Color versus Drawing
Art Contrarian looks at the styles of Matisse and Fergusson.
Commentary by Michael Wade on Leadership, Ethics, Management, and Life
...to productivity when on the road: Don't turn on the television in your room.
Back by popular demand: Jay Thomas tells of his time with The Lone Ranger.
A friend's daughter is conducting a survey as part of a paper on forensic profiling. It takes around 12 minutes and will be open until Friday. I took it and scored somewhere above an amoeba.
It was the pirate flag flying atop the plumbing truck that first caught his attention. The white skull and crossbones seemed to be straining to keep from being blown off the flapping black flag as the flatbed truck, apparently trying to beat the light, cannonballed through the intersection. The truck heeled over as it cut an arc around the corner. White PVC pipe rolled across the diamond plate of the truck bed, sounding like the sharp rattle of bones. At the speed it was traveling the truck looked to be in danger of capsizing.
A market research firm found that people who buy the $43,000 Chevy Volt (seats four in space not taken by its 400-pound battery) or the $34,500 Nissan Leaf, and who get a $7,500 government bribe (a.k.a. tax credit) for doing so, have average annual incomes of $150,000, and half of the buyers own at least two other vehicles.
He is not the person you would want to make the decision, but he is a person you'd want in the room when the options are being explored.
The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.
Claudia Rosett, light-bulb addict.
If you know someone who, ahem, needs some gentle advice on how to be more diplomatic, All I Said Was... What Every Supervisor, Employee, and Team Member Should Know to Avoid Insults, Lawsuits, and the Six O'Clock News is now at a bargain price in its Kindle version.
There is much to be said for board games and yet, in this high-tech world, I wonder about their future. Excluding checkers and chess from consideration, my nominees for the top seven are:
All news out of Africa is bad. It made me want to go there, though not for the horror, the hot spots, the massacre-and-earthquake stories you read in the newspaper; I wanted the pleasure of being in Africa again. Feeling that the place was so large it contained many untold tales and some hope and comedy and sweetness, too - feeling that there was more to Africa than misery and terror - I aimed to reinsert myself in the bundu, as we used to call the bush, and to wander the antique hinterland. There I had live and worked, happily, almost forty years ago, in the heart of the greenest continent.
From a traffic safety instructor:
You would have had to hold a gun on me to get me into a store on Black Friday.
Good sense about trivialities is better than nonsense about things that matter.
Cultural Offering has the video.
The only directive Ross ever gave me for writing the "Letter from Paris" for his then new New Yorker magazine in the early summer of 1925 was succinct, characteristic, and perfect, and thus remained unchanged. "I don't want to know what you think about what goes on in Paris. I want to know what the French think," he instructed me. He was still trying to add the personal significance of his constructive, energetic mentality to his four-month-old frail, humorous periodical.
The main theme from "October Sky."
It should now be obvious that in the name of “the brotherhood of man,” of human sympathy and an oceanic desire for peace, a travesty is being enacted. Pragmatic democratic institutions and powers ready to entertain the prospect of conflict and sacrifice in the service of specific, empirical commitments to beneficial change, or the preservation of authentic liberal values, are slagged as aggressors, and courageous individuals unwilling to surrender themselves to the chants, slogans, and sentimentalities of the morally occulted are swept aside as vestiges of an archaic state of mind. As C.S. Lewis presciently wrote in his 1944 The Abolition of Man: “We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.” Such is the paideia, the method of education and cultural transmission, that obtains today in the West, chiefly in the debased Humanities.
The Hanover Chamber Orchestra with Ancient Airs and Dances by Ottorino Respighi.
One night after visiting my grandmother in Las Vegas, my husband, infant son and I were driving back home to Flagstaff. On I-40 we encountered an unexpected snowstorm. It was dark, and the snow kept getting thicker. The wind started howling through our old car's windows. The big semi-truck in front of us was the only beacon we had to keep us on the road. We soon realized that the blizzard was too ferocious and we were not going to be able to make it home. We didn't even know where we were.
Back by popular demand:
Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: if you're alive, it isn't.
From a lawyer:
Some fences that can confine our thinking:
"The New World": The trailer.
Hard sauce on warm apple pie could cure the world’s ills, let me tell you.
- The Pioneer Woman
She shows how to make Dreamy Apple Pie here.
For sixty-five days, the Mayflower had blundered her way through storms and headwinds, her bottom a shaggy pelt of seaweed and barnacles, her leaky decks spewing salt water onto her passengers' devoted heads. There were 102 of them - 104 if you counted the two dogs: a spaniel and a giant, slobbery mastiff. Most of their provisions and equipment were beneath them in the hold, the primary storage area of the vessel. The passengers were in the between, or 'tween, decks - a dank, airless space about seventy-five feet long and not even five feet high that separated the hold from the upper deck. The 'tween decks was more of a crawlspace than a place to live, made even more claustrophobic by the passengers' attempts to provide themselves with some privacy. A series of thin-walled cabins had been built, creating a crowded warren of rooms that overflowed with people and their possessions: chests of clothing, casks of food, chairs, pillows, rugs, and omnipresent chamber pots. There was even a boat - cut into pieces for later assembly - doing temporary duty as a bed.
Try to have as good a day as the one enjoyed by this dog.
From a doctor:
Saddle up: John Williams conducts the overture from "The Cowboys."
Whiners, yellers, blamers, back-biters, credit-hoggers, mood-swingers, bullies, narcissists, shirkers, and complainers are very high maintenance people and yet they provide splendid examples of what not to do. Imitating even a portion of their behavior can sink a career.
At the Tasty Kitchen Blog: Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars with a Salty Pretzel Crust.
Robert Gladstone, multi-millionaire CEO of the M Group, looked around the room at his fellow conspirators and longed for the piranha button.
There is an odd twist to the failure to practice what you preach.
This is adapted from some questions that Warren Buffett once asked a group of MBA students:
A brief look at Rome via this excerpt from the Sacred Arias program with Andrea Bocelli.
When a man, a business corporation or an entire society is approaching bankruptcy, there are two courses that those involved can follow: they can evade the reality of their situation and act on a frantic, blind, range-of-the-moment expediency - not daring to look ahead, wishing no one would name the truth, yet desperately hoping that something will save them somehow - or they can identify the situation, check their premises, discover their hidden assets and start rebuilding.
Just added to the reading stack: Robert K. Massie's biography of Catherine the Great.
How much would you pay for the above artwork?
I'm back in town, having made a short visit to an area just north of Payson, Arizona. It is beautiful country but the place where I was staying is surrounded by mountains and so cell phone service was nonexistent. Internet access was a bit of a question mark so I didn't take a computer.
Niall Ferguson deftly spars in a BBC debate.
The Hammock Papers notes that today is Shelby Foote's birthday and provides some video and thoughts.
Last year, a medical-technology firm called Numira Biosciences, founded in 2005 in Irvine, California, packed its bags and moved to Salt Lake City. The relocation, CEO Michael Beeuwsaert told the Orange County Register, was partly about the Utah destination’s pleasant quality of life and talented workforce. But there was a big “push factor,” too: California’s steepening taxes and ever-thickening snarl of government regulations. “The tipping point was when someone from the Orange County tax [assessor] wanted to see our facility to tax every piece of equipment I had,” Beeuwsaert said. “In Salt Lake City at my first networking event I met the mayor and the president of the Utah Senate, and they asked what they could do to help me. No [elected official] ever asked me that in California.”
A nifty product at CoolTools:
They went on. The man Blood in hobnailed boots and rotting leather breeches and a stinking linen blouse, lank and greasegrimed hair tied at his nape with a thin leather binding cut from a cowhide, goad in hand, staggering at the canted shoulder of the near ox, the girl behind barefoot in a rough shift of the same linen as Blood's shirt, her fancy skirt and bodice in a tight roll jammed down in the back of the cart atop her button-hook boots furred now with green slime, the girl's hair no cleaner than Blood's but untied and tangled, redblonde, her face swollen from the insect delirium that her free hand swiped against, an unceasing ineffectual bat about her head. Her other wrist cinched by a length of the same stripped cowhide tethering her to the rear of the lurching groaning cart. The huge dog trotting on the off side, directly opposite Blood.
Instapundit gives a review. I plan on buying one but have been distracted by other priorities such as work, marketing, writing, and doing the hokey-pokey.
Someone asked me the other day what I do for a living. I found myself hard-pressed for an answer. If he wanted to know my job title, or what industry I worked in, then all I had to do was to recite what's on my business card. But he seemed sincere. He honestly wanted to know what I do most of the day, so I was honest, too: What I do for a living is attend meetings. Bad meetings.
Spengler dissects the problem of Italy. An excerpt:
Earl Brandon is a good samaritan. On Sunday, my daughter and a girlfriend were driving back to college in Kentucky from Clemson University and got a flat on Interstate 40 near the Smoky Mountains. Maddie called just after noon and asked what she should do. "Where are you?" I asked. "On the side of the road," she answered. That's my girl. "Think you can change the flat?" I wondered almost to myself, knowing the answer. "No," she said. "What do I do?"
A special behind-the-scenes report from the European Union negotiations.
Gerald Seymour writes books that stun and linger. I read "Rat Run" around a month ago, still think of certain scenes and expect that it, like other Seymour novels, will be tucked in the memory banks for some time to come.
I drove by my old high school the other day.
In that same year 1302 in which the aristocratic party of the neri (Blacks), having seized the government of Florence by force, exiled Dante and other middle-class bianchi (Whites), the triumphant oligarchy indicted a White lawyer, Ser (i.e., Messer or Master) Petracco on the charge of having falsified a legal document. Branding the accusation as a device for ending his political career, Petracco refused to stand for trial. He was convicted in absence, and was given the choice of paying a heavy fine or having his right hand cut off. As he still refused to appear before the court, he was banished from Florence, and suffered the confiscation of his property. Taking his young wife with him, he fled to Arezzo. There, two years later, Francisco Petrarca (as he later euphonized his name) burst upon the world.
It is only when they go wrong that machines remind you how powerful they are.
The Washington Post didn’t report his death until January 9, and relegated the story to the obituary pages, rather than featuring a lengthy celebration on page one — which is what Winters’s life demanded. Indeed, we heard very little from the media about this great man’s death, largely because so few in the media actually cared about his life.
I recall The Wall Street Journal article about the number of lawsuits, but instead of museums that are monuments to boredom, wouldn't you rather go to this museum?
The Pioneer Woman walks us through the preparation of pumpkin soup.
Eclecticity: Bravo, Nordstrom!
A fashion tip at Cultural Offering. Just the thing for school plays, late-night dinners, and jury duty.
Remember the Calvin Trillin book in which he described how his wife would calculate the money they'd made by not buying certain things? A similar mentality is alive and well.
This post is an Execupundit tradition:
Don't be too sweet, lest you be eaten up; don't be too bitter, lest you be spewed out.
At Kottke: Watch a billion years in a few seconds.
Suzanne Lucas weighs in on being too delicate to deal with low-grade harassment.
Here's an interesting collection of management lessons from Led Zeppelin and Peter Grant:
Because you never know what you'll find on YouTube.
The always clear-eyed Wally Bock discusses the moral fog at Penn State. An excerpt:
The citizens of the United States do not stand apart from history. We are in it and of it. Many of our ancestors came here hoping to escape it, but history is a pack of bloodhounds. Desperate to put those persistent dogs off the scent, we embrace fantasies in preference to facts. When the baying grows too near, we succumb to superstitious rituals, chanting that peace is the natural order of things and behaving as if violence were a spook we might drive away with Ivy-League fetishes and bouts of self-flagellation.
Blowing out the other fellow's candle won't make yours shine any brighter.
Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps.
Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit.com test drives a Nissan Leaf.
From an important article by Philip K. Howard:
The sexual abuse scandal at Penn State raises a lot of questions and yet it is also a reminder of how otherwise good people can make horrific decisions.
The storks were already migrating as the first Germans began to flee East Prussia. This was in the late summer of 1944. By the following January, with the temperature twenty degrees below zero, more than three million refugees and their animals were trudging westwards to escape the vengeance of the Red Army. For mile after mile they shuffled through the snows, clogging the roads while the retreating German troops tried to force their way through. The last civilian trains were crowded with "huddled shapes, rigid with cold, barely able to stand up any more and climb out; thin clothing, mostly in tatters, a few blankets over bowed shoulders, gray, hollow faces'. As the front came closer, the concentration camps were emptied as well, and their surviving inmates were marched deeper into the Reich; their guards shot the stragglers and left their bodies by the roadside.
"You know Ed, I've just been reviewing the performance of that executive you hired a few years ago."
Like other visionary pioneers Steve Jobs also had his limitations – and how he led Apple employees – was surely one of them. His legendary impatience, relentless quest for perfection, domineering presence, and obsessive need to control (he had over 100 direct reports) fostered as much fear within the Apple culture as it did reverence and respect for his genius. Often described as smug, willful, brazen, demeaning, volatile, vindictive and manipulative, he lead the company in a manner far afield from the collaborative norm expected of CEOs running public companies. Reportedly, employees working at Cupertino, CA headquarters even avoided getting into elevators with him lest they be fired by the time the ride ended. And Apple colleagues have described his assessment of employees as the “hero or shithead roller coaster” and where anyone was on that roller coaster could shift in a nanosecond.
Anderson Layman's Blog looks at the popularity of various names and laments the low ranking of Stephen. ["Michael" fares well, possibly because it "fits" with so many last names.]
Nicholas Bate, a.k.a. The Man Who Never Sleeps, gives a mantra for success.
It can be hard to tell whether our assumptions are binoculars or blindfolds.
I once asked a mother on food stamps what she would do without them. "I'd get a husband," she replied matter-of-factly. Here was news, I thought - a tantalizing bit of evidence of welfare's corrosive effect on the inner-city family. But when I recounted this exchange in an article for one of the nation's most influential newspapers, the editor ordered me to leave it out. Quoting it, he said, would "stigmatize the poor."
A governor calls a Christmas tree a Christmas tree.
What you find if you search an Apaculco prison.