Friday, May 31, 2013

Music Break

Primal Fears

In the workplace forests, swamps, and jungles, you may worry about lions, tigers, bears, wolves, and crocodiles, but when all things are considered, the weasels, snakes, and sloths may do the most harm.

Eek! A Cigarette!

Starbucks extends its smoking ban. Although not a smoker, I often sit outside with that harried group. We peek in at the lap-topped wizards who hog the best seats as they write The Great American Novel and sip their lattes.

I've never once been bothered by anyone lighting up and seriously doubt if my lifespan has been reduced by a fraction of a second. It will be a positive sign when organizations begin to emphasize freedom as much as sustainability and health.

That Not-So-Shallow Ike

Dwight Eisenhower worked for such demanding bosses as Douglas MacArthur and George Marshall. He squared off with Churchill and De Gaulle. He supervised Montgomery and Patton. He made the big decisions on the Normandy invasion. All before becoming president.

And yet one of the amusements of the intellectuals in the Fifties and Sixties was to depict him as a clueless duffer, at home on a golf course and incapable of any heavy mental heavy-lifting. It is nice to see that he is now getting the praise and recognition he deserves.

One of my favorite stories involves a general telling then-former president Eisenhower about a comment by Herodotus regarding the Peloponnesian War. Eisenhower politely listened but later, when a speech writer who was present asked him where the quotation came from, said, "First of all, it wasn't Herodotus. It was Aemilius Paullus. Secondly, it wasn't the Peloponnesian War. It was the Punic Wars with Carthage." He also noted that the man had misquoted.

I can't think of any recent occupants of the White House who, when it comes to experience and insight, would be in the same region, much less the same league.

By the way, when the speech writer asked Ike why he didn't correct the man, he replied, "I got where I did by knowing when to hide my ego and hide my intelligence."

Tremble and Obey

A new edict is posted at FutureLawyer. Read it and smile because it is way beyond true.

Fighting the Last War

Generals who fail to comprehend needed changes are often accused of fighting the last war. The same concern applies, of course, in management. Consider the revolution currently underway in the publishing business with the reduction of the middlemen, the liberation of writers, and the search for a new marketing strategy. A natural question is whether similar changes will occur in other industries in the near future.

It is easy to discount the "last war" fears. A focus on the far horizon can cause you to trip over the rock that is near your foot. Schemes for new approaches can distract from attention to the basics. Choosing what not to do can be as important as choosing what to do.

That said, setting aside a limited amount of time to go beyond a cursory examination of "What if?" can be time well spent ... especially if some savvy competitor is doing so.

Quote of the Day

Comment is free, but facts are sacred.

- C. P. Scott

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Miscellaneous and Fast

Wally Bock: By and about leaders.
Trailer: "On the Road."
U.S. News & World Report: When "fact-checkers" are biased.
Trailer: "Bel Ami."
Remember the JournoList scandal?
"Wallace and Ladmo": A visit from Captain Super.
Jonathan Alter on the first debate.
Trailer: "The Night of the Generals."

Advice for Grads?

Michael P. Maslanka recommends a book of advice for new graduates.

Overall, the book may be fine, but I'm not sure if I agree with the examples of advice that are given in his review. Many interviewers would be confused by some of the questions that are suggested and a confused person can be a fearful one. It is not wise to disturb the person who decides whether or not you get the job.

31 Excuses (Feeble and Otherwise) for Failure

  1. It wasn't that bad.
  2. Others have done worse.
  3. We weren't to blame.
  4. We were forced to do it.
  5. We didn't know we were doing it.
  6. Our critics are hypocrites.
  7. Our critics are unfair.
  8. Our critics are evil.
  9. We had good intentions.
  10. We're a work in progress.
  11. We didn't have enough time.
  12. We didn't have enough resources.
  13. The situation was hazy.
  14. At least we tried.
  15. It's always been handled that way.
  16. It could have been worse.
  17. If we didn't do it, someone else would have.
  18. Everybody does it.
  19. When in Rome....
  20. You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs.
  21. It was out of our hands.
  22. We were just following orders.
  23. Our information was incomplete.
  24. We were raised that way.
  25. The experts advised us to do it.
  26. You've never walked in our shoes.
  27. It's the principle of the thing.
  28. If we did it for one, we'd have to do it for all.
  29. We did it by the book.
  30. We told others to handle it.
  31. What difference does it make?

Quote of the Day

The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.

- Alfred North Whitehead

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Put Down Those Scissors!

Great. A drone that follows us around. Check out the video at FutureLawyer.

The Problem with Socks

A memorable video by Barbara Bush.

[HT: Suzanne Stork]

Do It!

Tom Peters expands upon whoever tries the most stuff wins.

Music for Burning the Midnight Oil

Here is some great background music for late night work. Be sure to add suggestions.

Art Break: Shanks

Art Contrarian looks at the work of Nelson Shanks.

Send Fewer. To Fewer.

The incomparable Nicholas Bate with insightful advice about email.

The Ducks

Yesterday's errands involved minor tasks that could not be postponed. I organized them so they could be done as efficiently as possible, brought along a business book and a note pad for the moments when I would have to wait, and used the rest of the time to plan projects and make phone calls.

Not my favorite way to spend time, but it tuned out to be reasonably productive. A key moment was when I stopped grumbling and decided to make the chores into a game to see how productive my "down time" could be.

It worked.

Thinking Time

This project is not like switching on a light and producing instant results. We'll have to get information and think about it. Once that is done, we'll probably need some more information, perhaps just a little, and then we'll think some more. It would be easy to spout off some quick answers but unless this is a real emergency, we'd better take time.

There will be brainstorming sessions, drafts, and redrafts. Along the way, we'll be getting reactions from the client - and there will be moments when part of the job, if we do it right, will involve staring at the ceiling or out the window and trying to think things through.

There is no other way around it.

Quote of the Day

Here is the reality, straight, no chaser: The American is an incontestable mix of blood, style, and tradition. Part Yankee, part frontiersman, part Indian, part Negro, part Hispanic, part Asian, part Christian, part Jew. We hear this in our talk, we see it in the way we walk and the way we laugh, the gestures we use, the facial expressions we pass over ethnic fences, the foods we eat, and even the dreams we have.

- Stanley Crouch

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ballpark Apps

At Entrepreneur, some companies that enable you to order a beer without leaving your seat at the ballpark.

The Lunacy of Our Times

At Althouse: A kettle that looks like Hitler?

What's next? A beanbag chair that "resembles" Goering? 

Quick Reaction Test

There is a painting at Cultural Offering. Without looking at the name of the artist, quickly guess whether it was done by Picasso, van Gogh, or Chagall.

Goodness Gracious Sake's Alive!

Anderson Layman's Blog, which comes to us from the heart of cursing country, points to a report on the states where the residents curse the most. My own state, of course, is listed among those most likely to appreciate Mozart, Hemingway, and Proust and where people speak in lapidary prose.

"Men on Strike"

Lisa De Pasquale interviews Dr. Helen Smith, the author of "Men on Strike." An excerpt:

Popular wisdom keeps telling us that men are stuck in an adolescent stage of non-committal relationships, video games and beer pong. However, Smith notes that men are putting off marriage and fatherhood as a rational, not immature, choice. She writes, “The discrepancy between the life of the freer, single man and the life of the less respected, less free life of the married man is at the heart of why so many men have gone on strike. This discrepancy between the perks of single life and the punishment of married life for men has become wider in modern times given the unequal legal terms, cultural empowerment for married women –but not men – and the lack of reproductive rights that men face in comparison to their female counterparts.”

Entertainment Break

The trailers for:


A key task for any leader is to provide clarity with regard to direction and values. Capabilities and actions must be consistent with that clarity. Ignorance, lethargy, and corruption are its enemies.

The job of providing clarity is never completed because circumstances change and people are accordingly affected. Woe to the leader who believes that the direction and values are self-evident or that the leader is immune from their enemies.

That's why when leaders periodically clarify matters for followers, they are also doing so for themselves.

Quote of the Day

The buck stops here.

- Sign on the desk of President Harry S. Truman

Monday, May 27, 2013

Government as Fire

David Brooks analyzes the IRS issue. An excerpt:

You want government workers who are alert to their own tendency toward bossiness; who ladle out their power carefully, gram by gram; who are aware that they are not really as benevolent and disinterested as they seem to themselves. Most of all, you want people with a strong sense of self-restraint.

Revolutionary Invention: The Paint Tube

Like many artists, Rand, a Charleston native living in London in 1841, struggled to keep his oil paints from drying out before he could use them. At the time, the best paint storage was a pig’s bladder sealed with string; an artist would prick the bladder with a tack to get at the paint. But there was no way to completely plug the hole afterward. And bladders didn’t travel well, frequently bursting open.

Read the rest of the Smithsonian magazine article on the impact of the paint tube.

A Story for Book Publishers

This has happened to me several times in recent years. I stroll through a bookstore, see several possible purchases, and then put them back on the shelf after noting the price. This seldom occurs with hardbound books. It's the $15 paperbacks that seem at least three or four dollars too high.

I wonder how many other serious book buyers - people who constitute the backbone of book stores - do the same thing. The publishing industry must have mountains of studies on the subject and yet it is content to let potential purchases sit on the shelves for months. 

Established writers may fare well under this system but the relatively unknown authors who would benefit from an impulse buy must take it on the chin. They are among the "internal" customers who suffer. Speaking as an external customer, I find the prices to be baffling.

In the meantime, I walk away and I'm probably not alone.

The Films of Whit Stillman

The trailers for:

The Utopian Standard

No matter how kind, generous or noble a famous person may be, you will find those who will search for and seize upon any faults, seeking to inflate them so they overshadow the virtues. These skeptics will compare the person to a Utopian ideal which few, if any, individuals have ever met and which the critics themselves have never achieved.

That game is also played with nations.

Quote of the Day

I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.

- Nathan Hale

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Why Read Raymond Chandler?

Because of paragraphs such as this:

We went down three steps to the main part of the living room. The carpet almost tickled my ankles. There was a concert grand piano, closed down. On one corner of it stood a tall silver vase on a strip of peach-colored velvet, and a single yellow rose in the vase. There was plenty of nice soft furniture, a great many floor cushions, some with golden tassels and some just naked. It was a nice room, if you didn't get rough. There was a wider damask covered divan in a shadowy corner, like a casting couch. It was the kind of room where people sit with their feet in their laps and sip absinthe through lumps of sugar and talk with high affected voices and sometimes just squeak. It was a room where anything could happen except work.

- From Farewell, My Lovely

The Art of Living

Walls and Connections

Thinking through walls at The Hammock Papers.

The Continuing IRS Saga

TaxProf Blog updates the links on the IRS scandal.

Sci Fi Entertainment Break

The trailers for:

Find Something Beautiful Today

Saturday, May 25, 2013

First Paragraph

Intellectuals have had a powerful effect on racial and ethnic issues, in countries around the world, for at least the past hundred years - and there is no sign that their influence will not continue, for better or worse, in the generations ahead. Even within a given country, such as the United States, that influence has been exercised in diametrically opposite directions at different times, promoting racial segregation and eugenics in the early twentieth century, and then civil rights and affirmative action in the later decades of that century. In other countries and in different eras, intergroup differences have led to even more varied and extreme consequences, including outright civil war and mass murder.

- From Intellectuals and Race by Thomas Sowell

Baseball: An Ethics Question

Check out the video at Althouse. Did the pitcher have the ethical obligation to fess up?

My answer: Absolutely. What are we? Barbarians?


I found a box in my storage room. It had old photos and some items from a great uncle who was a Marine. He'd fought in several battles in France during the First World War and then was briefly stationed in Germany before returning to the United States. One piece of paper had part of his handwritten last will and testament.

An envelope in that same box contained the European campaign service medal of another relative who served as a navigator in the bombing raids over Nazi Germany during the Second World War. Years later, he still had nightmares of those missions.

This is the Memorial Day weekend.

Random Thoughts

Routine can be the spice of life. Workplace turf wars resemble a squabble over the best seat on a bus. If you want the important stories, don't look on the front page of the newspaper. The president's popularity would increase if he started chain-smoking. We might learn which we value the most if we had to pay for contact with - or isolation from - others. It must be terribly demoralizing to teach foreign languages in an American high school. Most college classes could be shortened with no loss of substance. Raymond Chandler's mysteries are so enjoyable to read that their arcane plots are secondary. Every place looks better in the morning. Many of us were first exposed to classical music via Bugs Bunny cartoons. Anyone who scoffs at cruise control has never driven across Texas. The smaller the audience, the less need for PowerPoint. Time in bed is rarely wasted. At some point in your life, you should own a sports car. Benevolence and discretion deserve far more discussion. Those who seek learning the most need it the least. Some philosophies have huge maintenance costs. There is something very liberating about a full tank of gas and an open road.

Quote of the Day

Survival of the fittest implies multiplication of the fittest.

- Herbert Spencer

Friday, May 24, 2013

First Paragraph

Sometimes it is a banality - something a little sad and laughable - that makes you aware of a deep cultural change. On some level you already knew it, so that when the awareness comes, there is more recognition than surprise. Yes, of course, things have changed.

- From White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era by Shelby Steele

There Can Be a Fine Line

There can be a fine line between:

  • Meeting and meandering
  • Core and margin
  • Direct and rude
  • Indirect and fog
  • Detachment and indifference
  • Query and challenge
  • Work and play
  • Thought and drift

HiSense Tablet for $99

FutureLawyer has the details. I'm very tempted but why not pay more and get a Kindle Fire?


Don't act until all of the information is in. Insist on perfection. Order a study. Order more studies. Reorganize. Have a rigid plan and stick to it regardless of changing circumstances. Name a multitude of committees. Be sure their duties overlap. Do nothing unless you're in the right mood. Reorganize. Assume clarity. Complicate instructions. Take vacations at important junctures. Encourage turnover. Crunch the numbers. Challenge the numbers. Crunch them again. Challenge them again. Reorganize. Bring in the consultants. Triple the accountants. Unleash the lawyers. Change the deadlines. Change the mission. Shred documents. Start over. Reorganize.

Quote of the Day

Act, and you shall have dinner; wait, and you shall be dinner.

- Klingon proverb

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Most Expensive Car on Earth

It's a 1936 Bugatti.

You know you want one.

"This Time is Different"

I have a friend who has started a new course of healthful eating. She told me, “This time is different. I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life, I’ve been on a thousand diets, but this time I’m changing my eating habits for good.”

Read the rest of Gretchen Rubin's post here.

The Unfolding IRS Scandal

TaxProf Blog has an update of links on the IRS scandal.


Strictly between us, I can count what I know about Chechens on one leg. A couple of years ago, while I was in Copenhagen picking up an award from the Danish Free Press Society, a one-legged Chechen prematurely self-detonated in the Hotel Jørgensen while assembling a bomb. His device, using the same highly volatile TATP as in the London Tube bombings, was intended for my friends at Jyllands-Posten, publishers of the famous Mohammed cartoons, to whom I chanced to be giving an interview. All things considered, I'm glad the poor fellow pre-activated in his hotel room rather than delivering his package in the midst of my photo shoot. His name was Lors Doukaiev, and he had traveled from his home in Liège, Belgium, in order to protest the Mohammed cartoons by exploding a bomb on September 11. Got that? A citizen of Belgium is blowing up a newspaper in Denmark on the anniversary of a terrorist attack on America.

Read the rest of Mark Steyn here.

And Speaking of Flashbacks

From 1971: What's My Line? Mystery guest: Frank Zappa.

We Don't Want No Woe

Business Insider has 31 charts to restore your faith in humanity.

Kids as Political Tools

Ann Althouse is not enchanted with the recent video zapping the mayor of Chicago. An excerpt:

I've watched the video, and my reaction is: Adults taught him a speech. He's being used as a political puppet. I've seen far too much of the use of children in politics — click my "using children in politics" tag — and I don't like it. I think it's especially bad to teach a child to yell angrily at another person and to exhibit hostility, and it's bad for us to express enthusiasm about a child who's good at giving the scripted performance. This is not how children should be taught. Ironically, the topic under discussion is education. 

Flashback Time: Travel Decals

I recall an old gray Dodge with travel decals on the wind windows and a hole in the backseat's floor. James Lileks looks at this lost art.

Harassment Prevention Lessons

At HR Morning: What four new cases can tell us about sexual harassment.

Quote of the Day

In truth, there is no such thing as a growth industry. There are only companies organized and operated to create and capitalize on growth opportunities. Industries that assume themselves to be riding some automatic growth escalator invariably descend into stagnation.

- Theodore Levitt

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

IRS's Lerner Takes The Fifth

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog on whether Lois Lerner forfeited her Fifth Amendment protection by making a statement.

Alan Dershowitz weighs in.

Upon His Judgment I Rely

Let's face it: Kurt Harden at Cultural Offering has great taste in music, as may be seen here and here.

Featuring The Lizard King

From The Guardian: A 1968 article about The Doors.

Please - Please - Please

Making notes on upcoming workshop. Glenn Gould's Bach: The Goldberg Variations CD is softly playing in the background.

I'm hoping some of the genius rubs off.

The London Attack

Terrorism in London.

A Briton's response: "You are going to lose."

Intellectual Diversity on Campus

Most of my college years were in the Sixties. One of my pleasant memories of those days is of the frequent chances to hear diverse viewpoints. I recall attending speeches by Robert Kennedy, Barry Goldwater, Hubert Humphrey, Allen Ginsberg, William Kunstler, Ernest van den Haag, Dick Gregory, Max Rafferty, Charles Percy, Morris Udall, Bergen Evans, and Mark Hatfield; just to name a few.

I seriously doubt if many universities provide that level of diverse viewpoints today. One troubling indicator: This year's number of conservative commencement speakers at Ivy League schools.

[Photograph: Courtesy of Christopher Yoder.]

Berlin 1936

I posted another version of this video a while back. Rather chilling, especially when you consider the changes that were coming over the next nine years.

"It's going to get a lot worse."

Sox First looks at Europe's lost generation. An excerpt:

As detailed here, French youth unemployment has risen for 13 months in a row to a record 26.5 per cent; Spain (at 57.2 per cent of under-25s unemployed) is catching up fast to Greece's stunning 59.1 per cet; but perhaps the most concerning for the broader economies is the fact that Italy's youth unemployment has now topped that of Portugal at 38.4 per cent.

The Royal Correspondent

I know there are some people out there who follow reports of royalty the same way others follow baseball, Hollywood or horses.

Here's an unusual site that features "Daily news from the world of European royalty."


My day started with papers.

Newspapers, papers on projects, note cards with reminders, a pad of notes - whoops, here's a new class that needs to be developed! While still in bed I went over an account of totalitarian propaganda techniques. My home office desk has papers seemingly but not randomly scattered about and next to it is a table with files, more papers, and books related to a recent project. One stack is held down by a book on completeness by Philip B. Crosby and another on the discourses of Epictetus. Peter Snow's "To War with Wellington," a used copy which recently arrived from England, is on still another. I can see "The Trails of Pete Kitchen" on a small file cabinet and, next to a Civil War saber, is a stack where Stephen Bungay's "The Art of Action" cries out to be finished.

My wife's ungodly schedule requires her to rise early. Possessing no cat burglar skills, she thrashes about. Once she is moving, my sleep is unsteady and I'm always up before she leaves.

So I can deal with papers.

Moving Away from SEAL Teams?

The decision not to seize the men militarily underscores the White House aim to move away from hunting terrorists as enemy combatants and holding them at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The preference is toward a process in which most are apprehended and tried by the countries where they are living or arrested by the U.S. with the host country's cooperation and tried in the U.S. criminal justice system. 

Read the rest of the Associated Press story here.

Caffeine: The Magazine

FutureLawyer has discovered a magazine for coffee lovers. So has Nicholas Bate, a serious coffee lover and author of Ristretto Espresso 09

This is further proof that there is a magazine for any subject nowadays. Some examples:

Quote of the Day

You'll find us rough, sir, but you'll find us ready.

- From David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Kevin Williamson, Theater Hero

So I minded my own business by utilizing my famously feline agility to deftly snatch the phone out of her hand and toss it across the room, where it would do no more damage. She slapped me and stormed away to seek managerial succor. Eventually, I was visited by a black-suited agent of order, who asked whether he might have a word.

Read the rest of the story here.

Personnel Costs

Tim Berry shows how to calculate the hourly cost of an employee.

Fashion Update: Going Goth

Spiegel looks at A Very Gothic Weekend.

Text This!

Anita Bruzzese at 45 Things asks, "Is technology making you rude?"

[My question: Or does it just facilitate the rudeness of those who were rude to begin with?]

We Could Call It "Hal"

Stanley Bing wonders if he could be replaced by a robot. An excerpt:

Could a robot work long hours under intense pressure on a project only to see it evaporate when senior management turns its gaze to other enthusiasms? Well ... I guess so. Robots don't get frustrated or angry. They don't have drinks with dinner and fall asleep on the couch, either. They don't even need to go home! So ... fine. Chalk one up for the robots.


This post by Kurt Harden at Cultural Offering hits a subject that all of us have experienced. I'm teaching a couple of workshops near the end of this week and am already thinking about which ties to wear.


Because it makes a difference.

Hot Chocolate + Orange Mug = Smile

A white mug won't cut it for hot chocolate.

Take a few minutes, read this post by James Lawther on hot chocolate tasting better in an orange mug, and think of service improvements in your own work.

If Only

I can never resist studying the photos whenever Eclecticity finds a clean, well-lighted place to blog.

Traffic: When Less Regulation Works

At The Dish: A fascinating video of what happens when the traffic lights and signs are taken down and the cars, bikes, and pedestrians deal with one another.

Patience, Prudence, Caring, and the Zone

It can take you many years to establish a great reputation - such treasure is not created overnight - but that same reputation can be destroyed in seconds.

We may wish those numbers were reversed and yet that is not the way life operates.

An account of the early life of Winston Churchill described him as a young man in a hurry. Churchill's dedication to his advancement was no small thing but he did not become prime minister until he was 65 and even that was a close call. [I'm appallingly behind with my own career schedule and may be an overnight success at 80.]

Consider the impact on the world, however, if Churchill had decided to pack it in after the Gallipoli disaster and write books. We'd probably be speaking German right now. Many of us wouldn't be around at all.  

Patience and prudence should be blended with caring. By that, I mean the wisdom to know what to care about, what not to care about, and the depth of each. Many of us spend way too much time fretting about things which, in retrospect, seem minor. A large portion of those worries involves matters over which we have little or no control. I have written earlier about the importance of having a zone of indifference. It is vital to care, but unless you develop such a zone, the world will drive you to despair.

The zone of indifference should be linked to similar zones of patience and prudence. Each filter enables you to function far more effectively and protects against the evils of impatience and indiscretion.

"But not to excess" should be on the prescription label of all of our virtues.

Quote of the Day

In the days of developing the minivan, we never once got a letter from a housewife asking us to invent one. To the skeptics, that proved there wasn't a market out there.

- Hal Sperlich

Monday, May 20, 2013

Top 100 Leadership Blogs

Leblin (Leadership Blog Index) has released its list of the top 100 leadership blogs for 2013.

Congratulations to all!

When Tech Gets Too Clever

Photoshopping Katy Perry.

Wasn't Trotsky in that photograph?

[HT: Instapundit]

Speech, Headscarves, and Abercrombie & Fitch

Michael P. Maslanka looks at a case where religion, speech, and employment law make an interesting broth. An excerpt:

“The court leaves to another day the more difficult question of whether a living model, whose stated job responsibility is to advertise Abercrombie's brand, constitutes commercial speech,” wrote Judge Edward J. Davila.

Tornado Devastation

Reports at the The Weather Channel.

Truly terrible and sad.

Three Guesses Might Not Be Enough

At Fortune: The only Fortune 500 company that has grown faster than Apple.

Art Break: Kramskoi

Art Contrarian looks at the work of Ivan Kramskoi. [The painting above is "Christ in the Desert."]

The Continuing IRS Scandal

There's a great collection of story links at TaxProf Blog

He has followed it with an update of additional links.

Claire Berlinski: On Thatcher and More

Peter Robinson interviews Claire Berlinski about Margaret Thatcher and much more:
[I recently finished Berlinski's book on Thatcher and highly recommend it.]

Grade Inflation

B or even C performance can receive a grade of A when the scorer:

  • Doesn't know what A performance is.
  • Doesn't want to learn about A performance.
  • Doesn't believe grades are that important.
  • Has low expectations.
  • Is eager to avoid conflict.
  • Is trying to encourage the individual and believes a lower grade would be demoralizing.
  • Likes the individual and is inclined to approve of any work that is produced.

Quote of the Day

The world is more malleable than you think and it's waiting for you to hammer it into shape.

- Bono

Sunday, May 19, 2013

"Our Story in Two Minutes"

Check out this video at Law Latte. Quite impressive. There will be a quiz.

"I know this beach like the back of my hand"

From The Smithsonian (in 2012): The story of the prime minister who disappeared. An excerpt:

On the gusty afternoon of December 17, 1967, a group of five adults arrived at Cheviot Beach, near Portsea, Victoria, and strolled along the Bass Strait beneath the warm Australian sun. Harold Holt was eager for a swim, and after stepping behind a rock outcrop in the sand dunes, he emerged wearing a pair of blue swim trunks. Marjorie Gillespie and her daughter, Vyner, both in bikinis, turned to the water and noticed that the surf, at high tide, was higher than they’d ever seen it.


I spent the day outside yesterday.  The weatherman called for storms, so it was a beautiful day.  Flats of flowers were procured and planted, flower boxes were filled along with the odd assortment of flower pots we've collected over the years.  I purchased a power washer (doesn't everyone need a power washer?) and new mower blades, tore out a tired old rhododendron, trimmed some bushes.  I weeded and mowed and tinkered and puttered and did almost everything I could do to stay outside.

Read the rest of Kurt Harden's post at Cultural Offering, a truly essential blog.

Find Something Beautiful Today

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Entertainment Break

The trailers for:

Built-In Burden

As I started to outline the structure of an organization I've been studying, one thing was evident: Although the organization claimed that it wanted both functions A and B, a heavy bias on behalf of A was decidedly a burden on B's making any serious progress and yet B was the more important activity if the organization as a whole was to be secure.

There were several reasons for this. Once upon a time, A was all the organization had to do. As a result, it developed a strong A orientation and the top executives reflected that mindset. The B function was regarded as secondary and intellectually inferior even though it was more of a money-maker. Executives gave cautious lip-service to B, but - unless carefully watched - would quickly slip into their default A mode. Many of the board members had a similar disposition and longed for the old days when A was all that needed to be done and competition was rare.

Much needs to be done to get the necessary changes in place. The question now is whether to force a knock-down, drag-out fight over the A and B priorities or instead simply to get the changes in motion that will correct the imbalance and let those do their stuff.

I'm still thinking about this one.