My Dad is 75 today. Probably like your dad, he has a rich, immensely varied life experience. I've been meaning to interview him for years. In preparation for that, I asked him for a little “life in review” and here’s what I got!! His daughter’s father, never has he been short-winded! He has a staggering array of accomplishments and adventures to his name, and maybe more importantly, he is still young at heart and will keep up with my kids when they jive to Uptown Funk.
If none of this matters to you, scroll down to the second to last paragraph, beginning with “This is the most important part.”
Beginning at the beginning. My dad was raised by his dad from the age of eight. He was the product of 1950’s WASPy all-male schools. He went to Pembroke Country Day School in Kansas City and then Wesleyan University, before women were admitted.
An English Major, he took 5 years of Latin, 6 of French, and got an classic liberal arts education, rooted in the Great Books. He was also an audiophile, who hand-wired 5 stereo kits, he was the college radio station manager. Education was a bit different then. He read Paradise Lost twice, in detail. Richard Wilbur was his Milton Prof at Wesleyan. (RIP. He died 2 weeks ago…) Then he was a USAF pilot (1965-71) before female pilots. Like anyone reasonable who’s been through war, he is radically committed to peace. I grew up with war stories however… Anyone interested in those details will find them below. We’re lucky he came home to us, I’ll say that. He came home with 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses, having been shot down after delivering a spare tire to a squadron mate, 2 miles from Cambodia. He flew the last 'official' rescue flight out of Kham Duc; which had the worst single-mission USAF death toll.
Back home, he became a mountaineer, occasional ski instructor. Summiting 14,000' peaks is a pastime in Colorado. He and my mom shared a reverence for the wilderness. Some of my most formative memories were on lengthy backpacking trips in the high alpine country of the rockies. We had time to talk and listen to the more cosmic murmurings of the wilds. He kept it up for some time. At age 56, completed a 10 day, 80 mile backpack on the Pacific Crest trail.
My dad had a penchant for paying attention to all things quantum. When we were 7 & 6, he bought us a cosmological comic book, to teach us how the quantum foam spins out 'indefinite' number of multiverses’. I think my love of musing about consciousness must stem partly from these conversations. My dad was an early proponent of “choice-based awareness”. The multiverse concept has to do with this idea that there are 'consciousness escalators' all around us — going up, down & sideways. 'We think life's a single destiny-based lock-in, but it's a choice…“ he’s say. “Our consciousness picks the most likely-looking ride'
Somehow my dad hopped on the “APPLE” escalator, early on. When we were 13 & 12, we each got our own Apple LISA computer. Later he was the Founder, Angel and CEO of 1st legal Mac clone, Dynamac Computer Products. This (my dad bragging about the 8 MHz processor and 4MB of RAM) is perhaps the most hilarious thing I’ve seen lately: https://vimeo.com/118760544/63f06144aa In its time, the Dynamac was well-loved. It was on the cover of 3 magazines on 3 continents. Woz bought two. You can still find one in a Russian Computer History Museum.
In 1984, my parents split. My dad’s generation was not conditioned to deal with this sort of split well. My mystical, magical mom (Sally) decided to follow her truth and be with women. Her own family didn’t respond so well, but 3 weeks later (on mother's Day) Dad told Brian and me that we would each take an hour to write her a poem. His instruction to us was that we find words to express our support and love. My sense is that those efforts helped her to shake off any inner conflict she might have had. It could have been a real upheaval, I know. But it was a relatively peaceful shift in our family dynamics. It can be done.
I attribute my dad’s apparent equanimity to the influence of the wilderness, and to his ‘quantum consciousness’ bent. He had read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and had it metaphorically tattooed to his heart. This stuck with him: "Gumption is a person's core competency”. He also loves that a beer can's the perfect material to shim a loose BMW mirror. Covering another angle, he took a deep dive into "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.” If you have time, he can explain to you. He is annoyingly good at whipping everyone’s butt at trivial pursuit.
One of my dad’s best/worst and sometimes most time-consuming attributes is his deep technical knowledge on nearly every subject. Last one I recall was amplifier vacuum tubes. He always carried a pad and pen around, so that if anyone had any confusion on any topic of any level of technicality, he could help. He’d whip out his little omnipresent pad, and support, with sketches, his explanations of How Stuff Works. When he lived with us, 2 years ago, in the wake of his cancer diagnosis, he explained to me the FHA standards for house placement, grading & drainage. I’m not sure I retained much. He has a background in development & construction, which means he literally visualizes the utilities under any street. Famous quotes: ’Pipeline work is not about pipes. It's a soil compaction project that you drop a pipe into while the trench is open.' ‘We 'overbuild' fiber because it's cheaper to drop in 200 lines than the 1 you need.’
Additionally, ask him about Aviation & Bernoulli's Law. For some reason he knows which way the inlet spike moves on the SR-71's J-58 engine, and why. He doesn't know why the Wright Flyer had an anhedral wing. 'Seems illogical.' But he does know why the F-104 did & that its square plate Area is 15" x 15”. I’m gonna leave that there.
My dad was raised Episcopalian but now is more devout about internet protocols. He calls himself a TCPippian. 'Our culture’, he says, ‘is an artifact of SMTP, the LAMP stack and app stores.' He’ has no training in computer science but he can hand-code HTML. He is a great big fan of computers and the digital age, but has a healthy skepticism about what our era’s tech advancements will do to people. Latest rant: 'The corporate hegemony is because only a payroll can force sane people to fuck around with Email.'
He got really concerned about our country’s governance around 2002, when he was Project Manager for the Dean for Iowa game. Joi Ito gave him a nice title: "Britt is 'Mr. Execution'." https://joi.ito.com/weblog/2003/12/24/the-dean-for-io.html
This is the most important part. He has a big vision around what tech can do about our country’s inability to govern itself, which he argues is the most dangerous problem facing the world today. This is the problem he has been hammering away at for couple of decades. He is the Architect, Angel & CEO, NewGov Foundation: NewGov.US Newgov.net/GEOvoterAPI
His mission is to drive one point home: true democracy will begin when policy gets crowdsourced, rather than dictated by dark money, crony capitalism, and corporate hegemony. And policy will be crowdsourced when we surround every Committee and politician with enough verified constituents.
More details, are over on my blog, for those who have made it this far. I hope that I’ve inspired you to interview your own Dads, as the process is illuminating, humbling, and just a fun romp through history. More importantly than the laundry list of journeys and achievements is the realization of how rich this little life with my dad has been, how much he has influenced me, and how much love has bonded us together. Happy 75th, dad!
— The Aforementioned Excessive Details about not just War but Peace (to be used for the interview series)
Has flown a T-38 supersonic in solo flight.
'What the hell, we all did.'
Vietnam C-130 transport pilot with 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses.
"I was a shootee, not a shooter."
Shot down after delivering a spare tire to a squadron mate, 2 miles from Cambodia.
Last 'official' rescue flight out of Kham Duc, worst single-mission USAF death toll.
KC-135Q tanker pilot with the 903rd Aerial Refueling Squadron, Beale AFB, where I was born.
Refueled every SR-71 Mach 3 'Blackbird'.
Refueled A-12 Blackbirds operating out of Groom Lake, Nevada "Area 51"
'The Blackbirds were the 903rd's least secret mission'
'Best room cook in BOQ 318', Kadena AB Okinawa, SR-71 9th SRW, DET 1.
Once landed at Wake Island with 800 pounds of fuel. Not recommended.
'800 pounds in 4 tanks is almost undetectable.'
Real estate developer
Developed 1,000+ residential lots
Directed construction of 500+ single family homes and Kipling Place Shopping Center.
Created a new interchange on a federal highway.
• The City of Westminster wasn't sure what it would mean.
• Used LisaProject at home to convince them.
• Input the Federal Highway Administration rules for a new interchange.
• Printed out a 6 foot long PERT chart on an ImageWriter 1
US patent 4420036 on a solar home.
'I had to, of course. Our subdivision had no natural gas.'
Colorado Academy & Colorado Children's Chorale
Board of Trustees
Colorado Academy's 1st Development Director
Coordinated design & construction, Froehlicher Theatre.
Organized and managed the Colorado Academy Chamber Music School.
Designed and supervised construction of our family home
Cofounder, VP & CTO, Trust Company of Washington.
Architect & developer, MindShare Group collaboration software.
Architect, Xpertweb P2P freelancer wealth system.
Senior Adviser, Howard Dean campaign
'I was senior to everybody and no one took my advice.'
Introduced Zack Rosen to Zephyr Teachout. ‘The Greatest Thing. Imaginable.
Project Manager, Dean for Iowa game.
Joi Ito: "Britt is 'Mr. Execution'."
"Escapable Logic” http://blaserco.com/blogs/
USAF war stories, http://newgov.net/USAF/USAF67-68.html
• Large Mountain, Small Bullets:
Their imagined and real impacts on aviators' reptile brains.
Our alarmed comrade flew into a large mountain avoiding small bullets.
• Reel Courage. Kerry's "Going Upriver" gets it right.
Romantic thinking. That was the delimiter that mattered.
You could pay attention to bullets or illusions but not both.
• It's the Amygdala, Stupid! Remaining cool above burning jungles and below burning towers.
"Shut up and die like an aviator"...suppression of one’s reptile brain requires behavioral modification at an early age. Now we, the front line combatants in the politically powerful War on A Noun, without the benefit of such training, need to keep our heads on straight and learn to fear only Fear Itself.
• Fire Flight at Katum RVN Wherein 3 lieutenants grow up in 8 minutes.
Transports don't have ejection seats.
Their crews are focused on keeping as much aluminum around them as possible.
Even when the aluminum is as promiscuous as this collection was proving to be.
• Hard Landing. Letting the kid down.
That afternoon, I was told at Dong Ha, we carried a kid with a sucking chest wound.
• War Can Be Fun.
The epic Kham Duc disaster. Most lives lost in any USAF mission, ever.
It was unthinkable to pluck an airplane off the top of the stack.
Especially when the others were so much closer and surely more willing.
• My God, it's full of Mentors! "Only owls and assholes fly at night."
“The average fighter pilot, despite the sometimes swaggering exterior, is very much capable of such feelings as love, affection, intimacy and caring. On the other hand, those feelings just don’t involve anybody else.“
Senior architect for web strategy, SpiritofAmerica.net custom CMS
Architect, Angel & CEO, NewGov Foundation: NewGov.US Newgov.net/GEOvoterAPI
Dad feels like a failure because nobody gets it that developing the US Code is:
the inverse of software code development.
.01% programming and 99.9% to commit the new module to the code base.
Policy will be crowdsourced when we surround every Committee and politician with enough verified constituents.
1. 'When programmers release their rigorously tested code, it's all hands on deck.
2. 'When Congress passes a law they know is flawed and unworkable,
they celebrate because they won't have to fuck around with it ever again.'
GEOvoter API, http://newgov.net/GEOvoterAPI/
Constituent Influencer PseudoStandards
Influence as a Service, (IaaS)
Influencer Text Transport Protocol (ITTP)
Influencer Text Markup Language (ITML)
Board Chair, League of Technical Voters.