Tag Archives: great moments

An Enduring 40 year Mystery

Crede Calhoun w Crede and friend

My father, my younger brother, John “Funky” Friedman, sitting at the stone picnic table in our backyard in Cleveland Heights on the afternoon of my graduating from Hawken School, in 1972.


“Funky” Friedman, Mark Hoerr, “Hoon,” “Amazing Dynamo Man” (Jamie Cohen) –likewise on that same day but earlier.

Whatever happened to John Friedman? (I ask myself.) He was with us at Hawken through junior year. His changing school did not alter our closeness or social pattern. I spent a lot of time gently opening the doors of perception while in the passenger seat of his red Toyota Corolla. At the time his collection of 8 track cartridges was second-to-none. His parents gave me my first and last martini. His brother Stephen was driving the first and only time I ever was in a car accelerated to over 100 mph, (on the way to the airport.)

And then, in the fall of 1972 he went away to college while I stayed in Cleveland. I don’t believe I ever saw him again. I heard he became a choreographer.

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The Quintessential and ‘Reunitive’ Hawk Tech Men of Seventy-Two

Hawken Men

Some hardly random notes about the 40th reunion of The Hawken School class of 1972. The frame to keep in mind is that I’ve been privileged to attend every five year reunion, and the reunions obviously commenced in 1977.

I ran cross country as a junior and senior. The 1972 team lost their first meet and then won twelve in a row to finish 12-1. My fraternal twin brother Tim, deceased in 1993, competed with a handful of strong willed young men to lead this team, the most successful team in 1972. The stress here has to be on willful competition between a few men because the guys in the team’s leading group all wanted to win the race at hand. There was nothing tactical about this approach. Every race seemed mythic in its consequence.

My own role was aptly noted in the yearbook: “Stephen Calhoun ran well until he got smart and broke his ankle.” This past weekend every one of this senior five strong cross country group, aside from my late brother, was at the reunion: Getanah, Jay, Steve, and Elliot.
Jay Jamie Tim
Jay Morrison, Jamie Cohen, Tim Calhoun – taken in Spring of 1971, track season

For three straight years Mr. Carter awarded me a D in Spanish. This doomed my grade point average. The funny thing is that he gave me a D despite the fact that I never learned a lick of Spanish. I didn’t enjoy school very much, but I really liked to read. I did my homework and was gregarious in class. Yet, my terrible positioning at the end of my formal educational career not only was entirely my own fault, it also has made it impossible to rate my Hawken experience highly. This has zero to do with the school itself, and everything to do with my own deficits and failure at the time to look forward more than, say, a day or two.

This would be different than the many many classmates who smartly leveraged the opportunity in high school. My class is awesomely, in the main, and decades down the track, accomplished. However, other than the moments in which guys lauded the school, (and by implication I was reminded at those moments how the school amplified a purposeful approach,) most of the reunion was taken up by catching up and clueing in to the state of our stories, rather than to the state of our stature.

For this kind of goal I am, ironically, well prepared and purposeful.

This process (of reuniting) is much about grasping the different ways each of us has come to grips with our own adult life. I am tempted, in recognizing how this remains a striking feature of our coming together, to coin a term, reunitive. Somehow, we seem to do this ritual re-bonding easily and so I reckon we are, as a group, evidently reunitive.


Jay Morrison, (picture provided by Getty Ambau.) Jay and Getty, were two fellow cross-country runners; although anytime we ran together–forty years ago–what I saw of them was their speeding off into the distance ahead of me.

Old men.

We aren’t that old –

Wise men.

Yet, we haven’t all survived –

Humble men.

Our middle late middle age wanes –

Truthful Men



It is time to be old,
To take in sail:–
The gods of bounds,
Who sets to seas a shore,
Came to me in his fatal rounds,
And said: ‘No more!
No farther shoot
Thy broad ambitious branches, and thy root.
Fancy departs: no more invent;
Contract thy firmament
To compass of a tent.
There’s not enough for this and that,
Make thy option which of two;
Economize the failing river,
Not the less revere the Giver,
Leave the many and hold the few.
Timely wise accept the terms,
Soften the fall with wary foot;
A little while
Still plan and smile,
And,–fault of novel germs,–
Mature the unfallen fruit.
Curse, if thou wilt, thy sires,
Bad husbands of their fires,
Who, when they gave thee breath,
Failed to bequeath
The needful sinew stark as once,
The Baresark marrow to thy bones,
But left a legacy of ebbing veins,
Inconstant heat and nerveless reins,–
Amid the Muses, left thee deaf and dumb,
Amid the gladiators, halt and numb.’

As the bird trims her to the gale,
I trim myself to the storm of time,
I man the rudder, reef the sail,
Obey the voice at eve obeyed at prime:
‘Lowly faithful, banish fear,
Right onward drive unharmed;
The port, well worth the cruise, is near,
And every wave is charmed.’

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Class of ’72

Hawken School Class of 72

The iconic yearbook picture, Hawken Upper School, Class of seventy-two. Three quarters of the guys in this crowd scene actually were seniors. We took a bunch of silly photos on the same day. This one ends spiked by tragedy because a hyper-grinning Jamie Cohen is at the front on the left, and he passed away suddenly in 2008. And, second from the right, holding the manual, is my fraternal twin brother Tim, and he passed away in 1993. Jamie was my closest friend throughout high school and in my innermost circle for the ensuing thirty-six years.

I have gone to every five year reunion since 1977. I immensely enjoy the ritual reunion, but the twin draws for me are to see a few men I have sustained over the years great affection for, and, to otherwise do informal social-psychological research and ethnography about the development cycle of my classmates, and so do this also of a sample of males of certain background, milieu, etc..

This has evoked the following matrix, posed here as generalization and hypothesis.

Development Matrix

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Hard Drives, History

Early hard drive

The very first production hard disk was the IBM 305 RAMAC (Random Access Method of Accounting and Control), introduced on September 13, 1956. This beastie stored 5 million characters (approximately five megabytes, but a “character” in those days was only seven bits, not eight) on a whopping 50 disks, each 24 inches in diameter! Its areal density was about 2,000 bits per square inch; in comparison, today’s drives have areal densities measured in billions of bits per square inch. The data transfer rate of this first drive was an impressive 8,800 bytes per second. (source)

I just checked: 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive costs $95.00. Ha! I’m waiting for the cost to come down a bit.

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Brief, Not Very Olsonian Reflections: The Prize

On Saturday I was chosen to cap a conference, Soul In Buffalo; A three-day free conference aimed to celebrate and explore Charles Olson’s legacy and extension through A Curriculum of the Soul.

This honored closing position expressed a counter-intuitive programming choice, because I am not an Olsonian. Yet, obviously, since I wasn’t going to weigh in at the end with poetry, poetics, research, or scholarly fireworks, I was, nevertheless, given the opportunity to bring some other set of capabilities to bear on the proceedings.

What I could do and what I did sort of manage to do is bring the conference to a close on wings of experience and play and collaborative grappling with a very simple creative problem. Taking this creative problem first, I asked the group to participate in a squareONE tool, Hunting and Gathering, and use it to bring several explicit things into greater focus, and, as well, bring whatever the process might evoke into their collaborative field of experiential play and creativity.

The more conceptual group playing with the Gods

I will tender the explicit things momentarily. What might of happened references what is my usual way of facilitating Hunting and Gathering. This usually happens within a slice of time able to support my gentle guidance of an experiential process to its important goals. Those goals exist on a continuum stretched on one end between learning with enough gravity to support testing or further experimentation, and, on the other end, learning which is galvanizing to the point of an a-ha.

Yet, this time out the time slice ended up being compressed to about an hour. As Idries Shah once put it, “time takes time.” So, with this lessened time I quickly had to make a few strategic decisions. This has happened on a few occasions in the past, but I have never intentionally turned a finely tuned process into a grand experiment–as I ended up doing on Saturday.

I framed, (or ‘primed,’) the group’s experience by introducing several factors, in the form of musings. I told the group I wasn’t an Olsonian, but had come to this conference by virtue of remarkable serendipities having to do with encounters with friends-who-were Olsonians. Then I very briefly pointed out that soul might have something to do with creating together via relationships, and using as its raw stuff the discoveries found in exploration. I hoped the experience I was offering would drive some into the experience of soul in real-time. And, my personalization brought up what seem to me an essential feature of soulful working together: its human contingencies are fragile, and yet, are loving too.

(I recognize here my prejudice too: deep soul is very human, rather than very esoteric!)

The sharpest suggestion I made was this: whatever learning comes to happen may be referenced in his or her reflection on a personal intention I had them generate. However, in my strategic alteration of the process I understood going in to it, I would never learn anything about their learning.

The love network group working and playing.

What unfolded was pretty damn amazing, even by my experienced standards. I do not debrief my work for all the world to read and see, but it is enough to tell of a quickening vibration that rose like heat waves off a desert.

The Prize.

I had split the group into two sections and both worked on their collaborative graphic. The differentiation of approach, as I felt it and as I mused over the ‘consequence of approach,’ was very telling about challenges not much spoken of in the two days of stunning contributions I witnessed. The general challenge is about how various bodies of work come to persist, be sustained, grow, and, in the soulful turn, come to have positive effects on the growth of consciousness as this is individually rendered in the alchemical cooker of devoted, unsparing, deeply humanized, relationship.

oiled snake
psychedelic reverb
straight no chaser

spot your choices

still have to live
alive among
each other

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I would have been a surfer. Had I grown up near the waves. Alas, Cleveland.

During the height of the Viet Nam war, I spent the summer of 1968 with the family of my Uncle Colonel Pat in Hawaii, on Oahu. It was quite an adventure. I learned to play poker. I was 13. But the highlights came almost every day, when I ventured into the breaks at Barber’s Point and at a spot–Ones, Twos–off of Waikiki, with my cousin Chris and a neighborhood lad, Teddy. (The neighborhood was Fort Kamemeheha, situated at the mouth of Pearl Harbor, and located a half mile off the end of Hickam Air Force Base’s main runway.)

I was goofy foot and an excellent swimmer. Being a good swimmer came in handy because I spent a lot of time chasing after the 7 foot long Hobie board. The break at Barber’s topped out at about four feet. We made several forays into the summer break off of Waikiki. The size of the waves was similar but the waves were steeper. One day my cousin told me the break was close to six feet. He shunted me off to the edge of Ones, and there I had my only close call, when a soldier on R&R loosed his board right toward my head, forcing me to duck, then abandon my take off. This happened in about three feet of water on top of a coral reef. I just managed to escape getting a rub job from the reef. The other guy’s board missed the side of my head my inches.

Billabong, Teahoopu, Tahiti

The next summer my aunt and uncle had moved to Virginia. I visited, and we made one trip to Virginia Beach, but the boards stayed on the car because the conditions were much better for body surfing. Then, during the next summer of 1970, with a red Greg Noll board of my cousin’s that I had a share in, I vacationed with my family at Hilton Head. There the swells rolling in from all the way across the Atlantic didn’t offer much of a sturdy up-welling and break, so the only surfing, such as it was, happened in the roiling wash. Until a hurricane blew by in Florida, tripling the size of the waves, and causing the 8-10 foot swells to become steep enough to ride down, like sledding on a snow hill. But, it became immediately apparent that their ferocious all-at-once close out, close to shore, involved way too much water for me, intrepid and fearless as I was, to safely surf.

And that was the last time I paddled out into anything.

Lots of surfing videos on Youtube. (Search: Billabong Odyssey | example | mini-documentary) One thing I’m mindful of is that these monster waves in the following videos are breaking in very shallow water, say, a 30-60 foot wave breaking in under 8 feet of water. Scary.

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The inescapable conclusion from all this must surely be that our interdependence, bringing us together into a common equation, across the oceans and the continents, demands that we all combine to launch a global offensive for development, prosperity and human survival. Nelson Mandela January 31, 1991.

Download MP3 inaugural address

Trails of troubles,
Roads of battles,
Paths of victory,
I shall walk.


The trail is dusty
And my road it might be rough,
But the better roads are waiting
And boys it ain’t far off.


Trails of troubles,
Roads of battles,
Paths of victory,
We shall walk.


I walked down by the river,
I turned my head up high.
I saw that silver linin’
That was hangin’ in the sky.


Trails of troubles,
Roads of battles,
Paths of victory,
We shall walk.


The evenin’ dusk was rollin’,
I was walking down the track.
There was a one-way
wind a-blowin’
And it was blowin’ at my back.


Trails of troubles,
Roads of battles,
Paths of victory,
We shall walk.


The gravel road is bumpy,
It’s a hard road to ride,
But there’s a clearer
road a-waitin’
With the cinders on the side.


Trails of troubles,
Roads of battles,
Paths of victory,
We shall walk.


That evening train was rollin’,
The hummin’ of its wheels,
My eyes they saw a better day
As I looked across the fields.


Trails of troubles,
Roads of battles,
Paths of victory,
We shall walk.


The trail is dusty,
The road it might be rough,
But the good road is a-waitin’
And boys it ain’t far off.


Trails of troubles,
Roads of battles,
Paths of victory,
We shall walk


Bob Dylan

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