Thursday, April 30, 2015

First Paragraph

The high chandeliers in the Great Hall of Lincoln's Inn were ablaze with candles, for it was late afternoon when the play began. Most members of Lincoln's Inn were present, the barristers in their robes and their wives in their best costumes. After an hour standing watching, my back was starting to ache, and I envied the few elderly and infirm members who had brought stools. 

- From Revelation by C. J. Sansom

Leadership: Brunacini

Back by popular demand: An interview with former Phoenix Fire Chief Alan Brunacini.

Nonjudgmentalism Update

"There are no thugs in Baltimore." 

Great news! 

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has discovered the only thug-free city in the United States.


Entrepreneur gives a sales strategy for meeting with executives. I can think of a recent meeting where this might have worked but am also considering the exceptions. 

[An important point: determining if you are in a sales meeting or a "We want you to get started on this project" meeting. There is a big difference between the two.]

Being Wired

"The good news is that a character in The Wire is based on you. No, wait. I guess that really isn't good news."

You Know You Want One

A Combination Knife/Rule: CoolTools has the details.

Visually Arresting

Time for some fun.

Eclecticity Light provides an unusual experience. [Where does he find this stuff?]

Global Warming Data Fiddling?

The Telegraph: A panel has been appointed to check into whether global warming statistics are being manipulated. An excerpt:

My cue for those pieces was the evidence multiplying from across the world that something very odd has been going on with those official surface temperature records, all of which ultimately rely on data compiled by NOAA’s GHCN. Careful analysts have come up with hundreds of examples of how the original data recorded by 3,000-odd weather stations has been “adjusted”, to exaggerate the degree to which the Earth has actually been warming. Figures from earlier decades have repeatedly been adjusted downwards and more recent data adjusted upwards, to show the Earth having warmed much more dramatically than the original data justified.

What was It?

Is the right word failure, mistake, challenge, problem, setback, collapse, surprise, expectation, accomplishment, achievement, signal or lesson?

Or should we just call it an event and focus on how to proceed?

Quote of the Day

Sometimes you must say no to the good to make room for the great. 

- Margie Warrell

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Music Break

Katherine Jenkins sings the theme from "Band of Brothers."

Apple: A Tap on the Wrist

Fortune: A problem with the Apple watch?

Film Break

The trailers for:

Ideas for McDonald's

Futurist Faith Popcorn has some recommendations for McDonald's.


Advice for Executives, Legislatures, and Courts

There should be a simple sign, based on the sage observation by Visa card founder Dee Hock, that the intended consequences of decisions may take place but the unintended consequences will always take place.

When No News is Bad News

"How's it going?" probably produces more lies than "Did you commit the murder?" if only because it is asked more often.

"How's it going? "How are you doing?" "How are things?"

It has been said that a bore is a person who, when asked one of those questions, tells you the truth. It may be naive to expect an honest response. People carry burdens and there can be a multitude of reasons why they won't disclose them. Among them are:
  • They don't want to inflict unhappiness on others.
  • They don't have the time.
  • They don't want to disclose something.
  • They feel the question wasn't meant to be taken seriously.
  • They believe the exercise would be pointless since the other person wouldn't or couldn't provide a solution.
  • They don't want to be perceived as whining.
  • They feel guilty or are ashamed.
  • They just don't want to talk about it in any way, shape or form.
Body language may be a tip-off. So can any seemingly off-hand comment which is tucked in with a positive response; e.g. "Things are fine. My schedule is crazy but things are rolling along." 

[You've just been told there is a problem with the schedule and it probably isn't minor.]

Listen for the limited disclosure. It is usually an understatement.

Quote of the Day

Our doubts are traitors,
And make us lose the good we oft might win,
By fearing to attempt. 

- William Shakespeare

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Music Break: Prokofiev

The London Symphony Orchestra with "The Dance of the Knights" from Romeo and Juliet.

Crank it up.

The Job

Maximilian Schell on making "Judgment at Nuremberg."

Same Sex Marriage

Mark Walsh at the SCOTUS Blog on today's same sex marriage arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court.


  • When talk is equated with action.
  • When effort is equated with results.
  • When equality trumps merit.
  • When the defender is portrayed as morally equivalent to the aggressor.
  • When facts are deemed opinions.
  • When opinions are deemed facts.
  • When feelings overrule reason.
  • When experience is quickly discounted.
  • When industriousness is derided.
  • When virtues are mocked.

Art Break: Henry

Art Contrarian looks at the work of George Henry.


There are times when we are resting, times when we are thinking, and times when we are doing the seemingly small things which contribute to the improvement or completion of big things,

It might pay to be wary of all other times.

Mistah Fax Machine - He Dead. A Penny for the Old Guy.

Our Man in Florida [a.k.a. FutureLawyer] on the decline of the fax machine:

I used to think it was cool to have a fax machine. But, then, I cut off the mullet, got rid of the leisure suits, and shaved the mustache.

Quote of the Day

There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist

- Mark Twain

Monday, April 27, 2015


Congratulations to Tanmay Vora for his selection by SHRM as one of the Top 25 Indian HR Influencers on Social Media.

An honor well deserved.

Leadership: De Gaulle

President Charles de Gaulle's speech to the French nation during the generals' putsch in 1961.

Here is an English translation of an excerpt:

An insurrectionary power has established itself in Algeria by a military pronunciamento... This power has an appearance: a quartet of retired generals. It has a reality: a group of officers, partisan, ambitious and fanatic. This group and this quartet possess an expeditive and limited know-how. But they see and understand the Nation and the world only deformed through their frenzy. Their enterprise lead directly towards a national disaster ... I forbid any Frenchman, and, first of all, any soldier, to execute a single one of their orders ... Before the misfortune which hangs over the fatherland and the threat on the Republic, having taken advice from the Constitutional Council, the Prime Minister, the president of the Senate, the president of the National Assembly, I have decided to invoke article 16 of the Constitution [on the state of emergency and full special powers given to the head of state in case of a crisis]. Starting from this day, I will take, directly if needs arise, the measures which seems to me demanded by circumstances ... Frenchwomen, Frenchmen! Help me!.

Art Break: Schofield

Art Contrarian looks at the work of Walter Schofield.

The Future isn't Just Super-SmartWatches and Sexy Robots

I took some time this morning to scan The Wall Street Journal's special section on the future. I'll review it again when there's more time but didn't see the one item which I think will gravely determine life on the rapidly approaching horizon: drones.

It doesn't take much imagination to conjure up a view of what can happen if swarms of small drones become feasible; ones which cannot be traced to their pilot. 

Remember The Birds, the excellent short story which was made into a so-so film?  This could be far scarier.

Escape Plan

(42) You'll never really get to know a person if they have a smartphone in one hand.

Go on a "back to basics" journey with Nicholas Bate.

True or False?

  1. In the absence of mindfulness and self-discipline, we'll eat right and exercise.
  2. Without good leadership and management, organizations become more efficient and effective.
  3. If we just act in a free and spontaneous manner, all will work out.
  4. Organization is the enemy of creativity.
  5. We have a natural tendency to consider the interests of others.
  6. Silence denotes assent.
  7. The highest form of courage contains the absence of fear.
  8. The group is always smarter than the individual.
  9. Few problems accompany a reduced workload.
  10. If we just work harder, we'll succeed.

Quote of the Day

How much finer things are in composition than alone. 

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Music for a Saturday Night

BBC Proms in 2014: Ravel's "Bolero."

First Paragraph

For the farmers in the valleys, hills, and plains of America and the fishermen scattered down its endless coast, Europe in the eighteenth century had little meaning. Few realized that their lives were tangled in a web of forces - diplomatic, social, economic - that stretched from London to Moscow, or that their fate might be settled on the plains of India or amidst the isles of the Caribbean. But it was so. For nearly a century Britain had been locked in a struggle with France; on its outcome the fate of the world depended. 

- From The American Revolution by Bruce Lancaster

Film Break

The trailers for:

On the Training Trail

A recent project: One of my clients is sending me out to train their managers and supervisors at different locations around the country. I used to have a travel territory which was linked to the Southwest Airlines region but before that I'd achieved true road warrior status by training in 100 cities in one year. [The only states I've missed are Wisconsin and Vermont.]

This particular class is interesting because it has sort of a Supervision in One Day approach and a lot of topics are covered. When I surveyed last week's class for their burning questions, the first one out of the box dealt with building the supervisory skills of employees. A great question and one which differs from the all-time favorite question of a few years back: How do I motivate my employees?

What have I learned from teaching around the country? 

Simply this: The issues that face supervisors and managers in New York City are the same as the ones facing their peers in Atlanta or Anchorage or Los Angeles. People are tired of management-by-best-seller. They hunger for practical solutions.

Despite that commonality, each class teaches me a bit more about organizations and the challenges facing employees. I listen carefully and learn along with the participants. That is truly as good as it gets.

It will be fun.

On the Summer Job Training

As soon as I saw the post at Cultural Offering about summer jobs, one question came to mind: "Do the chickens have large talons?"

Name that film!

[Update: Steve Layman of Anderson Layman's Blog quickly provided the answer in the comments. Another memorable scene.]

Raymond Chandler Saturday

There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.

I was getting one in a flossy new place across the street from the apartment house where I lived. It had been open about a week and it wasn't doing any business. The kid behind the bar was in his early twenties and looked as if he had never had a drink in his life.

Read the rest of "Red Wind."

Quote of the Day

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader. 

- John Quincy Adams

Friday, April 24, 2015

Entertainment Break

The trailers for:

Natural, Beautiful, and Dangerous: Calbuco

Maxim has some extraordinary photographs of the volcano explosion in Chile.

There Was a Reason

There was a reason for the decision. It may not have been wise but it was thought to be smart at the time and the clever people favoring it believed not taking that course of action would be unwise.

Today, we find it difficult to understand how anyone could have made the decision but we need to remember:

There was a reason for the decision. It may not have been wise but it was thought to be smart at the time and the clever people favoring it believed not taking that course of action would be unwise.

Watching History

Matthew Lang points to an amazing elevator ride.

Miscellaneous and Fast

Tanmay Vora: Lessons from 9 years of blogging.
Esquire on the best summer movies.
Wally Bock: A baker's dozen of things to master.
Anderson Layman's Blog is doing the pop corn dance.
Seth Godin: The crowd disappoints.
Eclecticity Light offers one cute hedgehog.
Eli Lake: The shifting estimates on Iran's break-out time.
"The Mother of All Babes": A documentary on Jane Birkin.
Bravo: Robert Downey Jr. walks out on interview.
The Telegraph: Italian police foil terror plot against the Vatican.
Peter Wehner on the Clinton scandal.
Fortune: The survival of Dr. Pepper.
WSJ Law Blog: Google sued for age discrimination.

This Morning

This morning I need coffee and focus. 

Several projects require attention and the early morning hours are great for making progress. If I get enough done then my reward will be reading some management books for an hour. There is also an idea dancing on the outskirts of my mind and I hope to lure it in for a visit. It seems attractive.

But before anything, I'll take the coffee out for a peek at the sunrise.

Art Break: Goldbeck

Art Contrarian looks at the work of Walter Dean Goldbeck.

Quote of the Day

People who think they're generous to a fault usually think that's their only fault.

- Sydney J. Harris

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thursday Evening

Today's workshop went very well. Great questions and observations from a bright bunch. It is evening and John Williams's excellent soundtrack to The Cowboys is playing in the background.  A stack of paperwork is on my desk. The dog has had her walk. An email from a client has "O Wise One" in the subject line. [He has a sense of humor.] I just booked another business trip out of state. The briefcase I use for training materials is on its last legs. Can one feel sentimental about a briefcase? Yes. No doubt about it. Friday awaits.

First Paragraph

The city was hers for a single hour, just the one magic hour, only hers. The morning of the accident, between three and four A.M. when the streets were empty and the angels watched, she flew east on Wilshire Boulevard at eighty miles per hour, never once slowing for the red lights along that stretch called the Miracle Mile, red after red, blowing through lights without even slowing; glittering blue streaks of mascara on her cheeks. 

- From The Watchman by Robert Crais


Some generalizations to string together the specific examples. Bits of humor. Many reminders of things they learned years ago but have forgotten. A few new guidelines along with several items which may jar their assumptions - at least they did mine - and spark new practices. Much listening because each class has far more instructors than the person in the front of the room. The goal, as always, is simple: Give them practical information which is easy to understand and which can be put to immediate use.

The Idea

The idea was appealing and many benefits would flow if the plan were executed but the more I listened the more disturbed I was by the fact that one of the essential requirements involved catching a unicorn or something to that effect.

Quote of the Day

Goodness is easier to recognize than to define. 

- W. H. Auden

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My Instant Reaction: Oh Wow!

At this photo at Cultural Offering.

Gentler times.

Music Break

Here today and will be again: Leonard Bernstein's Candide Overture.

Abbey's World

Ron Dungan at The Arizona Republic has written a memorable portrait of the remarkable Edward Abbey:

He scribbled in a journal, one of many he kept over the years: "No job. No home. Another baby on the way. My little pile of movie money flowing away like sand down a wash. My latest and greatest book ("Black Sun") rejected by one two three publishers. So far."

The world, in time, would come to know Edward Abbey as a writer, environmentalist and a central figure in the debate over conservation in the West.

Looking Forward to Sippican's Second

Sippican Cottage has a new book in the pipeline. 

His first book was so good I started reading it one afternoon and there went the afternoon. What can I say? The man can write.

He is living proof that Creative Writing departments should have a furniture-making division.


David Kanigan's blog features Lucy Kellaway's observations on having worked 30 years at the Financial Times. An excerpt:

A third colleague, also a long-timer, complained that staying in the same place meant getting dragged down by politics and that old grievances fester. Possibly; though I see it the other way round. Long service has cut me adrift from politics and has meant I don’t have to waste time working out who is trustworthy and who isn’t, as I know that already.

Wisconsin's John Doe Investigations

An excerpt from David French's article in National Review.

John Doe investigations alter typical criminal procedure in two important ways: First, they remove grand juries from the investigative process, replacing the ordinary citizens of a grand jury with a supervising judge. Second, they can include strict secrecy requirements not just on the prosecution but also on the targets of the investigation. In practice, this means that, while the prosecution cannot make public comments about the investigation, it can take public actions indicating criminal suspicion (such as raiding businesses and homes in full view of the community) while preventing the targets of the raids from defending against or even discussing the prosecution’s claims.

The Slight

The Slight is an odd plant, often encountered in the course of a career. You may choose to keep it or get rid of it but you should never water it.

Delaying Our Conclusions

When Chou En-lai was asked his opinion of the French Revolution he reportedly said that it's too soon to tell.

As I grow older, I have greater appreciation for that response. There are events which some regard as successes or failures and my reaction is similar to Chou's. It's not that I'm immune from early pronouncements - certain news stories come to mind - but some subjects require a dose of sobriety because:

  • We have very few facts.
  • Many of the facts we have are not facts.
  • The assumption that history shows that X or Y decision was a disaster assumes that the initial situation would have been frozen in amber while the other events played out. Let us remember: That. Does, Not. Happen.
Experience teaches humility. [It also dampens enthusiasm.]

In many cases, that's healthy.

Quote of the Day

If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else

- Booker T. Washington

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sharp Dressed Man

Back by popular demand. Crank it up.

Entertainment Break

The trailers for:

Getting Promoted

Writing in Entrepreneur, Andrew Benett on five ways to miss the promotion boat.

Organizations should regard job recruitment as talent assessment; i.e. an opportunity to evaluate the available talent. 

Ideally - and I can already hear lawyers groaning - that should involve telling candidates how well they presented themselves during the interview and what they could do to be more competitive in the future. I base that suggestion on having seen people make mistake after mistake in seeking promotions and yet the employer's oral boards repeatedly failed to level with the individual, choosing instead just to say, "Another candidate was selected."

The Golden Rule should guide those instances.

Music Break

Singer/song writer John Stewart with "Dreamers on the Rise."

Health Food Update

Peanut Butter Cake with Chocolate Icing

The Pioneer Woman shows how to make Peanut Butter Cake with Chocolate Icing.

Today's Notecard

Take my wife to the doctor. Send revised proposal to a client. Work on an affirmative action plan. Arrange for a new photograph. Review an online class. Work on an online class. Prepare for upcoming presentation. Contact friend in Oregon re a group's funding strategies. Return call regarding a nonprofit board.

At some point in there I need to shine my shoes.

Wait! Why wasn't that first?


"Perhaps" may be weak when spoken but it is powerful when silent. 

Consider how many extraordinary things began when one person looked at an object, an idea, or a person and thought, "Perhaps."

Quote of the Day

Be as you would seem to be

- Thomas Fuller

Monday, April 20, 2015

Shelf Life of the Twinkie

Althouse points to the food news you've been waiting for

Survivalists, rejoice! 

It's time to fill the basement. 

[I was always more of a Sno-Ball man but Twinkies could do in a crunch.]

Movies and Management Quiz

This was first posted here on November 4, 2006.

Some lines from movie dialogue demand to be used in the workplace. Here are some obvious candidates although some are obscure. See if you can match the line with the film.
[Answers are at the bottom of the post.]
  1. Marketing "Sell crazy someplace else. We're all stocked up here."
  2. Discipline "The time has come for someone to put his foot down. And that foot is me."
  3. Community Activists "Tom, those are the Causeheads. They find a world-threatening issue and stick with it for about a week."
  4. Safety "Mrs. Nordberg, I think we can save your husband's arm. Where would you like it sent?"
  5. Records Management "It's in that place where I put that thing that time."
  6. Job Description "I am a river to my people!"
  7. Motivation "Positive thinking is fine in theory, but whenever I try it on a systematic basis, I end up really depressed."
  8. Persuasion"She tried to sit on my lap, and I was standing up at the time."
  9. Corporate-speak "You keep saying that. I do not think it means what you think it means."
  10. Benefits "I caught you a delicious bass."
  11. The Competition "Who are those guys?"
  12. Diversity  "What we have here is called 'failure to communicate.'"
  13. Career Counseling "I just want to say one word to you - just one word.... 'plastics.'"
  14. Ethics "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms."
  15. Persistence "As God is my witness, as God is my witness, they're not going to lick me! I'm going to live through this, and when it's all over, I'll never be hungry again - no, nor any of my folks! If I have to lie, steal, cheat, or kill! As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again."
  16. Testing "A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti."
  17. Compliance "Now all you have to do is hold the chicken, bring me the toast, give me a check for the chicken salad sandwich, and you haven't broken any rules."
  18. Confrontation "That's mighty brave talk for a one-eyed fat man."
  19. Courtesy "Sir, you have no call to get snippy with me."
  20. Technology "Where does he get those wonderful toys?"
  21. Appearance "I have a head for business and a bod for sin. Is there anything wrong with that?"

[Answers: 1. As Good As It Gets; 2. Animal House; 3. PCU; 4. The Naked Gun; 5. Hackers; 6. Lawrence of Arabia; 7. Barcelona; 8. The Big Sleep; 9. The Princess Bride; 10. Napoleon Dynamite; 11. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid; 12. Cool Hand Luke; 13. The Graduate; 14. Wall Street; 15. Gone With The Wind; 16. The Silence of the Lambs; 17. Five Easy Pieces; 18. True Grit; 19. Fargo; 20. Batman; 21. Working Girl.]


My work today - completion of a class workbook - does not involve real carpentry but I've come to regard it as similar to that admirable trade. The table now needs to be assembled, sanded, stained, and polished. I carefully take each stage and avoid jumping ahead or unduly rushing through any point. Pleasure can be found in the details and each part will be examined to see if there is anything which causes the slightest discomfort. [I saw a word last night which needs to be changed. It is close but not quite right.]

Breaks are taken for perspective and the equivalent of sweeping the floor.

Boil It Down

If we are able to boil an issue down to one line both our thoughts and our communications are clearer. 

  • The purpose of this meeting is to:
  • The problem with your performance is:
  • The reason why the product is not selling is:
  • The reason why we are reluctant to adopt that approach is:
We may even be able to summarize a virtue, feature, concern or flaw in one word. Some examples:
  • Inspirational
  • Unreliable
  • Premature
  • Respectful
  • Arrogant
  • Fun
  • Loyal
The process itself is helpful. I've never found it to be less than, what is the word? Beneficial.

Quote of the Day

Grow antennae, not horns. 

- James B. Angell

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Lincoln and America

Noted Civil War historian Allen Guelzo speaking on Lincoln's legacy.

25 Blogs

Kurt Harden

Kurt Harden at Cultural Offering has posted The 25 Blogs Guaranteed to Make You Smarter.

I would quickly add Kurt's Cultural Offering to that list. It is simply outstanding and a daily picture of a life well-lived.

An Argument for Masculinity

Peter Lloyd, who has a new book on the subject, argues that men need to stop rolling over.

Music Break

Back by popular demand: John Barry and The Royal Philharmonic with the theme from "Mary, Queen of Scots."

First Paragraph

He was relieved to be again among the Russians. Nothing to do with his head, or even his heart, but in his soul: some kind of internal alignment or tessellation. He looked up at the clock on the wall above the brown lift doors. He'd lost two hours with the delays. But the London panic had given way to cool urgency, a calculating haste. There would be the visa and passport queues. There would be the usual wrangle with the taxi driver - unless he agreed up front to pay the tourist price. And then there would be traffic on Moskovsky. . . An hour and a quarter and he should be there. 

- From Pravda by Edward Docx

Art Break: McEvoy

Art Contrarian looks at the work of Ambrose McEvoy. [The above portrait is of Winston Churchill when he was First Lord of the Admiralty.]

Two Things I've Been Pondering

When considering the effectiveness of teams, it is difficult to overestimate the importance of a shared reality and mutual reliability.

Miscellaneous and Fast

Wally Bock: How to have a more creative team.
The trailer for "The Walk."
The New York Times: UN sees video evidence of chemical attack in Syria.
Peter Robinson remembers Christopher Hitchens.
The trailer for "The Driver."
Michael Rubin on Thomas Friedman and Iran.
The trailer for "Coco Before Chanel."
Althouse: Rahm Emanuel, Spike Lee, and Chiraq.
Political Calculations reveals his political leanings.
FutureLawyer on the thrill of changing watch faces.
Florida divorce lawyer: An informal ad about vermin.
Yet another: Star Wars trailer.

Raymond Chandler Saturday

The little man was from the Calabar coast or from Papua or Tongatabu, some such remote place like that. An empire-builder frayed at the temples, thin and yellow, and slightly drunk at the club bar. And he was wearing a faded school tie he had probably kept year after year in a tin box so the centipedes wouldn't eat it.

Read the rest of "The Bronze Door."

Friday, April 17, 2015

News You Can Use

The Telegraph: Video of a young City broker eating eight cheeseburgers in one hour.

Now I ask you: Is that really that difficult? I've had friends who would eat eight cheeseburgers on the way to lunch. Of course, they're no longer with us.

Intolerance Update

BoingBoing: Jon Ronson on ruining the lives of strangers with tweets.

First Paragraph

Not long ago I was the lone conservative at a panel discussion on race and politics at the famous Aspen Institute in Colorado. The day before the panel was to take place, some of us were asked - as a way of opening what was to be a weeklong conference - to say a few words about what we wanted most for America. This was surely a summons to grandiosity, but it did trigger a thought. When my turn came I said that what I wanted most for America was an end to white guilt, or at least an ebbing of this guilt into insignificance. I then used my allotted few minutes to define white guilt as the terror of being seen as racist - a terror that has caused whites to act guiltily toward minorities even when they feel no actual guilt. My point was that this terror - and the lust it has inspired in whites to show themselves innocent of racism - has spawned a new white paternalism toward minorities since the 1960s that, among other things, has damaged the black family more profoundly than segregation ever did. 

- From Shame: How America's Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country by Shelby Steele

David Sanborn

To those of us whose youth was marred by the honeyed saxophones of Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians, David Sanborn was a revelation. [Although my younger brother, a sax player, was a Boots Randolph fan.]

Cultural Offering has the essential mixes.

House Showing

Let's say you're a realtor and you want a creative way to show a house to some prospective buyers.

Eclecticity Light has the video.

Music Break

BBC Proms: Music from "Cinema Paradiso."

Bird by Bird

"Just take it bird by bird."

I often think of the advice Anne Lamott got from her father when, as a young student, she had to write a paper about birds. [It later inspired her book about writing.]

That big project is not so intimidating when broken into its parts. Her dad was right. Take it bird by bird.


"Are you going to do that?"
"I'll do my best."
"Are you going to do that?"
"I'm planning to do it."
"Are you going to do that?"
"It's on my schedule."
"Are you going to do that?"
"There are a lot of obstacles."
"Are you going to do that?"
"I'm going to work really hard at it."
"Are you going to do that?"
"It's what I'd really like."
"Are you going to do that?"
"I've dreamed about it."
"Are you going to do that?"
"My friends say I can do it."
"Are you going to do that?"
"Of course, some friends point out the downsides."
"Are you going to do that?"
"It will change my life."
"Are you going to do that?"
"Are you going to do that?"
"Yes. I am definitely going to do that. Just watch me."

Quote of the Day

Whoever is happy will make others happy too

- Anne Frank

Thursday, April 16, 2015

First Paragraph

Nothing that happened in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003 was preordained. And there was nothing inevitable about the way the story unfolded. 

- From The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq by Emma Sky

The Unheard Cries

When dealing with people, it is important to remember that not all of the walking wounded have visible wounds and everyone who is hurt may not moan or scream. The idea that we will know of pain may apply in many instances but certainly not in all. 

When you don't really know your audience - and that can be said in most cases - choose topics and words with care. There are people with sizable burdens out there and they may be the last ones to groan.