Saturday, September 22, 2018

It's a Jungle Out There

The trailers for:

View from My Desk

A recovering and reading day. 

"For pleasure, read one chapter by Nabokov. For punishment, two."

- Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Wolf Hall

This is a good time to re-watch the series.

New Stats on Immigration

A new look from Yale at the number of undocumented (a.k.a. illegal) immigrants. 

An excerpt:

Our original idea was just to do a sanity check on the existing number,” says Edward Kaplan, the William N. and Marie A. Beach Professor of Operations Research at the Yale School of Management. “Instead of a number which was smaller, we got a number that was 50% higher. That caused us to scratch our heads.”

Life Expectancy: Tick Tock

person holding white mini bell alarmclock

[Photo by Lukas Blazek at Unsplash]

If you are an American, Political Calculations has your life expectancy.

Modern Times

Image result for the trial poster amazon

The trailer for "The Trial."

Attention Stoics

The Sovereign Professional has information on a free, online University of London class on stoicism.

I'll be enrolling. The teachings of Seneca and Epictetus are as relevant today as in their time, perhaps even more so.

Bock's Reading Assignments

person holding green paper

[Photo by Hitesh Choudhary at Unsplash]

Not a man for fluff, Wally Bock's weekend leadership assignments are on artificial intelligence.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Highly Recommended

Image result for a war like no other amazon

I am still in the process of reading this but will put in an early recommendation. It is one of the most interesting books I've read in years. There is a reason why The Peloponnesian War is studied at West Point and I now see why historians such as Lord Bullock stressed reading Thucydides in order to understand the modern world. Victor Davis Hanson does an outstanding job of providing a perspective that is often missed.

An excerpt:

"No government was as calculating or sober - or blinkered - as Sparta's gerousia, a governing senate of old men who had seen little of civilization abroad and thus were loath to sanction rash action beyond the vale of Laconia. No government was as reckless and dangerous as Athens' assembly, composed of many leaders who had traveled the Aegean. Yet the latter in a minute's fit could call for the execution of a man - or an entire captured city across the seas - on the flimsiest of charges."

Another excerpt:

"No one foresaw such carnage in 431. Who believed that in just two years, the majestic Pericles would end up covered with pustules, grasping an amulet as he coughed out his life in the fevers of the plague? The millionaire Nicias never imagined that twenty years later he would beg for his life before having his throat slit eight hundred miles away in Sicily. Nor did the handsome Alcibiades, the rage of Athens, envision that he of all people would be murdered by assassins in an obscure hamlet in Asia Minor. Everything considered wisdom at the beginning of the war would be proven folly at its end."

Always Timely

This animal is very bad; when attacked it defends itself.

- Old French song

A Prescription I've Been Longing For

Following this morning's skin-carving procedure - no photos will be provided - my dermatologist prescribed a regimen for which I've longed. She said, "Be lazy for a couple of days."

I thought, "I can handle that."

It reminded me of a story I've mentioned before about one of my aunts. She was anemic as a child and was taken to see Dr. Moeur, a rough old guy who later became governor of Arizona. He told my grandmother, "Take that girl home and give her plenty of red meat and red wine."

I've searched the globe for a doctor who'd prescribe red meat and red wine but apparently the medical profession has declined since Dr. Moeur's day.

I'll settle for lazy.

Is It Numb?

gray scissors and scalper on table

[Photo by rawpixel at Unsplash]

My forehead and I get to spend some scalpel time with a dermatologist this morning; penance for my having had a childhood in Phoenix in the days when a tan was desirable, sunscreen was unknown, and swimming was a big part of life. 

Back later.

Old Lizard

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Delving into Falstaff's Background

Some more on "Chimes at Midnight."

Great stuff.

Quick Look

The trailer for "Stan and Ollie."

First Paragraph

Several of us, all more or less connected with the sea, were dining in a small river-hostelry not more than thirty miles from London, and less than twenty from that shallow and dangerous puddle to which our coasting men give the grandiose name of "German Ocean." And through the wide windows we had a view of the Thames; an enfilading view down the Lower Hope Reach. But the dinner was execrable, and all the feast was for the eyes.

- From Falk: A Reminiscence by Joseph Conrad

Some Little Moment

person sitting inside train

[Photo by Jeffrey Blum at Unsplash]

Some little moment, some slight facial expression, word, tone, comment, hesitation or gesture that was not here seconds ago but by now has arrived and gone and you know, for good or ill, you will remember it the rest of your life.

On My List

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The trailer for "The Hollow Crown."

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


film tape on floor

[Photo by John Moeses Bauan at Unsplash]

The trailer for "Magician: The Astonishing Life & Work of Orson Welles."

Reading Goal

books closed selective focus photo

[Photo by Kiwihug at Unsplash]

Cultural Offering notes some calculations showing that you can read 200 books a year.

I would say it depends on the type of books. Even allowing for some of the more challenging ones, it is not difficult to read at least 40 books a year. 

50 to 55 is a good goal.

It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day

woman wearing sleeveless crop top

[Photo by Vladislav Todorov at Unsplash]

As if I needed to tell you. You've probably been planning for weeks.

Of course, Robert Newton set the standard.

Seeing Your Neighbor

man taking selfie

[Photo by Timothy Barlin at Unsplash]

To love your neighbor is to see your neighbor. To see somebody, really to see somebody, you have to love somebody. You have to see people the way Rembrandt saw the old lady, not just a face that comes at you the way a dry leaf blows at you down the path like all other dry leaves, but in a way that you realize the face is something the likes of which you have never seen before and will never see again. To love somebody we must see that person's face, and once in a while we do. Usually it is because something jolts us into seeing it.

- Frederick Buechner in The Remarkable Ordinary: How to Stop, Look, and Listen to Life

Orson as Falstaff

The re-release trailer for "Chimes at Midnight."

The Kavanaugh Hearings

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Quick Look

The trailer for "Presumed Innocent."

First Paragraph

white concrete temple frame near body of water

[Photo by Cristina Gottardi at Unsplash]

The beginning of the Peloponnesian War is now 2,436 years in the past. Yet Athens and Sparta are still on our minds and will not go away. Their permanence seems odd. After all, ancient Greek warring parties were mere city-states, most of them smaller in population and size than Dayton, Ohio, or Trenton, New Jersey. Mainland Greece itself is no larger than Alabama, and in antiquity was bordered by empires like the Persian, which encompassed nearly one million square miles with perhaps 70 million subjects. Napoleon's army alone had more men under arms by 1800 than the entire male population of all the Greek city-states combined. In our own age, more people died in Rwanda or Cambodia in a few days than were lost in twenty-seven years of civil war in fifth-century B.C. Greece.

- From A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War by Victor Davis Hanson

Coming Out in December

The Chain

TED Talk: Bob Davids on leadership without ego.

Modern Times

[Photo by Maria Darii at Unsplash]

The dogs bark and the caravan moves on.

- Arabian proverb

"The Last Man on Earth"

person standing near cliff

[Photo by Leio McLaren at Unsplash]

Cultural Offering reviews the series and then outlines what he would do if he were the last man on earth.

A sound plan. I'd add ammo to his list but I know he already has plenty of it.

[Here's the trailer for the series.]

"The Girl from Ipanema"

Her song is at The Hammock Papers.

Monday, September 17, 2018

More Hans

Hans Zimmer:  "Chevaliers de SangrĂ©al."


five black toy bats with sticks

[Photo by Mel Poole at Unsplash]

Don’t forget to take a break from planning your elaborate Halloween costume to ask yourself how things went this wrong for you.

- Tim Siedell

This Looks Promising

The trailer for "Green Book."

First Paragraph

Around the time that he reached the unnerving milestone of turning thirty, Leonardo da Vinci wrote a letter to the ruler of Milan listing the reasons he should be given a job. He had been moderately successful as a painter in Florence, but he had trouble finishing his commissions and was searching for new horizons. In the first ten paragraphs, he touted his engineering skills, including his ability to design bridges, waterways, cannons, armored vehicles, and public buildings. Only in the eleventh paragraph, at the end, did he add that he was also an artist. "Likewise in painting, I can do everything possible," he wrote.

- From Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

One Damned Thing After Another

silhouette of person kicking on mid air

[Photo by Jason Briscoe at Unsplash]

If life is one damned thing after another, then let that be your strategy and take them on one at a time.

Not two or three at a time. Just one. And then another. And another.

Quick Look

The trailer for "A Simple Favor."

If there'd only been a clue.

First Paragraph

George Washington was dying. The rumor spread quickly through Manhattan neighborhoods ravaged by influenza, the "contagious distemper" first diagnosed on Roman streets half a century earlier. Impartial to class, color, or politics, the disease was more democratic than the young American republic whose ruling elite it threatened. At a boardinghouse on Maiden Lane, Congressman James Madison took to his bed, too sick to argue with Alexander Hamilton over the secretary of the treasury's audacious plan to consolidate federal power by having the government in New York assume the debts and revenue sources formerly reserved for individual states.

- From Patriarch: George Washington and the New American Nation by Richard Norton Smith