Saturday, February 27, 2021

Avoid Multi-Tasking

Something about this story doesn't seem right but it is a reminder to avoid multi-tasking.

It also is an excuse to post the best quote from the television series M.A.S.H.:

"I do one thing at a time, I do it very well, and then I move on."

- Major Charles Emerson Winchester

The Power of the Powerless

The manager of a fruit-and-vegetable shop places in his window, among the onions and carrots, the slogan: "Workers of the world, unite!" Why does he do it? What is he trying to communicate to the world? Is he genuinely enthusiastic about the idea of unity among the workers of the world? Is his enthusiasm so great that he feels an irrepressible impulse to acquaint the public with his ideals? Has he really given more than a moment's thought to how such a unification might occur and what it would mean? 

I think it can safely be assumed that the overwhelming majority of shopkeepers never think about the slogans they put in their windows, nor do they use them to express their real opinions. That poster was delivered to our greengrocer from the enterprise headquarters along with the onions and carrots. He put them all into the window simply because it has been done that way for years, because everyone does it, and because that is the way it has to be. If he were to refuse, there could be trouble. He could be reproached for not having the proper decoration in his window; someone might even accuse him of disloyalty. He does it because these things must be done if one is to get along in life. It is one of the thousands of details that guarantee him a relatively tranquil life "in harmony with society," as they say.

Read the rest of Vaclav Havel's "The Power of the Powerless."

J & J Vaccine

 City Journal: Joel M. Zinberg on the advantages of the Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine.

Weekend Leadership Reading

Wally Bock has the assignments.

[Photo by Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu at Unsplash]

Lowry and McWhorter on Thomas Sowell


A Key Question


You can know the mission statement and the budget and the policies and the organization chart and your job description and the goals and deadlines as well as the relevant legal boundaries and the entire cast of characters but there is a highly revealing question that should be answered and periodically asked again:

"How does this place work?"

What? No Special Gyms?

I lived in a dorm for most of my college years. It had been built in the 1920s and had thick walls and radiator heating in the rooms and - although this was in Arizona - no cooling system whatsoever. It had sleeping porches in-between the separate two-person rooms. Bathrooms were communal. There was a payphone in the lobby but no phones in the rooms. Televisions were not allowed but radios and record players were permitted. There was a single phone on each wing and it was operated by an operator at the front desk. Each room had a buzzer system that would let you know if you were wanted in the lobby or had a phone call. You could lock your room but the doors to the dorm were never locked which was fine because some of the scholars would come in drunk at odd hours. 

There was a ping-pong table in the basement near some candy and Pepsi machines. There was a washing machine room that was sort of scary.

The lobby had a fireplace and a television and the type of mission furniture you'd find in motels if you traveled throughout the West in the Thirties or Forties.

Once a week there was room inspection and you could trade in your old bed linen for clean sheets.

In other words, it was nothing special. It had, however, one of the highest return rates of any dormitory and an eclectic group of residents. Someone working on a doctorate might be rooming with a freshman or sophomore.

The rent was $130 per semester. 

There may be a business model here. I'm waiting for a university that will cut the frills in both the courses and the campus facilities and chop most of the administrative staff. 

My guess is that many students today would go for that spartan environment. It would certainly leave more money in their pockets.

Friday, February 26, 2021

First Exposure to Tom Jones Which, Of Course, is Like Plutonium


Team Reading


Quick Look


Find Your Style


[Photo by Toa Heftiba at Unsplash]

Collecting Coronavirus Particles

If you could collect all of the Coronavirus particles in the world in one place, how much space would you need?

Political Calculations has an answer.

Verify You're Not a Robot


If You Like Raymond Chandler, Check Out Robert B. Parker's Spencer Novels

"You spend too much time reading, Spenser. You know more stuff that don't make you money than anybody I know.”

- Robert B. Parker

Equality Act Text and Analysis

Here is the text of the bill that passed the House and which now goes to the Senate.

A Missing Item on To-Do Lists


I've had a lot of to-do lists over the years. They helped me achieve quite a bit of things, but not always the right things, and certainly not always in the most effective manner.

Looking back, there was one chore that I should have put on every list and saved time for every day.

That missing item was "Thinking." 

I mean serious, not off-the-cuff, thinking where time is dedicated, assumptions are examined, unknown subjects are identified, plans are challenged, and conclusions are at least tentatively reached. This need not be done on a mountaintop, but it should be done.

And I can attest to one thing: it does not occur automatically. You have to approach it with care and attention.

Back by Popular Demand


Thursday, February 25, 2021

As a Potato Turns

 Hold that Tot – your main spud, MR. POTATO HEAD isn’t going anywhere! While it was announced today that the POTATO HEAD brand name & logo are dropping the ‘MR.’ I yam proud to confirm that MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD aren’t going anywhere and will remain MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD

- tweet from Hasbro

Heading to the Senate

 USA Today: The Equality Act has passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

What's Going On Up There?

Political Calculations may be the only blog (on Earth) to mention the economy of Mars.

"Mr. Potato Head Goes Gender-Neutral"

This is not a parody.

These people have lost their minds.

Looks Promising


Nitwittery at Smith College

Michael Powell in The New York Times on discrimination allegations and more at Smith College.


Truly amazing that these pictures are even possible.

Reality TV as a Wealth Strategy

 Yes, I owned a TV like this once and still miss it.

Commentary magazine: Rob Long explores "Getting Rich on TV By Being Crazy."

Studying Ancient Rome is Always Time Well-Spent

For centuries, Rome stood in the shadow of her Etruscan neighbors. The Etruscans in turn were outclassed by  the political experiments underway to the east and south. The early classical Mediterranean belonged to the Greeks and Phoenicians. While Rome was still a village of letterless cattle rustlers, the Greeks were writing epic and lyric poetry, experimenting with democracy, and inventing drama, philosophy, and history as we know them. On nearer shores, the Punic peoples of Carthage built an ambitious empire, before the Romans knew how to rig a sail. Fifteen miles inland, along the soggy banks of the Tiber River, Rome was a backwater, a spectator to the creativity of the early classical world.

- From The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, & The End of an Empire by Kyle Harper

The Canadian Butter Mystery

Call Out the Mounties!

The Globe and Mail: Julie van Rosendaal on what's been going on with Canadian butter.

[Photo by Nick Amaya at Unsplash]

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The Doors?


Some of Us Will Immediately Recognize the Name

Althouse notes the passing of The Argentine Firecracker.

Rest in Peace.

Quick Look


The Power and the Silence

Walter Kirn, author of truly interesting books ("Up in the Air" was made into a film starring George Clooney) is now writing at Substack. 

His latest essay is about Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, COVID, and much more.

Check it out here.

"We are Not Safer at Home"

City Journal: James Piereson and Naomi Schaefer Riley on the danger of lockdowns.

The mental health dangers alone should be enough to raise questions. Multiple that when it comes to children.

The New Religion

 John McWhorter continues his examination of Anti-Black Anti-Racism as a religion.

When Amazon Erased a Book

First Things: Ryan T. Anderson on Amazon's decision not to carry his book.

Consider the possible implications if this is frequently done to conservative authors. Most publishing houses lean to the left side of the political spectrum to begin with. Add to that the likelihood that a major sales venue won't carry a book and a conservative won't stand a chance of being published.

One does not have to be on the right to regard that as a dangerous limitation to debate and analysis.

I, Pencil


Tuesday, February 23, 2021


Sign Me Up

Eclecticity Light has a clean, well-lighted, place to blog.

I want it.

Came Out in 1978. Big Names. Big Director. I Never Heard of It.


Ah, The European Union


Failed Notions of Objectivity?

Those who stand to gain the most from this generational transformation—either because they will snag the old guard’s jobs or simply because they share the new generation’s embrace of woke ideology—are already celebrating. Writing in Press Watch, where he is editor, former Washington Post reporter Dan Froomkin raved: “A new generation of leaders is coming! And they have a lot of urgent repair work ahead of them. That includes abandoning the failed, anachronistic notions of objectivity under which they have operated for so long, recognizing and rejecting establishment whiteness, and finding dramatically more effective ways to create an informed electorate.”

Read all of Christine Rosen's essay in Commentary.

Find Your Style

[Photo by Favour Otunji at Unsplash]

"We Will Tell You What to Think and Say" Department

Defector: American journalism has lost its mind

The repressive attitudes sown at major universities have spread to newsrooms and workplaces across the nation.

Quick Look


"It was thought about as a Manhattan Project."

 The New York Post: Dr. Francis Collins, the Director of the National Institutes of Health, talks about Operation Warp Speed. An excerpt:

“Those words were used sometimes to describe what needed to happen in order to get all parts of the government together in an unprecedented way to test up to six vaccines in rigorous trials, and to do this at-risk manufacturing so that if any of those trials happen to work, you would already have doses ready to go into arms,” Collins added, “That would not be the way things are traditionally done.”

Remembering Heroism


Broadway and the Pandemic

 City Journal: Judith Miller explores how the pandemic damaged Broadway's stage performances and whether theater will recover. An excerpt:

Some of that fear is likely to linger even after patrons are vaccinated. Umanoff worries that it may take a few years for people to feel comfortable again indoors—but no one really knows. “There is no precedent for this. There is no business model.” If a silver lining exists for companies like Mark Morris, it’s the growth of the fan base, thanks to online programming. Some 4,400 people from the U.S. and abroad signed up in May 2020 for an event featuring dances on video. “So now we have nearly 10,000 names on our mailing list,” Umanoff said, “including over 2,000 new donors.” But the prospect of new subscribers can’t compensate for a lost year of live performances: some $1.8 million in revenue vanished in March 2020 when performances were suddenly canceled. Jobs, too, were lost. The company’s payroll of 226 in February 2020 shrank, at its lowest point, to just 59; it has slowly recovered and is now up to 122.

Neo-Racists Posing as Anti-Racists

Professor and author John McWhorter provides some chapters from the beginning of his upcoming book on racist anti-racists.

More on John McWhorter here.

When Puppets Kill

Fast Company: When Jim Henson (of Muppet fame) created violent ads for Wilkins Coffee.

Monday, February 22, 2021

An Advantage for the Long Term

If you're evenly split on a difficult decision, take the path more painful in the short term.

- Naval Ravikant

As the World Goes Insane: The Muppet Show Has a Disclaimer

 Althouse has the details

The Swedish Chef, of course, was really skating the edges, The Count made people from Transylvania weep, and we always knew that Johnny Cash was a rebel.

Deciding Who's a Nazi


Find Your Style

[Photo by Riccardo Lugermad at Unsplash]

Armani FutureLawyer

FutureLawyer has snagged the Emporio Armani Smartwatch

That means the Armani will soon be seen on the beaches of Florida or behind a cruising RV/law office swerving its way to the beaches.

Very stylish. The man is never out of touch.


There is something thrilling about a person who has passion for a particular job.

Cultural Offering recommends a documentary on such a person.

Today is George Washington's Birthday




An Inquisitive Mat

Stephen Landry has my next door mat.

Identity Politics as a Religion

The Giving Review has discussion with Georgetown political theory professor Joshua Mitchell about the religion of identity politics and the group it uses as a scapegoat. 

[I am reading Mitchell's latest book, American Awakening. Very insightful.]

[Photo by Possessed Photography at Unsplash]

How Cities Come Back

The American Affairs Journal: Joel Kotkin on "The American City's Long Road to Recovery."


Pew Research Center on the use of "Latinx." 

Few Hispanics use it but I suspect it is more popular in faculty lounges.

If Latino and Latina are viewed as exclusionary, then the Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese languages in general are going to pose serious challenges.