Recollections Are Not Facts – Thank Heavens

20 years ago I experienced a major stroke, which left me temporarily bereft of most memory. For a brief time I floated in a world that had no children, no spouse, no language, no art, no history. It was as if I were a computer that had lost it’s hard drive.

Thanks to the wonders of modern medicine and the then experimental procedure of TPA, my memories slowly returned. However it left me with a lingering suspicion of reality. I now understand just how tenuous the relationship between truth and my ability to recall truly is. In fact, during my recovery I walked the line between reality and fiction every day. I learned when facts fail, recollections of sights, smells and sounds endure.

I came away from the experience with an appreciation of facts, but still I found an even greater love of recollections with all the subtle enhancements my senses can add.

A continuing part of my recovery over the years has been to accept and appreciate my inability to remember superfluous facts. I now relish my enhanced recollections and learned to live in a world that is guaranteed to be better as it ages.

– Clarence Hom

Memories are fleeting moments here on variable loan,
They are not frozen images chiseled into solid stone.
They are the lingering taste of chocolate on the back of my tongue.
Or the warmth I felt at noon time, as I looked into the sun.

Recollections are celebrations, a party for one’s self
Heady compilations pulled from a top most shelf
The best are fragile moments pulled from our past
Colored by experience with thoughts that are often recast.

Recollections are built from history liberally enhanced by our dreams,
Memoirs of bits and pieces all exploding from the seams.
Photos stand as sentries, highly focused on the details
Memories work with senses making stories to fill our sails

Celebrate your memories sans worries of trivial facts,
Don’t sweat the story of what happened between the cracks.
Just sit back and taste the chocolate and feel the shinning sun
The best memories should always be the most fun.

Only The Best

– Clarence Holm

Summer zephyr swirling, spinning, seeking to bend
Young saplings on the rocky edge of the alfalfa field.
Roots grasping the dry topsoil long enough to send
A tap root into the moisture before the lips are sealed.

Toads dig into the earth seeking moisture to make mud
For dirt cocoons built to save their life.
Trusting that water will come, like the savior’s blood
Releasing grateful creatures from the sun’s strife.

Wilted sweet corn barely past knee high
Scanning the horizon and listening to that breeze
Hoping to see rain clouds piercing the blue sky
Allowing golden corn before an early fall freeze.

Life seeks a balance between rain and sun
Testing resilience and sparing the best.
Pushing those that won’t be undone
Those hardy souls, that passed the test.

Nobel Peace Prize Forum

It is a happy day for my family as my youngest was chosen, as a representative of Luther College, to receive a “Peace Scholarship”

The Peace Scholars program is an outgrowth of the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, and is the Norwegian Nobel Institute’s only such program or academic affiliation outside of Norway.

This summer she will be attending a seven-week academic experience held in Lillehammer and Oslo, Norway.

In addition she will be attending the three day Nobel Peace Prize Forum featuring feature former United States President and Nobel Laureate Jimmy Carter.

It’s hard for me to imagine what she will see and learn as a result of this opportunity.

John Stewart and Brian Williams Leave Broadcasting

John Stewart and Brian Williams’ spokesman confirmed today that both will soon be temporarily leaving broadcasting. Separately the two confirmed their almost simultaneous statements.

Born in New York, within years of each other, both have taken residence in New Jersey.

Both attend grade school and high school, and the similarities keep going as both attended college and each then stopped. Neither are Korean!

As these two twin broadcasters’ careers evolved, one can’t help notice, both of their deep religious backgrounds, based in centuries of Judeo/Christian tradition. Some say it was with that background that each made their final decision to put their future on hold.

Future plans have not been confirmed, but have not been denied either. Sources said news of the Alabama court decision may have precipitated the action.

When emailed for comment, no reaction was received.

We have also been unable to confirm Steven Cobert’s recent decision to host the Late Night Show had anything to do with the timing of these announcements.

Goodbye Old Friend

Radio Shack

Glancing through the paper today I noticed a small article in Business Insider announcing the closing of 1784 Radio Shacks by March 31st, 2015 due in part to an agreement with creditors involved in the Tandy Corps bankruptcy.

To me this is very sad news as I have personal history with the company. I was hired as a sales clerk in 1977 and was later promoted to be the manager of store #6152 for the Tandy Corporation. It was my first taste of corporate life and it was an “electric” experience.

For those of you not familiar with Radio Shack, it was a toy store for nerds, where pocket protectors were required as were talks of the merits of filtering circuitry on unregulated 12 volt power supplies. It was a place to grab rolls of 60% lead solder to go with the “cap” you just replaced on the neighbor’s radio. In 1977, miniaturization was just beginning and many devices still had tubes. Strange pieces of plastic called transistors and diodes with tiny wire hairs were being introduced for use on circuit boards. There was talk of logic boards and miniature circuits, that could control relays and switches with preprogrammed instructions.

I rapidly climbed through the sales ranks of Tandy. It was a company built on marketing. Many remember coming in monthly for a free C, D, or 9 volt battery, it was called the “Battery Club” and we punched the members card for each battery provided. The other method of Tandy’s marketing was their obsession to get the address of every customer that came in the door, so we could send them a sales flyer. People hated to give out their address because they knew we would end up putting them on our mailing list multiple times, but the company loved it and tracked employee’s efficiency in obtaining those names.

A 70% name and address completion rate was considered a very good percentage. I was normally at about 60%. But one magical month, through some crazy clerical error, my store came up with a score of 100%. The company was ecstatic. My Regional Manager got a letter from Charles Tandy himself, congratulating him on his group’s performance. He in turn congratulated my District Manager who in gratitude promoted me to a better store. Everyone knew the percentage was baloney, but no one wanted to admit it. Unfortuantely the poor sucker who followed me as the new manager at my old store turned in a 25% completion rate on his first month (probably because the system corrected itself) and he resigned in disgrace. I had learned a key business lesson that has stuck with me over the years – Move fast when lightning strikes, because the tree it hit is normally on fire!

Radio_Shack_Tandy_TRS-80_Model_I_System

It was at the same time that Radio Shack released the TRS-80, utilizing the Z-80 processor featuring a mighty 4k of Ram. It ran on version of “Basic” developed by Bill Gates on which programs could be written and then stored on a cassette tape.

By 1980 it was the hottest computer on the market and competed with the Commodore 64 and the Apple computer, outselling them by a margin of three to one. The TRS-80 was being sold to businesses and schools.  Store managers hunkered down to try to learn how to run them. (Surprisingly, there was no instructional classes for the employees and we were basically told to ignore the computers and stick to selling CB radios) It was that type of attitude that doomed the TRS-80. Management never believed in the market and technical advances were shelved. Apple computer captured the youth with the introduction of a color monitor, despite the fact the computer had to be hooked up to the families color TV. (A monitor was not included with the first Apples and they burned up a number of family televisions with a burned in image of “Pong”!)

By the end of 1980 my career as a Radio Shack Manager was ending, caused by an excessively large stocking of stuffed black poodle radios ordered for a Christmas Season (They were featured on the sales flyer at 40% off the normal $12.99 price and I thought we would sell thousands). However the good news was, I had put 10% of my salary into the company stock purchase plan. Thanks to a 100% company match when purchasing Tandy Stock and a stock market that doubled the stock price, causing a stock split on three different occasions. I made enough money to go back to college and graduate.

Based on the experience I gained at Radio Shack and even though I took a few college courses in Fortran programing, I “knew” the computer industry was only a fad and could never be taken seriously. I took my college degree and went to work for the “hot” restaurant industry. Country Kitchen recruited me and taught me the value of a Bootlegger – a cheese and bacon hamburger with “Special Sauce”.

Luckily I still knew how to get customers names and addresses, so my new corporate career flourished and I quickly moved on.

Just Rewards

hopper

Summer leapers dancing in flight
Strumming four limbs and pursuing delight
Antennae quivers while mandibles tear
Barley’s long whiskers – till kernels are bare

Long legged fiddler no shelter he seeks
All summer he plays while filling his cheeks
As the weather changes, cold winds blow his way,
Winter’s deadly reaper’s toll, ending his soiree.

– Clarence Holm

iSole© (Not too far in the future!)

Tech Advise For The Sole-less — Clarence Holm

iSole©: A Shoe Whenever You Need One!

(patented pending)

iSoul

Need a shoe? Call iSole© for a welcoming, affordable, and memorable stride. Request a stride in the new iSole© app, and get shod up by a reliable community farrier in minutes.

How iSole© Works

  • Request a shoe share

With one tap on the iSoul© app, get a fresh shared shoe delivered by a certified farrier, who is well fitted to be an orthotic expert.

  • Get Shoed

Track your incoming farrier in the app. You’ll see their photo, so you’ll know who will be handling your feet.

  • Shoe on, Shoe off

When you are finished sharing your shoe, just drop off the shoe in the custom shoebox provided and click pay on the iSole© app.

iSole©: Making Shodding Affordable One Foot At A Time

For more information – post comment

Bruce Jenner is a contender?

– Clarence Holm

I don’t understand why people are so upset at Bruce Jenner. The man is a star and shoulders his duties as the head of the Kardashian Clan with grace and acumen.

To learn that after all these years he is coming out as a contender shouldn’t surprise anyone. The man is a consummate competitor and is dedicated his life to taking care of his body, developing it in surprising and unique ways.

On the way to a world famous party, Kim Kardashian West said in an “Entertainment Tonight” interview that “Bruce should tell his story, of his being a contender, his way.”

“I think everyone goes through things in life…” Kim goes on to say, “I think he’ll share, whenever the time is right.”

Jenner, is a former Olympian and world class pole vaulter, and is currently divorced from Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner. He has been featured in recent years in “Keeping up with the Kardashians” and other Kardashian-starring reality series and is rumored to be coming out with a line of new make-up products aimed at customers who are seeking a new look. The spokesperson for the new line of products has not been revealed.

Asked if we could expect any other announcements coming out after the big build up, Bruce said, “I have so many changes planned and think that I am going to need lots of support!” “When you’re a contender, you must be prepared for major alterations!”

When Pride Is All You Have

As dusk approaches in the rural Midwest, farmers grab their hats to go for a drive. “Gotta check the crops” my Grandpa would say as he drove slowly down the dusty gravel roads. It was a time tested tradition, a friendly competition to make sure you were the best.

Who had the staightest furrows, whose equipment was fastest, was under inspection… and judgement!

– Clarence Holm

Tractor furrows judged with a sociable squint,
Cast from trucks through window’s blueish tint.
Assessing neighbor’s and guaging the men,
Measuring their worth, checking at dawn and evening again

Pride is valued highly by those who worked the fields,
When no payments were given for all of their yields.
When what little you had was in your heart,
And effort and commitment held you apart.

Some men crack under the load
When fate filled them with forebode.
Dreaded thoughts of failure became all too real
As creditors brought accountants with no room for appeal

A man’s worth is more than a simple measure
Of one seasons work held hostage by some weather.
That’s why farmers work so hard each day,
To leave their best efforts on display.

Obsession

cards

I play solitaire!

I play it because I enjoy it. I like the simple challenge of mixing suits only to later realign the ranks.

When I win, all is right with the world, the stars are momentarily united into one numerical plane. I like that! When I lose, I reshuffle and start again. Red on black, black on red, and then each to their own kind.

My grandmother taught me the game as a child, with a worn deck of cards. She said it was a perfect game; quick to play, no other players needed, with very little in the way of set-up. In fact, there was even virtue in the skill of the shuffle and the deal. Seven piles, top card exposed.

Thanks Grandma! I hope to see you again, after I’ve been shuffled about and then reunited with my kind.