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Shining Like A Diamond: Guy Clark

Thinking and rethinking the contributions of Guy Clark. “If I could just get off of that LA freeway…” His spirit lives on in a beautiful way. So glad I saw him perform that night five years ago.

Hags Rags

Gruene, TX, June 13, 2011 – At Gruene Hall, it can often feel like you’re in somebody’s living room listening to an old friend play some guitar. Sometimes it feels like it could be your own living room. And here tonight, Guy Clark felt like that old friend, just playing guitar and singing songs – songs that he wrote and that have become classics that defy a time period.

It was a sold out show. It was hot – 100+ degrees in early June. We got there early to stand in line with hundreds of others just to get a good seat when the doors opened. I looked over at one point while standing in line on the sidewalk, hot and sweaty and with the people in front of me drinking Dox XX beer to try to keep cool, to see a golf cart scooting down the street and there…

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Summertime Blues? Not With This Cherry Limeade

Hags Rags

cherry limeade summer 1So we’ve skipped spring this year. Big deal. It’s hot – already in the 90s in April. Is that what’s got you down?

Fear no more. Here’s the recipe you’ve been waiting for: the Three Olives® Cherry Vodka Limeade. Be sure you get the Three Olives® Cherry Vodka for this too. Experts have advised me, so I’m just passing that along. In fact, there’s some really awful flavored-vodkas out there, so don’t mess around with this key ingredient.

Anyway, start with a 16-oz glass. Fill it with ice. Squeeze in a couple of lime slices, maybe even a couple-a-couple of lime slices. Add a shot of Three Olives® Cherry Vodka. (The original recipe I came across called for 2 ½ oz of the stuff, but that will kick your butt, so be careful!)

Next, pour in a couple of splashes of sweet-n-sour mix. And then, finally, top it off with…

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Book on Saudi Arabian Oil Field Published

I answered the phone at my office. It was January 2009. Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest provider of oil, was on the line and asked if I would consider being the author of a book for them. It had to do with the development of the oil field known as Khurais. Would I accept?

Now, two years later – after saying yes and launching my retirement – the book I wrote about this fourth largest oil field in the world has been published. Just weeks before the phone call, I had written my farewell, sign-off piece – effectively announcing that I was retiring. After 24 years as the only writer and editor at the Construction Industry Institute – the research consortium on project management at the University of Texas – and nine years in the petroleum engineering department there and two-plus years at Boeing, I was done.

Until, that is, I said yes and found myself a couple of months later flying to Dammam. Within 48 hours of landing in Saudi Arabia, I was whisked by car 200 kilometers into the Arabian Desert.

And there it stood: one of the world’s largest construction projects. A $12 billion giant, still under construction and home at one time to 28,000 workers from all around the world.

I was a one-man reporting, recording, and writing operation for over five weeks in the desert. I had a digital video camera, a tripod, a computer with Internet access and about 70 executives, project managers, project engineers, young engineers and a collection of South Koreans, Italians, Brits, Americans and others to interview.

How did they do it? What does this monstrosity do? What was it like to plan and execute this unbelievable, world-class project? I found the answers and as the company wished, developed a dramatic narrative story to inspire others to excellence – the excellence that was essential in creating the Khurais megaproject.

The book is published. Now if I can write the story of how I wrote the book…


The Warmth of the Sun

With the wind still howling outside – and it hasn’t stopped howling since early Tuesday morning – the fireplace keeps cranking out the heat. The sun, and any warmth from it, is hidden away. At least yesterday the sun was shining and one could at least imagine something along the lines of the old Beach Boy song, “The Warmth of the Sun.” Now, at 18 degrees, it’s like a refrigerator inside and a freezer outside. Even going to get another log for the fire can bring a refreshing “Whoa” to the senses.

Across the world…might as well be across the universe (songs keep popping into the writing here, with thanks to John Lennon for that one), people are throwing rocks at one another in Cairo. And with worldwide media coverage. Rock-throwing. That’s better than Uzis and AK-47s. And of course, it was started by the followers of the man in power. Yesterday, everything was peaceful, hopeful, and there were smiles on those being interviewed by Big Media. Today, images on the computer screen show cracked skulls, blood, rocks in a hand. Video reports show footage of the rock throwing. Press reports indicate some of the journalists themselves have been roughed up. And another song: When Will They Ever Learn, When Will They Ever Learn?