Friday, September 19, 2014

The Best Tablet in the World?



FutureLawyer is gushing over the Galaxy S 10.5. A revealing excerpt:

Quite simply, this tablet blows me away. The Super AMOLED screen is the best I have ever seen. Put this puppy side by side with the iPad and you will convert on the spot. It has a fast processor, the latest version of Android KitKat, and 2,560×1,600 resolution, an 8 MP rear camera, a 2.1 MP front-facing snapper, 16GB of built-in storage, and a microSD card slot for expansion.


That's pretty persuasive, especially if you know what he's talking about. I may shift from the tablet I've been using.

Millennial Madness




Writing in The Weekly Standard, Andrew Ferguson takes on bold declarations on the nature of the millennials. An excerpt:

Yes! That’s the wonderful thing about the millennial generation. They are nature’s gift to “generational analysts,” those big thinkers who are able to grasp entire national cohorts in their meaty arms, lift them up, turn them upside down, and shake them till every last cultural insight falls from their pockets. Generational analysts can make any assertion they want about the 80 million people they identify as millennials and then dare somebody to disprove it, though hardly anyone ever tries. Since the Times story on Generation Nice, I’ve thrashed my way through much of their work. In a single morning the other day I read that “millennials would dump a friend to get ahead at work,” that they have a “deep sense of entitlement,” and that they “will take credit for other people’s work”—three assertions from three articles based on three different social science studies. I learned that bad millennial behavior arises from their “selfishness” and “narcissism,” which also causes them to overestimate their own “specialness” and “uniqueness.” Generation Not Nice! At All!

When The World Closes In



Work. Count your blessings. Pray. Break tasks into small portions. Seek help. Delay the unessential. Reduce your appointments. Focus on little pleasures. Sleep. Shine your shoes. Drink more water. Take a walk. Take a bath. Ride a bicycle. Memorize a poem. Slow down. Savor the elements. Turn off the news. Watch a funny movie. Make a great cup of coffee. Visit a dog. Vacuum a room. Call a friend. Paint a picture. Write a thank you note. Get out of town. Watch the birds. Find a quiet spot. Complete a task which has been gnawing at you. Study the sky. Slowly read a great novel. Go to a park. Rein in your imagination. Sit quietly and let every muscle relax, Listen to life. Know that you mean a great deal to others. Breathe deeply. Be mindful. Help someone.

Quote of the Day

If progress is real despite our whining, it is not because we are born any healthier, better, or wiser than infants were in the past, but because we are born to a richer heritage, born on a higher level of that pedestal which the accumulation of knowledge and art raises as the ground and support of our being. The heritage rises, and man rises in proportion as he receives it. 

- Will and Ariel Durant

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Documentaries

The trailers for:

Riveting


Am curled up with some regs from the Federal Register. The coffee is brewing. I'll need it.

It strikes me that when many citizens hear politicians decry the increase in federal regulations, they have little appreciation of just what that means. Some time spent with the Federal Register would be a great orientation. 

Part of my reading: "Affirmative Action and Nondiscrimination Obligations of Contractors and Subcontractors Regarding Special Disabled Veterans, Veterans of the Vietnam Era, Disabled Veterans, Recently Separated Veterans, Active Duty Wartime or Campaign Badge Veterans, and Armed Forces Service Medal Veterans; Final Rule"

Simplification is not the norm.

Greed


This observation by Thomas Sowell is quoted in today's Wall Street Journal and is from his fine book, "The Vision of the Anointed":

Among the many other questions raised by the nebulous concept of "greed" is why it is a term applied almost exclusively to those who want to earn more money or to keep what they have already earned - never to those wanting to take other people's money in taxes or to those wishing to live on the largess dispensed from such taxation. No amount of taxation is ever described by the anointed as "greed" on the part of the government or the clientele of the government.

Art Break: Aylward



Art Contrarian looks at the work of William Aylward.

Sitcom Nostalgia

Althouse and The New York Times look back at the success of "Bewitched."

[I never watched a single episode. Was more of a fan of "The Avengers" and old Wallace Beery movies]

The Mighty Quinn

It is a little known fact that the creator and host of Anderson Layman's Blog, when not reading fine novels by Patrick O'Brian, shuts his office door and cranks this up

Furniture is thrown. Joy ensues.

Scotland


If Scotland votes for independence, I hope they have a Lee Kuan Yew in the wings.

Don't



Don't:
  • Set a requirement unless you're willing and able to enforce it;
  • Overstate your case;
  • "Bet on the come";
  • Rely on the magical;
  • Overlook the classics;
  • Let a focus on legal standards cause neglect of ethical ones;
  • Excuse poor performance if it's by your team;
  • Create unnecessary complications.
  • Hold yourself to impossible standards.
  • Rush through the miraculous;
  • Assume that others are without serious problems.
  • Forget to appreciate nature;
  • Inflate your fears;
  • Ignore the importance of faith.

Quote of the Day

I like to think of the prototypical manager as the person who brings the thoughts of the mind to bear on daily organizational problems. In contrast, the leader brings the feelings of the soul to bear on those same problems. 

- Craig R. Hickman

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lighten Up Out There


Insure.com has a survey on the states with the rudest drivers and the states that hate them.

Clarity, Candor, and Courage


As is often the case, over the past few weeks I've had the opportunity to speak with a sizable cross-section of managers and employees. They've asked questions about specific challenges in their areas.

It is striking how frequently the problems are linked to a lack of clarity. Goals are vague. Standards are hazy. There is little or no feedback about performance. Conflict is taken underground and teams refuse to speak to one another. Meetings are held where no one is candid and subjects which are spoken of away from the office are never on the agenda. Everyone operates in a fog.

Although we tend to think of communication as the conveying of information, in many cases it involves couching language so a certain result can be obtained. And what is that oddly desirable result? Peace. Our conflict-adverse culture encourages the squelching of candor; the lack of candor produces continued misunderstanding; that misunderstanding fosters distrust; and the lack of trust bolsters the reluctance to be candid.

It is no surprise that a natural question - Have you ever frankly discussed the problem? - is answered with "No." 

Clarity and candor are signs of a healthy organization but they require constant cultivation. They also require courage.

Morning


Coffee is needed. There is a morning telephonic meeting and then, on the far west side of the valley, a meeting with a communication and coordination committee. I have to review notes for that. 

On Thursday, we expect to get clobbered by a storm which is rolling up from the Pacific via Mexico. Although there is hope that it will be weakened as it moves over Baja California and the Sea of Cortez, it may still have a punch. I worry about my garage and my roof but the last big storm is unlikely to be equaled or surpassed.

Yesterday, I saw Chandler, Arizona residents scurrying about to fill bags with sand which was piled up at a fire station. During the last storm they got over six inches of rain.

Hmm. Thursday might get interesting.

First Paragraph

Sir Walter Elliot, of Kellynch-hall, in Somersetshire, was a man who, for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage; there he found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation in a distressed one; there his faculties were roused into admiration and respect, by contemplating the limited remnant of the earliest patents; there any unwelcome sensations, arising from domestic affairs, changed naturally into pity and contempt, as he turned over the almost endless creations of the last century - and there, if every other leaf were powerless, he could read his own history with an interest which never failed - this was the page at which his favorite volume always opened: 'ELLIOT OF KELLYNCH-HALL. 

- From Persuasion by Jane Austen

Quote of the Day

One of the advantages artists have over critics is that they can be nearly complete damn fools and still produce interesting and important, even lasting, art. 

- Joseph Epstein

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Old Dog Wade

Taught a great but exhausting class today. It is the academic equivalent of Europe in One Day since a group of topics which could merit separate workshops is covered. I'm now moving around like Walter Brennan. My feet are making a comeback but the espresso is wearing off. The idea of staring at a bedroom ceiling is pretty attractive.

Later on, some slow reading. [Speaking of Proust, I could use a madeleine right now.]

Scribbling, Talking, and Thinking



The work on preparing the online classes continues. The first one out of the box will be Ethical Decision Making and shortly afterwards will come Leadership. [They'll probably have jazzier titles but those will do for now.] Still others are in the pipeline.

These first classes are coming together amid coaching and training dates and much thought. I recently added some concepts to the ethics workshop after considering how best to address matters where seconds - and not hours or days - are allotted for an answer.

There is so much to learn and the more we learn the more we appreciate how much more there is to know. [At least that's how it is in my case.]

But all such quests need the self-discipline and boundary of a deadline to concentrate the mind. Mine is approaching. 

Think, scribble, scribble, talk, think.

First Paragraph

Let me begin the first biography in this book by saying that even if the seven great men discussed within its pages were not in chronological order, I probably still would have started with George Washington. When it comes to true greatness, Washington's tough to beat. But someone's greatness can sometimes lend him an aura of such outsized fame that we begin to think of him not as a real person but as a cartoon superhero or as a legend. That's often the case with Washington. 

- From 7 Men and The Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas

Literary Pilgrim



When I was 16 years old and obsessed with the Glass family stories of J. D. Salinger, I convinced three of my friends to set out for Cornish, New Hampshire, in hopes of meeting the reclusive author. I’d recently read an unauthorized biography of Salinger that had provided some clues concerning how to find his home, but at some point during the journey, it occurred to me that I didn’t have much of a plan for what would happen if I actually found Salinger.

Read the rest of Mark Maier's article in The Weekly Standard.

Quote of the Day

For scientific discovery give me Scott; for speed and efficiency of travel give me Amundsen; but when disaster strikes and all hope is gone, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton. 

- Sir Edmund Hillary

Monday, September 15, 2014

Music Break

Check out Roger Ridley playing at David Kanigan's blog. Well worth your time.

Titles


Although some of these titles have fallen out of use you can still find instances in which they are surprisingly accurate:
  • Serf
  • Lackey
  • Minion
  • Toady
  • Horse-Holder
  • Creature
  • Indentured Servant
  • Slave
  • Sage
  • Regent
  • Tool
  • Baron
  • Wizard
  • Jefe
  • Honcho
  • Bricoleur
  • Cat's Paw
  • Crown Prince
  • Enforcer
  • Apologist
  • Fellow Traveler
  • Court Jester

First Paragraph

Friday. Five o'clock in the afternoon. Maybe the hardest time to move unobserved through a city. Or maybe the easiest. Because at five o'clock on a Friday nobody pays attention to anything. Except the road ahead. 

- From One Shot by Lee Child

Random Thoughts



It is not a missed opportunity if you never heard of it. The older I grow the more my wife and children mumble. The barbarians may march in while the rest of us are playing on smartphones and making "to do" lists. Going through life on a train with the curtains pulled down is not a good idea. A danger sign for any civilization is when large numbers of people boast of their ignorance. A monastery should start an airline where passengers take a vow of silence. Character is not built overnight and never without thought. Be wary of those who denigrate small acts of kindness. Many a life has been shaped by such acts. People and societies may be judged by the things to which they are indifferent. Leading by example is important but insufficient because values must be discussed. It is jarring how many people downplay the evils of Communism. I've said it before: Every four years eligible voters should have to pass the same test given to naturalized citizens. We'd be a stronger nation if we had a reasonably competent and objective press corps. The open road is a form of therapy. Lives are often haunted by unexplored questions. Proust is a slow but enjoyable journey. A sizable amount of tension and confusion may be fostered by poorly described behavior which lacks an accurate label. A notebook should always be close at hand. The undeserving have an unlimited amount of indignation. Few pleasures surpass good soap and a hot shower. All of us await better understanding by other people. The technology is far less complicated than the technicians. I wonder how many good things I'll resist doing today.

Quote of the Day

Too much attention, generally, is given to the position, rather than to the function, of leadership. But once rank assumes importance for its own sake, creativity and meaningful progress grind to a halt. 

- J. Donald Walters

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Find Something Beautiful Today


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Talent and Style


Sarah Vaughan is singing "September in the Rain" at Cultural Offering.

Miscellaneous and Fast

Andrew Munro's Blog on Scottish independence.
Eclecticity Light: Where does he find this stuff?
John Mitchell, call your office.
The New York Times: Assurances, JV, and ISIL.
Reason: People are faster to shoot which suspects: black or white? [HT: Instapundit]
CoolTools: The Christmas Tree Genie Stand.
View From the Ledge: I think I bought those lights.
Anderson Layman's Blog has some wisdom from Larry Winget.
SquawkPoint on assumptions and creativity.

Avast


A very smart man, FutureLawyer lapses into barbarism.

Health Food Update

DSC_5209

The Pioneer Woman shows how to make Orange Chicken.

Music Break

Crank it up:

The Last Days of The Third Reich

From Spiegel Online in 2011: An interview with historian Ian Kershaw. An excerpt:


SPIEGEL: The system functioned until the end. Only a few months before the end of the war, applications for building permits were being submitted and approved, and wages were being paid. The last concert of the Berlin Philharmonic took place on April 12, 1945.
Kershaw: And the Soviet offensive on the German capital began four days later. The audience sat in the unheated auditorium of the Philharmonic, wearing heavy coats, while (Wilhelm) Furtwängler conducted Symphony No. 4 by Bruckner.
SPIEGEL: And on April 23, 1945, Bayern München defeated TSV 1860 München in the Munich football derby.
Kershaw: Yes, they won 3:2. When I read that, I was so shocked that I thought the date might be wrong. But it was correct.

The Secret to Happiness



Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute discusses the nature of happiness

Very interesting.

Quote of the Day

Young men think old men are fools, but old men know young men are fools. 

- George Chapman