Friday, July 20, 2018

Another Knife Fight with the Skin Doc

Fun in the sun

I have a pressure bandage on my forehead that is. well, exerting pressure. I get to replace it around noon. The stitches will be removed in a week. I look like Herman Munster on a bad day. The skin doc is quite expert at carving parts of my forehead: products of a childhood staked out in the sun.

Fortunately, today can be spent with a client project in front of a computer so I don't need to sport my new look in front of an audience that would be collectively wondering, "What the hell happened to him?"

Just took some Tylenol and am waiting for it to kick in. It's taking its sweet time.

Neighborhood House Names

There's a house in our neighborhood that we refer to as "the Goldstein house." Although the Goldsteins have not lived in the house for years, that house, like a few other houses near us, continues to carry the name of the previous owner.

Or, in some cases, the previous previous previous owner.

This odd practice may occur even if we know the names of the current residents. A house gets named and that's it. Boom. Next subject. Mentioning the current owner would simply confuse things. They must live with the knowledge that the long-time families in the neighborhood pigeon-holed their property with a name from days of yore.

Perhaps after a decade or so the current owner's name will be used.


Quote of the Day

How to write. Butt in chair. Start each day anywhere. Let yourself do it badly. Just take one passage at a time. Get butt back in chair.

- Anne Lamott

Wednesday, July 18, 2018


The trailer for "Three Identical Strangers."

The Proposed Three States of California

[Photo by Conner Murphy at Unsplash]

The drive to split California into three states has hit a roadblock.

One of the early mistakes was not naming them Larry, Moe, and Curly.

Quick Look

The trailer for "One, Two, Three."

Advice to the World: Relax

[Photo by Leslie Jones at Unsplash]

Update: The Execupundit Batch of Leadership and Management Books

[Photo by Us Wah at Unsplash]

I have no doubt that the list has omitted some great books.

Arbinger Institute, The. Leadership and Self-Deception.

Aurelius, Marcus, Meditations.

Barnes, John A. Ulysses S. Grant on Leadership: Executive Lessons from the Front Lines.

Bate, Nicholas. Instant MBA.

Bennis, Warren. On Becoming a Leader.

Bennis, Warren and Burt Nanus. Leaders: Strategies for Taking Charge. 

Berlinski, Claire. There Is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters.

Blanchard, Ken. Leading at a Higher Level.

Buckingham, Marcus, and Curt Coffman. First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently.

Chernow, Ron. Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller.

Clavell, James. Tai-Pan.

Clearfield, Chris and Andras Tilcsik. Meltdown: Why Our Systems Fail and What We Can Do About It.

Collins, James C. Good to Great.

Collins, James C.  and Jerry I. Porras. Built to Last.

Covey, Stephen R. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Drucker, Peter F. The Effective Executive.

Drucker, Peter F. The Practice of Management.

Dweck, Carol S. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

Farson, Richard. Management of the Absurd: Paradoxes in Leadership. 

Ferriss, Tim. Tools of Titans.

Fick, Nathaniel. One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer.

Fink, Steven. Crisis Management.

Fournies, Ferdinand. Why Employees Don’t Do What They are Supposed to Do and What to Do About It.

Frankl, Viktor. Man’s Search for Meaning.

Frisch, Bob. Who’s in the Room? How Great Leaders Structure and Manage the Teams Around Them. 

Gaddis, John Lewis. On Grand Strategy.

Gates, Robert M. A Passion for Leadership: Lessons on Change and Reform from Fifty Years of Public Service.

Gray, Colin S. Fighting Talk: Forty Maxims on War, Peace, and Strategy.

Graves, Robert. I, Claudius.

Grenny, Joseph, Kerry Patterson, David Maxwell, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change. 

Halberstam, David. The Best and the Brightest.

Hall, Thomas and Wally Bock. Ruthless Focus: How to Use Key Core Strategies to Grown Your Business.

Heath, Chip and Dan Heath. Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work. 

Heifetz, Ronald and Marty Linsky. Leadership On the Line: Staying Alive Through The Dangers of Change. 

Holiday, Ryan. The Obstacle Is The Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph.

Johnson, Paul. Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties.

Kaufman, Josh. The Personal MBA.

Keller, Gary with Jay Papasan. The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results.

Kets de Vries, Manfred. The Leadership Mystique: A User’s Manual for Human Enterprise. 

Kidder, Rushworth M. Moral Courage.

Koch, Richard. The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Success by Achieving More with Less.

Kotter, John P. A Sense of Urgency. 

LeBoeuf, Michael. GMP: The Greatest Management Principle in the World. 

Martin, Roger. The Responsibility Virus. 

McChesney, Chris, Sean Covey and Jim Huling. The 4 Disciplines of Execution.

McChrystal, General Stanley. Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World. 

McCullough, David. John Adams.

McKeown, Greg. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.

Miller, Donald. Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen.

Mintzberg, Henry. Simply Managing: What Managers Do – and Can Do Better. 

Murrow, David. Why Men Hate Going to Church. 

Pascale, Richard Tanner. Managing on The Edge: How the Smartest Companies Use Conflict to Stay Ahead. 

Myrer, Anton, Once an Eagle.

O'Brian, Patrick. Master and Commander and the entire Aubrey-Maturin series of novels.

O'Connor, Edwin. The Last Hurrah.

Peters, Tom. The Excellence Dividend: Meeting the Tech Tide with Work That Wows and Jobs That Last.

Peters, Tom and Robert Waterman. In Search of Excellence.

Peterson, Jordan B. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.

Rapaille, Clotaire. The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Do. 

Ricks, Thomas E. The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today.

Ries, Eric. The Startup Way: How Modern Companies Use Entrepreneurial Management to Transform Culture & Drive Long-Term Growth.

Sacks, Rabbi Jonathan. Lessons in Leadership: A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible.

Schlender, Brent and Rick Tetzeli. Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader.

Seidman, Dov. How: Why HOW We Do Anything Means Everything. 

Sowell, Thomas. A Conflict of Visions.

Stavridis, James and R. Manning Ancell. The Leader's Bookshelf.

Stroup, Jim. Managing Leadership: Toward a New and Usable Understanding of What Leadership Really Is - and How to Manage It. 

Sull, Donald and Kathleen Eisenhardt. Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World.

Taleb, Nassim Nicholas. Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder. 

Tannen, Deborah. That’s Not What I Meant! 

Tett, Gillian. The Silo Effect: The Peril of Expertise and the Promise of Breaking Down Barriers. 

Thiel, Peter. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future. 

Thompson, George J. and Jerry B. Jenkins. Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion.

Trompenaars, Fons. Riding the Waves of Culture: Understanding Cultural Diversity in Business. 

Vidal, Gore. Lincoln.

Wade, Michael. All I Said Was: What Every Supervisor, Employee, and Team Should Know to Avoid Insults, Lawsuits, and the Six O'Clock News.

Wade, Michael. EEO Management: How to Advance Equal Opportunity Without Using Quotas or Singing Kumbaya.

Wade, Michael. How to Make Presentations to Councils and Boards: The Presentation Guide to Read When You Don't Have Time to Read a Guide.

Whittle, Chris. The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency.

Williams, T. Harry. Lincoln and His Generals.

Wilson, James Q. Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do It.

Winget, Larry. It's Called Work for a Reason: Your Success is Your Own Damn Fault.

A Must Buy

Photo of Andrew Wyeth Stamp

The Andrew Wyeth stamps.

[HT: Texas Leigh]

Quote of the Day

An idea can be as flawless as can be, but its execution will always be full of mistakes.

- Brent Scowcroft

Tuesday, July 17, 2018


The trailer for "Bohemian Rhapsody."

On the Off Chance

1965 Chevy Corvette, Blue - Maisto 31640 - 1/18 Scale Diecast Model Toy Car

Caught in the Amazon Prime Days sales frenzy, I checked to see if they offer a 1965 Corvette. 

Unfortunately, they only have a scale model. 

Get with it, Bezos.

John Huston

Image result for the maltese falcon movie poster amazon

Back by popular demand: John Huston accepting the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award in 1983.

Take a few minutes. You will smile.

Quick Look

The trailer for "The Tailor of Panama."

I had a chance to visit the Panama Canal Zone on an interesting project at one point in the Seventies but my schedule wouldn't permit it. That remains a great regret.

First Paragraph

Each day begins like any other. Gently. Cautiously. The way he likes it. A dawn wind through the forest, the questioning calls of obscure birds. He hears the flutelike song, cool as silver, of a hermit thrush.

- From Black Sun by Edward Abbey

Monday, July 16, 2018

Name a Country on the Map

From the Jimmy Kimmel Show: A simple question with scary results.

Sound Move

FutureLawyer is not retiring nor does he have any plans to do so.

Quick Look

The trailer for "Fortitude."

Better Intelligence

An aerial shot of brightly-colored jigsaw puzzle pieces

[Photo by Hans-Peter Gauster at Unsplash]

In personal and professional lives, it is enormously helpful if the warring forces of Feeling versus Rational Thought frequently evaluate the power and appeal of their opponent and perhaps even consider an alliance.

The Myth of Old Files

[Photo by Antonino Visalli at Unsplash]

In your dream, one day you'll be searching through that mass of files packed with old documents and there, tucked in the back of the twelfth or the twentieth file in the bottom drawer, will be a paper from a long-forgotten project that will provide instant insight on a current matter.

In reality, you'll just have a bunch of old files that should have been thrown out years ago.

Art Film

Image result for the incredibly strange creatures who stopped living and became mixed-up zombies full movie

Atari Attorney

FutureLawyer remembers his first computer.

Remember when Atari was cutting edge?

Quote of the Day

The impossible is impossible; it is a condition, not a problem for which a solution has yet to be found.

- Colin S. Gray

Saturday, July 14, 2018

First Paragraph

I arrived in the Alice at five a.m. with a dog, six dollars and a small suitcase full of inappropriate clothes. 'Bring a cardigan for the evenings,' the brochure said. A freezing wind whipped grit down the platform as I stood shivering, holding warm dog flesh, and wondering what foolishness had brought me to this eerie, empty train station in the centre of nowhere. I turned against the wind, and saw the line of mountains at the edge of town.

- From Tracks: One Woman's Journey Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback by Robyn Davidson

It's a Beautiful Day in Paris

Here's some extraordinary video of today's parade.

Scrum and More

[Photo by Olga Guryanova at Unsplash]

Wally Bock has some weekend leadership reading assignments for us.

Saturday Morning and Little Things

A fountain pen on a spiral notebook

[Photo by Aaron Burden at Unsplash]

Got up early. Brought the first section of The Wall Street Journal to my wife, who is lounging in bed. Read some of the paper and a news magazine. Had a little espresso and an English muffin with peanut butter for breakfast.  Fed the dog who is acting strangely this morning but has yet to explain why. Checked blogs and emails. Chores await. My car is running on fumes and needs gas. A business book and a book on Mexican history have been set aside for attention. 

Little things today. A bunch of little things.

You know the routine. It's Saturday.

It's Bastille Day

[Photo by Adrien Tutin at Unsplash]

Go storm something.

A French Film Quick Look

The trailer for "Bon Voyage."

Friday, July 13, 2018


An elegantly dressed man with a suitcase in the wilderness

[Photo by Fredrick Kearney Jr. at Unsplash]

Theory cannot be accepted as conclusive when practice points the other way.

- Charles E. Callwell

"Mars" is Great Background Music While Watching the News

Image result for holst the planets charles dutoit amazon

No Contest

The trailer for "Chuck Norris versus Communism."

The Rules Apply to Thee But Not to Me

Unlike the universalists who want rules applied across the board, the particularists (and I am borrowing both terms from cultural consultant Fons Trompenaars) want different rules for themselves as well as their relatives, allies, and associates.

Discussions of public issues are often filled with bold assertions by particularists who are not at all moved by the question, "How would you feel if the facts were reversed?" 

Remember, in their view, if the situation were reversed, then the rules would not apply. They don't believe in equal application of the rules.

Poetry Break: When You are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,

And nodding by the fire, take down this book,

And slowly read, and dream of the soft look

Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,

And loved your beauty with love false or true,

But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,

And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,

Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled

And paced upon the mountains overhead

And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

- William Butler Yeats

The Social Media Mob

Daniella Greenbaum on the social media mob's effects on speech.

Halloween in July

[Photo by Melissa Poole at Unsplash]

Last evening, a family across the street from us had a special party for a group of high school foreign exchange students from a wide variety of nations. We and a few of the other neighbors were asked to help with one of the "events."

The party's theme was American holidays. The dinner was Thanksgiving. Valentine's Day and the 4th of July were also worked into the festivities. 

Later on, the students went to the neighbors' homes and trick-or-treated for "Halloween."

It was amusing to see people scrambling to decorate front porches with pumpkins and witches.

A charming idea and the kids were great. 

Instant Smile

Image result for n c wyeth treasure island amazon

The art of N.C. Wyeth.

Quote of the Day

Why do the caterpillar and the ant have to be enemies? One eats leaves and the other eats caterpillars. Oh, I see now. 

- Jack Handey

Thursday, July 12, 2018

First Paragraph

This is not a book about telling your company's story. A book like that would be a waste of time. Customers don't generally care about your story; they care about their own.

- From Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller

[HT: Wally Bock]

East Germany with a Touch of Humor

The trailer for "Good Bye Lenin!"

Many a Team Needs This

This Should Be Interesting

The Department of Justice has reopened the Emmett Till investigation.

Public Interest Announcement

Today is National Pecan Pie Day.

The Pioneer Woman shows how to make one.

Get cracking.

Quick Look

The trailer for "Being in the World."

Art Break

Art Contrarian looks at the work of Stockton Mulford.

Radio and Genius

I often listen to the radio while driving to meetings. When I want a liberal perspective, I listen to National Public Radio. When I want a conservative perspective, I listen to Dennis Prager or Rush Limbaugh.

But when I want to be exposed to genius, then it's time for the classical music station.

A Prison Novel: "The Mars Room"

Stefan Beck reviews Rachel Kushner's latest novel.

The Urbanizing Developing World: Lagos

Poverty, confusion, and moral fluidity haven’t stopped Lagos from achieving global prominence. Maybe an all-pervading looseness has even been a source of the city’s growth, since it has expanded with a velocity that prudent planning would avoid. Lagos is now West Africa’s economic and cultural hub, as well as perhaps the continent’s largest city, depending on which population figures one accepts. By most accounts, Lagos has twice as many people as London, along with a GDP greater than all but six African states. In its successes and failures, the city offers a cautionary preview of where an urbanizing developing world is hurtling.

Read the rest of the article in City Journal.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Sad Day in England

The Sun has fan reaction to the loss to Croatia.

I have a feeling that many of them will now be cheering for France.

Go Chiefs!

I had a great time today speaking at the Arizona Fire Chiefs Association Leadership Conference. 

Thoroughly enjoyable.

The Old Softy

FutureLawyer reveals his hidden affection for a famous bear.

The Unwritten Rules

A fashion model wearing a blue structured jumpsuit

[Photo by Darko Mitev at Unsplash]

Organizations have written rules and unwritten rules and the latter may be more important than the former. Not knowing the unwritten rules can place us in the position of a person who is entering a pitch-black room with no sense of the room's size and where the furniture is located.

If you think that observation is obvious, quickly cite the unwritten rules of your organization. If you can only think of one, you may be missing a few.

Billboard Competition

Cultural Offering compares today's competition with the performers in 1964.

And yes, I remember The Shoop Shoop Song.

Great stuff.

The Fourth Option is Increasingly Favored

In recent times, political activists have used this list of options when considering an issue: 
  1. Ignore/accept it.
  2. Embrace/support it.
  3. Denounce/oppose it.
  4. Go absolutely nuts.

Quote of the Day

The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination.

- John Scharr

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Quick Look

The trailer for "The Closet."

First Paragraph

Everybody in New York City is looking for something. Men are looking for women and women are looking for men. Down at the Trucks, men are looking for men, while at Barbara's and at the Lib, women are looking for women. Lawyer's wives in front of Lord & Taylor are looking for taxis, and lawyer's wives' husbands down on Pine Street are looking for loopholes. The hookers in front of the Americana Hotel are looking for johns, and the kids opening cab doors in front of the Port Authority bus terminal are looking for tips. So are the riders on the Aqueduct Special. So are the cabbies, the bellboys, the waiters, and the undercover narcs.

- From Dancing Aztecs by Donald E. Westlake


[Photo by Samuel Zeller at Unsplash]

Everything in war is very simple, but the simplest thing is difficult. The difficulties accumulate and end by producing a kind of friction that is inconceivable unless one has experienced war . . . Friction is the only concept that more or less corresponds to the factors that distinguish real war from war on paper.

- Carl von Clausewitz

Monday, July 09, 2018

The Kavanaugh Nomination

At SCOTUS Blog, Jon Levitan has a collection of reactions to the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Highly Recommended

Image result for movie rain poster amazon

Dust Storm then Rain

Rain in Phoenix. Rain in northern Arizona. Good news and long awaited.

As Society Grows Younger

It starts when you begin to notice that cops are a lot younger than they used to be. Then, perhaps after a few years, you notice that doctors are a lot younger than they used to be.

But mark my words, my friends, one day you will notice that Supreme Court nominees are a lot younger than they used to be.

Shopping: The American List

Small building with an American flag at Chatham beach

[Photo by Thomas Kelley at Unsplash]

A great collection of shopping links compiled by A Continuous Lean.


The trailer for "Miracolo a Milano."

When the Computer Monitor Becomes an Egg

Colorful birthday cake with candy frosting stars

[Photo by Annie Spratt at Unsplash]

You may recall the story about a famous cake mix. Although the mix could have been made so that all that was needed was to add water, mix, and then bake, it was found that people actually preferred having to add an egg (or two) to the mixture because doing so enhanced the cooking experience. It increased the amount of effort and that was good because adding the egg permitted the individual to say that he or she had baked a cake.


I wonder if computer monitors have a similar psychology. Whereas watching a television screen is closely associated with mindless entertainment, a person in front of a computer monitor is presumed to be working.

Such "work" may consist of as much mindless entertainment as two or three sitcoms might provide, but it doesn't have the stigma of TV watching. 

It has a cover story.

Consider the likely reaction to the following responses:

"What are you doing this afternoon?"

Response A; "I'm going to be in front of a computer screen."

Response B: "I'm going to be in front of a television."

So the key question is not the type of screen, but what's on it. 

Sometimes, the computer monitor is an egg.

Driving in Iceland

[Photo by Garrett Sears at Unsplash]

Patrick Rhone has some tips. [I was surprised about the new requirement for European cars.]

As San Francisco Sinks

Investor's Business Daily: Escaping blue cities.

Quote of the Day

There is no "modern" world. As future crises arrive in steep waves, our leaders will realize that the world is not "modern" or "postmodern" but only a continuation of the ancient - a world that, despite its technologies, the best Chinese, Greek, and Roman philosophers would have understood, and known how to navigate.

- Robert D. Kaplan

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Privacy as a Quaint Concept

The trailer for "ANON."

More Thai Rescue Options

Elon Musk on possible ways to make the cave rescue in Thailand.

Turn Left at Martha's Vineyard

Image result for hope never dies amazon

Book description: Vice President Joe Biden is fresh out of the Obama White House and feeling adrift when his favorite railroad conductor dies in a suspicious accident, leaving behind an ailing wife and a trail of clues. To unravel the mystery, “Amtrak Joe” re-teams with the only man he’s ever fully trusted: the 44th president of the United States. Together they’ll plumb the darkest corners of Delaware, traveling from cheap motels to biker bars and beyond, as they uncover the sinister forces advancing America’s opioid epidemic.

This Problem Should Be No Surprise

Max Fisher in The New York Times on Europe's problem with borders.

It is hard to have a practical immigration policy when you fail to control immigration.

When Days Don't Go As Planned

Image result for after hours movie amazon

The trailer for "After Hours."

Bock's Assignments

Wally Bock has weekend leadership reading assignments for us.


[Photo by Kimon Maritz at Unsplash]

Solitude offers ways for leaders to obtain greater clarity. A leader who thinks through a complex problem by hard analytical work - as Eisenhower did before D-day - can identify the conditions necessary to solve it. A leader who silences the din not only around her mind, but inside it, can then hear the delicate voice of intuition, which may have already made connections that her conscious mind has not. And a leader who is aware of his weaknesses can guard against them.

- From Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude by Raymond M. Kethledge and Michael S. Erwin

Friday, July 06, 2018

The Good Old Days

The trailer for "Poldark."

Five Hours for an Experienced Diver?

Althouse passes along a Telegraph update on the Thai children trapped in a cave.

More options had better be in the works.

Perhaps an Appropriate Film for Friday

I'm in the mood for "Brazil."

Just One Person

Tanmay Vora, a wise person and fellow blogger, thinks the poem "The Indispensable Man" is beautiful.

I respectfully and strongly disagree. A hand in a bucket of water does not begin to resemble the complexity of an individual or that person's effect upon others. You can refill vacancies but you never replace people. Individuals are unique combinations of talent and, in some circumstances, that combination is crucial. 

To take an example from history: In 1940 Winston Churchill was an irreplaceable leader due to his insight, experience. and courage. Had he not become prime minister of Great Britain at that time, it is entirely possible that Hitler would have won the war. 

I understand the poem also encourages humility and that is admirable but it misses a much larger point. One person can make a gigantic difference and there aren't always alternative candidates who could come close to that performance. 

One person speaks up, one person opposes an injustice, one person breaks through the groupthink, one person proposes a new approach. 

Just one person and the world begins to change.

First Paragraph

The road to failure is the road to fame - such apparently must be the verdict on posterity's estimate of the world's greatest figures. The flash of the meteor impresses the human imagination more than the remoter splendour of the star, fixed immutably in the high heavens. Is it that final swoop earthwards, the unearthly radiance ending in the common dust, that, by its evidence of the tangible or the finite, gives to the meteor a more human appeal? So with the luminaries of the human system, provided that the ultimate fall has a dramatic note, the memory of spectacular failure eclipses that of enduring success. Again, it may be that the completeness of his course lends individual emphasis to the great failure, throwing his work into clearer relief, whereas the man whose efforts are crowned with permanent success builds a stepping-stone by which others may advance still farther, and so merges his own fame in that of his successors.

- From Scipio Africanus: Greater Than Napoleon by B. H. Liddell Hart

Defending Your Right to Agree with Them

A black-and-white shot of a woman putting a finger over her lips in a gesture of silence

[Photo by Kristina Flour at Unsplash]

Cultural Offering on Alan Dershowitz's encounter with open-mindedness on Martha's Vineyard.

Quote of the Day

Plans may be hatched by the cool and the calculating, but they are likely to be implemented by the passionate and the unpredictable.

- Lawrence Freedman

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Song of the Day

Red fireworks exploding in the night sky

[Photo by Shireah Ragnar at Unsplash]

Ray Charles, of course.

Kenton Stacy

IĆ¢€™ve previously written about Chief Petty Officer Kenton Stacy on this site. You can catch up here.
EOD Tech Stacy was critically injured when an improvised explosive device went off in a building he was clearing in Raqqa, Syria in November of 2017....

Cultural Offering on how to help a hero and his family.

Films for the 4th

  • "The Crossing": George Washington and company drop in on the Hessians.
  • "National Treasure": Finding the map on the back of the Declaration of Independence.
  • "The Rocketeer": Howard Hughes, the mob, a movie star, and the Nazis. 
  • "The Last of the Mohicans": Yes, it's during the French and Indian War but you can tell where things are heading.
  • "John Adams": A lengthy and excellent series. Watch the part on the signing of the Declaration.

Independence Day: Would You Have Signed?

I wrote this several years ago and post it each 4th of July:

The document is on the table. 

Although some of your colleagues are making jokes, each one knows that the signature places the signer's head in a hangman's noose. To sign means you will be regarded as a traitor by the nation that has held your loyalty since birth. Your livelihood may be destroyed and your family doomed to a life of isolation and poverty. Many of your friends and associates will be under suspicion. Others will shun you. Your side, which has feeble and poorly-trained forces, will be fighting the greatest military power in the world. Despite all of the grand talk, the odds of success are small. Even if your side is successful, your new nation will be vulnerable to internal disputes and attacks from predatory powers. This theory of self-government, however attractive, might not work.

It's your turn. Will you sign?

Quote of the Day

About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions, If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

- Calvin Coolidge

Start of the Day

A person on a horse galloping in an arena holds the American flag

[Photo by Melissa Newkirk at Unsplash]

I'm putting the flag out this morning.