Monday, January 21, 2019


We must be careful to make a distinction between the intellectual and the person of intellectual achievement. They two are very, very different animals. There are people of intellectual achievement who increase the sum of human knowledge, the powers of human insight, and analysis. And then there are the intellectuals. An intellectual is a person knowledgeable in one field who speaks out only in others.

- Tom Wolfe

Highly Recommended

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The website for The King Center.

First Paragraph

"Get up, Herman Redpath," my father-in-law Leo Bebb said. His fat face was slippery with sweat and his eyes tight shut as though he'd gotten soap in them. The box had not been lowered into the ground yet but still hung cradled in canvas straps. Inside the box, Herman Redpath was laid out in his brown silk shirt and chocolate-brown suit with a Navajo blanket tucked around him at the waist. Possibly there were damp sots on the blanket. My father-in-law crowded him with his prayer as though if he didn't, the old man might dawdle there indefinitely.

- From Open Heart by Frederick Buechner

"It was a different time."

And George Lucas and Ron Howard made a film. 

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Some Old Friends

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One of the quiet joys as a parent is when you discover a children's book which both you and your children can enjoy.

Excellent stories. Beautifully written.

Update sample:

Frog put the cookies in a box. “There,” he said. “Now we will not eat any more cookies.”
“But we can open the box,” said Toad.
“That is true,” said Frog.

Quick Look

The trailer for "Modern Romance."

To Reach the Unreachable Star?

The trailer for "John Wick: Chapter Three: Parabellum."

I confess to being amused that such an uplifting song is used with this high-body-count trailer. 

Someone in Hollywood has a sense of humor.

First Paragraph

The morning Rino telephoned, I thought he wanted money again and I was ready to say no. But that was not the reason for the phone call: his mother was gone.

- From My Brilliant Friend [Book One of the Neapolitan Novels] by Elena Ferrante


The Rusanovs loved the People, their great People. They served the People and were ready to give their lives for the People.

But as the years went by they found themselves less and less able to tolerate actual human beings, those obstinate creatures who were always resistant, refusing to do what they were told and, besides, demanding something for themselves.

- From Cancer Ward by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Getting Back to Basics

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There are decent and intelligent people who voted for Hillary Clinton. 

There are decent and intelligent people who voted for Donald Trump.

All of them are our fellow Americans and they deserve, as a minimum, some basic respect and even - dare I say it? - some friendliness.

Let others savage one another on the Internet. We need not fall prey to the weirdness and meanness of our times.

[Photo by AP x 90 at Unsplash]


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Wally Bock has weekend leadership reading assignments for us.

[Photo by Us Wah at Unsplash]

Novels for Leaders

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Raw ambition, for one thing.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Quick Look

The trailer for "The Sense of an Ending."

In The Background

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As Martin Luther King Day Approaches

. . . Our great national achievement - fashioning a common citizenship and identity for a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-racial people - is now threatened by a process of relentless, deliberate Balkanization. The great engines of social life - the law, the schools, the arts, - are systematically encouraging the division of America into racial, ethnic and gender separateness.

- Charles Krauthammer in 1990

Novels for Leaders

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Seven Career Viruses

  1. Fear of failure. The opportunity-killer. Careers are made by seizing opportunities.
  2. Lack of judgment. Just make sure you don't seize every opportunity. An open door sometimes leads to the basement.
  3. Fear of success. Beware if you notice that whenever success is within reach, you choose to re-tie your shoe laces or reassess your strategy.
  4. Perfectionism. You want to do excellent work but a quest for perfectionism can be paralyzing.
  5. Indiscretion. If saying something will bring intense pleasure, it may be time to edit your words or to embrace an old ally named Silence.
  6. Sloth. Do your research and get the job done. (Repeat)
  7. Unreliability. You don't need to be a wizard, but it pays enormously to be known as a reliable performer.

Rome Reading

Historian Tom Holland picks the best books on ancient Rome.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Everyone in Ireland is a Poet

Go to Ireland and get some people to try a variety of Krispy Creme donuts.

I felt like I was watching "The Commitments."


Althouse has a video of children trying 100 years of school lunches.

What? No sloppy joes?

Don't Do Anything Great Today

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Don't do anything great today. Do a bunch of small things. Do them well. Take pleasure from the process.

Remember, just small things. The calls that need to be returned. The files that need to be updated. A chore or two. A note to a friend. Some loose ends that need to be tied. Perhaps the small part of a much larger project.

Nothing big.

And as the day ends, see what you've accomplished. See how you feel.

[Photo by Cathryn Lavery  at Unsplash]

The Benefit of Curiosity

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Walter Isaacson talking about the brilliant subject of his most recent book.

Novels for Leaders

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"I get the willies when I see closed doors."


You do not have to be in London to enjoy The Spectator's article on the best hot chocolate in London.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

I Want an "Abandon Area" Sign

The trailer for "Dr. No." 

It was the first Bond film.

Have a System

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Nicholas Bate gets into specifics.

[Photo by Erol Ahmed at Unsplash]

The Expected Unexpected

The day is planned. Time is blocked out. You finally have the chance to catch up on things and then, well, you know what happens.

The expected unexpected arrives.

Fortunately, it was always in the back of your mind. You weren't sure what form it would take but you knew that the odds of its non-appearance were small. That's why you always book in some cushions. As the old line goes, it is better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them.

It also reminds me of a Old West saying about having a revolver: you didn't often need one but when you did, you needed it real bad.

[Photo by Michal Mrozek at Unsplash]

Novels for Leaders

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"Excuse me," answered Kostoglotov, restraining himself with difficulty. He stretched one arm toward Rusanov. "No one on this earth says anything 'once and for all.' If they did, life would come to a stop and succeeding generations would have nothing to say."

Pavel Nikolayevich was taken aback. The tops of his delicate white ears turned quite red, and round red patches appeared on his cheeks.

(He shouldn't be expostulating, entering into a Saturday afternoon argument with this man. He ought to be checking up on who he was, where he came from, where his background was, and whether his blatantly false views weren't a danger in the post he occupied.)