Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Walk in the Park

Visit The Hammock Papers.

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years

Here is the trailer for the documentary.

The Arched House

Arched house

FutureLawyer has found a house that is approximately $1,000.

Sometimes, less is more. Very interesting.

Courage and Competence

Honesty. Integrity. Courage. Competence. Benevolence.

Combine those and it is likely that you have a thoroughly trustworthy individual.

The two qualities that may be missing from many lists are Courage and Competence. 

Courage is needed to put the other virtues into action. 

Competence is also needed for action and it is a key ingredient of reliability. A person who possesses Honesty, Integrity, Courage, and Benevolence won't be able to fulfill the necessary commitments unless Competence is present.

All are needed to create Trust.

Highly Recommended

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Quote of the Day

Until you become the sort of person that others want to follow, you are not a true leader. 

- John Spence

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Music Break

Kiri Te Kanawa singing Mozart.

It doesn't get better than this.

The O.K. Corral

True West magazine explores how Hollywood films have depicted "the walk" to the O.K. Corral.

First Paragraph

He loomed up out of the night. And for an instant there was nothing to distinguish him from it. Then a glint, a reflection from the lantern the woman was holding up close to the horse's nose, attested to a monocle. The man addressed the woman in impeccable Italian, flawed only by certain gutturals that revealed his German mother tongue. There was something fierce and splendid in that face bathed in the swaying lamplight, as if the stars and the dust were met together there. 

- From Not All Bastards Are from Vienna by Andrea Molesini

The Unsaid and The Yet to Be Said

The meeting started on one subject and then meandered through a series of related topics, explored modified versions of them all, and eventually returned to the original idea and redrafted it based on the discussions.

Level One of the meeting was what was said.

Level Two was what was not said.

Level Three combined the previous levels and anticipated what would be said in the future. 

You might call that last part the Yet to Be Said. It is more important than many suspect.

Highly Recommended

Image result for a savage war of peace alistair horne

Quote of the Day

The problem is that leaders fail to ask often enough the question: What is wrong around here? 

- Jack Welch

Monday, August 29, 2016

Gene Wilder, RIP

A memorable scene from "Young Frankenstein."

First Paragraph

Shortly after the occupation of Lublin in 1939 Jewish children had been barred from attending school and private instruction was prohibited. As with all such Nazi directives, disobedience if discovered met with severe punishment, even death. 

- From Dry Tears: The Story of a Lost Childhood by Nechama Tec

Art Break: Gyzis

Art Contrarian looks at the work of Nikolaos Gyzis.

The Disease of Being Busy

An excerpt from the essay by Omid Safi at On Being:

What happened to a world in which we can sit with the people we love so much and have slow conversations about the state of our heart and soul, conversations that slowly unfold, conversations with pregnant pauses and silences that we are in no rush to fill?

Recruitment Techniques

From The Onion in 2008: Blue Angels hold first-ever open try-outs. An excerpt:

"Some of these folks may not have worked their way through four years of the Naval Academy, 10 years of flying missions as a naval aviator on three different carriers, two sessions at the fighter school at Miramar, and another 18 months of special aerobatics and flight operations here at Pensacola—like I did—but they sure had spirit," Blue Angel member Johnny Krewsh said. "They gave it their all and that's what counts. My hat is off to them, and to their surviving family members."

[HT: Rick Miller]


This week's meetings include people from the judicial, academic, and city government arenas. Each group has very different interests. I also have time blocked out for paperwork and thinking (not mutually exclusive).

And each day, the index card with What to Do and What Not to Do.


May all of the good you do today leave no time for anything mediocre. 

Highly Recommended

Image result for henry kissinger memoirs

Quote of the Day

Humans don't mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary. Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary. 

It's time for that to end.

- Sebastian Junger

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Music Break

Nino Rota's soundtrack to "The Taming of the Shrew."

Miscellaneous and Fast

Wally Bock: Stories and Strategies from Real Life.
Tanmay Vora: Leading and Learning.
The trailer for "Complete Unknown."
Cultural Offering is rising early.
Nicholas Bate: Set, then disrupt, your routine.
Althouse: French court overturns the burkini ban.
Anderson Layman's Blog quotes George Marshall on a debt all of us owe.
The trailer for "I.T."
Phoenix band "Lane Change" with "Get Outta My Head."
Matthew Lang asks "Is blogging dead?"
The trailer for "The Sea of Trees."
A.B. Stoddard: Accountability and the Clinton Foundation story.
The Sensory Dispensary has a lot of great things.
The trailer for "Stranger Things."

Sue Long and Prosper

A new toy has arrived at a law firm in Florida.

The Best-Laid Plans

I was half-awake. It was around 3:30 in the morning. With eyes shut, I was forming a vague plan to mow my backyard before showering and heading off to the barber shop.

A clap of thunder and a loud and heavy storm moved in. The dog, not a fan of thunder, walked over to my side of the bed to be assured that the world was not ending. I told her that all would be well and that she was far better off than the fox family that walks along our back wall.

My wife was asleep throughout all of this, although I think I saw a slight smile.

The Advantage of the Old

I met a doctor the other day who looked like a high school freshman. 

That is no exaggeration.

My current doctor is also youthful - he looks like a college freshman - but, aside from the suspicion that people can now go directly from grade school to med school, I have no concerns about his competence or that of the "high schooler." They seem bright enough but then who am I to judge? My medical knowledge is gleaned from a few biology classes and some Reader's Digest articles. They could be using terminology from Marx Brothers films and I might not pick it up. [On second thought, I would if it came from a Marx Brothers film,]

Several years back, I had a series of doctors who retired without my permission. Selfish dogs. That's why I was pleased to snag a new one who might be around for the duration. 

Anyway, there is an interesting feature to being older: you know what it is like to be young but the young don't know what it is like to be old. I can say things and have an educated guess as to how a younger person will regard it because, back in the days of the Harding administration, I was in their shoes. They, on the other hand, don't quite know how The Gray and the Wrinkled think. It isn't a big gap but it is a gap.

There is a memorable story about a conversation between Sam Rayburn when he was Speaker of the House and Robert Kennedy when Kennedy was discussing various political appointments for his brother's administration. Kennedy commented that one person seemed old. Rayburn replied (and I paraphrase), "Son, to you everyone seems old."

I always liked Sam Rayburn.

Highly Recommended

Image result for america alone mark steyn amazon

Quote of the Day

Scholars on both the left and the right make comfortable livings detailing the pathologies of the poor without ever talking with a single poor person. 

- Robert L. Woodson Sr.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Music Break

From Topsy-Turvy: The Mikado explains his enlightened theory of punishment.

Great film.

News You Can Use

Writer and producer Rob Long on what to say when you are not invited to a major Hollywood party.


He was a little of everything and a little of nothing. He yelled at the right people, didn't yell at the wrong people, didn't fail in his duties, didn't cause surprises or embarrassments. He was just so. 

- From The Valley by John Renehan

Film Break

The trailers for:

Class Spirit

A class can be an exploration of new territory, the cleaning of a dusty attic, a pair of thick new glasses, or a gentle reminder of some things you already knew. It can be a challenge, a maze, possibly even an affront. Unless the instructor is inept, it is a joint venture where both parties learn and each emerges enriched.

I've taught a lot of students over the years and they have taught me. I'm not sure what it is but whenever a subject is well-explored, there is always something else at work in the room. 

A spirit, perhaps, but a nice one.

Highly Recommended

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Quote of the Day

We are what we repeatedly do. 

- Aristotle

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Wearable Computing

FutureLawyer is not keen on The Payment Ring.

6 Future Regrets

Fast Company: 6 things you're doing that you'll seriously regret in 10 years.

A Recurring Frustration

I'm mentioned this before but it keeps coming to mind whenever politicians discuss foreign policy.

You know that taking Action A produced problems. What you cannot know is what problems would have been produced had you not taken Action A. Decisions are taken with the available evidence. That is more of a crystal ball than a history book written by a time traveler who recently returned from the future.

Those who would criticize such decisions should in turn be asked what they would have done had the unpleasant scenarios of another course of action taken place. They should also be asked to describe the level of evidence they would require before taking similar action.

They seldom get such questions.

Highly Recommended

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Quote of the Day

In less than two centuries Americans transformed their nation from a sliver of settlement clinging to a coastline into a globe-girding superpower with historically unparalleled power and influence. Yet to hear Americans tell it, they are the Greta Garbo of nations: they just want to be left alone. 

- Robert Kagan

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Plessy v. Ferguson

From the 1996 issue of Kentucky Humanities: Charles Thompson on Justice Harlan's great dissent. An excerpt:

"Our constitution is colorblind." It was Marshall's favorite Harlan quotation, and is now so familiar that we take it for granted. But to get to the point of coining it in his great dissent of 1896, John Harlan of Kentucky, one-time slave owner and defender of slavery, had to come a very long way.

Sophia Loren Break

Antony Jay, RIP

A very interesting man

Antony Jay was the co-creator of Yes Minister and the author of several books, including Management and Machiavelli. Here is his description of the anti-Establishment bias at the BBC:

“We were not just anti-Macmillan,” he wrote of his experience. “We were anti-industry, anti-capitalism, anti-advertising, anti-selling, anti-profit, anti-patriotism, anti-monarchy, anti-Empire, anti-police, anti-armed forces, anti-bomb, anti-authority. Almost anything that made the world a freer, safer and more prosperous place, you name it, we were anti it.”

"Silicon Valley"

The trailer.

The Vacation: 22 Things

Review this list and it is likely that you will conclude that Nicholas Bate knows how to take a vacation.

A Multitude of Excuses

  • Bad parents.
  • Mean siblings.
  • Bad companions.
  • Smoking.
  • Terrible teachers.
  • Bullies.
  • Cafeteria food.
  • Junk food.
  • The economy.
  • Too much television.
  • Racism.
  • Sexism.
  • Lack of exercise.
  • Hollywood.
  • The Internet.
  • Bosses.
  • Co-workers.
  • Movies.
  • Video games.
  • Divorce.
  • Promiscuity.
  • Lawyers.
  • Wall Street.
  • No role models.
  • Rock and roll/punk/rap/hip hop/you name it.
  • Drugs.
  • Booze.
  • Porn.
  • Sugar.
  • Red meat.
  • Facebook.
  • Guns.
  • Religion.
  • Money: too much or not enough.
  • Lack of religion.
  • Lack of discipline
  • Too much discipline.
  • Lack of sleep.
  • Instant gratification.
  • Self-esteem programs.
  • Incivility.
  • Anything else? Oh yes, lack of decent values and personal accountability.

Remember Sherman Adams

To get a sense of how far our standards have fallen, consider why Sherman Adams was forced out as Eisenhower's chief of staff and compare that to current events, such as the ethical issues described in this recent Associated Press story.

Highly Recommended

Quote of the Day

The French, under the old monarchy, held it for a maxim that the king could do no wrong; and if he did do wrong, the blame was imputed to his advisers. This notion made obedience very easy; it enabled the subject to complain of the law, without ceasing to love and honor the lawgiver. The Americans entertain the same opinion with respect to the majority. 

- Alexis de Tocqueville

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

In the Background

Progress in the War on Poverty

Ricochet: Very interesting. James Pethokoukis looks at the numbers.

Music Break

Some breathtaking Bach at Cultural Offering.


Paging John Stuart Mill

The viewpoint diversity resolutions of Heterodox Academy.

Jonathan Haidt wonders which will be America's first Heterodox University?


True West magazine does some detailed detective work on whether a photo contains the famed dentist/gunfighter Doc Holliday.

"The Dispute"

Althouse analyzes how The New York Times, once a newspaper, slants a story.

"The dispute" reminds me of this film, from when it was dangerous to go to the movies.

A Tad Wet

Of course, I have a meeting out in the countryside but it will give me a chance to check on the crops.


I've known extremely smart people who didn't complete elementary or high school and I've also known dolts with doctorates. I've listened to people who made enormous sense in broken or ungrammatical English and have also heard individuals with many letters behind their name who spoke eloquent nonsense. 

The list could go on: minorities who are racist, tough operators who are sensitive, and old ladies with more street smarts than a gang member.

Titles, credentials, and group identities can easily cloud our view. 

Take each person as an individual.

Responsibility and Introspection

Nationwide news coverage of the rioting in Milwaukee following the Aug. 13 death of 23-year-old Sylville Smith in a police confrontation has focused on the torched buildings, gunfire and scorched shells of cars. Yet the most important voice and powerful message amid this tragedy has largely been ignored. The young man’s father, Patrick Smith, in an anguished statement to local TV, declared:
"I had to blame myself for a lot of things, too, because your hero is your dad, and I played a very big part in my family’s role model for them. Being on the street, doing things of the street life: Entertaining, drug dealing and pimping and they’re looking at their dad like 'he’s doing all these things.' I got out of jail two months ago, but I’ve been going back and forth in jail, and they see these things. So I’d like to apologize to my kids because this is the role model they look up to. When they see the wrong role model, this is what you get.”

Read all of the essay by Robert L. Woodson, Sr. here.

Highly Recommended

Quote of the Day

I am almost frightened by the vitality these Germans show after what they've undergone. I believe, once they've been given the word GO, they'll have a bridge over the Rhine in three months, and that in a short time their output of steel will be huge. 

- British colonel, the Ruhr, May 2, 1945 

[Quoted in The Pride and The Fall by Correlli Barnett]

Monday, August 22, 2016

Parenting Skills - Level 1000

At Eclecticity Light, of course.

First Paragraph

On June 25, 1996, Bill Griffin, age twenty-six, was ambushed in a drive-by shooting and became one of more than 350 young black men who are killed in street violence each year in our nation's capital. Black-on-black murders in Washington, D.C., have become so common that Griffin's death was newsworthy only because he was the last of his mother's four children to be murdered before the age of thirty. 

- From The Triumphs of Joseph: How Today's Community Healers Are Reviving Our Streets and Neighborhoods by Robert L. Woodson, Sr.

Art Break: Zinkeisen

Art Contrarian looks at the work of Anna Zinkeisen.

Delete Doesn't Mean Delete

Esquire: How to see every Google search you've ever made.

Miles Davis Break

That, and so much more, can be found at The Hammock Papers.

That Teapot is Fascist

A political discussion at Althouse. The term "fascist" gets tossed around so much nowadays that it seems to have a new definition: "Something I don't like." 

As with "racist" its overuse may eventually make it meaningless.

What's Happening Now, Soon, and Eventually

The organization thinks it knows what is happening now and yet it often does not know what is happening now that will strongly shape what will happen soon or what will happen eventually.

The wolf that is now leaping for the throat gets all appropriate attention but what about the one behind that tree or those just over the top of that hill?

A healthy organization should have a spot reserved for a touch of paranoia and the willingness to pay serious attention to those who can provide sober predictions. 

[A historical question to illustrate how things get overlooked: Do you know how the Russo-Japanese War started?]. 

Highly Recommended

Quote of the Day

How much larger your life could be if your self could become smaller in it. 

- G. K. Chesterton

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Fighting Those Who Would Squelch Free Speech

Author Mark Steyn speaking to the Institute of Public Affairs in Melbourne on the importance of protecting freedom of speech.

This should be shown on American college campuses but, unfortunately, the average campus is one of the last places it would be permitted.

A 24.5 Million Dollar House by the Side of the Road

I confess to being underwhelmed by this 24.5 million dollar home in Scottsdale

Even if you have the money, less can indeed be more. 

[And does anyone else remember the Sam Foss poem?]

First Paragraph

For numberless years a myna had astounded travelers to the caravansary with its ability to spew indecencies in ten languages, and before the fight broke out everyone assumed the old blue-tongued devil on its perch by the fireplace was the one who maligned the giant African with such foulness and verve. Engrossed in the study of a small ivory shatranj board with pieces of ebony and horn, and in the stew of chickpeas, carrots, dried lemons and mutton for which the caravansary was renowned, the African held the place nearest the fire, his broad back to the bird, with a view of the doors and the window with its shutters thrown open to the blue dusk. On this temperate autumn evening in the kingdom of Arran in the eastern foothills of the Caucasus, it was only the two natives of burning jungles, the African and the myna, who sought to warm their bones. The precise origin of the African remained a mystery. In his quilted gray bambakion with its frayed hood, worn over a ragged white tunic, there was a hint of former service in the armies of Byzantium, while the brass eyelets on the straps of his buskins suggested a sojourn in the West. No one had hazarded to discover whether the speech of the known empires, khanates, emirates, hordes and kingdoms was intelligible to him. With his skin that was lustrous as the tarnish on a copper kettle, and his eyes womanly as a camel's, and his shining pate with its ruff of wool whose silver hue implied a seniority attained only by the most hardened men, and above all with the air of stillness that trumpeted his murderous nature to all but the greenest travelers on this minor spur of the Silk Road, the African appeared neither to invite nor to promise to tolerate questions. Among the travelers at the caravansary there was a moment of admiration, therefore, for the bird's temerity when it seemed to declare, in its excellent Greek, that the African consumed his food in just the carrion-scarfing way one might expect of the bastard offspring of a bald-pated vulture and a Barbary ape. 

- From Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon

Mild Kingdom

Obligatory viewing: Skunk family meets cyclist.

Cuter than cute.

Medical Advice

"Give that child plenty of red meat and red wine." - Advice given by family doctor to my grandparents when one of their daughters was anemic.

The doctor went on to become governor, perhaps due in part to such wisdom.

In Between and In Front

Re a consulting assignment. The components would seem to add up. Even those who don't like the results would agree that they add up. Theorists would insist that they add up. But there is an essential element that is missing and it is hidden in the space between the components; a space that can be sensed but not easily spotted.

The sum of the parts is not greater than the whole because the process of addition injects an important item that is not counted.

After watching, listening, and thinking (mainly thinking) I've identified it.

One of the pleasures of pondering a client's problem is finally seeing what has been in front of your face.

Highly Recommended

Quote of the Day

Many runabout after happiness like an absent-minded man hunting for his hat, while it is in his hand or on his head. 

- James Sharp

Friday, August 19, 2016

In the Background


  • How would we speak if we learned to talk the same way we learned to write?
  • Would most of us benefit from a course on how to make smarter mistakes?
  • When people who use ungrammatical language hear those who use proper grammar, do they think the others are wrong?
  • How many school subjects are mere venues for larger lessons?
  • Would the caliber of teaching improve if the course length were shortened?

When You Want to Be Seen


Scotchlite Spoke Reflector Bicycle Clips.

CoolTools has the details.

My favorite part of the description:
  • easy to pop on and off your spokes
  • boring enough that nobody wants to steal them
  • cheap enough in case they do