We were both born on March 2nd. At 67 years young, he is nine years older than I am. I spent years listening to his playing and years learning how to sound like him.
On some of his early recordings, he used a Gibson 335 and a Tweed Deluxe. The important thing about Larry’s playing is not just the type of guitar or the point of breakup with an amp but his touch, his dynamics and his passion. If you want to find great tone, Larry Carlton is a great role model.
When I was doing some research about his tone, I came across the story of his shooting and how it impacted his life.
It was 1988.
The bullet was fired by a young man on a bicycle passing by his North Hollywood studio. The bullet tore through Carlton’s carotid artery and destroyed much of his vocal chord. For roughly 8 months, he also lost the use of his left arm.
How did the shooting effect his playing? This was from an interview he did with Premier Guitar:
Going through and then coming out of that tragic event when I was shot did leave me a different man – I was a different person once I had healed. I didn’t know it at the time, it wasn’t a revelation, like, “Oh I’m a new guy! I just made it through a shooting.” It really came out through conversation.
One conversation that I remember specifically was with my son Travis, who was just turning five at the time. Once I was well enough, well into the process of healing, he and I had a conversation. He said, “Dad, why did they have to shoot you?” And the truth, I think, comes at those moments when you are relating to your children, and what came through my spirit and out through my mouth was, “Trav, why not me? I’m just another daddy in this world.” And what I realized after I spoke those words and time went by, is that although I’m very talented at playing the guitar, let’s set the guitar down and really understand who we are as people in this world. I truly believe I am just a guy in this world going through the process with everyone else, who just happens to play the guitar. After the shooting and after going through the recovery, people observed a difference in the way I played the guitar. They heard things that I didn’t even know I was doing – not technical things, but passionate, emotional things. After I would play a solo or after the show, a number of people would come up and say, “I’ve never heard you play the guitar like that.” Those emotional events somehow brought out a deeper side of Larry Carlton the musician. And once I was aware, I felt the difference as a player. So yes, I was a different man and a different guitar player after being shot and recovering, and it showed up in my performance.
I heard from Christopher over at GuitarBass Canada. He faced a problem that is quite common amongst guitar players in Canada: he had trouble finding parts and accessories in stock in Canada and he was annoyed with the high cost of shipping parts and accessories into Canada from the United States.
He decided to do something about that problem:
Here at GuitarBass, we realize what a pain it is to get parts to customize your instrument up here in the North. Our mission is to simplify the process by providing high quality parts shipped from directly here in Canada. We believe you should be able to order in Canadian dollars and not have to worry about duties or crazy shipping charges, just click and wait for it to show up.
There are a number of great operators in Canada that fill a specific niche for the guitar community: folks like Richard over at thetubestore.com, the amazing team at Guitar Effects Canada, and Jeff at Road Rage. We really need more businesses that can serve the market in Canada well. I’ve signed up for the GuitarBass newsletter and I look forward to doing some business with them in the future.
There are a few things that I should not do. One of them is to open email from the Fender Custom Shop. Another is to think that I need to add another guitar.
New for 2015 is the Fender Custom Shop American Custom Telecaster. The one pictured above is a faded Lake Placid Blue two-piece alder body. The neck is a AAA flame maple neck with a large C profile, fast compound-radius maple neck and 22 narrow jumbo frets. The pickguard is a three-ply parchment and the guitar features a custom deluxe Telecast bridge which is quite different from the traditional bridges used in the past.
The instrument looks really, really nice in person.
I have a bit of routine that I follow whenever I ride my Colnago EPQ. Preparation for the ride can mean the difference between a good day and a bad day. This is what I do.
1. Physically prepare to ride
There are three things that I do to get my body ready for a ride. The first is to do a bit of stretching, to prepare the muscles for the work ahead. The second is to apply sunscreen to all of the exposed areas of my body. And the third is to apply some saddle cream. If you aren’t sure what saddle cream is, or what it does, this link provides more than enough information.
2. Get dressed
For the type of riding that I do, clothing is critical. During the spring and summer months, I use bib shorts, a base layer, a cycling jersey, cycling socks and cycling gloves. Most of my clothing comes from Assos out of Switzerland. Their products are expensive however they are engineered to provide as much comfort and performance as possible when you do a long, hard ride. I also wear a heart rate monitor under my clothing.
3. Prepare the bike
I usually wash the bike down after each ride and I clean and lube the drivetrain after every second ride. The bike is ready to go most of the time but I always do two things with the machine: inflate the tires to my preferred riding pressure and check the mechanicals (e.g., brakes) for proper function. I have a precision bicycle pump which allows me to dial in the tire pressure. I visually inspect the tires to make sure that there are no cuts or other issues with the wheels. I also look the bike over carefully to make sure nothing is amiss.
4. Stock fluids and food
Depending on the length of the ride, I make sure that I can stay hydrated. If the ride is going to be over two hours, then I also need to make sure that I carry some calories with me. A sports drink goes into one water bottle, with ice. And water goes into the second water bottle, again with ice. Food gets thrown into the back pocket of my cycling jersey.
5. Carry ID and a smartphone
Although I never expect to end a ride badly, it is one sport where being prepared for the worst is a good idea. I always carry ID with me. I also use Cyclemeter on my smartphone. It sends messages back to Lorraine every kilometre of the ride to let her know where I am at that point in time. If I stop moving for any reason, Lorraine knows roughly where I am.
6. Set up the bike computers
I ride with two bike computers, one on the handlebars and one in my pocket. The one on the handlebars, a Garmin Edge 800, tracks all of my critical bike and personal metrics: heart rate, cadence, speed, location, etc. And the one in my pocket provides cellular communication on my bike ride. I view both of them as complementary. And both need to be initialized prior to each ride.
7. Put on helmet and glasses
I never ride without a helmet and glasses. I change helmets every couple of years although there are many different perspectives on how frequent helmets should be changed. I ride with Oakley eyewear.
8. Lube shoe cleats and put on cycling shoes
I use Speedplay clipless pedals. I find that I need to give them a bit of lube before every ride to clip in quickly and easily.
9. Enjoy the ride
With all of the preparation work complete, I can go out and enjoy the ride.
As part of my financial planning, I had signed up for a Services Canada account to check on my Statement of Contributions for CPP. The government kept careful track of all my working years and, remarkably, I have worked for 38 years now. What kept me happy at work during all of that time?
Years ago, a mentor told me that people need three things to be happy at work.
1. You need to be part of a company that you can believe in. I call this the noble cause of the company. It transcends all of the numbers of business and goes right to the heart of why a company exists. How do we help people? How do we make an impact? This is our signature, and it means everything.
Believing in the mission of a company can be a powerful motivator and it can satisfy our inner longing for purpose and meaning in life.
2. You need to know that you can make a difference in your work. Steve Jobs said that we are here to put a dent in the universe. We are here because we matter. And spending most of our waking hours at a company where we cannot make a difference must be very discouraging and frustrating. I’ve had many different types of jobs over my life. With each job I did, whether it was delivering newspapers as a kid, working in the mines up north during my University years, or building my career, I have always thought about what I can do to make a difference at my place of work, to serve well. I sometimes think we have it confused. That our employer is obligated to serve us well. And there is certainly a need for a company to treat employees well. However, it does begin with your own contribution to your place of work.
3. You need someone that cares about the work that you do. This is often where most companies overlook a basic human need for acceptance and validation. Telling someone that they matter can be a very powerful motivator. Too often, workplaces forget to say something as simple as thank you for making a difference.
I was in my late forties when I had this discussion with a mentor. It made me think about all of the different people that had taken an interest in my life and how they had tried to help me in my journey. It made me think about why I was working and what work really means.
Bloomberg published a story suggesting that Microsoft is making a $50 billion or so play for Salesforce. Salesforce hasn’t made a profit since 2011 but I did not get a sense that it needed to be acquired.
Quartz has four reasons why Microsoft won’t buy:
1. It’s a huge price tag
Salesforce currently has a market capitalization of $47.7 billion, and since Microsoft isn’t the only interested party, it seems all but certain that the acquirer will pay a significant premium. Forrester analyst Andrew Bartels estimates the price tag to be closer to $55 billion to $60 billion. “For that reason alone, it looks implausible,” he tells Quartz. Jeffries analysts note that would represent about two years of Microsoft’s free-cash flow. (The company does have some vast cash reserves, but most of it is held overseas for tax purposes.) “They can afford it. Question is: Would they want to put so much in this position?” asks Bartels.
2. The math doesn’t work
According to SeekingAlpha, this deal would boost Microsoft’s revenue by 6%, but only in exchange for 13% of its equity. The hefty price tag means Microsoft’s earnings would also take a big hit—as much as 18% by one estimate—and offsetting the decline might require billions of dollars in cost cutting.
3. Oracle might swoop in
Right now, most signs seem to point to Oracle as the the unnamed company that has already approached Salesforce—thus piquing Microsoft’s interest. There are only so many companies that could make such an acquisition, and Bartels says SAP and IBM are stretched too thin to shell out $50-plus billion. That leaves Oracle, which happens to be Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff’s old stomping grounds. It’s possible Oracle might view such a merger as a succession plan (albeit a very expensive one), with Benioff taking the reins in the near future.
4. Benioff might not want to sell
Though Salesforce hasn’t turned a profit since 2011, its business is growing at a healthy clip. It hit $5 billion in revenue faster than any other software vendor in history, according to Forrester. In the last three years, it has averaged 33% in revenue gains. “I think all things considered, Benioff would like to keep Salesforce independent,” says Bartels. “It’s growing well. There’s no need for an acquisition.”
Phil Keaggy was my guitar hero when I was a young player. That was over forty years ago. He is still my guitar hero. Such an incredible musician. And two capos no less.
I received an email from David Bach, author of Smart Couples Finish Rich. There is a Canadian version of the book here.
David joined up with Edelman Financial Services in 2014 and continues to work extensively in the financial planning realm. David is holding a set of seminars on retirement planning in the United States and he recently sent me an email invitation to attend.
David also included a true-false quiz in his email. He suggested in his email that both me and my partner should take the quiz. I have modified a few of his questions below to make it a bit more Canadian. And I have provided my own answers. I’ve guessed Lorraine’s answer.
I know our current net worth (i.e. the values of the assets we have minus the liabilities we owe).
True. And, to be a bit more obsessive compulsive, I have a spreadsheet which has a 15-year view. Our net worth for the past five years and our forecast for the next ten.
Lorraine: True. She has no choice because I like to share this amazing spreadsheet with her every week or so.
I have a solid grasp of what our fixed monthly overhead is, including property taxes and all forms of insurance.
True. I maintain a budget spreadsheet which also keeps the prior five years of expenses and projects out the next five years. I update the current year’s data every week or two and I compare actual to forecast.
I know how my partner feels about our monthly overhead. We have discussed both the size and nature of our regular expenses and obligations and are comfortable with them.
True. Although one can never have enough guitars.
Lorraine: True but one can have way too many guitars. And guitar pedals. And guitar amps.
I know how much life insurance my partner and I carry. I know exactly what the death benefits are, how much cash value there is in our policies (if any) and what rate the money is earning (if applicable).
I have reviewed our life insurance policies sometime in the last 12 to 24 months, and I am comfortable that we are paying a competitive rate in today’s insurance market.
True. Although I have only made changes to my insurance coverage in 10-year intervals (age 30, age 40, age 50 and soon, age 60).
Lorraine: False. I’m not sure that Lorraine has looked at our life insurance policies in the last two years. I could be wrong on that front though.
I know the current value of our home, the current equity we have in our home, the size of our mortgage, the interest rate on the mortgage, if the rate is competitive based on today’s rates, the type of mortgage rate (fixed or adjustable), and if it is an adjustable rate–the date on which it adjusts.
True. By fluke however on the current value. We have a friend in the real estate business who was kind enough to provide an appraisal for our home. I maintained a forecast of appreciation for the house based on our purchase price with a rate of growth of 2% per year. Our real estate agent’s evaluation placed the house with a rate of growth of 3% per year. I plan around the lower number. Why? Because our home is where we live. It is not an investment that I would use unless I sold it. If I sell it, I need to factor in all of the closing costs. The 2% rate of growth seems appropriate and, if we have a correction in residential real estate, even 2% will seem too optimistic.
Lorraine: True. Our friend in the real estate business is really Lorraine’s friend.
I know what type of homeowner’s or renter’s insurance we have and what the deductibles are. I know whether or not our policy would provide us with ‘today’s replacement cost’ or actual cash value, if our home and/or property were destroyed or stolen.
True. Largely because we have to fight the insurance company every year. It is not unusual for our house insurance premium to jump 30 – 50 percent year over year. We call to complain about the increase and we always seem to get a sharply reduced renewal rate.
Lorraine: True as she makes the call to the insurance company every year.
I know the nature and size of all our investments (including cash, checking accounts, savings accounts, money-market accounts, CD’s, treasury bills, savings bonds, mutual funds, annuities, stocks and bonds, real estate investments and collectibles such as stamps, coins, artwork, etc.). I also know where all the relevant paperwork is kept.
True. I have to because I am a DIY investor. I maintain all of my portfolio accounts online and, despite my best intentions, I mark to market every trading day. If I am happy it is because the markets are up and, if I am not happy, well you can guess which way they market is going.
Lorraine: True although she doesn’t mark to market every day. Or every week. Or even every month. And that is why she is always happy.
I know the annualized returns of all the above-mentioned investments.
True. I forecast a 6 percent rate of return on our investments. Fortunately the overall portfolio has outperformed my planning number. Better to be conservative though. I also have my own Investment Policy Statement which outlines my risk tolerance and my investment objectives. This helps me to be an investor for the long term and not a gambler.
Lorraine: True because I like to show her my investment chops particularly during periods when the markets are up.
I know the current value of all our retirement accounts (including LIRAs, TFSAs, RRSPs, company pension plans, etc.). I know where the statements for these accounts are kept and I have a solid grasp of how all our accounts performed last year.
True. All of our retirement accounts are online. Statements for things like pension plans are digitized and archived.
I know what percentage of our income we are saving as a couple.
True. I calculate a series of financial ratios for our household including:
- Gross Debt Service Ratio
- Total Debt Service Ratio
- Liquidity Ratio
- Solvency Ratio
- Annual Savings Ratio
- Debt Payment to Income Ratio
- Total Savings to Income Ratio
- Total Debt to Gross Income Ratio
- Total Debt to After-tax Income Ratio
- Total Assets to Income Ratio
And I have targets for each of the ratios.
Lorraine: False. I do all of that geeky financial planning stuff and I don’t typically review the ratios with Lorraine.
I know how much each of us is putting into our respective retirement accounts, whether that amounts to the maximum allowable contributions and what our respective vesting schedules are.
True. I call this our “Freedom Account”
I know how much money each of us will be getting from the Canada Pension Plan when we retire and what our pension benefits (if any) will be.
True. I have a spreadsheet which estimates my retirement income from all sources through to age 65 should I be working that long. If I retire early, the retirement income projection shows the estimate for any age between 2016 and 2022.
I know whether or not we have a will or living trust, what its provisions are and how up-to-date it is.
True. Lorraine and I updated our wills a few years ago after my mother’s death.
I know whether our income would be protected by disability insurance should I or my partner become unable to work. If we do have disability insurance, I know the amount of coverage, when the benefits would start and whether they would be taxable. If we don’t have disability insurance, I know why we don’t have it.
True. I have disability insurance through my employer.
Lorraine: False. My fault really as I don’t think I have ever gone through this with Lorraine.
I know what my partner’s wishes are regarding medical treatment (including being kept alive by artificial means) in the event he or she falls seriously ill or is seriously injured. I know whether or not our will includes a valid power of attorney covering such situations. I also know how my partner feels about being an organ donor.
False. I need to talk about this with Lorraine.
I know if my partner has taken an investment class in recent years.
True. Lorraine has not although she has read some of my investing books.
Lorraine: True as I constantly read books about investing.
I know how my partner’s parents handled their finances and I know what effect that has had on how my partner feels about how we manage our money.
False. I have no idea how our parents managed their finances.
So, there you have it. Not a bad set of questions to work through with your spouse. And it may provoke some thinking about financial planning.