. Countries who heavily tax gasoline, like South Korea (who have already passed the $6.00 mark), drive a substantial portion of their tax revenues from this source and -arguably- provide the right incentives for people's gas-consuming behaviors.

Marshall thinks we should raise gasoline taxes …

Subliminal donuts

Dear members and constituents,
Spring time is definitely here. I've been dreaming of nirvana under the sun while doing office necessities using technical skills I've acquired. Perhaps you are designing one new ubiquitous transport system, or deliberately orchestrating neat undertakings this Saturday. Whatever the case may be, one thing is for certain, it's good to be alive!

Now, if you're reading this e-mail on your blackberry, you're probably a little puzzled. The blackberry does, after all, deliberately obscure numerous unnecessary typed subtleties (e.g. bold letters, italics, underline, colors...). If my subliminal messaging is working, however, you should be feeling a higher than usual urge for donuts. Your desire opens new unusual tingling sensations and unexplained visions of donuts dance through your head. Go ahead, indulge -after all, it is Friday!

Carlos Belloso does the honors today with four dozen outrageously naughtyultimately tastysweets.

Happy Friday!

A world without donuts

Dear Members and Constituents,
Have you ever wondered what the future will look like? Now, I'm not talking about the time horizons we look at in the business community, where a five year forecast is taken with a healthy dose of salt. I'm not even talking 20 or 50 years. I'm thinking the big century mark (which, when you come to think of it is a blink of an eye in geologic time). I don't think anyone living in 1908 would have ever imagined iPods, F-18 fighters, Mars rovers, Goth kids or metrosexual men. I doubt our ability to forecast the next century is any better. Will we have beach-front property in the San Bernardino mountains? Flying cars, teleportation, computers embedded in your brain with miniature monitors implanted in your cornea? A growing human colony on Mars? What will social interaction look like, how long will attention spans be?

Nothing is for certain, however, I do hope they still have donuts. Granted, I don't expect to be alive in 2108 (then again, a…

Rounding Error

Dear Members and Constituents,
On this the bicentennial week of existence for the Friday Donut Club I was thinking about the strange fascination we seem to have with round numbers. Sure, when it comes to tracking time we buck the trend --days have 24 hours, weeks have 7 days, years 365 or 366 days. But once you get to the multiples of years, it's the round numbers we tend to pay particular attention to --and the more zeroes, the better. No one seems to be making a big deal about this being the Colorado's 132nd year of statehood, although I must say I'm surprised not to have heard much buzz surrounding this being the Sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) of Denver's foundation by William Larimer -perhaps it's not round enough. Let's face it, we gravitate towards numbers that end in zeroes. Financial statements are presented in millions of dollars, music is grouped into the decade it was released... and even tips at restaurants tend to round-up to the next dollar (…

Donuts 2.0?

Dear Members and Constituents,
When club member Monisha sent me a URL about Flickr hosting a Day-of-the-Donut (http://blog.flickr.net/en/2008/04/15/day-of-the-donut/), it got me thinking about the whole web 2.0 movement. Things like blogging (our blog is an example http://donuts.gonzal3z.com/); folksonomy (http://del.icio.us/ -why when Yahoo bought the domain they didn't re-purpose it to be a donut site); social networking and others. It occurs to me this loose association of applications can be grouped together only because they empower the common man to publish content and interact on the Internet. Then I thought about how donuts empower the common man to be more productive and generally more contented. Why not a donut 2.0? I'll tell you why: you don't mess with perfection!

Speaking of perfection we have a perfect set of four dozen LaMar's donuts courtesy of Bill Long, so let your taste buds interact with the delicious flavor of the donut (and you may even get a chance…

Billboard top 10

Dear Members and Constituents,
I think you've all seen the billboard which sits twelve feet or so from my office (yes the one where the Friday Donut Club has placed an unauthorized announcement). As I understand it, the intent of the billboard is to promote a fun workplace by providing product information (Come again?). While challenging, I think the concept can be made to work. In order to do my small part, I am proposing.......the top 10 things that could go on the new billboard:10. Collocation, location, location: Advice for a challenging market from Level 3's real estate experts
9. Keeping our revenue stream Regular with dark fiber
8. The wacky wireless weekly: From technology to devices, this segment has a lot to talk about, I'm sure some fun facts can be found
7. Long-haul long shots: Unlikely events in the long haul transport network and how they were handled
6. CNS-CNS : Core Network Services-Curious and Novel Snippets
5. Vox populi: Wholesale voice services speaking to …

Oops! the O's were omitted

[Kim Carroll posted] Sending on behalf of JP – clearly I could never come up with a creative email like this :-)

Dear Members and Constituents,
When in the human event Path citizens must sever the regimental chains which have tied them with inhabitants living elsewhere and assume their place amid the earthly rulers, being justified by the laws given by Nature and by the Supreme Being, if they respect mankind's views, they must declare the causes which make them act this way.

We believe these truths are self-evident, that all men are created equal, that their Maker has given them certain unalienable Rights, that amid these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit…

Look familiar? It should (well, sort of). It is the beginning of the declaration of independence, paraphrased to remove all letter "O"s in order to make a point: you can live without this circular letter, however, it's very difficult. I think the same principle can be extended to all things circular, wheels (how would …

It's instinctive

Dear Members and Constituents,
Where does the urge we feel -especially on Fridays- to have a donut come from? I would argue it's instinctive. Instinctive? The skeptic would argue donuts are too refined (refined sugar, refined flour...) to be associated with an instinct. That they have not been around long enough for our species to create an inherent disposition towards their consumption. I will not deny donuts have only been around for a couple-hundred of years or so (161 years for ring-shaped donuts). So, if I admit these tasty treats have not been a staple of our diet since the dawn of our species, then how can I argue the need to consume them is instinctive? It all comes down to what's inside these tasty circular treats. Yummy goodness an active body needs. You see, despite the prosperity we've experienced in this part of the world for the better part of the last century, the natural condition our species has existed in for thousands of years is one of scarcity. Our tast…

It's shaping up to be a Good Friday

Dear members and constituents,What do laser, radar and scuba have in common? (No, the answer does not involve the plot to a James Bond movie). Give up? They are all acronyms...Laser = Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of RadiationRadar = Radio Detection And RangingScuba = Self-Contained Underwater Breathing ApparatusSure, the world of telecommunications is fraught with them (try to think of the last five sentences you uttered, I'd be extremely surprised if at least one of them did not contain one or more acronyms), however they've been around longer than you may realize. Early Christian inscriptions in Roman catacombs used the image of a fish as a symbol for Jesus because of an acronym—fish in Greek is ΙΧΘΥΣ (ichthys), which stood for Ιησους Χριστος Θεου Υιος Σωτηρ (Iesous CHristos THeou Uios Soter: Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior). In case you're wondering, donut is not an acronym (although, understandably, geeky scientists and engineers have from time to ti…

The ultimate productivity boost

Dear Members and Constituents,A recent visit to the BPMCOE (that's extended TLA for Business Process Management Center of Excellence) triggered an interesting idea: Donuts are the key to process improvement. I may be reaching a little, but hear me out.Six Sigma: The lower case Greek letter "sigma" looks like a donut with a little finger reaching for itLean: Everybody knows that donuts contain less calories than, say, bagels... if instead of eating a bagel people would eat a donut, they would be a lot leanerKaizen: Started by Toyota, whose logo looks like, yes... nested donutsOperations Science: Again, starts with the donut shapeTheory of Constraints: Looks for process bottlenecks. If people were energized by the consumption of donuts, their productivity would increase, preventing them from becoming the proverbial bottleneck.Not convinced? Think of the energy a donut provides you. Now imagine that multiplied by all the company's employees... think of the productivity …

What a difference a chain makes!

Dear members and constituents,
I must admit I've succumbed to peer pressure (thanks a lot, Mack!). Yes, this morning I went to Carol Lee Doughnuts, a perfectly good little donut shop without a line of people going out the door, and purchased two dozen circular pastries. I would have plenty of time to question the wisdom of that decision as I stood in line at LaMar's, waiting to complete the other half of the magic quantity. Ever wonder why chains have taken-over America? As I see it, a battle line has been drawn between individuality and predictability (and predictability is creaming individuality). You know what you're going to get at Good Times Burgers, not so much at Joe's Burger Shack. Clean restrooms? Swept floors? Mom's secret sauce? And so it is that the weakening of the spirit of adventure has led to the rise of the franchise.

So, what will it be? I have posted a survey on the blog http://fridaydonuts.blogspot.com/ to ask a simple question: Whose donuts were …

Trust me... the donuts are here!

Dear Members and Constituents,I believe over ninety nine percent of everything you've ever learned is based on trust
If you rob a bank you'll go to jail... have you ever tried it?Cyanide will kill you... have you seen anybody take a cyanide pill? The world is round... have you been out to space and seen it first-hand? The universe is 12 billion years old... really? We trust that our parents, professors, schoolbooks and news sources are telling us the truth. We take these truths and create rules which generalize and simplify to our own little reality. Everything has an explanation and falls in its place. This makes it so we don't have to think about most things ordinary. It also, however, means that if one of these truths or generalizations turns out not to be so true after all, we need to re-think our reality and adjust to what we've learned. This year (today, in-fact) February does not have 28 days. That beer you're planning to drink at 5 o'something may not be…

Serendipity

Dear Members and Constituents,
Do you ever find yourself going through the same old routine when, suddenly, something unexpected happens? It hits you out of the blue and makes you see things in a different light. I find that, while these events don't happen as frequently as I'd like, when they do, they make my day. OK, I admit I'm easily amused, what else is new?

Case-in-point 1: This morning as I was walking from my car to my office (as routine as it gets), I noticed there was a bird singing. This beautiful blue sky morning had just gotten a tad bit better. I don't recall having heard birds singing for quite some time. I had not even been aware of the absence of that cheerful sound in days and weeks past, yet, when I heard it this morning it was like a void was filled.

Case-in-point 2: I had noticed some time back as I was driving to work that the field west of Simms and a little south of the airport has (for no good reason I've been able to decipher) no less than th…

Type O personalities

Dear Members and Constituents,
In a hallway conversation this week, Katy Armstrong made a casual comment to me about how we [Level 3 employees] all have "Type A personalities". I have heard this same comment multiple times before and had always assumed it loosely meant "overachieving go-getters" (or workaholics). This time, however, I decided to look it up. Boy was I surprised. Granted, anybody can contribute to Wikipedia, however, they are usually pretty close to the mark. It turns out (according to Wikipedia, anyway) that Type A personality includes traits such as insecurity about one's status, hostility and difficulty exhibiting "non-pessimistic behavior". Apparently Type B (the other alternative) is not much better, as the term "lazy" appears to be best suited to describe this behavior pattern. That's it, I thought? Then I looked at the traits exhibited by most Friday Donut Club members, I would hardly think of them as having an "…

Super Friday

Dear Members and Constituents,
Did you ever turn the channel to a really bad reality TV show? You want to change the channel but are unable to turn away for some unexplained reason. You just have to keep watching, even though you know there is no possible satisfactory outcome. That was how I felt watching the Super Tuesday election coverage. So many statistics yet so little insight. I can't imagine being a news reporter covering the event. How do you talk so much about so little? -- I suppose it's the nature of the news business. I, for one, am glad all those states did not decide to make their elections coincide on a Friday. After all, Fridays are already Super. One of the reasons that make Friday's super are, obviously, donuts.

The donut purveyor of today's Super Friday event is as predictable as the presidential nominee for a fist-term president's party. Yes, Christy Rygiewicz has called upon LaMar's today to represent all things sweet and yummy. So, come and …

Donuts and Euphemisms

Dear members and constituents,
We've all used them before. Short phrases designed to protect the sensitivities of others. They're called Euphemisms and for some reason the work world seems to be rank with them. Let's take "Human Resources" (formerly the "Personnel" department). We are managing resources, it's not... personal. Moving down the list is Opex Reduction. We all know profits are good and expenses are bad, so it stands to reason operational expenses are something we want to avoid like the plague... right? Pink Slip has such a nice ring to it (pink being such a delicate color and all). I must say RIF tops them all for me. We've created an acronym for a euphemism. Two layers removed from the act. RIF, of course stands for Reduction in Force. Surely, if you apply too much force you will break something. Reducing the force applied can't be bad. Force, we all know is short for Workforce... this impersonal fuel that keeps the industrial ma…

Donut Nirvana Arrives (DNA)

Dear members and constituents,
Have you ever wondered whether the time of year one is born has any bearing on one's personality? Now, don't get me wrong here, I find horoscopes to be vague and open to being fulfilled by a broad variety of events. It does seem to me, however, that in parts of the world where there are four marked seasons, the experiences of a baby born in winter are likely to be very different than those of a baby born in the summer. One is bundled up in the beginning and transitions to milder climate by the time they are 6 months old. The other starts out with more outdoors experiences and then is confined to an interior world when winter comes. It seems quite plausible that the experiences of this first year of life happening in such a different order and at different formative stages would have some effect on that adult's preferences. That, of course, makes me wonder if there is any pattern to our membership's birthdays. Could there be a statistically…

Circular reference

Dear members and constituents,
Ever get the feeling we are really into changing our organizational structure here at Level 3? It seems to me we should just come out and admit it. Organizational change is one of the things we are well versed at... you might go as far as calling it a core competency. While I'm in no position to comment on the logic, merit or perceived benefits this latest structural change will bring (although I understand there are many), it does occur to me we could learn a lesson or two from the humble donut. Allow me to explain. First of all, have you noticed how org charts are full or rectangles? Why not circles? I believe this subtle change, displaying names and titles in the confines of a friendly donut shape (no sharp corners to frighten the psyche) would help reduce friction and resistance to change. Second, we keep using the pendulum analogy, implying we have changed our mind about one change or another we've made in the past, to explain top management&…

Donut who?

Dear Members and Constituents,
When you get down to it, clubs tend to get snobbish over time. Wine connoisseurs and cigar aficionados abound. Tennis and golf club memberships are rather pricey and I'd rather avoid a conversation with any Ferrari collectors out there. A donut club is different. I mean, really, how do you do a five minute dissertation about the attributes of a specific donut and manage to keep a straight face? I can just picture it now: "Yes, this is a 5:00 a.m. Ray's classic. The texture is slightly chewy with a hint of rosebuds and touch of raw sugar cane. You can tell the oven was…" Doesn't really fly, does it? So, in the spirit of not taking ourselves too seriously, I thought I'd do a knock-knock joke for you today. You high-brow members out there, try to avoid rolling your eyes too far back.Knock, knockWho's thereDonutDonut who?Donut ask so many questions, grab a cup of Joe and come get your dose of morning sweetness. Donuts are here!My…

Donut Resolutions

Dear Members and Constituents,
Happy New Year! This year, I figured I'd cut to the chase and make new year's resolutions for 2009. Time goes by so fast, I expect 2008 will also be a blur, so why not get ahead of the curve? So, without further delay, here are my new year's resolutions for the new, new year…

Maintain the perfect physique I worked so hard in '08 to attainBring all the donut clubs that have sprouted up around campus (inspired by our success) together as a loose federation of like-minded citizens. Draft a constitution ensuring life, liberty and the pursuit of donuts as inalienable rights.Tackle the problem of world peace. After such great success in 2008 with solving world hunger (using donuts as the medium, of course) I figure, what the heck, go big! The secret weapon (irony intended) are donuts, of course.Find a new vice to preside over… Nah, this vice suits me just fine :-)
Back to the here and now, Kim Carroll has set the bar high for donuts in 2008. Four …