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GP 5 December 2007: Friends of Global Province

Sherman Alexie.  We hope someday that Sherman Alexie becomes our buddy because he is one fast thinker, and amusing as hell.  Coming across him was a random event: all the best things crop up that way.  At some ungodly hour in the morning, he appeared on C-Span, the gremlins there deciding to broadcast his recent presentation to the Texas Book Festival.  He was on stage because of his current book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which, talking about his early schooling, tells us how he became what he is—a witty author and creative Native American who cracked America’s code and gained the capacity to reach out to all of us.  One wants to know him, because he is so creative that he avoids all the customary pieties of politically correct literary and academic life. This fascinating fellow grew up on a Spokane reservation and was not expected to survive a brain operation at six months and all the other rigors of growing up.  To see him in action today is to realize that he has overcome all his many handicaps.  His gently explosive personality gives one hope and inspiration around Christmastime.

We learn that he would love to do poems and short stories full time.  But to make a living he writes successful novels.  On the side, he dips into film writing which he calls an addiction—something that is probably not altogether healthy.

Pictures at an Expedition.  Colin Goedecke’s The Speed of Light just crossed our desk.  A business writer, Colin would, we suspect, if the gods had smiled upon him, only be writing poems about his several raptures.  He shares Alexie’s dreams of becoming a 24-hour bard.  We commend to you “On Bonnard’s Large Yellow Nude, 1931,” which he wrote after a trip to the Museum of Modern Art in 1998:

I wonder how much sun she drank
to become this luminous, four bottles
or six.  And how much he used
to soak his brushes with, and bask
the room in which she reflects
in her air-blue shoes
on this Le Cannet day.

With the Help of Our Friends.  Colin is one of the many Friends of the Global Province who have written extended essays that make the Province much richer than it would be otherwise.  He told for us of a Christmas trip to Rome that he illustrated with beautiful pictures: it was really a trip home to see his wife’s family who possess a winery and an appreciation of the good Roman life.

In fact, you will find essays covering the gamut of life’s problems and pleasures strewn about the Province.  We will give you a few of them here.  They indulge in travels, ponder about how to be healthy, look at arts and culture, wander into original poetry and fiction, and celebrate people who made this world richer by being here.  As you know, we are strategic consultants for chief executives and business owners, so there is a slew of business information on the Province.  But our charter is to be a bit more creative than other firms, so we also wander pretty far afield.  We would contend that you cannot survive the maelstrom of 21st-century global business if you live in a straitjacket.  To prosper going forward, one will need a wide angle lens rather than  narrow focus.

Travel To and Fro.  Colin takes you to Rome for Christmas, a good thought now that Advent is almost upon us.  But we also get to Russia, Morocco, Asia, France, and other ports of call.   You will enjoy Stephen Page’s 7-Day race across Mexico as part of Viva La Carrera Panamericana.  Page is a Dallas executive recruiter who has found senior executives for high technology and professional service firms around the world.  Grant Carter, a Canadian marketing consultant, also fondly recalls for us his several vacations in Cape Hatteras in “Hatteras Fever.” 

Those of you who range further afield will want to catch up with Howard Gross, a telecommunications marketing executive who has crisscrossed the date line to Asia more times than he wants to remember.  In fact, he has done it so often that he was able to give us the poop on the ups and downs of first class airline travel out to the East.  He is very candid in his Review of International First Class, and he is a passenger every airline should be courting.  We are awaiting now some of his thoughts about wine and his memory of times spent in Thailand.

Food: Nectar of the Gods.  In fact, so many have added so much about food and wine to the Province that we cannot begin to cover their contributions.  These include many essays by Courtenay Beinhorn, a writer about food and the good life, who is also the author of SpiceLines.  You will want to take in the Best Meal in Paris and her Best Turkey Recipe.  Chef  James Overbaugh at the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans has shared with us his Baked Oysters with Horseradish-Parsnip Puree and Spinach-Lemon Cream, a wonderfully over-the-top affair typifying the wonderful contribution New Orleans makes to America.

Health.  Ms. Stephanie Day, a Silicon Valley executive who was snatched from us after a brave fight against breast cancer, left a legacy for those enduring a similar battle.  Her bravery, wit, and love of writing shines through in her first, second, and third installments about fighting the good fight.  At long last in America, doctors and some health professionals are taking botanical drugs seriously.  The problem is to get them tested.  Dr. James Duke, a retired government scientist whose whole career has been dedicated to investigating what plants can do for our health and welfare permitted us to reprint his suggestion to the FDA that its drug trials not only look at any drug under consideration and a placebo, but also include a botanical alternative that might do the job just as well.

Arts and Culture. Richard Francis, retired professor at Western Washington University in Bellingham, who passionately follows architecture, authored for us his review of The Explosion in Museum Architecture.  For those who like both spoof and fiction, we offer Monongahela, a Global Province novel that will never end, each chapter written by a different wordsmith.  Linda Peterson, a West Coast mystery writer, marketing communications guru, and devout fan of Sandy Koufax, got us started with “The Gasworks Gang,” and Charles Wheat, the best speechwriter we have ever met, took the novel in yet another direction with “Escape from San Quentin.”

Once upon a time, we had a Global Province Poet Laureate.  But this jovial fellow finally met his maker.  You will find a host of ditties on our site from Tom Canning, whose high qualifications included an ability to hoist, with the best of us, well-wrought martinis accompanied by sumptuous, well marbled, tender steaks.  You will want to read a eulogy about this remarkable man penned by his son, Tom Canning, Jr.

The Works of Colleagues.  On the Global Province, you will find Letters from the Global Province, many of which are authored by colleagues far and near.  These date back to 2000 and cover just about everything from The Branding of Christmas, to autism,  to Canada’s successful outpouring of comedians

Then too, you might find amusing our Annual Reports on Annual Reports.  These got started in the early 1980s as a joint adventure with the late Louis Rukeyser, who wanted to write about corporate reports and asked us to set down our thoughts.  For 10 or 15 years he did a yearly column based on our reading of some 400 reports a year.  Even today this report is widely followed.  Our latest has just appeared in the Conference Board’s Magazine under the title “Forecast: Not So Good.” 

P.S.  Le Cannet, Riviera and all, looks absolutely dreadful to us.  We touched down on the Riviera once, on the way to the Balearics.  We were gone in 6 hours, quickly getting out to sea.

P.P.S.  Coming up is our Christmas gift list, which will give you some thoughts that are off the beaten track.

P.P.P.S.  America’s Indians have spoken to and for us in several important ways.  In World War II, the Navajos took on a key job in the Pacific.  The Japanese could not crack their language, so Indian soldiers communicated battlefield messages with impunity as America’s soldiers worked their way through the islands towards Tokyo.  These code talkers have been memorialized in the movie Windtalkers.

P.P.P.P.S.  “With a Little Help from My Friends” is surely one of the best Beatles feel-good songs, something that wafted out to us before the group split up and all its members became endowed with self-importance.  Surely it’s our friends that help us get through this vale of tears with a smile on our face.  And, in business today, the only way we get anywhere is to forge global alliances that flourish on trust.  We touch on this subject in “Free Association.”

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