Business Loyalty Redux

10/18/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

An incident last week has caused me to revisit my business loyalty thread. I got a phone call from the owner of one of my "new" customers, one who shook hands with me for a year contract. He was apologizing for telling me he signed with my competitor. Three weeks ago, he couldn't stand these guys, didn't trust them, and was confident that we were the right choice.

What killed me was that his excuse was that he didn't have all the facts and there was a "bigger" issue behind it. It just didn't hold water for me, I mean, he SHOOK my hand. He gave me his word. This after giving him a tremendous deal, added on a load of freebie services, and put myself as the emergency go-to guy if the unexpected comes up. The competition won't do all that, CAN'T do all that. Of course, he didn't actually sign the contract. He wated to get his rebate check first and didn't want anything to jepardize that.

A lawyer friend told me that if you can't trust someone on his word and a handshake, his name on a piece of paper won't make much a difference and lawyers exist because of that. If we all could just get along and do as we promise, we wouldn't need any lawyers to straighten out the mess.

The key is trust. Certainly, we did not have a long enough relationship to establish a blind loyalty, but the entire negotiation period was about dealing with each other in good faith, about establishing trust. I guess he trusted me. Trusted me to stick to my word and not up the price or bait and switch or do any other immoral things our competitor is known for.

I guess he viewed that as a weakness and took advantage. What he doesn't realize is that is really is HIS downfall, in a spiritual and social network sense. If he treats his business partners this way because that is how he has been treated, I would suggest that he checks to see if, in fact, he was the root cause to begin with.

From what I observe, this very typical of Cleveland business, that is take advantage of every weakness and opportunity, suck the blood out your neighbor and get everything you can out the "relationship." I think that our proud businessmen call that being "competitive" and "tough." I call it narrow scoped, unsustainable, and reprehensible. Just look at the end result of decades of that kind of attitude. We are not exactly a thriving eonomic powerhouse.

Just think what could be possible in business if we did trust each other, be fair with each other, worked together. If we didn't have to continually look over our shoulders, just maybe we can look forward, see each other as colleagues, and work together to compete with the rest of the world.

In the meanwhile, if this customer gets in a bind and calls me, and if I do talk with him, I'll have a lawyer with me!

Poetry Soothes

10/17/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

Saturday Jewel Heart had a memorial service for my friend Dennis, or using Buddhist terms, the being formerly known as Dennis. It was in two parts, one a bit of Tibetan-Sanskrit chanting and the other sharing of stories and celebration of Dennis' life. I read a poem I wrote hastily when I knew the end was near.

As I read it aloud, with imagery mixed with scenes I witnessed from visitors coming to his bedroom and Vajrayana visualizations, I realize that only I and a few in the center would understand what I was talking about and it didn't matter.

The poem was written for me. It was to help me understand death and to recap for myself the lessons Dennis taught me through his years of struggle. It dawned on me that the imperfect cadences, the extraneous words, the awkward breath-breaks that makes public readings difficult and unentertaining just wasn't important and that the writing and the reading was cathartic for me.

The icing on the cake was that as unfinished a piece as it was, many people came to me and complimented me and said that the poem expressed some of what they were trying to find words for.

Prepping before the service, reviewing the printed page, had me, for the first time, tear up since all this occurred. I was better for it and apparently so were a few others.

Barefoot Guitar

10/16/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

I was remiss in mentioning that one the best guitarists I have ever heard was playing at the Lit during Art Walk.

Ryann "Guitar" Anderson is an impressario with the way his fingers dance along the strings. I first heard him at an open mike at the old Rocky River Arabica where he so impressed me that I wrote a rave review on the old blog. I think I submitted it to CoolCleveland, but it didn't get printed. That was about four years ago, but he made an impression that lasted this long.

Besides his proficiancy of pulling great sounds out of his electric guitar, (there was one point that I thought he had a sitar) is that he plays barefoot! I don't mean that he plays the guitar with his feet, I mean that he uses his barefeet to adjust the various modifiers and distortion amps to help him get his sound.

After a particularly great song, I took off my shoes and socks in salute, but Linda at the bar made me put them back on cause I was scaring the patrons.

Anyway, go to his website, download the couple of freebie mp3s, and find out why it's "music that is like ice cream to your ears."

Learn the Poetry and the Poet

10/15/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

I met Nick Traenker of fame first at the lit a few weeks ago, where we spent the time discussing poetry, the beats, Kent, how we write etc.

Since then,I seem to run into him all the time. Last week, I walked into Edison's and there he was playing guitar. He seems to have adopted the lit cuz I saw him again.

Anyway, at one of these last meetings, time he told me about this great documentary series by the Annenberg Foundation called Voices and Vision. It is a series of bios with a ton of poetry about America's greats including Whitman, Pound, Elliot, Williams. Check it out at and register to see the video on demand. Without having a TV, this is the closest I have to edu-tainment I got.

Addendum: Last night, I passed on the link to Rafeeq-RA Washington at Viva Libre, the bookstore in the rear of Inside-Outside Gallery. I bought a couple of books, one by Burroughs and another on Williams Carlos Williams. Then 'Feeq gave a break on a chapbook of Daniel Thompson.

Walking into the Lit with these tomes, set me into some conversations about Burroughs, Naked Lunch, Junkie and that reminded me that Nick had set up a poetry open mike for the Lit Thursday Nov. 3. Email me or Nick if you are interested in participating.

Walkabout and See

10/14/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

Tremont has been a very welcoming and open neighborhood for me. Local artists love to share what they are working on and are supportive and helpful to each other and like to involve others in their work. Case in point is below.

My Portrait By Herron

I was invited to model for a portrait only after about a month living in the 'hood.

To see how the rest of me turned out, come see artist Tim Herron's, show of portraits of other neighborhood people he has done at the Literary Cafe tonight during Tremont Art Walk.

Bikshu Einstein

10/12/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

From Don Iannone's Poetry blog:

"A human being is part of a whole, called by us the “universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few people near us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

— Albert Einstein

Who Be Cool

10/11/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

Apparently the Joy of Cooking is spreading through the Clevo Blogosphere as exemplified by Queen o' 80's Cool, Bridget Ginley. I liked some of the tips she had in the recipe and comment so. Another of her regular readers, Ruthless, also has an herb garden in which I asked to harvest through another comment. Good ol' Ginley reassured her friend:

Ruth - steve is tOtally cool and he looks like John McEnroe without the scowl and white headband if you see him in your yard...can't be any worse than the new necking neighbors we have ! make out city!

Never mind the McEnroe stuff... Ginley said I was cool! Wait not just cool...t0tally cool! Not bad from the kickass artist and culture mistress of bighair daze and rolledup dress jacket sleeves. Especially when she knows how to slam an acknowledged arbiter of cool.

Damn she knows how to make a guy in the midst of his midlife crisis feel good.

My Teacher in Death

10/10/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

Today I got the email that my friend Dennis finally died after fighting cancer for five or so years. He is one of my Vajra-siblings and I had only known him for four of those last five years, but his courage, good humor, and friendliness masked his condition from me until the last 2 years or so.

Dennis Gilligan 7-27-05
Dennis reading the paper about 10 weeks ago.

He had been very forthright in that his condition was terminal, but also reveled in making his doctors all confused about how he has survived the extra 4 and half years and with minmal pain medication and gleeful personality. We used to have gatherings at his home to discuss death and he was a full participant, sharing his feelings and insights as the one who couldn't make any excuses about putting it off for later. It was there that I realized that Dennis was my teacher in facing Yama, the lord of Death.

I was fortunate in visiting Dennis yesterday at his home. He was not very responsive, except with his eyes. Of course, when I started to talk to him, he started to snore. Glad that I was able to aid him in his rest. I was able to do a very deep meditation practice at the foot of his bed and had a sense that he was going to be reborn in a Pure Land, at least that was what I hoped for him.

I only hope that I am as prepared as he was, surrounded by his Sangha dedicating and praying and loving him through out the journey. He has shown me how anyway. Goodbye, Dennis, and I hope to meet you again in the next life.

Voila, Je Suis Le Chef!

10/10/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

Last Tuesday, tired and hungry, I decided to try something different before facing the monster frustration of the laptop. So I immersed myself in cooking something I never tried before: Golden Saute Chicken Breast with Red Bell Pepper Sauce.

As you can see it came out great, not just in looks, but ooh the flavor. i took one bite and I got so excited that I had to share it with somebody.

I remember seeing my landlord working in the yard and I hoped she was still around. I asked if she had dinner whcih she hadn't. I invited her up, but she said she had too much to do. I told her what I cooked and that she can have a small half breast, but she HAD TO try it.

Being the good sales weinie I am, I wore her down. She exclaimed how good the apartment smelt (when was the last time I heard that?)and made a plate with the sauce on the bottom and the chicken placed centered on the colored plate while she washed up.

She couldn't believe how good it was. She asked, "Where did you get this?" "I made it you Ninny!" " Wow, this is REALLY good!"

What can I say? Divorce has made a cook out of me.

Calling it Work or Working a Calling

10/09/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

Not exactly the Dalai Lama's words, but his co-writer of "The Art of Happiness: At Work", Howard Cutler added some scientific evidence on His Holiness's claim that attitude affects one's satisfaction at work.

...those who view their work as a calling. These individuals do the work for the sake of the work itself. There is less separation between their job and the other aspects of their life.
... They see their work as meaningful, having a higher purpose, making a contribution to society or the world. As one might expect, those who view their work a calling tend to have significantly higher work satisfaction, as well as lif satisfaction, than those who view work as a job or career.

(In wrote this Oct 7 but, funny how Don Iannone posted on this very same subject today)

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