Sunday, July 24, 2016

Find Something Beautiful Today

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers

TED talk: Adam Grant discusses his research on original thinkers.

Happy Birthday, Raymond!

Raymond Chandler was born on this date in 1888.


I periodically link to this mini-series from 1986: An admirable spoof on "Dallas."

Note the cast. Hard to resist a program with characters named Talon and Torch.

The Man Knows Music

Cultural Offering has the Essential Mixes for Peter Gabriel.

Art Break: Tom Lovell

Muddy Colors has information on the book.

Here is an earlier post about his work.

I'm reminded of the old joke that an illustrator is an artist who can draw.

Alleged Harassment at Fox News

The Washington Post: Did Roger Ailes foster a "locker room" atmosphere?

First Paragraph

Mr. Avery, managing director of the Insular and Continental Steam Navigation Company, had just arrived at his office. He glanced at his inward letters, ran his eye over his list of engagements for the day, and inspected the return of the movements of his Company's steamers. Then, after spending a few moments in thought, he called his chief clerk, Wilcox. 

- From The Cask by Freeman Wills Crofts

Vandalism and Politics

Here in Arizona, I've seen quite a few Bernie Sanders bumper stickers and a small but roughly equal number of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump stickers. 

Bumper stickers and campaign buttons aren't as popular as they used to be. They may be regarded as somewhat downscale or simply as a pain to remove. Way back in 1964 when passions were high and favorite son Barry Goldwater was running against President Lyndon Johnson, there were plenty of bumper stickers for both candidates and yet I never heard of anyone's car being vandalized because of a sticker.

That tolerance has been gone for some time. It is not unusual to hear people mention that they'd never put a political sticker on their car. The primary reason cited is fear of vandalism. The specific fear is that the car will be "keyed." That is a cruel and extreme way of harming someone who simply expresses a different opinion.

The "bumper sticker fear" may be a small reflection of what has happened to political discourse. 

What Do They Really Want Fixed?

A job can resemble a repair call where the home owners tell you that the washing machine needs to be fixed but, truth be known, they really want you to repair their car.

Highly Recommended

Quote of the Day

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy - they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. 

- Marcel Proust

Friday, July 22, 2016

Bardot Break

Your Book Ground Rules

First, the confession. Depending upon the book, I may dog-ear pages, write in the margins, underline, put stars next to particularly important parts, scrawl a point of disagreement with the author, put question marks next to points that are unclear, etc.

Ultra-expensive books rarely get such treatment. Non-fiction is more likely to be scrawled upon because I see it as a tool. A cheap paperback novel might get dog-eared but I use index cards as bookmarks in most instances.

There may be some bias. A copy of War and Peace will receive reverential treatment. A paperback mystery or western may not. 

Do you have ground rules for the treatment of your books?

Shootings in Munich

At least for now, here is the streaming Sky News report.

Radical Chic: That Party at Lenny's

From New York magazine in 1970: The classic report by Tom Wolfe

Highly Recommended

Quote of the Day

Goodness is the only investment that never fails. 

- Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Art Break: Walton

Art Contrarian looks at the work of Edward Arthur Walton.

First Paragraph

Grofield jumped out of the Ford with a gun in one hand and the empty satchel in the other. Parker was out and running too, and Laufman stayed hunched over the wheel, his foot tapping the accelerator. 

- From The Black Bird by Donald Westlake writing as Richard Stark

Pokemon Go: Here to Stay?

I just learned the other day that Pokemon Go can, on occasion, require running after objects that are invisible to on-lookers. That alone may seriously diminish my enthusiasm for the game.

- Execupundit

For another take, read writer and producer Rob Long's essay at The National.

What's Your Mindset?

From 2015: A review by Bill Gates of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

Your Secret Significant Action Report

For many years I have recommended that managers and supervisors ask their direct reports to submit a biweekly or monthly Significant Action Report. The idea is to have one document that can be easily reviewed and used as a basis for discussion. What either party regards as significant is revealing in itself but the listing provides a handy way to track progress.

Even if you report to no one, however, it can be helpful to prepare and update a Significant Action Report for your own benefit. It is reminder of what is important and what is starting to drift. You may decide to share its contents with nobody but you will find that it is one of your most important documents.

Don't go into huge amounts of detail - the report should be no longer than two pages - but note the current status of important projects. I find that a weekly report permits me to catch changes while nudging me to address neglected priorities.

Try it. You'll like it.

Highly Recommended

Quote of the Day

Do things for others and you'll find your self-consciousness evaporating like morning dew. 

- Dale Carnegie

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Clear Padlock for Lock Pick Practice


Well, this is certainly more practical than that clear figure of the human body that used to be in toy stores. 

CoolTools has the details.

COMIC CON The Musical

From Nerdist Presents.

Our Man at Comic Con will be providing a review. It's his fourth year there and he told me he'll be disguised as an old man.

Wait. That was also his disguise last year.

[HT: Lou Rodarte]

Checking Ourselves Out

"One of the worst things about life is not how nasty the nasty people are. You know that already. It is how nasty the nice people can be." 

- Anthony Powell

For online training on ethical decision making, see "Practical Ethics for Honest People."

Churchill Solitaire

Forget Pokemon Go. 

The real question is "What is your rank on Churchill Solitaire?"

Military Strength

The National Interest: The five most powerful armies in 2030.

Question Time

Click here and watch the new British Prime Minister Theresa May scoring points.

Good, solid, hits below the water line.

[Update: The previous link got strange, Here is a longer but more reliable video.]

Above The Timberline

At Muddy Colors, Gregory Manchess gives an update on his novel.

Something to Think About

Seth Godin's point about portion control. An excerpt:
Busy corporate lawyers spend twelve hours a day at work, and somehow, are busy the entire time. It's easy to imagine that they could get their work done (most days) in 8 hours, but the container they're using is size XL, and so the work expands to fit.
Dieters have been shown to eat less when they use smaller plates.

Execupundit Note: Mix in Parkinson's Law.

Some Helpful Cautions

When using e-mail, I'd like to see the following messages pop up on my computer screen:

  1. "Would the person who sent you that e-mail be completely comfortable if you forwarded it to another person?"
  2. "After the count of 15, you will be asked if you really want to send that message."
  3. "Did you proof-read that?"
  4. "If you are angry, click YES to delay the transmission of messages."
  5. "Would it be better to call or visit the designated recipient?"

Highly Recommended

Quote of the Day

If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. 

- Isaac Newton

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Film Break

The trailers for:

Art Break: Harden

Moon and Mountain. Acrylic on canvas. Libby Harden.

"Moon and Mountain" by Libby Harden.

Trump's Entrance

Althouse shows Trump's entrance at the GOP Convention last night and compares it to some other famous profile moments, including Hitchcock's.

The George Costanza clip is also memorable.

Will Things Fall Apart?

From 2005: A thought-provoking column by Peggy Noonan

Note the anecdote about Ted Kennedy.

[I hope a firewall doesn't spring up for that column and I apologize if one does.]

Early Morning

Coffee. Legal pad. Thoughts.

Jot them down before they fly away.

First Paragraph

Jack Wilkins knew he was about to witness history: In the long history of budgetary fights, Adam Humphrey vs. Nicholas Bader was going to be the clash of the titans: Otto von Bismarck vs. Genghis Khan. 

- From The Weed Agency: A Comic Tale of Federal Bureaucracy Without Limits by Jim Geraghty

Out There

  • "We're a very close team. We've worked together for years and we like to tackle problems. And when a problem surfaces, we're ready. Provided, of course, that the problem is 'out there' somewhere because we're a good bunch. We don't have any, you know, internal problems. At least, not serious ones."
  • "Our schools are bad. Many kids drop out. Our kids don't make good grades. The teachers are terrible. There's no discipline. What? Our role as parents? Do our kids study enough? Do our kids behave? That's not our job. You're trying to blame the victims."

Highly Recommended

Quote of the Day

When Wilt Chamberlain was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers many years ago, I was invited to the press conference. One of the reporters asked him this question. "Wilt, do you think Coach Van Breda Kolff (the Lakers' coach) can handle you? It's been said you're hard to handle."

Wilt replied, "You 'handle' farm animals. You work with people. I am a person. I can work with anyone."

- John Wooden

Monday, July 18, 2016

Rules of Writing

Brain Pickings has Neil Gaiman's rules and links to some others.

Pulp Break

The Pokemon Go Craze

The Execupundit "Pokemon Go" Checklist:

Start with Cultural Offering's observations.

Trip over a park bench.

Then check FutureLawyer's giddiness re liability here and here.

Step on a squirrel.

Go back to the Althouse post re the controversy on where to play it.

Turn around and realize that you've just walked three miles.

USA Today has a beginner's guide.

The game sounds interesting. How far are we from "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?".

Being a cutting edge techie, I will try it out.

[Update: Labor & Employment Law Navigator weighs in.]

You Will Smile

Murray Perahia Plays Handel & Scarlatti

Art Break: Bergey

Art Contrarian looks at the work of Earle Bergey.

Storm and Dog

While locking up last night, I noticed that the neighbors across the street had lost their electricity. Our side, however, continued to glow and our air conditioners were humming. A storm was expected but it had not arrived.

And then, around three in the morning, I felt a wet nose. The dog was by my side of the bed, seeking reassurance amid thunder that was faint but close enough for canine radar. I petted her and made soothing noises.

That continued until close to four when the dog retreated to her bed and I decided to get up. More rain is expected today.


The forecasters are less reliable than the dog.

First Paragraph

Petronius did his best. He wasn't a bad fellow at heart, though he had the foulest mind in Rome and drank like a camel. And he was such an expert in the art of modern living that the Emperor never dared buy a vase or a statue, or even sample an unfamiliar vintage, without his advice. 

- From Epics Are Out of Fashion, a short story by Robert Graves

Want to Improve?

Want to improve:

  • Customer service? Hire nice people.
  • The ethical climate? Honor honesty.
  • Quality? Reward efforts that increase it and discourage conduct that doesn't.
  • Initiative? Tolerate, even celebrate, intelligent mistakes.
  • Dedication? Recognize the silent achievers.
  • Leadership? Treat it as a widely held responsibility and not a caste.
  • Credibility? Do what you say you will do.
  • Your morale? Stop beating up on yourself.


Our country's problems are real, and they aren't going away on their own or by saying, "Yes, we can." We're $211 trillion in debt, saving nothing, investing next to nothing, in most cases experiencing no real wage growth, suffering high unemployment, growing more unequal, getting older, refusing to die, balancing a phony budget, fighting wars of pride rather than purpose, dumping massive liabilities on our kids, and sustaining a "trust me" banking system poised to redetonate.

We are, in short, totally screwed. Yes, that's strong language. But in thinking about the state of the economy and what we've done and are doing to ourselves and our children, it is the only honest description. It's loud and offensive, but when a house is on fire, screaming "FIRE" is the only responsible way to warn its occupants. 

- From The Clash of Generations: Saving Ourselves, Our Kids, and Our Economy by Laurence J. Kotlikoff and Scott Burns [The MIT Press, 2012]

Highly Recommended

Quote of the Day

The old idea was that we were humans, not gods, and so we did not regard history as an exercise in deconstructing the past by retroactively apportioning blame and praise according to present standards of morality.

- Victor Davis Hanson