Commentary by Michael Wade on Leadership, Ethics, Management, and Life
Friday, September 30, 2016
Ryder Cup Heckler
The New York Times: An unusual moment at the Ryder Cup.
Art Break: Thrasher
Art Contrarian looks at the work of Leslie Thrasher.
Pack the Pillow
Let me indulge in a minor rant. I'm back from a business trip. Tired. Possibly cranky. Mainly tired. Despite all of the stuff I packed, I omitted the one item that would save me from the standard issue Marquis de Sade hotel pillows; those decorative behemoths that are about as comfortable as a watermelon. As I stared at the ceiling at two in the morning, self-recriminations abounded.
Why the reluctance to pack a pillow? Is there a hidden fear that subverted sensible packing? Did my ego worry that I would appear a tad Jed Clampettesque? Would the alert staff at the hotel front desk have taken one glance at my suitcase and say, "He has a pillow in there?"
So be it.
Next time, the pillow will be the first thing that gets packed.
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Laugh Out Loud Authors - Continued
Several days ago, I requested the names of authors whose work was "laugh-out loud" funny.
Bobbo mentioned "Catch-22" by Joseph Heller as a classic and also noted "How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big" by Scott Adams.
Crusty HR Manager likes anything by Bill Bryson. "A Walk in the Woods" is a favorite.
Eclecticity cited "A Prayer for Owen Meany" by John Irving and "The Calvin Becker Trilogy" by Frank Schaeffer.
Wally Bock nominated anything by Carl Hiaasen.
To that august list I would add:
- The Adrian Mole novels by Sue Townsend
- "Porterhouse Blue" by Tom Sharpe
- The Flashman novels by George MacDonald Fraser
- "The Last Hurrah" By Edwin O'Connor
- "I Was Dancing" by Edwin O'Connor
- "The Joyous Season" by Patrick Dennis
- "A Confederacy of Dunces" by John Kennedy Toole
- The Dortmunder novels by Donald E. Westlake
Quote of the Day
I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.
- Albert Schweitzer
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Ahead of Its Time
What car is this? Car Style Critic has the details.
They didn't speak up because:
- They had not had a chance to study the subject and so felt that their comments might be out of line.
- They had studied the subject and liked the proposed action.
- They had studied the subject and thought the proposed action was a mistake but they felt the timing was not right to surface their objections.
- They thought the proposal was unwise but didn't think the matter was a battle worth fighting.
- They thought the proposal was unwise but hoped to gain its proponents as allies on another project.
- They thought the proposal would do no serious harm.
- They thought that the points they would have made had already been made, possibly in a more eloquent manner.
- They feared retaliation.
- They feared that their reputation might be harmed.
- They were willing to speak but they wanted to be called upon.
- They simply didn't care.
Quote of the Day
Caring about others, running the risk of feeling, and leaving an impact on people, brings happiness.
- Rabbi Harold Kushner
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Thunder in the distance. Thoughts swirl. A class went quite well but I'm planning some changes. I've jotted a concise written analysis that will simmer for a few days while my attention goes to other workshops and coaching projects.
There is no doubt that additional points will be noted. [Two small ones just came to mind and a macro one is seeking admittance.]
All three are now on a sheet.
A Waste Basket
Cultural Offering has sound advice from Peter The Druck.
Monday, September 26, 2016
The Best Debate Format
The best presidential debate format would have next to no format.
Put the two candidates on a stage. No moderator. No audience.
Between them on a coffee table will be a stack of cards, face down. The cards can be shuffled just after the candidates are introduced. Each card will have an issue that the candidates have agreed is important.
They take turns drawing a card and then discuss the issue for as long as they choose. Discussion done: on to the next card.
When they are done, each can make a six-minute summary statement. They can toss a coin in advance as to the order.
It would be far more revealing than the heavily-structured format.
Presidential Debate Preview
In tears as he speaks, Aeneas loosens sail
And gives the whole fleet its head, so now at last
They ride ashore on the waves at Euboean Cumae.
There they turn round the ships to face out to sea,
Anchors bite deep, craft are held fast, curved
Sterns cushion on sand, prows frill the beach.
Now a band of young hotbloods vaults quickly out
On to the shore of Italia, some after flint
For the seedling fire it hides in its veins,
Some crashing through woodland thickets, the haunts
Of wild beasts, pointing amazed at new rivers.
- From Aeneid Book VI translated by Seamus Heaney
Mixed Audience, Missed Audience
Use the following and you may lose a sizable portion of a mixed-age audience:
- Alger Hiss
- Record album
- TV test pattern
- Bay Rum
- Justin Timberlake
- The Cloud
- Boy George
- Hank Williams
- Diana Rigg
- Mosh pit
- Saturday Evening Post
- Toll call
- Christine Keeler
- Slide rule
- Party lines
- Wallace Beery
- Bruno Mars
- Marshal Dillon
- Iggy Azalea
- The Rat Pack
- Duck and cover drill
- Ed Sullivan
- Ryan Seacrest
- Tie bar
- Church key
- Ashton Kutcher
- Jade East
- Deposit bottles
- Nicki Minaj
- The Hit Parade
- The $64,000 Question
- 77 Sunset Strip
- Soda jerk
- Lena Horne
- Will Rogers
- Mood rings
- "The Blue Screen of Death"
- Ice box
- Sgt. Joe Friday
- "The Honeymooners"
- Munich Agreement
- Rin Tin Tin
- Phone booth
- Milk man
- Elevator operator
- Rube Goldberg
Sunday, September 25, 2016
Saturday, September 24, 2016
A video from Smithsonian magazine on the days when park rangers encouraged the public to feed the bears.
Just think: Someone in authority made that decision.
Taking a moment each day to attempt to achieve absolute calm and total relaxation is a good way to discover just how far you normally are from that state.
From that point, act with deliberation to stretch out the feeling. Savor the act, even if it has contradictions, such as slowly sipping an espresso.
The process itself becomes the reward.
On March 1, 1781, three and a half years after they were endorsed by the Continental Congress, the Articles of Confederation were officially ratified when the last state, Maryland, gave its approval. The unseemly delay could be explained by the conspicuous fact that a war was going on, which inevitably deflected attention from all other business, but the specific reason was that the landless states, like Maryland, refused to ratify until all states with extensive western claims - Virginia most prominently - agreed to cede their claims to Congress. The president of the Continental Congress, Samuel Huntington, declared the creation of a new political entity, called the Confederation Congress, which established "a perpetual Union between the thirteen United States." To mark the occasion, thirteen cannons were fired on the hill overlooking the Philadelphia harbor, and that salvo was answered by thirteen cannons from the frigate John Paul Jones. In the evening "a grand exhibition of fireworks was staged at the State House, and all the Vessels in the Harbor were decorated and illuminated."
- From The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789 by Joseph J. Ellis
Quote of the Day
Ever notice how irons have a setting for 'permanent' press? I don't get it...."
- Steven Wright
Friday, September 23, 2016
News You Can Use
Some tips for guys from "Napoleon Dynamite."
Laugh Out Loud Authors
My first impression was that the stranger's eyes were of an unusually light blue. They met mine for several blank seconds, vacant, unmistakably scared. Startled and innocently naughty, they half reminded me of an incident I couldn't quite place; something which had happened a long time ago, to do with the upper fourth form classroom. They were the eyes of a schoolboy surprised in the act of breaking one of the rules. Not that I had caught him, apparently, at anything except his own thoughts: perhaps he imagined I could read them. At any rate, he seemed not to have heard or seen me cross the compartment from my corner to his own, for he started violently at the sound of my voice; so violently, indeed, that his nervous recoil hit me like repercussion. Instinctively I took a pace backwards.
- From Mr. Norris Changes Trains by Christopher Isherwood
Quote of the Day
Predicting the future is easy. It's trying to figure out what's going on now that's hard.
- Fritz R. S. Dressler
Thursday, September 22, 2016
On a crisp morning in late January, the boy tended his stock as he watched the dust cloud rising to the south, at the far end of the narrow timbered valley. Felix was almost twelve, but short and scrawny for his age, with a mop of red hair and fair skin. When the boy saw riders emerging one by one from the cloud of dust, their ponies splashing across the shallow creek, he ran to the little grove of peach trees some three hundred yards from the ranch buildings where his mother and sister were. He knew this area was contested ground, in the heart of what the Mexicans, and the Spanish before them, had named Apacheria. The Mexicans had failed to settle the valley, driven out by the fearsome Apaches who lived in the mountains to the east and north.
- From The Apache Wars: The Hunt for Geronimo, The Apache Kid, and the Captive Boy Who Started the Longest War in American History by Paul Andrew Hutton
December 1, 1941
Quote of the Day
Sometimes I think the world has gone completely mad. And then I think, "Aw, who cares?" And then I think, "Hey, what's for supper?"
- Jack Handey
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
The Udalls and the Goldwaters
A memorable excerpt from This Land, These Voices by Abe Chanin with Mildred Chanin:
"An interesting little story that Mo Udall and I tell about his grandfather, David King Udall, who was a polygamist, and, of course, the polygamists settled at St. Johns and other faraway places for the purpose of keeping away from the federal officers, in a nation that never accepted the Mormons' idea of pluralistic marriage. Well, one weekend David King Udall had to go to Prescott on business, and as he rode into town the federals arrested him and put him in jail. That's when my grandfather was the mayor. That night he got a horse, got a key to the jail, went down and opened the jail. Told David King Udall to get on that horse 'and get your ass out of town and stay out.' So he never came back, and the Udalls and Goldwaters have been good friends ever since."
- Barry Goldwater
The Anti-Cookie Monster
The Anti-Cookie Monster has been located and he's in Britain.
A question for you: What is your favorite cookie?
Added treat: George Burns gets down with Mitch Miller and the gang.
[Note to younger readers: In those days, people didn't flip out because Mitch had a cigarette in his hand and George Burns had a cigar.]
Gap in the Tape
You may have encountered people who have a gap in their tape. They sound perfectly reasonable and normal and then - gap! - there is a sentence or observation that seems irrational or bizarre.
These may be highly accomplished and, at least most of the time, very nice people and yet the gap reveals another, less logical or attractive, component.
Now here are more difficult questions for each of us: Is there a gap in our tape? Is there some area that could become a gap?
If you could see adrenaline, then you'd see a great green greasy river of it oozing off the beach at San Diego tonight. You'd see it flowing one hundred miles out toward the stern of the boat - that's what the pilots call it, a boat, despite the fact that it displaces 95,000 tons of water, has a minimum of six thousand people living on board at all times, and is as long as the Empire State Building is tall.
- From Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales
Quote of the Day
Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it, and then misapplying the wrong remedies.
- Groucho Marx
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Miscellaneous and Fast
The trailer for "Into Great Silence."
Stephen F. Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn on the plan to release terrorists from Gitmo.
The trailer for "The Tree of Life."
Rich Lowry: Are we on the verge of a Black Swan event?
The trailer for "Pepe Le Moko."
The trailer for "Hillsong: Let Hope Rise."
Classic: "The Screwtape Letters" by C.S. Lewis
The incomparable Nicholas Bate provides much more sound advice and then more beyond that.
The Hop Bird
From 2005: Jonah Goldberg's eulogy of his father. An excerpt:
But one of my earliest memories is of us walking to Murray’s–I couldn’t have been much older than 7 or 8–when he stopped, and suddenly tightened his grip on my little hand and said to me, “Jonah, if you are ever pulled over by a policeman in a South American country, you must tell him ‘I’m sorry officer. I didn’t realize my mistake. Is there any way I can pay the fine right here rather than go down to the station house?’”
For the Pleasure of Writing
The Cramped is a pleasure and it is filled with great ideas.
Monday, September 19, 2016
I first came to know Sophia Leonides in Egypt towards the end of the war. She held a fairly high administrative post in one of the Foreign Office departments out there. I knew her first in an official capacity, and I soon appreciated the efficiency that had brought her to the position he held, in spite of her youth (she was at that time just twenty-two).
- From Crooked House by Agatha Christie
"I Used to Be a Human Being"
Writing in New York magazine, Andrew Sullivan on the effects of our daily digital bombardment.
Put down that smartphone.
Art Break: Maurer
Art Contrarian looks at the work of Alfred Maurer.
Press Bias is Not Limited to the USA
Spiegel interviews Bavarian Governor Horst Seehofer about immigration and inadvertently reveals why so many modern journalists are loathed.
Excerpt: "Sir Eric Findlay died on good terms with his family, having lived long enough to earn the reputation of an eccentric rather than a nut."
Sunday, September 18, 2016
Saturday, September 17, 2016
One may paraphrase the famous words of Karl Marx and say that a specter is haunting the modern mind, the specter of insecurity. Surely the outstanding characteristic of contemporary thought on man and society is the preoccupation with personal alienation and cultural disintegration. The fears of the nineteenth-century conservatives in Western Europe, expressed against a background of increasing individualism, secularism, and social dislocation, have become, to an extraordinary degree, the insights and hypotheses of present-day students of man in society. The widening concern with insecurity and disintegration is accompanied by a profound regard for the values of status, membership, and community.
- From The Quest for Community: A Study in the Ethics of Order & Freedom by Robert Nisbet
Short Story Saturday
In the Background
The soundtrack to "Lawrence of Arabia" is in the background.
I just had some espresso and read part of the newspaper. More coffee is needed. A chunk of the day will be devoted to preparing a briefing and reviewing some coaching notes for a client.
Also working on another book: a collection of the Random Thoughts that are occasionally posted on this blog. It will also include some thoughts that have not been posted.
Have a great day.
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Quote of the Day
Early morning snow falling in the desert - the bright vast land - coffee and hotcakes on the stove - all around, golden silence spangled with bird cries - the feeling of something splendid about to occur - a setting for visions, pageants, dreams, cavalry battles - Balanced Rock at Arches, snow-covered mountains beyond and me squatting on sandstone in the clear clear chill air, coffee cup in hand, sun blazing down on snow already beginning to melt from juniper, cliffrose, dead pine, pinnacle, ramada - brief bliss.
- Edward Abbey, Confessions of a Barbarian
Friday, September 16, 2016
At Political Calculations, you will find the story of a Japanese company that developed a new technology which removes buildings in an incremental manner, causing the building to shrink, one floor at a time.
Pip and Friend
The opening scene from David Lean's film version of "Great Expectations."
Dickens + Lean = Great drama.
You write an interesting review and now there's another book for my stack!
How to Become a Selfish Toad
Go to social events and think only of putting yourself at ease and not about doing so for others. Postpone writing thank-you notes until their effect is lost. Either wander down a path of self-recrimination that worships your perfection or quickly forgive yourself for any transgression. Fall so passionately in love with your work that you fail to see areas of possible improvement. Keep careful score on what you have done for others but only roughly recall what they have done for you. Don't give to charity and rationalize that lapse by asserting that the government should do more. Never apologize. Rarely listen. Identify solely with the strong and successful. Pay no attention to the unspoken. Be able to cite, in detail, life's unfairness. Relish the role of victim. Expect large rewards with minimal effort.
Quote of the Day
Unless a person takes charge of them, both work and free time are likely to be disappointing.
- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Thursday, September 15, 2016
Art Break: Wennerberg
Art Contrarian looks at the work of Brynolf Wennerberg.