Saturday, March 24, 2018

In the Stacks

Two vintage hardcover books with deteriorating pages laying next to each other.

[Photo by Kiwihug at Unsplash]

Back soon.

Quote of the Day

The laws in this city are racist. All laws are racist. The law of gravity is racist.

- Marion Barry

Friday, March 23, 2018

Quick Look

The trailer for "Adrift."

News You Can Use: Sleep

The Art of Manliness has a technique on how to fall asleep in two minutes or less.

Don't forget "the brook trout look."

[HT: Instapundit]

Weekend Leadership Reading

Shot of daytime studio through the doorway with lifesaver and plants on wall, Isles of Scilly

[Photo by Annie Spratt at Unsplash]

Wally Bock has some assignments for us.

Quick Look

The trailer for "Unbroken 2."

A Chair, a Book, and an Appointment

An armchair, checkered table, and books in a room with wooden floorboards

[Photo by at Cater Yang Unsplash]

So often we read on the fly. Whether it is while having breakfast or waiting in doctor's offices or at airports, we try to catch up on our reading in much the same way many of us seek to catch up on sleep.

That is common and it is a mistake when it comes to anything deeper than the standard thriller or spy novel. More substantive material requires focus and time. Ten minutes here or there won't do it.

A comfortable chair and at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted time will be needed. [Better yet, schedule a one or two hour block.]

Schedule it. Don't wish for it. Treat it as if it were a meeting only in this case the meeting may be with Aristotle, Drucker, Tolstoy or some other writer of real substance.

It will be time well-spent.

Quick Look

The trailer for "Backstabbing for Beginners."

Great Book Titles

Image result for in the great apache forest amazon

Quote of the Day

Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing.

- Robert Benchley

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Mission and Vision Statements

Today I facilitated a discussion for an organization that is revising its mission and vision statements.

It went extremely well. We made amazing progress in a short period of time and accomplished all we had to achieve.

A key reason: a lot of thought had gone into the issues ahead of time and the management team was very positive.

Trivia item: The motto for the Royal Air Force is Per Ardua ad Astra; "Through Adversity to the Stars."


A woman holding her long hair while standing in front of a blue and purple building.

[Photo by Svetlana Pochatun at Unsplash]

Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.

- Franz Kafka

Quick Look

The trailer for "Eighth Grade."

Facebook's Reality

In the New York Post, John Podhoretz with a reminder that Facebook was never free. An excerpt:

Did you think the company that has allowed you to consume news and opinion at no cost whatsoever to you was doing so out of the goodness of its collective heart?

"Does It Bring You Misery? Delete It."

A man working at a MacBook on a wooden table

[Photo by Bench Accounting at Unsplash]

Nicholas Bate has the answer.

And Patrick Rhone would like to abolish "I don't have the time."

The University as Trade School

Long book-filled shelves in a library

[Photo by Priscilla Du Preez at Unsplash]

The University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point is reportedly discussing a plan to eliminate 13 majors including English, philosophy, history and Spanish. 

Read the rest of the article at The Hill.

If the plan is adopted they will still offer classes in those subjects, but won't have majors. That sounds like a ruse. Without a major-driven program, those classes will be fewer and fewer.

A university is not a trade school. Although universities should provide teaching in subjects that can aid careers, they also have a responsibility to preserve and promote knowledge. Besides that, a person who has studied history or philosophy has acquired knowledge that can apply in a wide variety of jobs. The individual is also closer to what most of us regard as "well-educated."

They should have classes on French literature, Chinese art, and an assortment of unusual subjects. If the universities don't, who will?

Great Book Titles

Image result for screw it. let's do it amazon

Quote of the Day

Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly.

- G. K. Chesterton

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Phoenix Winter

The breeze spreads the smell of orange blossoms throughout my neighborhood. A hummingbird has started to build a nest on top of the light on my patio. It is around 8 o'clock in the evening and the temperature is 71 degrees.

But it is partly cloudy.


Interest Groups of the Caribbean

Disney is once again changing its "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride.

Because as we all know, pirates were extraordinarily sensitive to the rights of women.

The Los Angeles Times article also notes that Disney no longer sells the frontier rifles in Frontierland.  

When we took our children to Disneyland many years ago, I bought a flintlock rifle (and a flintlock pistol!) for my son. He was somehow able to overcome the trauma of the purchases.

I am wondering if the pirates will be disarmed in the future. 

Admit it. That is not beyond the realm of possibility.

[HT: Joel Engel]

Every Single Day

A man's hand holding a cup of coffee on a workspace with a notebook and a keyboard

[Photo by Cathryn Lavery at Unsplash]

We pay a price whenever the day is unplanned. You cannot connect dots if only a few at a time are seen and if plans are not coordinated then time is lost and priorities are skewed. I keep recalling Stephen Covey's admonition that we should schedule our priorities instead of prioritizing our schedule. In doing so we need to book project work and not just meetings.

The evening is the best time to plan the next day. Mornings can be hectic. Surprises may arrive with the newspapers. 

Another consideration: Review the upcoming two weeks, not just the coming week. For some reason, we often have a tendency to think that a date is further out than it truly is. The "Two Week glance" reduces the likelihood of surprise. 

[Anyone who has ever turned an appointment calendar from one month to the next knows what I mean. The first week of a new month can arrive like a speeding freight train.]

"Cocktail Hour" in the Foreign Legion

They had been on the farm for three weeks. They came from Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Canada, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Madagascar, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, and Ukraine. Seven actually came from France, but had been given new identities as “French Canadian.” After the recruits returned to the compound they had a while to wait before dinner. In the dirt yard a slim, bullying corporal barked them into a disciplined formation in a parade-rest stance: feet apart, eyes fixed forward, hands clasped behind their backs. Then the sky opened up. The men were drenched but did not care. In the winter they might have been less indifferent. Men who have been through winters on the farms insist as a result that you should never join the Legion then. You should go to Morocco, sleep under a bridge, do anything, and wait for spring. The rain stopped. The sergeant extinguished his cigarette. For me, in French, he spared precisely four words: “It is cocktail hour.” He walked across the compound, released the men from formation, and led them through the barn to the back side, where the cocktails were being served. The cocktails were pull-ups and dips and a sequence of synchronized sit-ups punctuated by two brief rests during which the slim corporal strolled across the abdomens of the recruits. Then it was run to the barn to wash, and run to a multi-purpose room to eat.

Read all of the 2012 Vanity Fair article by William Langwiesche.

Music Break

USD Choral Scholars with "Mo Ghille Mear (My Gallant Hero)."

[Are all of the women in Ireland beautiful?]

Quote of the Day

Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?

- George Gobel

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

In the Background

Image result for amelie soundtrack amazon

Quick Look

The trailer for "Wild Wild Country."

Go See

[Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov at Unsplash]

I could request a report, but I'd better go see.

I could make a call but I will learn more if I go see.

I could listen to descriptions of what others have seen and question them carefully to make certain they have covered everything but still, in the back of my mind, there is the sense that I will get much more information more quickly if I do something else.

What could that be?

Old Friends

An old man and woman having a conversation with their canes next to a doorway.

[Photo by Cristina Gottardi at Unsplash}

Remember that the most valuable antiques are dear old friends.

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Because Everyone Loves The Beatles

Althouse has some videos of a couple of brothers who sing Beatles songs in the New York subway. 

They go by the name Blac Rabbit and they are very good.

Alert Nicholas Bate, the fifth Beatle. They may need a back-up singer.

Just Another Day at the Office

The trailer for "Tomb Raider."

Quote of the Day

My grandfather used to make home movies and edit out the joy.

- Richard Lewis

Monday, March 19, 2018

Medical Maxim

[Photo by Isabell Juskova at Unsplash]

When you hear hoof beats, think of horses, not zebras.

- Dr. Theodore Woodward

Decline of the Toy

Anderson Layman's Blog on the fall of Toys 'R' Us.

Very interesting and troubling.

Music Break

For all of the Canadians out there: Stan Rogers singing "Northwest Passage."

Subjects That Deserve More Discussion

Two people discussing business over a table with documents

[Photo by Nik MacMillan at Unsplash]

Which subjects deserve more discussion in the workplace?

You may well have your own list but these are my nominees:

  1. Courage. Just what does it mean in a working environment? Do we recognize the difference between physical courage and moral courage? Can any of us be ethical without possessing a certain amount of courage?
  2. Fatigue. How often do we take into account the possibility of fatigue adversely affecting productivity, decision-making, and effectiveness? Do we discount its importance by bragging about working long hours, packing our schedules, and failing to take vacations?
  3. Mavericks. Is it possible to be a maverick and still be a good team member? Do we try to push people into cookie-cutter modes and, in doing so, push out some eccentric but undeniable talent? At what point do self-described mavericks use the label to cloak negative conduct or a lousy attitude?
  4. Unwritten rules. We usually know the written rules and what's covered on the wall posters, but what are the unwritten rules? What are the unwritten standards that people never, ever, break? Are they part of a healthy organization?
Your nominees?

First Paragraph

Stop me if you've heard this one before. Brilliant college kids sitting in a dorm are inventing the future. Heedless of boundaries, possessed of new technology and youthful enthusiasm, they build a company from scratch. Their early success allows them to raise money and bring an amazing new product to market. They hire friends, assemble a superstar team, and dare the world to stop them.

- From The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

Quick Look

The trailer for "Tucker: The Man and His Dream."

Quote of the Day

Man is a clever animal who behaves like an imbecile.

- Albert Schweitzer

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Get Ready for the Week

[Photo by Crown Agency at Unsplash]

For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe.

- Larry Eisenberg

Find Something Beautiful Today

[Photo by Clark Young at Unsplash]