Not as much fun as scattering them under the car
Cool Tools reviews a simple tool that is indeed cool: A magnetic parts tray.
Commentary by Michael Wade on Leadership, Ethics, Management, and Life
Cool Tools reviews a simple tool that is indeed cool: A magnetic parts tray.
Some ads for Hunky Dorys are the center of controversy in Ireland.
My post on what every new employee should learn is up at U.S. News & World Report.
I have a meeting down in Tucson (a.k.a "The Old Pueblo") today. I promise to have a posting frenzy later.
Number of people in meeting: 30
A team is like a baby tiger given to you at Christmas. It does a wonderful job of keeping the mice away for about 12 months and then it starts to eat your kids.
The establishments of the American political parties, and the media, are full of people who think concern about illegal immigration is a mark of racism. If you were Freud you might say, "How odd that's where their minds so quickly go, how strange they're so eager to point an accusing finger. Could they be projecting onto others their own, heavily defended-against inner emotions?" But let's not do Freud, he's too interesting. Maybe they're just smug and sanctimonious.
The American president has the power to control America's borders if he wants to, but George W. Bush and Barack Obama did not and do not want to, and for the same reason, and we all know what it is. The fastest-growing demographic in America is the Hispanic vote, and if either party cracks down on illegal immigration, it risks losing that vote for generations.
Read the rest of Peggy Noonan's column here.
Employment attorney John Phillips looks at extreme humor in the workplace and raises the question of just where the line should be drawn.
That said, most of us have uttered something we later - seconds later in some cases - realize was inappropriate or just flat-out dumb. If your workplace has a climate of trust and we aren't repeat offenders, people should be willing to cut us some slack.
It will be a sad day when humor is banned from the workplace and there are times when the "gotcha" is worse than the initial offense.
He was born in Cananea, Sonora, Mexico and moved to Arizona in 1926. He graduated from Arizona State Teachers College [later known as Northern Arizona University] in 1939. He worked for the State Department as a foreign service clerk, then attended the University of Arizona College of Law. He earned his law degree and was admitted to the bar in 1949.
[Hey, didn't this guy realize that there was no way that a Mexican-American would stand a chance in Arizona? It's too bad he didn't have today's sage commentators to warn him that the state is a racist swamp.]
After a few years of practicing law, he went to work for the Pima County Attorney's Office. [How did he get that job?] In 1954, he was elected Pima County Attorney. [Oh, wait. That doesn't fit the script.]
He became a Pima County Superior Court Judge in 1958. [Hmm. Well, Pima County is the more liberal part of the state. Maricopa County is much more populous and that's where those evil conservatives dwell. He'd never get a state-wide post.]
He was appointed Ambassador to El Salvador in 1964 and Ambassador to Bolivia in 1968. [That figures. He finally decided to get out of the state because there was no opportunity.]And Raul Castro was elected Governor of Arizona in 1974. [What?]
I told the doctor I was overtired, anxiety-ridden, compulsively active, constantly depressed, with recurring fits of paranoia. Turns out I'm normal.
From 1996: A fascinating Fast Company article on the vision of Dee Hock.
I had no idea that the Corvair had a larger version, much less a Greenbrier Sport Wagon, which looks more like a van and would not, shall we say, come close to passing modern safety standards.
U.S. News & World Report has an on-going list of speakers at this year's commencement ceremonies.
Consultant, author, professor, and man-who-never-sleeps Nicholas Bate on the need to detach.
Number of times employee screwed up during probationary period: 0
I am most entertained by those actions which give me a light into the nature of man.
Food author/critic Michael Pollan talking about food rules, fast food, and culture.
Doc Holliday, the fighting ace of the Earp faction and considered by connoisseurs in deadliness the coldest-blooded killer in Tombstone, had accompanied Wyatt Earp from Dodge City. He was a rather tall, extremely slender, ash-blond, gray-eyed fellow, immaculate in attire, fastidious in his habits, tempermental, hot-tempered and cold-blooded, querulous and sometimes a little quarrelsome, a wit as well as a desperado. He might become quite excited if his breakfast eggs were not just so, but no man was cooler when bullets were flying. He was a consumptive, and the malady had left his face emaciated and very white and given it a look of refinement that might have passed for spirituality. One might have been tempted to suspect that this quiet, pale man with the fine gray eyes was a poet or a scholar who pored over erudite volumes under midnight lamps. But except for a few elegies done with finished elegance with his six-shooter, the doctor never displayed any poetic or literary leanings.
Neatorama gives us a peek at James Hance's Star Wars-themed paintings.
Seth Godin describes the downsides of torture via bullet-point.
Thought-provoking views from 1924: "Why I Never Hire Brilliant Men."
Verging on Pertinence is flirting with iPadia:
I am not merely a messy desk person. Such people dwell in the minor leagues. No, my productivity is supported by a messy office. Books on the floor and sofa. Files hidden on the desk. Notes to myself taped up in various places.
"Hemingway, remarks are not literature,” said Miss Stein imperiously. In Dorothy Parker’s case, however, the remarks, the snappy comebacks, live on, no matter how inexpert the witnesses (Mrs. Parker included). Even if she never really followed Clare Boothe Luce’s “Age before beauty” with “Pearls before swine” or wrote of the young Katharine Hepburn “She ran the gamut of emotions from A to B,” most of us, suffering from the delayed reaction times that wake us up a day or so later with the perfect rejoinder, envy the expert parry, the swift thrust of a Parker epigram, even a faux one. That she had no Boswell is, well, just as well, for the panache with which time has crowned her off-the-cuffs makes her loom larger in our cultural memory.
I've written before about the need for a Zone of Indifference to which various subjects can be relegated.
Forget about financial bail-outs, immigration, and Iran.
Coalitions form and dissolve overnight between the strangest of bedfellows. Dire enemies momentarily join forces to battle someone else, then resume their old fight as if nothing had happened. The only way to get a decision to stand is to "shoot the losers" - line up everyone who opposes the decision and shoot them down. Otherwise, they begin to undermine the decision before the ink is dry on the paper. Quite often, the real debate begins only after a major decision has been made. Time and again, I have listened to senior officials express total frustration when issues they thought were settled suddenly reappeared.
Well worth the time: From a concert at Notre Dame in Paris.
Cultural Offering provides moments of (late) recognition.
Law professors Glenn Reynolds and Ann Althouse go back and forth on the Arizona immigration law's potential legal challenges.
Was the government loan to General Motors paid back in full?
I've been ripping through the 1930 - 1939 diaries and letters of British diplomat, author, journalist, and politician Harold Nicolson. The best volume, which covers the war years, awaits but this one has been interesting in its own right.
The Wall Street Journal looks at the summer movies. All in all, not an inspiring bunch.
News stories on the Arizona immigration law:
Here's an excerpt from the BBC mini-series of "The Barchester Chronicles."
My post on the danger of quickly labeling people is up at U.S. News & World Report.
Eclecticity features some video on one of the most amazing feats ever performed on a baseball field.
Writing in The New Yorker, Ken Auletta looks at the effect that the Kindle and the iPad have had on the publishing business. An excerpt:
Caught in the relaxing interval between one moral code and the next, an unmoored generation surrenders itself to luxury, corruption, and a restless disorder of family and morals, in all but a remnant clinging desperately to old restraints and ways. Few souls feel any longer that "it is beautiful and honorable to die for one's country." A failure of leadership may allow a state to weaken itself with internal strife. At the end of the process a decisive defeat in war may bring a final blow, or barbarian invasion from without may combine with barbarism welling up from within to bring the civilization to a close.
Mark Steyn reviews some examples of out-of-control tolerance zealots. An excerpt:
By the time I finished reading this post by Rick Knowles, I was ready to collapse. An excerpt:
Victor Davis Hanson on the new civility:
Peter W. Huber on the rise of an ecopragmatist:
One should attend to his warriors as he would to his own thirst.
A bunch of bright people with good questions. The room was comfortable. No microphone was needed. I pandered to them shamelessly by giving short breaks each hour so they could slip out for a few minutes and enjoy the sunny day. There was only a flip chart available, but that is just right for this topic. We covered a lot of case examples and sorted out key points. I also had an espresso to sip.
There is an understandable desire for a magic bullet; an approach that will work well and rapidly under all circumstances and in all organizations.
Cultural Offering points us to an encounter between Anthony Bourdain and Jim Harrison.
Can your humility keep you from getting ahead?
BusinessPundit points to an ad that crosses the line.
Christina Hoff Sommers challenges the assumptions of Equal Pay Day. An excerpt:
Creativity consultant Roger von Oech on the wisdom of thinking like a fool. An excerpt:
When exotic cultures meet: Photo of the Day.
Daniel H. Pink reveals his six favorite books about work. It's an interesting and eclectic list.
Do something good today and do something less.
Life is a series of collisions with the future; it is not a sum of what we have been but of what we yearn to be.
Thanks to Cultural Offering for showing us these two photos of celebration and determination.
During the course of the last year or so, I have detected a trend in corporate life that bears momentary scrutiny, then universal action by anybody who wants to remain standing in the years to come. It’s this: your corporation has the right to look at your e-mail. Mostly, they will not do this, because they know that once they do, you’re probably cooked. So they do it with increasing regularity, but only to people against whom they want to build a case. And once they do, there’s a 99% shot that case is made.
Writing in The Wall Street Journal, comedian Penn Jillette sees something ominous in the passing of the Hummer. An excerpt:
American management in the past has been singularly blind to the needs of human beings. Management wants to eliminate the human equation from business. . . . That puts businessmen at a disadvantage overseas because so many businesses are based on human relations and friendship. They say, "How the hell could you do business by making a friend? What's that got to do with the bottom line?" As it turns out, it has everything to do with it. . . . We're impatient. But all over the world, if you have friends, you can do anything. That's how the system works.
As morally superior citizens of planet Earth, we Prius owners consider it our duty to keep finding new ways to enlighten those eco-heathens who are still floundering in the eco-darkness, even as our cars sometimes fail to decelerate when the brake pedal is depressed, a violation of Newton’s third law of motion, caused by global warming. Herewith, some suggestions from the “Things to Do with Your Prius” message board.
In the year 1710: "The gray horse has gone lame."
Gerry O'Connor plays some Irish banjo music.
My post on 12 ways to be unhappy at work is up at U.S. News & World Report.
Most things will improve in the future, but some things won't, because the designers who make those things prefer to keep them in their current sadistic form.
The best way to come up with startup ideas is to ask yourself the question: what do you wish someone would make for you?
There are two types of startup ideas: those that grow organically out of your own life, and those that you decide, from afar, are going to be necessary to some class of users other than you. Apple was the first type. Apple happened because Steve Wozniak wanted a computer. Unlike most people who wanted computers, he could design one, so he did. And since lots of other people wanted the same thing, Apple was able to sell enough of them to get the company rolling. They still rely on this principle today, incidentally. The iPhone is the phone Steve Jobs wants. 
Our own startup, Viaweb, was of the second type. We made software for building online stores. We didn't need this software ourselves. We weren't direct marketers. We didn't even know when we started that our users were called "direct marketers." But we were comparatively old when we started the company (I was 30 and Robert Morris was 29), so we'd seen enough to know users would need this type of software. 
A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
Business Week has the latest on Peter Gabriel and Inside The Filter, a recommendation engine for online movies and music.
Michael Weiss on current affairs and impact of the Katyn Forest massacre. An excerpt:
Jury and communications consultant Beth Foley on how to make a public apology. An excerpt:
To be read and remembered: Wally Bock on the things the business books forgot.
Get out your guitar. Here's a rough guide to playing Dave Van Ronk's "Come Back Baby."
Cultural Offering reminds us of the wisdom to be found on a baseball diamond:
Verging on Pertinence wanders down to the Apple store and checks out the iPad:
View From the Ledge has some thoughts on news and papers that should be read in every news room in the world. An excerpt:
Jill Harness at Neatorama has some interesting items about the amazing success of McDonald's. An excerpt:
The incomparable Nicholas Bate gives a "leadership dozen," a list to keep close at hand.
Eclecticity points to style, as in "Win the Masters and then take the kids to Krispy Kreme style" . . . and note the jacket.
The trailer for "A Good Man in Africa." A so-so film that has its moments.
This Ann Althouse post pushes a lot of buttons.
That Rodney King line often comes to mind in the workplace.
From a Wired article about a brilliant thief:
Wealth is nice, but an enemy's center of gravity is his soul, character, mind, and faith, not his arms or his cities. As Xenophon wrote, "It is not numbers or strength that bring victories in war. No, it is when one side goes against the enemy with the gods' gift of a stronger morale that their adversaries, as a rule, cannot withstand them." On another occasion, the Persians ate on tables of gold and still had a hard time defeating 300 Spartans who ate porridge. Persia's large reservoirs of money and manpower could not bend the Greeks' disdain for the Medes and love of independence. The Greeks never surrendered.
Read the rest of the article by Jakub Grygiel here.
Off-Beat Earth has commentary and pictures on what may be the smallest library on earth.
Joe Cocker on the Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour with "Space Captain."
Two different takes on the news about who's paying taxes:
John Cassidy: If the poor and lower middle classes aren’t paying income tax, who is? Everybody else, of course, particularly the rich, who get a break on payroll taxes, which aren’t levied on incomes above $106,800. According to the A.P., in 2006 the richest ten per cent of households—those earning an average of $366,400—paid about three quarters of all the income taxes that the federal government collected.
How should we react to these figures? As somebody who believes that wealth is ultimately socially created and that the marginal utility of income declines rapidly with income—a finding confirmed by countless surveys—I believe they are almost wholly positive. By redirecting money to families further down the income distribution, a progressive tax system increases overall welfare—a point A. C. Pigou, another utilitarian egalitarian, made a century ago. But the figures do raise interesting questions of political economy. When almost half the population isn’t paying income tax, what is the politics of higher or lower government spending?
What are people thinking about during your business meetings?