Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Unorganized Hancock Update



Sippican Cottage provides the latest news on the band from the wilds of Maine. The boys and their parents are grand examples of gumption, a word we need to use more often.

First Paragraph

This is the story of what a woman's patience can endure and what a man's resolution can achieve.

- From The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Quote of the Day

Never read a book review written by an author whose books you wouldn't read.

- Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

And You Can't Have Too Many of Them


Eclecticity Light is always finding a clean, well-lighted place to blog.

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On the afternoon of May 9, 1940, at the resort town of Clervaux, in the forested north of Luxembourg, Camille Schneider entered the telephone booth outside the post office. An undercover representative of the French Secret Service, Schneider had tried in vain to reach his chief in Luxembourg's capital and was making a direct call to the next echelon, the regional intelligence center at Longwy, just over the border in France. Schneider's message was urgent. With his own eyes he had seen soldiers on the German side of the Sure River preparing pontoon bridges on which heavy vehicles could cross into Luxembourg.

- From Strange Victory: Hitler's Conquest of France by Ernest R. May

"I got a scheme!"

From 2015: Writing in The Guardian, Zachary Leader on how Saul Bellow found his voice. An excerpt:

In Chicago, new ingredients were added to this linguistic mixture. Neither home, nor school, nor Hebrew school could keep Bellow from the street. Street language in Chicago was “rough cheerful energetic clanging largely good-natured Philistine irresistible” (a typically comma-free sequence) and American. “The children wanted the streets,” Bellow wrote, “they were passionate Americans, they talked baseball, prizefights, speakeasies, graft, jazz, crap games, gang wars.” The neighbourhood schools Bellow attended “earnestly tried to convert or civilise their pupils, the children of immigrants from every European country. To civilise was to Americanise us all.” In English class, “there was a core programme of literary patriotism”. In English composition, “we, the sons of immigrants, were taught to write grammatically. Knowing the rules filled you with pride. I deeply felt the constraints of ‘correct’ English. It wasn’t easy, but we kept at it conscientiously, and in my 20s I published two decently written books.” 

Quote of the Day

A friend should always underestimate your virtues and an enemy overestimate your faults.

- Don Corleone

Monday, March 27, 2017

The CEO's Bold New Plan


The Onion provides an update.

High Notes

No, Althouse is not discussing Vivaldi.

Unfortunately.

A Tip from the Coach


Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.

- Vince Lombardi

The Uncomfortable Topic


Which one of the following topics would be most likely to spark immediate unease and cause people to back away?

  • Death
  • Sex
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Economics
  • Children
  • Relatives
  • Sports

What's in a Name?


The Hotel Russell was a charming hotel right on Russell Square in London.

A great location.

It needed remodeling so that chore was completed.

They seem to have done a fine job.

But then they renamed the hotel.

Downright chilly. No warmth. No tradition.

Bad move.

Quote of the Day

A child on a farm sees a plane fly overhead and dreams of a faraway place. A traveler on the plane sees the farmhouse and dreams of home.

- Carl Burns

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Find Something Beautiful Today


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Hit the Road, Jack


Anderson Layman's Blog has the ultimate performance of a song that will never go out of style.

Toughen Up


Cultural Offering points to a blog that might have been written by 1970s moms if they had blogs back then.

Go back a few more decades and they were wrestling with raccoons in order to get a snack for dinner. 

In the Fifties my older brother fell out of a bunk bed and hit his head on a concrete floor. [We had no carpeting then.]

He was feeling numb but my mom gave him an aspirin and put him back in bed.

Problem solved.

Quote Monger


For some thought-provoking quotes, check out Yahooey's Blog.

Remembering Jimmy Breslin

A total urbanite, Jimmy had never learned how to drive—he was raised by a single mother who earned a meager salary as a social worker, and drank to excess. The Breslins couldn’t afford a car. But this wheel-less liability turned out to be his greatest asset. He went everywhere on foot or by public transportation, chatting up pedestrians, shopkeepers, cops, fellow passengers—anyone who would give him an ear and a mouth. He made the rhythms of their replies into a kind of municipal jazz that only he could record.

Read the rest of Stefan Kanfer's essay in City Journal.

Genius

Two works with the title of "Genius."

One is a film starring Jude Law, Colin Firth, and Nicole Kidman. It is about Thomas Wolfe.

The other is a National Geographic series starring Geoffrey Rush. It is about Albert Einstein..

Genius.

Very Interesting

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40 Albums You Should Own

Cultural Offering is on #24 and it has automatic appeal.

The man knows music.

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The janitor makes her way through the corridor with purpose, suctioning space dust and human debris from crevices of the space station. She is good at her job. She can push off from the walls in a steady trajectory without even looking; her eyes are always on the windows and the impossibly bright stars beyond.

- From "The Janitor in Space" (The Unfinished World and Other Stories by Amber Sparks)

Scoring System for Presentations



Start with 100 points and then, if the speaker uses:
  1. "The bottom line" = minus 15 points.
  2. "Walk the talk" = minus 20 points.
  3. "Go to the mat" = minus 20 points.
  4. "Unpack" = minus 8 points.
  5. "Jumped the shark" = minus 18 points.
  6. "Empower" = minus 5 points.
  7. "Cut to the chase" = minus 15 points.
  8. "At the end of the day" = minus 30 points.
  9. "In the weeds" = minus 10 points.
  10. "C suite" = minus 25 points.
  11. "It is what it is." = minus 30 points.
  12. "Throw (someone) under the bus." = minus 20 points.

Chandler Break

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Quote of the Day

Serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace amid the storm.

- Alcoholics Anonymous

Friday, March 24, 2017

Bate: Deep Productivity



With the envy of many of us, Matthew Lang attended Nicholas Bate's Deep Productivity seminar at Oxford.

I wish I'd been there.

The Poisoned Pen



The Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona is an example of a business that has a focus and executes it very well. 

Every major mystery writer in recent times has probably appeared there. 

The Most Beautiful Colleges


Travel + Leisure gives its choices for the most beautiful college in every state.

They certainly picked the right one for Arizona.

[HT: Althouse]

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I looked at my notes and I didn't like them. I'd spent three days at U.S. Robots and might as well have spent them at home with the Encyclopedia Tellurica.

- From I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

Thoughts about Politics



  1. The ones who want political office the most may be the ones who deserve it the least.
  2. We'll never know how many Churchills and de Gaulles went into the political wilderness and never found their way back.
  3. In most cases, it is wiser to fear cozy agreement more than gridlock.
  4. Reporters and politicians should not socialize. 
  5. Beware of any judge who lets personal feelings replace the law.
  6. A journalist who claims that objectivity is impossible should not be a journalist.
  7. Some of the most evil political movements in history were started by young idealists.
  8. The subject of government is not a science and universities look foolish when they pretend that it is.
  9. The best approach to government is to assume that the best people will seldom be in control and not to trust them if they are.
  10. Any organization whose basic power depends upon the ability to physically coerce people bears watching.

Quote of the Day

Patience is the companion of wisdom.

- Saint Augustine

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Buster Keaton

A natural for Eclecticity Light.

Bock on Books



Wally Bock reviews a management classic. I often find myself returning to that one.

Music Break

Alison Krauss and friends with "Slumber, My Darling."

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Sometimes, two, three times a year, there would be card parties, or at least invitations to them. Notices by the security desk in the lobby, or left by the door at each condominium, or posted in the game or laundry rooms, or maybe nothing more than a poster up on the easel near the lifeguard's station on each of the half-dozen rooftop swimming pools in the condominium complex, announced that scheduled at such so-and-so a time on so-and-such a Saturday night there was to be a gala, come one come all, sponsored by the residents of this or that building - "Good Neighbor Policy Night," "International Evening," "Hands Across the Panama Canal." Usually there would be a buffet supper, followed by coffee, followed by entertainment, followed by cards.

- From Mrs. Ted Bliss by Stanley Elkin

Film Break


The trailers for:

Hidden Time Killers in the Workplace


  1. Attempting to decipher the true meaning of cryptic emails.
  2. Recovering from phone calls or meetings.
  3. Waiting for others to get back with you.
  4. Finding the document that was right in front of you a minute ago.
  5. Reading emails from people who claim they'd contacted you earlier but who never did.
  6. Wondering why you were invited to a meeting.
  7. Wondering why you weren't invited to a meeting.
  8. Recovering from a brief moment when you unwisely said "yes."
  9. Eluding the after-effects of the CEO's latest encounter with a management best seller.
  10. Ennui.

Highly Recommended

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Quote of the Day

It is not the strongest or most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.

- Charles Darwin