Good morning all:

Wisdom Of The Week:

“Ultimately, the only power to which man should aspire is that which he exercises over himself.” — Elie Wiesel

Marcia and I made it back safe and sound. Actually, I’m not so sure about the “sound” part since we were pulling an empty trailer. Just for the heck of it, go ahead and rent a single axle trailer and spend an afternoon towing it about, then we’ll talk a bit more. In the meantime I am sitting back a bit to enjoy my, just perked, morning coffee.

These past weeks have been amazing, especially for a city kind of guy. It started at the cabin when, one morning, we heard geese honking. Over a period of several minutes the honking got louder and louder. All of a sudden, overhead came several flocks, each made up of hundreds of Canadian Geese. The summer migration north was well underway. These birds, in full ‘V’ formations, had traveled throughout the night and were unerringly honing in on their summer home.

Compare that to the Moose we spotted at the side of the road minutes after starting for home. Unlike the geese, the Moose appears to just blunder about the woods. Very skittish, I get the feeling that everything from flies to people will cause this huge beast to veer about from one path to another.

The Moose’s tromping about made me think of General Motors. On Monday we drove south at about the time GM was declaring bankruptcy. Our route took us directly through ‘ground zero’; Flint and Detroit. To help pass the time we tuned in to several AM radio talk stations. Many of them had shoved their syndicated content aside to focus on dialogue regarding GM.

My observation on all the discussions? We heard lots of depressed people, most only hoping and wishing for the best, but most not really having much hope. No one was able to point to a clear path to success other than GM pulling out of bankruptcy, but no long-term strategy was detailed.

Personally? Hearing that Obama has placed a 31-year old law student with zero manufacturing experience to head up the oversight management team, and seeing that the other members are primarily accountant types gives me little hope. This is a team assembled for an ‘annihilation’ strategy rather than a stabilize, gain control, and grow strategy. I don’t see GM ever making a profit again.

This feeling was furthered when I heard that Rep. Barney Frank had personally strong-armed the new GM CEO into giving a plant in his district, which was scheduled for closing, a reprieve. OK, now that the sick arm of politics is firmly in charge, any perceived direction for change becomes chaotic as congressional members begin the “but not mine” chant. The “taxpayer partnership”, i.e. bailout, is quickly becoming more of a quagmire.

I have made it a hobby to review why some companies are hugely successful and others whither and die. My conclusion is that little of it has to do with labor costs, regulations, and all the other platitudes. Much of it has to do with leadership, the value placed on and input sought from employees, suppliers, and customers, all then made part of a Lean manufacturing strategy. If anyone would like a greater discussion, drop a note and I’ll happily respond.

Our little Vaioleti has now been out of the hospital for 6 months. The couple of weeks that we were gone had her change completely from being an infant to an active baby. She has started creeping, and almost cheers when her baby carrots arrive. She reaches for stuff she wants, looks about for mom and dad. She smiles continuously, is about the most patient baby imaginable, but cries when something absolutely doesn’t suit her, like being strapped into the car seat for the umpteenth time. What an absolute delight she’s become.

The rest of our grandkids are now home for the summer, so far so good. I’ve no reports of any parents losing it—yet.

In the meantime I am still in need of recuperating from the work done to open the cabin. Thanks Paul for the guidance given on purging the air out of the water system. Thanks Donn for teaching me how to begin ‘squaring’ the cabin from heaving caused by winter frost with only a 12-ton bottle jack. Thanks to the Loons for reminding me that it’s not impossible to stand in 40 degree water while placing the boat dock. And, most importantly, thanks Marcia for being the newly crowned “north woods appetizer queen”. I do so miss our daily Happy Hour.

Make it a great week.



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