Saturday, January 30, 2016

Film Break

The trailers for:


Image result for famous movie posters

Online Workshops on Supervision and More!

Many thanks to Kurt Harden for his kind reference to my online classes.

The classes on supervision are the most recent ones. They are based on a workshop that I've taught in 48 states and Puerto Rico. [Vermont and Wisconsin are the hold-outs!]

Although I still teach in-person sessions, we've discovered that many people are searching for reasonably priced online classes that can be taken whenever their schedule permits. 

A lot of good, no-nonsense, information is packed in these workshops. Those new to supervision get a strong introduction and those who are seasoned supervisors get a booster shot.

It is shameless plug time: Check them out .

Stories and Strategies from Real Life

Wally Bock examines the world of leadership and management and always finds great stuff.

Very Long Term

Anderson Layman's Blog has a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon.

What a great body of work. There are many fine cartoonists but I don't know if anyone has approached that series.

Art Break

Art Contrarian looks at the work of John Duncan Ferguson.

The Changing Cast

Stay in business long enough and you notice how the cast changes. People you assumed would remain in jobs do jarring things, such as retire or die, or ambitious things, such as get promoted or decide to backpack around the world.

People will not stay put.

Neglect them and you may find find a stranger sitting in their chair and a whole new relationship will have to be created. That may be impossible since mergers and new management teams bring relationships that were established elsewhere and, of course, there is a certain amount of chaos.

My address book has the names of some beloved clients who passed away years ago. They were truly kind and caring people. Ours was far more than a business relationship. 

I cannot erase their names.

First Paragraph

On the night of September 23, 1994, Pulp Fiction opened the 32nd New York Film Festival. The opening night is a coveted spot for a movie; it has the highest profile of any selection and it can set the tone for the rest of the prestigious two-week event. 

- From Quentin Tarantino: The Man and His Movies by Jami Bernard

Quote of the Day

Life is not just a series of calculations and a sum total of statistics, it's about experience, it's about participation, it is something more complex and more interesting than what is obvious. 

- Daniel Libeskind

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Boys in Maine

Obligatory snow shot for Maine post

Sippican Cottage presents an Unorganized Hancock video.

"Apocalypse Delayed"

Writing in National Review, David French takes on climate change hysterics. An excerpt:

Can we ignore them yet? Apparently not. Being a climate hysteric means never having to say you’re sorry. Simply change the cataclysm — Overpopulation! No, global cooling! No, global warming! No, climate change! — push the apocalypse back just a few more years, and you’re in business, big business.

Pulp Break

Miscellaneous and Fast

The trailer for "Falstaff: Chimes at Midnight."
The trailer for "The Finest Hours."
The WSJ Law Blog: Experts on the Planned Parenthood case.
Not a good date movie: "Weiner."
Political Calculations on the U.S. new home sales market.
The trailer for "Idiocracy."
The trailer for "Hail, Caesar!"


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Churchill Solitaire

Donald Rumsfeld has made an iPhone app based on a form of Solitaire played by Winston Churchill..

Here is the Christian Science Monitor article.

Here's the website.


Stroll through a used bookstore and you'll see stacks of very good books by authors who are now barely remembered, if remembered at all.

Go to the blues clubs in Memphis and you'll hear musicians who are as good as - and often better than - many famous performers.

Have an acquaintance with a broad collection of people in your community and you will know individuals who are far more astute and insightful than many members of Congress and probably more than several presidents.

Fame does not mean substance.

Quote of the Day

My [high school] marks were so low that they wouldn't let me in the drama club. So I went down to WTIC Radio, auditioned, and got on a show. 

- Louis Nye

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Back By Popular Demand: Larry Miller

Larry Miller with "The Five Levels of Drinking."


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Eclecticity Light

The question remains: Where does he find this stuff?

Better Than Remembered

Some films hold up quite well. King Kong is one of them and Fay Wray was charming.

"Nature's Heroin"

Anderson Layman's Blog is heavily into bacon this morning.

A Romance Revived

A report from the wilds of Florida: FutureLawyer watched the return of The X-Files and his crush on agent Scully intensified when he spotted she had the "right" smartphone.

His smartphone.

Some medical intervention might have been required if an iPhone had appeared.

Leadership and Trust

Check out this excellent post by Tanmay Vora..

Absent coercion or bamboozling, there can be no powerful leadership without trust.

Protecting the Grid

Kevin Reagan at The National Interest reviews Ted Koppel's book about an attack on the U.S. power grid. An excerpt:

After developing his cyberattack premise, Koppel then bizarrely teases readers with sparse details of other potential grid vulnerabilities of equal or greater interest, briefly acknowledging their existence before moving on with his argument. The second chapter of the first section, “AK-47s and EMPs,” details how electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks could be used to neutralize not only the power grid, but all electronics across the country. Without much further examination, Koppel leaves readers to ponder the somber conclusions of a2008 congressional report on the EMP threat—namely, the forecast of a 90 percent population reduction.

I'd Love to See These People Host the Oscars

  1. Mark Steyn
  2. Werner Herzog
  3. Helen Mirren
  4. Bill Murray
  5. Robert Osborne
  6. Clive James
  7. Elvis Mitchell
  8. Jeremy Irons
  9. John Malkovich
  10. Oscar Levant [I know he's no longer around but I can dream.]
Any others?

Quote of the Day

Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. 

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

You Know You Want One

The DeLorean is going back into production.

My older brother had one but only for a few weeks until he could find a buyer. 

Unusual Films

The trailers for:

Pulp Break

Still another book on the presidential campaign.

Always Find Out Their Favorite Movie

This interview provides a very interesting look at Kurt Harden, the mind behind Cultural Offering.

Music Break

John Fahey: "Sail Away Ladies."


The Sensory Dispensary has come back big time

Better than ever and that's saying something.

Hang In There

A reminder of the judgment of editors: 

The Man Booker Prize winner whose debut novel was rejected 78 times.

Writing Tips

Check out the post on Madman, Architect, Carpenter, Judge at Cultural Offering.



Her impatience plunged her into a series of unfocused activities. Those produced demoralizing results which fostered procrastination and created more impatience. She felt as if she were watching the world from a window in a locked room.

And then one day she found focus and it was the key to the door.

He searched widely for the obstacles to his success and inadvertently discovered that they were hiding amid virtues that were collaborating with his vices. From that day on, he was a new person.

Music Break: "Barcarolle"

Start the day with some Offenbach.

Crank it up.

Quote of the Day

When I look at history, I am a pessimist . . . but when I look at prehistory, I am an optimist. 

- J.C. Smuts

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Bridge of Lies

I subscribe to Commentary and often refer to it as the greatest magazine in the world. 

If you don't subscribe, it is worth signing up for access to their website if only to read Kyle Smith's description of bias in Hollywood. 

Of course, the magazine has much, much more.


From CNN: An update report on the Zika virus.

If You Lived in Vienna, You'd Know the Words

This is the song that is the haunting background to many of the scenes in "Grand Hotel."

Of course, it doesn't sound very haunting here but then Garbo isn't on stage.

The Ultimate Diet

Anderson Layman's Blog has a diet all of us should follow.

Discovering the Fort Cabin

True West magazine has the story of a cabin hidden within a house in Utah.

Art Break: Grün

Art Contrarian looks at the crowd scenes of Jules-Alexandre Grün.


John F. Kennedy said, "Life is unfair." All of us nod in agreement but what we don't acknowledge is that life is unfair, in large part, because fairness is very difficult, if not impossible, to create.

Years ago, when I started investigating discrimination complaints, I often had to stop people who'd assert that the goal of the investigation was to ensure fairness. "No," I'd explain, "the goal is to determine whether illegal discrimination took place. Fairness is a much broader and far more elusive concept. It is much easier to prevent discrimination than it is to ensure fairness."

Such discussions often dealt with the distinction between equal opportunity and equal results. The law required equal opportunity but many people wanted to scoot past that and stake a claim to equal results. [Note the current debate in Hollywood regarding the Oscars.] Providing opportunity is easier and more desirable than guaranteeing results. 

Opportunity is the ladder. Some individuals can and will climb higher than others. The genius of the civil rights laws rests in the legislative decision to go after certain narrow areas of discrimination instead of taking on the impossible dream of making life fair.

Life is unfair and it always will be.

Same Movie, Different Cast

That's how I'd describe many workplace problems. Hang around long enough in the HR, employment law or management consulting fields and you'll start to see a pattern.

I've encountered clients who thought my ability to predict coming events was uncanny. They didn't know the "same movie, different cast" phenomenon, perhaps because we all like to think of our environments and challenges as unique.

"This place isn't like other places," they say. That is rarely true. In most cases you can practically recite the dialogue.

Now that has its drawbacks. If you fall into mentally completing their sentences before they finish them, you are not really listening. You will miss something and that one tidbit may make a big difference. That's why you need to give a fresh look and save your "same movie, different cast" conclusions for later. At the start, it helps to ask yourself, "How is this different?" 

Keep asking that.

Quote of the Day

No matter how much you like vegetables yourself, never try to feed a cat a carrot

- Alex McEachern

Monday, January 25, 2016

Dean and The Duke

Anderson Layman's Blog has a video that will evoke some very pleasant memories.

Attention Artists: Today's the Day

From Muddy Colors:

Miscellaneous and Fast

The Telegraph: Inside the Playboy mansion.
The trailer for "JeruZalem."
Laura Benanti: "I Like Musicals."
Jess Greenberg: "Dead or Alive."
Andrew McCarthy on the FBI, the Justice Department, and the Clinton e-mail case.
The trailer for "Synchronicity."

Pulp Break

My guess is it's about French politics.

Image result for exotic novels

Underlying Assumptions

The underlying assumptions are strong currents that can alter the direction of our journey. 

We assume a person doesn't want guidance and that is exactly what is desired. We assume that additional contact would be a bother and yet the other person sees it as a helpful reminder. We think one program is inferior to another because of A, B, and C and our assumption causes us overlook the virtues of D, E, and F.

Pick out an important project and consider your underlying assumptions. They may be leading you onto a sand bar.

Reminder: Not All Knowledge is Good

The more you know, the more you may decide.
The more you decide, the more you may control.
The more you control, the more you may inhibit.
The more you inhibit, the less you may develop.

Quote of the Day

How would you like a job where, if you made a mistake, a big red light goes on and 18,000 people boo? 

- Jacques Plante

Saturday, January 23, 2016


Here is a live video stream from Times Square.

Disaster Supplies

Aside from essentials such as Pop Tarts, Twinkies, and beer, what should those in cold climates store away for emergencies?

Update: Cultural Offering provides reassurance.

Clients and Customers

Seth Godin makes an important distinction between the two.

Tidying Up

Dr. Helen Smith gives her thoughts on Marie Kondo's book about tidying up. I'm still reading Kondo's book and have found it has excellent advice but, well, let's just say my office at home won't win any awards for tidiness.

But I'm making progress.

Her best advice so far: Don't find a place for it. Get rid of it.

Pulp Break

I suppose the shoulder pads were a problem in elevators.

Image result for pulp novels

Dorm Rent

Digging through some files. 

Found an August 1967 letter from the University of Arizona stating the cost of my room at Cochise Hall for the entire semester: $130.

I knew it was a bargain back then. Of course, the dorm didn't have air conditioning but we were a hardy and frugal breed.

Flea Market Montgomery

Back by popular demand. One of the greatest commercials of all time. 

Get ready to dance. "It's just like a mini-mall."

Music Break

Iris DeMent: "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms."
John Fahey: "Poor Boys Long Way From Home."

Hollywood, Diversity, and Common Sense

The complaints about the Oscar nominations are far from new. You'd think that by now the idea that an awards program should have racial diversity would have been dismissed as foolish and unrealistic. Take an extreme example: If one year, 90 percent of the nominees for Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Director are black, is that powerful evidence of discrimination? Should there be some form of intervention to ensure that those numbers are reduced? And later, if all of the winners for those categories are black, does that mean anything other than all of the winners happened to be black and they were deemed to have earned the awards?

What would a nomination mean if it were known that the only reason why the person was nominated was skin color? It would be insulting and condescending. No one would take the awards seriously.

Let's stipulate that the best people are not always nominated. Even if they are, the best performance is not always given the Oscar. The process is imperfect and sometimes just flat-out dumb. Did The English Patient really deserve Best Picture? Should John Wayne's performance in True Grit have gotten a Best Actor nod over Dustin Hoffman's in Midnight Cowboy?

Putting quotas into a process that is awash with subjectivity would increase, not reduce, the number of poor decisions. It would also announce that merit is secondary. If that day arrives, Oscar will really be carried out in a box.

Quote of the Day

They don't know anything, or more accurately, they know a lot of stuff and none of it is true. Everything they know they found out by reading news articles written by people just like them

- Sippican Cottage

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Giant

Muddy Colors looks at the work of Peter Paul Rubens.

Car Design: The Silver Streak

Car Style Critic traces the evolution of the Pontiac silver streak. The above ad is from 1935.

The X-Files Returns

FutureLawyer is a fan of The X-Files

On Sunday evening he will be planted in front of his TV set, anxiously watching to see if the revival meets expectations.

My wife was a major fan of the series. I'll pass along the word and will check out the new version to see if Mulder is wearing a smartwatch.

Praise Fundamentals

Wally Bock on praise and the inner Otto Klemperer. An excerpt:

The musicians were stunned. For a moment they sat silently and then, suddenly, they broke into applause. Klemperer drew himself up and tapped his baton on the music stand for attention. The musicians quieted down. 

Bate's Books

Here are some recent Nicholas Bate books:
And don't forget to check out his blog.

No Word Yet on "Twister"

The top cleric in Saudi Arabia thinks chess is the work of Satan.

Pulp Break

Good advice:

Image result for pulp novels

Music to Work By

Back by popular demand: The Red Army Choir with "The Song of the Volga Boatmen."

Catchy tune.

DC Snow Amateurs

It has been over 40 years since I worked in Washington, D.C. 

Back in those days, the municipal workers would drag a dead moose behind a pick-up truck in order to clear the roads. No, wait. That's another town. But the D.C. area's efforts were equally ineffective. I recall one highway looking like Napoleon's retreat from Moscow: cars piled up along the side (Napoleon had cars?) and general chaos. My car once did a diagonal icy skid across a few lanes - a move much admired in New Jersey - and the angels put me in front of an exit. I returned home via side roads lined by houses in which children were cheering because they knew they wouldn't have school for days.

A co-worker who'd lived in Maine was amused. He noted that Maine would have had the roads cleared within an hour. He refrained from observing that even if the roads were not clear, the hardy people of that state know how to drive in snow. And that sparks an observation. I suspect that one of the reasons why D.C. traffic is so bad after a mild snow storm is that the area is packed with carpetbaggers from sunny states who rarely had to grapple with the white stuff. It is not a location where people grew up slapping chains on tires and having heart attacks while shoveling sidewalks. The place has plenty of amateurs to muck up the roads and slow down the flow.

Fast-forward to today: I'm going to check the road outside my house here in Phoenix. Looks clear. I think I'll leave the chains at home.

Don't Be

Advice for executives, managers, and supervisors: Don't be brilliant, tough, gentle, ambitious, insightful or eloquent if any of those keep you from being effective.

Quote of the Day

Leadership is daring to step into the Unknown

- Stephen Hawking