Thursday, September 03, 2015

Big Brother was Not Watching

What grade did Michael Crichton get at Harvard when he submitted one of George Orwell's essays as his own? 

Read the story at Open Culture.

Night Work, Night Thoughts

A storm is moving in. I'm in my study at home. The dog is giving guilt-inducing looks because I have not taken her for a walk. [A boom of thunder may have ended that desire.] The Gladiator soundtrack is playing. I'm awaiting a phone call that will sort out a project for a community group. 

The to-do list is being examined. What am I missing? Ah, yes. There are several small tasks that are boring but important. Their boredom-inducing qualities have caused me to overlook them.

And that sparks some thoughts; How many of our time investment (as opposed to time management) challenges are due to a desire to avoid boredom? Does respect for the unpleasant but important chores cause those to rise in priority while the boring but important tasks descend?

Fatigue has long been a neglected subject. Boredom also deserves scrutiny.

Regulatory Hoodwinking

Whenever you hear politicians criticizing the burden of Federal regulations, don't dismiss that as shallow campaign talk. 

They're right. 

Our consulting firm has just spend hours sorting out some new regulatory changes with regard to a specific contractual clause. The government's own estimate on how much time that would take is ludicrous. I'll be posting on that later. Let's just say the government's figure is too low.

As in "real low."

But that slant is ever-present when there is a motive to keep the estimated financial impact of the regulations as low as possible.

That grand old word "hoodwink" comes to mind.

The only thing that gets lowered is their credibility.

Music Break

An Extraordinary Life

Back by popular demand. If you watch anything today, this should be a contender: 

John Huston receiving the AFI Life Achievement Award.

Quote of the Day

I find your lack of faith disturbing

- Darth Vader

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Film Break

The trailer for "Macbeth."

The Need for Speed

Art Contrarian looks at the use of "speed lines" in the design of automobiles and other products, even spotting them in the gas station above.

Go out there today and spot those speed lines.

The Times v. Justice Thomas

Althouse points to the sort of trick one must watch for whenever reading The New York Times.


The Bionic Man

Best wishes to FutureLawyer on his upcoming operation

I'll search for some Luddite reading material to speed his recovery.

Marilyn Reads "Ulysses"

Open Culture has a great photograph of Marilyn Monroe

The accompanying story hints that she was not the "dumb blonde" she often portrayed in the films. 

Recalling Pleasures

Hard work followed by relaxation. A cool drink. A well-written sentence. An original insight about something you've seen a thousand times. A call from an old friend. The sound of a loved but forgotten song. The sky at morning and evening. A good dictionary. "The Third Man." The miracle of birds. A visit from a noble dog. Shakespeare. Dickens. The feeling of achievement. The discovery of a solution. Diana Rigg. An evening breeze. The flag flapping in the wind. Jig-saw puzzles. The precision of French. The bubbling of Spanish. Mount Vernon. Beethoven. Mozart. Copland. Bach. Pumpkin pie. The beast-like growl of a Harley. Tom Wolfe.  Fog. Sharpened pencils. Gilbert and Sullivan. That first scent of coffee. Waves on a beach. "Casablanca." A full tank of gas. Watching a skilled brick-layer or carpenter. The crack of a home-run. Chocolate-mint ice cream. The Aubrey-Maturin novels. A slow walk. Gardenias. Gentle rain. The British Museum. Old black-and-white photographs. Fine china. Having the highway to yourself. Old trucks. A game of Scrabble. Fountain pens. Birthday candles. The laugh of a certain someone. 

Quote of the Day

Speak little; do much. Well done is better than well said. 

- Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

First Paragraph

To raise the subject of sin is to provoke the interest and usually the humor of everyone; it is also to discover how limited is the range of humor on the subject. People seem compelled to try to be funny about sin, but the jokes are only variations on the theme that sin is fun, and of course that Lust especially is fun. There are some attempts at merriment about Gluttony, and to a lesser extent about Avarice and Sloth, but there the humor begins to falter. No one seems able to take Envy lightly, the thought of Anger is discomfiting, and that Pride is counted a sin causes mainly bewilderment. Everyone is responding differently to the "warm, disreputable" sins and to the "cold, respectable" ones. 

- From The Seven Deadly Sins Today by Henry Fairlie


A manager complaining about chaos resembles a swimmer complaining about water. 

The purpose of a job is often one of the most frustrating aspects of the job.

If you choose to let it be so.


"I went to confession, Ignatius. I told Father everything. He says, 'It don't sound like your fault, honey. It sounds to me like you just took a little skid on a wet street.' So I told him about you. I says 'My boy says I'm the one stopping him from writing in his copybooks. He's been writing on this story for almost five years.' And Father says, 'Yeah? Well, don't sound too important to me. You tell him to get out the house and go to work.'"

"No wonder I cannot support the Church," Ignatius bellowed. "You should have been lashed right there in the confessional." 

- From A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole


It is no longer thought of or talked about or planned or targeted or expected or awaited.

It is done.

And once done, the fact that it was done cannot be taken away even if the substance is removed or the actions reversed or the policy revoked for there will always be the fact that once upon a time it was done.

Quote of the Day

The wise person does at once what the fool does finally. 

- Baltasar Gracian

Monday, August 31, 2015

Ode to Joy

The last tweet of Oliver Sacks: A flashmob in Spain.

You will smile.

The List

Write enough ideas and plans and you'll eventually scribble something that is remarkable.

The trick then is to get it done. A deadline and the desire to do it right can work wonders.

Jot down all that is needed and get moving. Give yourself no excuses.

One secret: Have the project support a higher purpose. That will fuel your efforts.

Pfeffer's Picks

strategy + business has Jeffrey Pfeffer's required reading for aspiring leaders. Good choices.

Quote of the Day

Being a nerd just means there is something in the world that you care deeply about. 

- Olivia Munn

Sunday, August 30, 2015

What is Around the Corner?

You can find a lot of life at A Simple, Village Undertaker.

Top Banana

I submitted an entry in the Eclecticity Light Ripe for a Caption Contest.

Since there are no other entries, my chances may be good. 

Find Something Beautiful Today

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Reinventing the Axe

Political Calculations has the video on Leveraxe, a simple but brilliant invention.

You know you want one.

The LOL Post of the Day

It's at Cultural Offering.

Ski Time

Here is the official trailer

Get ready to hit the slopes.

Prepare to Say "Wow"

Motor Trend looks at 20 great cars from the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

They are works of art.

The Beginnings of Our Friend Sherlock

The trailer for "Dr. Bell and Mr. Doyle."

Storm Chasers

Back by popular demand:

Mike Oblinski's beautiful video: "The Chase."

And don't miss Bryan Snider's video of an amazing rain storm in Tucson.

Serious weather.

Choose and Become

Let’s say you had the chance to become a vampire. With one magical bite you would gain immortality, superhuman strength and a life of glamorous intensity. Your friends who have undergone the transformation say the experience is incredible. They drink animal blood, not human blood, and say everything about their new existence provides them with fun, companionship and meaning.

Would you do it? Would you consent to receive the life-altering bite, even knowing that once changed you could never go back?

Read the rest of the David Brooks column in The New York Times.

"End of Civilization As We Know It" Films

The trailers for:

Quote of the Day

Everybody wants to save the Earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes. 

- P.J. O'Rourke

Friday, August 28, 2015

Music Break

First Paragraph

If you're reading this, you're a new employee at Human Resources, Inc. Congratulations. And condolences. At the very least, you're embarking on a career that you will never be able to describe as dull. You'll go to interesting places. You'll meet unique and stimulating people from all walks of life. And kill them. You'll make a lot of money, but that will mean nothing to you after the first job. Assassination, no matter how easy it looks in the movies, is the most difficult, stressful, and lonely profession on the planet. From this point on, whenever you hear someone bitch about his job, it will take every fiber of your being to keep from laughing in his face. This work isn't for everyone. Most of you are going to find that out the hard way because you'll be dead by the end of the month. And that's still just the training phase. 

- From The Intern's Handbook by Shane Kuhn

The Day

The day rarely consists of major decisions.

It is instead filled with a collection of small decisions that, when combined with the small decisions of other days, will have an enormous influence on our lives.

We don't recognize the pattern until later, if ever.

So what can we do? Schedule our priorities and then, day after day, strive to make the right small decisions. 

We can also stop looking for the big ones. We'll know those when they arrive but the small and important ones are often well-disguised.

Quote of the Day

It is not a fragrant world

- Raymond Chandler