Saturday, November 28, 2020

15 Hours


Soundtrack Break: The Secret Agent


The Planets


Election Questions?

The Spectator: pollster Patrick Basham on why the 2020 presidential election is deeply puzzling.

Throughout the media you'll find back-and-forths on various points but there are several areas which, regardless of who actually won, should be very troubling.

This is a bad time for us to have an unprofessional news industry.


Althouse points to an article on memory and the power of smells.

[I catch a whiff of Camel cigarettes and am immediately back on an Army post at five in the morning waiting to get on a Deuce-and-a-Half.]

Vanity Fair


I have not seen this but I highly recommend the novel. It has one of the greatest female villains in all of literature.

The Age of Cant

I think that we live in an era of cant. I do not say that it is the only such age. But it has never been, at least in my lifetime, as important as it is now to hold the right opinions and to express none of the wrong ones, if one wants to avoid vilification and to remain socially frequentable. Worse still, and even more totalitarian, is the demand for public assent to patently false or exaggerated propositions; refusal to kowtow in such circumstances becomes almost as bad a sin as uttering a forbidden view. One must join in the universal cant—or else.

Read all of Theodore Dalrymple's essay in City Journal.

Thankfulness and Gratitude


Wally Bock has a special leadership reading list.

[Photo by Gabrielle Henderson at Unsplash]

The Greatest Detective in the World

 Elaine Simpson-Long has the details

I know this is going on my Christmas list.

[HT: Karlene Edwards]

Friday, November 27, 2020

"Smart People": The Play


When the Weird Becomes Fascinating

Studying Nazi police bureaucracy and weaving through the various machinations of the Sipo, Kripo, Gestapo, etc.

It's related to a project. Full report when I am finished.

French Quarter Break


The Key

In Thanksgiving conversation yesterday, one blog post came up. 

Was it about leadership, management, ethics, communication, business, or government?

No, it was this one.

Celebrating Nonconformists

Jonathan Turley sees Thanksgiving as a good time to celebrate nonconformists. He also notes the ominous signs that free expression is imperiled. An excerpt:

One of the more chilling cases of this trend is Richard Stengel, the man selected to lead the transition team on media agencies and policies. He wrote a Washington Post column last year that denounced speech as a threat to harmony. He failed to convince readers that what they need is less freedom. “All speech is not equal, and where truth cannot drive out lies, we must add new guardrails. I am all for protecting thought that we hate, but not speech that incites hate,” Stengel argued.

An Infantile Intolerance

Unherd: Douglas Murray writes on Jordan Peterson versus the crybullies.

It is time to fight back against moves to squelch freedom of expression. Those moves aren't just coming from campus radicals.

Advice from Adrian Savage

Over the years I have posted this advice from Adrian Savage, the leadership author and scholar:

You don't need a life plan. You don't need motivation, self-confidence, peer support or even luck. All you need is the willingness to take the most obvious step - then repeat the process again and again, regardless of how you feel. Try it. Happiness comes from seeing the results of your efforts. You don't need it before you start.

[Photo by Charl Folscher at Unsplash]

Imagine His Surprise

 Steve QJ only now just realized that he is white.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

The Pilgrim Spirit

In a selfless act of heroism, Cultural Offering has decided to forego the Swanson's TV Turkey Dinner option.

Some history from 2018.

Crank It Up


Get Down


Remember: The American Soul

We were sitting on the patio under a black, moonless sky, our faces lit by the flickering light of a few candles in the center of a large stone table. We all had iced drinks in our hands or in front of us. His interruption took the form of very slowly putting down the glass that was in his hand - so slowly and so quietly, and with such a measured, even movement that at first it seemed like some kind of ritual gesture. Everyone suddenly became quiet and looked at him, waiting. I remember listening for a long time to the waves of the bay and watching the lights of San Francisco across the water. The wind was shifting and turning cool. People were putting their collars up and hugging themselves, but no one dared get up. Foghorns were answering each other like far-off, unseen sea creatures.

Just as slowly and evenly, he angled his long, lean body back in his chair and gazed at nothing in particular. Then he turned his head as though it were a gun turret and looked directly at the husky, bearded young man who had just been speaking about the crimes of America. In the flickering candlelight, his bony face seemed wondrously alive and menacing at the same time. What he said to the young man - and of course to all of us present - was only this:

"You don't know what you have here." Then, after an uncomfortable pause, "You simply don't know what you have."

- From The American Soul: Rediscovering the Wisdom of the Founders by Jacob Needleman

Happy Thanksgiving!


A holiday about gratitude. Always needed. Always great.

[Photo by Preslie Hirsch at Unsplash]

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Art Break

Art Contrarian looks at the work of illustrator Frank Tinsley.



Class Prep

The elevated desk works well. I am going to have to move a large photo of Churchill on the wall behind me so I can squeeze in a flip chart but I'll have plenty of room for hand gestures and other elements of the performing arts.

Because every class is a performance. The presentation cannot be dry. It must be memorable.

The Thanksgiving Film


"Service Stations"


There are days when I deeply miss what used to be called "service stations."

"Want me to check under the hood?"

And when a free glass came with a full tank of gas.

[Photo by Boston Public Library at Unsplash]

Aldous Huxley Smiles

The delayed adolescence and hyper-fear of risk-taking that have become evident in recent years makes me wonder if a sizable portion of our population would eagerly give up freedom in order to live out the rest of their days in a "Club Fed" type of prison or a very hip nursing home.

[Photo by Zacke Feller at Unsplash]

I Am The Pie Man

 My sole Thanksgiving chore is picking up pies at Village Inn.

It's tough, but someone has to do it.

[And after Thanksgiving, I will be The Walrus.]

When They Seek to Destroy Freedom of Thought and Expression

Penguin Random House employees in Canada are upset about the firm publishing a new Jordan Peterson book.

[I will, of course, make a point of buying that book.]

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Music Break


True Humility

True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.

- C.S. Lewis

Quick Look


Appearance of Impropriety Update

The Babylon Bee: Famed archaeology professor fired after photos surface of him wearing a Nazi uniform.

Yes, Please!

Jonathan M. Ellen on vaccine news and hope for a more normal future.

Be Alert

The most dangerous ideas in a society are not the ones being argued, but the ones that are assumed.

- C.S. Lewis

Big Tech and Political Manipulation


Find Your Style

[Photo by Vladimir Fedotov at Unsplash]

Two Executives

The first executive has a lot of rough edges, is blunt to the point of rudeness and sometimes even far beyond. But this person has one saving grace: he or she produces results.

The second executive is ultra smooth and sophisticated. Picture-perfect and quite charming. But this person has one flaw: talks a great game but doesn't seem to produce very much.

You can learn a lot about an organization by seeing which one is favored.

It Was a Sad Day When Philip Seymour Hoffman Left Us


Office Update

My home office "reformation" is progressing nicely. 

The electric desk is assembled. Another, more traditional, desk arrives in early December. Both desks have large work spaces and the elevated desk will permit me to stand while teaching classes on Zoom. A reading chair, a bookcase, and a new filing cabinet also are in the pipeline.

The two desks will have very different "personalities" and will be separated with a diagonal walkway leading to a small reading area.

I know I should have addressed the matter of the floor first but that was not possible. Getting the furniture in order will be a relief and will speed up completion of some projects. The issues with the floor can wait.

P.S. Major cheers for banker's boxes and trash bags.

This is a Great Time for Stoicism


Monday, November 23, 2020

Full Film with Sub-Titles


The Polish war film, "Birth Certificate."

And Some Thought "Office Space" was Brutal


To Be Read and Re-Read


Find Your Style


[Photo by Kyle Cut Media at Unsplash]

Put That in Your Planner

The Strategist has
the 21 best planners for 2021.

I've been using a Levenger Circa Planner for years but am always looking around.

Not a Christmas Movie


The Silence and the Silencing

The media is virtually silent on these threats to coerce lawyers and legislators into silence. That is not viewed as a threat to the rule of law.

Read the rest of Jonathan Turley's essay here.

Confessions Matter

The New Criterion: When Princeton's systemic racism confession backfired.

[Photo by Kirubakaran Manoharan at Unsplash]

Still Reading the Book


Get to the Point

Steve Layman (of A Layman's Blog) reviews a book on decision-making with an observation that could be applied to many a business book:

"This is an interesting and worthwhile book.  If it was 100 pages shorter, I would have recommended it."

Do It Now or Consciously Delay

My son and I had a talk the other day about the practice of the late and great rabbi, Menachem Mendel Schneerson (often called the Rebbe) who followed a practice of immediately doing important things.

Did that mean that the Rebbe had no sense of priorities? Does that mean that his practice should always be followed?

No. It means that he knew the power of immediate action and that he was wary of the immense temptation to lapse into unnecessary delays.

I suggest keeping two people in mind: 

Rabbi Schneerson with his "Do it now" approach and former Secretary of State George Shultz with his advice to "Don't just do something. Stand there."

Each can be right but not at the same time.

A Pre-Pandemic Epidemic of Loneliness

From City Journal in 2019: Kay S. Hymowitz on the problem of loneliness. An excerpt:

Loneliness, public-health experts tell us, is killing as many people as obesity and smoking. It’s not much comfort that Americans are not, well, alone in this. Germans are lonely, the bon vivant French are lonely, and even the Scandinavians—the happiest people in the world, according to the UN’s World Happiness Report—are lonely, too. British prime minister Theresa May recently appointed a “Minister of Loneliness.”

Rather Sad


Sunday, November 22, 2020



Once you start reading this book, it is very hard to put down.

Find Something Beautiful Today


[Photo by Mick Haupt at Unsplash]