Just Turn it Off — Energy

You turn on the A/C on a hot day.   And the house becomes cooler!  The T.V. works.  The coffeemaker.  Your electric toothbrush.  It’s a miracle!   Yet the miracle of electricity is powered by carbon-based fuel sources (coal, oil and gas). The more electricity we use, the more fuel we burn. The more fuel we burn, the less we have — and more pollution enters our atmosphere.
By turning off electrical appliances when not in use, you save kilowatts of energy.  You save dollars.  And you save a bit of the planet at the same time. If every person in America – the world – saved a few kilowatts of energy daily, it would translate to a savings of many barrels of oil and many dollars in energy costs.  And our atmosphere might just become a bit cleaner.

What can you do to help? Keep in mind the Renaissance Hombre’s trademark — JUST TURN IT OFF®.
● Shut down your computer and turn off the screen at the end of the day.  Turn off the printer when not in use.
● Turn off unneeded lights and appliances in your home and office.
● Turn down the hot water heater when leaving for a weekend, a week or a month.
● Adjust temperature settings – 1° cooler in winter and 1° warmer in summer. And adjust settings up or down when on vacation.                        ● Use LED lighting or at least lower wattage on lighting.                                ● Unplug your phone chargers when not in use.     

Our planet needs help.  And each one of us – you/me – has an obligation to make the world a better place for those future generations.  Those who have no voice today.  Please.  JUST TURN IT OFF. . . . . .                                    


I am one of the Donkeys Here

A long time ago, I studied a bit of Mandarin Chinese. Then some years ago, I got back in the game with a 3 month Berlitz “immersion” course.  I continued for several years with my tutor – Weixin – who came to my office once a week.  And we would work on Mandarin.

Chinese is not as easy as it looks . . . . It can be challenging. There are four different tonal sounds such that each word can be pronounced four different ways — with perhaps a dozen different meanings depending on context.  Thus one must be very careful – when saying anything.  The only word resembling an English equivalent is the word “mama.”  And that will only get you so far. . . .

After the Berlitz immersion and a few months of tutoring, I had the occasion to host several Chinese judges and lawyers at my Firm.  I thought to myself I will wow them with my resurrected knowledge of Chinese.  I took them on a tour of our offices and brought them into our Board room for a meeting.   At one point in my presentation, I noticed some polite laughter which I thought might be a result of my excellent elocution or my Shanghai accent.  However, as they were leaving, their translator pulled me aside and commented that when I tried to say “As one of the partners at Holland & Knight,” I had actually said “As one of the donkeys at Holland & Knight.”  You should say lu shi — not lu ziPartner.  Donkey.  Great. . . . . 

I have a feeling that my contratemps was one of the highlights of their trip such that the story will be retold with smiles and great enthusiasm.  Probably for years (sigh) . . . . .   

Stevie Ray Vaughan

[A repeat from June 22, 2014]  I play guitar. Have for years.   I often stick in a CD and play along (or try to) with Buddy Guy, Eddie Campbell, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt and so many others. Lead or rhythm.  But the chap I’d like to play like is Stevie Ray Vaughan (1954-1990).  He was amazing.  I’d give my left arm to . . . . no – wait a minute. . .   

Stevie Ray was born and raised in Dallas, TX.  At age 7, he received a gift — a plastic guitar from a Sears catalog.  He liked music.  He tried to play drums.  Then sax.  But the guitar idea stuck.  And he got a real guitar and learned to play by listening to the greats above plus masters like Muddy Waters and Jimi Hendrix. His first public performance was at age 11 in a local Dallas talent contest.   And he realized – this is where it’s at.  “SRV” as he was known dropped out of high school and moved to Austin — to pursue his passion — music.  In 1977, the band Double Trouble was born.  And it soared – with SRV at the helm.  But  SRV developed an alcohol and cocaine habit while touring with Double Trouble.  His performance contracts called for two fifths of Crown Royal and a fifth of Smirnoff vodka.  His cocaine use jumped to 7 grams a day (together with the booze).  After a long stay in rehab, he returned to performing.  Stevie was spiritual, ascetic and sober.  And he went into high gear on producing some of his best music.   

But the music died on August 27, 1990.  Double Trouble opened for Eric Clapton at the Alpine Valley Music Theater in East Troy, Wisconsin.  After the show, the musicians boarded four helicopters bound for Chiciago.  SRV’s helicopter took off after midnight and crashed into a 1000 foot ski hill.  Killing all aboard.  It was everyone’s loss.   

Some of the best guitar work you’ll ever hear  is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVjdMLAMbM0   and nothing like “Pride and Joy” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NU0MF8pwktg

November 27, 1990

I used to travel to Monterrey Mexico for business.  One such occasion was November 27, 1990.  My American Airlines flight landed at Monterrey International Airport a little after noon.  The day was sunny and beautiful.  As we taxied in to the terminal, I looked out the window and thought — oh my goodnesswhat is that sitting on the tarmac?  It was AIR FORCE ONE

As we began to debark, I was greeted by my dear friend Antonio who excitedly announced that the Presidents of the United States and Mexico — George H.W. Bush and Carlos Salinas – would soon be arriving for the departure of President Bush on Air Force One.  We walked out to the parking lot and – off in the distance – we saw the pulsing of Mars lights.  And a long parade of serious-looking cars.  It looked like we were in the right place – at the right time.  We hiked out to the narrow entry to the airport where we knew the cars would pass.  And we stood – alone.  Not a soul was around us.  Just Antonio.  And me.  

The first vehicles to pass – police cars and lorries – slowed to a crawl as they rounded our corner.  Just a few feet away.  And then we saw the magnificent – huge – black limo which chauffeured the Presidents of Mexico.  And the United States of America.  Antonio and I stood at attention.  And waved.   From behind the large window in the back seat, a hand pressed against the window.  And waved – enthusiastically – back to us.  Antonio was sure it was Carlos Salinas waving to him.  But I’m pretty sure it was George H.W. Bush.  Waving to me. . . . . 🙂