Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Quote of the Day

Losers have goals. Winners have systems.

- Scott Adams

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Art Break: Fuchs

Art Contrarian looks at the work of Bernie Fuchs.

Quick Look

The trailer for "Ready Player One." [An upcoming Spielberg film.]

Getting Things Done in a Deliberative Body

Cultural Offering has the video of John McCain's speech upon his return to the Senate. 

Here's hoping it is taken to heart by both sides and by all factions.

"La Dolce Vita" Break

Image result for anita eckberg gif

Quick Look

The trailer for "Margin Call."

The Missing How

The theory is that a supervisor should simply tell team members what he or she wants done and then back off and let them work out how it will be done. The result of this magical practice is that the employees will naturally come up with a great way of achieving the mission.

Or they won't.

It all depends, of course, on the ability of the employees and the nature of the mission. The reason why I am skeptical of that clever avoidance of the "how" is that if the employees are not prepared to handle it, the only creativity you'll see is in the caliber of their excuses as to why it was not done.

A quick example: the leadership for a nonprofit organization tells a group of employees that knows next to nothing about fund-raising to raise funds. They receive no training on how to do so but are given extensive briefings on why it is desirable; a bit of information they already knew.

The result? The fund-raising project fails and the following month another briefing on the necessity of fund-raising is given.

The cycle continues.

The Why is where thought dwells. The How is where action will, or will not, appear. 

Great Book Titles

Image result for the sand pebbles book amazon

Quote of the Day

He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.

- Socrates

Monday, July 24, 2017

Celebrate Westerns

Image result for 3:10 to yuma poster amazon

Art Break: Broders

Art Contrarian looks at posters by Roger Broders.

Anne Dufourmantelle, RIP

The French academic and author, who wrote about the importance of taking risks, died while trying to save a child.

Automation, Professionals, and Managers

Here’s the dirty little secret about automation: it’s easier to build a robot to replace a junior attorney than to replace a journeyman electrician. And that fact helps explain why economists and politicians are feeling misgivings about “creative destruction,” which, up to now, they have usually embraced as a net good for society. Technology and automation, they’ve argued—correctly—boost productivity and create more jobs overall (even as some kinds of work get eradicated).

Read the rest of the essay by Mark P. Mills in City Journal.

This Old Horse

Sprained my shoulder. Am applying a variety of home remedies, beginning with BenGay. Am saving the nuclear option - Sloan's Liniment - for last.

I tried some approaches from the Internet because, as we know, it is the source of all wisdom. They made it worse. The BenGay has helped. I like the version that smells like Pepto-Bismol because I want some indication of when it may be wearing off, assuming that has any relation to logic. 

Absorbine Jr. is my middle option. 

Since it was originally used for horses it may be a good fit.

Quick Look

The trailer for "The Battle of Algiers."

Get Out There and Fail

A person tells you about a disastrous presentation he made and you're thinking, "That's not even in the top thirty of the worst presentations I've seen." You wish you had a few videos of those because he'll think you're just being kind when you're really being honest.

Our own poor performances can be powerful lessons but the less than stellar performances of others can be inspirational. Pick a famous writer, artist, or musician and you'll probably be able to find some cringe-worthy efforts in their work. (Okay, let's exclude Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach). Not all of Shakespeare's plays equaled "Hamlet." Dickens wrote some so-so stuff. Many a famous actor has performed in films that were mediocre. And let's not get into the number of skilled executives who have a termination or two in their background.

Failure is part of the process. You win some, you lose some, and you keep moving.

You don't take it lightly but you take it and learn.

Get out there and fail.

Great Book Titles

Image result for let's pretend this never happened amazon

Quote of the Day

There is no future in a job. The only future is inside yourself.

- Stephen R. Covey

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Find Something Beautiful Today

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Bock on Books

Wally Bock reviews The Outward Mindset by The Arbinger Institute.

Celebrate Westerns

Image result for open range poster amazon


My elder daughter should take some of the credit, or blame, for getting me to start reading again as if there might be a tomorrow, when I was ready to settle down on my deathbed and read nothing but the Bible. She had all of Patrick O'Brian's Jack Aubrey novels in her house and urged me to try the first one, Master and Commander, with a promise that it was even better than the movie. She was like a drug dealer handing out a free sample.

- Clive James in Latest Readings

Quick Look

The trailer for "Amarcord."

A World Awash in Change

Real Clear Politics: Former Secretary of State George P. Shultz gives his thoughts. An excerpt:

Early in Ronald Reagan's presidency, the U.S. air-traffic controllers struck. People came into the Oval Office and counseled him that this presented very complex problems. He said, "It's not complicated; it's simple. They took an oath of office and they broke it. They're out." All over the world, people thought that Reagan was crazy, but he turned to his secretary of transportation, who had been the chief executive of a large transportation company and who understood the problems and knew how to execute. He kept the planes flying. All over the word, people thought, "This guy plays for keeps. Be careful."

What Are You Reading Each Morning Before Coffee?

Check the start of the list by Nicholas Bate.

Great Book Titles

Image result for the cruel sea amazon

Quote of the Day

Most people say that their main fault is a lack of discipline. On deeper thought, I believe that is not the case. The basic problem is that their priorities have not become deeply planted in their hearts and minds.

- Stephen R. Covey

Friday, July 21, 2017

Celebrate Westerns

Image result for the good the bad and the ugly poster italian amazon


Winston Churchill: "We shall never surrender."

Another Explanation: They are Immoral and Cruel

Althouse analyzes the case of the boys who watched a man drown and did nothing to assist him. An excerpt:

They talk to the man. What they say is crude, but it communicates a truth to the man. They will not help him. And they struggle to explain why: He shouldn't have gone in there. They laugh in the end when he goes under. I haven't heard the laughing. But it could be anxiety, shock, and denial.

Quick Look

The trailer for "Nowhere in Africa."

The Strange Death of Europe

Mark Steyn talks to Douglas Murray about Murray's new book on immigration, identity, and Islam.

Quick Look

The trailer for "True Confessions."

McCain, Comedy Central, and Sam McGee

From The Weekly Standard in 1999: Andrew Ferguson tells about the time that Comedy Central tried to trap Senator John McCain with a question about his favorite poet.

Be sure to read the story all the way through to the end.

For those unfamiliar with the poetry of Robert W. Service, here are two of his most famous poems:

First Paragraph

It was November. Although it was not yet late, the sky was dark when I turned into Laundress Passage. Father had finished for the day, switched off the shop lights and closed the shutters; but so I would not come home to darkness he had left on the light over the stairs to the flat. Through the glass in the door it cast a foolscap rectangle of paleness onto the wet pavement, and it was while I was standing in that rectangle, about to turn my key in the door, that I first saw the letter. Another white rectangle, it was on the fifth step from the bottom, where I couldn't miss it.

- From The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Great Book Titles

Image result for the little drummer girl amazon

Quote of the Day

The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.

- Paulo Coelho

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Oh, That Way.

Althouse provides some indirect advice on how to get a reality TV show.


At Five Books, Jenny Hartley recommends the best books on Charles Dickens.

I confess to being particularly fond of Bleak House.

The Toilet Exhibit at The Guggenheim

For AmericaCattelan replaced the toilet in this restroom with a fully functional replica cast in 18-karat gold, making available to the public an extravagant luxury product seemingly intended for the 1 percent. Its participatory nature, in which viewers are invited to make use of the fixture individually and privately, allows for an experience of unprecedented intimacy with a work of art. Cattelan’s toilet offers a wink to the excesses of the art market but also evokes the American dream of opportunity for all—its utility ultimately reminding us of the inescapable physical realities of our shared humanity.

Read the rest about this 2016 exhibit at The Guggenheim Museum.

Consider it they would ever have a similar exhibit named for any of the following:
  • Islam
  • Europe
  • Mexico
  • Socialism.

Reading Lists

Politico magazine: What politicos are reading this summer.

Art Break: Cuneo

Art Contrarian looks at the work of Rinaldo Cuneo.

Another Reason Why I Gave Up Cycling

Althouse has the photo.

I think I'll go eat a cookie.

Quick Look

The trailer for "The Philadelphia Story." 

Note the reference to the cost of Broadway seats.

Thinking Recipe

The idea involves a dash of libertarian legal philosophy, a pinch of labor law, a couple of ounces of communication theory plus several cups of experience working with executives, managers, and supervisors. That will be marinated in a few theories of my own and left in the back of my mind for several days. It will then be blended with some observations by Napoleon Bonaparte, George Orwell, and Ray Bradbury.

Thinking can be complicated. 

I'll have to make sure it's not half-baked.

Great Book Titles

Image result for the darkness and the dawn costain amazon

Quote of the Day

When confused as to how you're doing as a leader, find out how the people you lead are doing. You'll know the answer.

- Larry Bossidy