Wednesday, January 31, 2018

On the Street

Google Maps: Swirl around on Moss Street in New Orleans.

Rhone's Dash/Plus System



For those of us who use a bunch of note cards (and I'm a proud member of that tribe), Patrick Rhone has created a Dash/Plus tracking system for keeping tabs on your projects.

[BTW: I also like the Levenger's Circa products he mentions.]

Look at the Moon Tonight


The Telegraph describes tonight's lunar trilogy.

If You Do . . .



If you do ...
  1.  One important thing today, that will put this day far ahead of days when you hoped to achieve much but scattered your focus on trivial matters.
  2. Two important things today, then mark this down as a productive day. 
  3. Three important things today, then you deserve to celebrate. Three may not seem like much but that puts you in the heavy hitter category.
  4. Four or more important things today and you've achieved more than many people do in a week or even a month.
Note:
  • This measurement only works if you don't fudge with the definition of what is important.
  • The amount of time should not be confused with importance. A very important item may be done in a short amount of time and a minor item may consume hours.
  • One item of mega-importance can outweigh a bundle of important but less significant achievements.
Kicker:
  • Sometimes you don't know what was important until years later.

And Pop Quizzes Too




There is always plenty of homework when you learn from your mistakes.

The Crookedest Street in the World

Google Maps (March 2011): Lombard Street, San Francisco, California.

Quote of the Day

Here's something to consider: If you have a friend whose friendship you wouldn't recommend to your sister, or your father, or your son, why would you have such a friend for yourself?

-  Jordan Peterson

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Music Break

Steve Martin sings of a king who was born in Arizona.

SOTU at The Mos Eisley Cantina

And as the camera scans the House Chambers for the State of the Union. . . .

We need to return to the days when presidents simply sent over a written copy of the State of the Union. Regardless of who is president, the event has turned into a combination circus/student council meeting.

Around the World

Google Maps: The October 2017 view from the East Coast Pizzeria in Barrow, Alaska.

Quick Look

The trailer for "Paterno."

Miscellaneous and Fast


A Drop of Cruelty


A bit of cruelty in a dispute is the equivalent of a drop of black ink in a glass of milk. Despite efforts to dilute it, the effects will remain and all of the other merits of the drink will be forgotten. 

Lapse into cruelty and you can lose the argument and your reputation.

Fix Yourself



At Prager University, psychologist Jordan Peterson gives one of the more practical self-help programs.

Quote of the Day

Pleasure is more trouble than trouble.

- Don Herold

Monday, January 29, 2018

Music Break

From the BBC Proms: Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks.

Check out the instruments.

Testing Font Sizes

As many of you know, I'm revising the blog's format. One item that is being considered if the size of the font. The Blogger program used for this site gives limited options.

Here is the current font size:

I waited for the green again. That scant little flash of green as the sun winks out behind the horizon. That's where the magic was. In the flash. That's what she said. That's what she always said. Not that I believe in magic. I'd like to, but I know better. The world isn't built of that. It's built of churning molten metal, minerals and stone, a thin wisp of atmosphere, and a magnetic field to keep the worst radiation out. Magic was just something people liked to believe in, something they thought they could feel or sense, something that made everything more than just mechanical certainty. Something that made them more than flesh and bone.

From Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill

Here is the same text with the old font size:

I waited for the green again. That scant little flash of green as the sun winks out behind the horizon. That's where the magic was. In the flash. That's what she said. That's what she always said. Not that I believe in magic. I'd like to, but I know better. The world isn't built of that. It's built of churning molten metal, minerals and stone, a thin wisp of atmosphere, and a magnetic field to keep the worst radiation out. Magic was just something people liked to believe in, something they thought they could feel or sense, something that made everything more than just mechanical certainty. Something that made them more than flesh and bone.

From Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill

Here is the same text with a smaller font size:

I waited for the green again. That scant little flash of green as the sun winks out behind the horizon. That's where the magic was. In the flash. That's what she said. That's what she always said. Not that I believe in magic. I'd like to, but I know better. The world isn't built of that. It's built of churning molten metal, minerals and stone, a thin wisp of atmosphere, and a magnetic field to keep the worst radiation out. Magic was just something people liked to believe in, something they thought they could feel or sense, something that made everything more than just mechanical certainty. Something that made them more than flesh and bone.

From Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill


So it boils down to Large, Medium or Small. Is this a Goldilocks choice where the medium wins, a space-conscious one where the small wins, or an easy-on-the-eyes one where the large font wins?

I won't automatically go with the most votes but would like your thoughts. I can see advantages with each.

Incidentally, sometimes Blogger kicks in an even larger font when the large font is being used. I'm not sure what triggers that.

Thanks!

You Will Smile

An unconventional music break that should happen every day.

First Paragraph

I waited for the green again. That scant little flash of green as the sun winks out behind the horizon. That's where the magic was. In the flash. That's what she said. That's what she always said. Not that I believe in magic. I'd like to, but I know better. The world isn't built of that. It's built of churning molten metal, minerals and stone, a thin wisp of atmosphere, and a magnetic field to keep the worst radiation out. Magic was just something people liked to believe in, something they thought they could feel or sense, something that made everything more than just mechanical certainty. Something that made them more than flesh and bone.

From Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill

The Tao of Travel



A presentation by novelist and travel writer Paul Theroux.

Quick Look

The trailer for "The Workshop."

A Taste of Exotic Travel

Image result for Shanghai Express film poster amazon

Quote of the Day

The superior man is distressed by his lack of ability.

- Confucius

Saturday, January 27, 2018

"The Shallows"

Something to ponder this weekend:

A speech by Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows, on how the Internet is changing us.

Jordan B. Peterson

Professor Jordan B. Peterson is getting a lot of publicity lately due to the lively back-and-forth in the interview by Cathy Newman.

Here is his website.

Here is his Twitter site.

And here is an announcement of an upcoming speech in Los Angeles. He also talks a bit about his new book.

I'm almost half-way through the book and have found it to be extremely interesting.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day


Daniel Krauthammer, writing in The Weekly Standard, on a visit to the site of the Auschwitz death camp. An excerpt:

The extermination camps were different. The Nazis built only six, and for just one overriding purpose: the destruction of European Jewry. The vast majority of the 1.1 million Jews deported to Auschwitz never entered its concentration camp at all. They didn’t last the few weeks that most other prisoners did. They lasted less than an hour.

Birthday Boy

image

It's Mozart Day at Cultural Offering with fine features of the young genius's work.

In the spirit of the day, check out this clarinet concerto by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.

Quick Look

The trailer for "Knife Fight."

A Future Stonehenge?

Stonehenge2007 07 30.jpg

Victor Davis Hanson has identified potential sites in California.

Reprise: Some Saturday Noir



At one o'clock in the morning, Carl, the night porter, turned down the last of three table lamps in the main lobby of the Windermere Hotel. The blue carpet darkened a shade or two and the walls drew back into remoteness. The chairs filled with shadowy loungers. In the corners were memories like cobwebs. 

Read Raymond Chandler's "I'll Be Waiting."

Indianapolis for Amazon's HQ 2?

Althouse discusses the possibility that Amazon will pick Indianapolis for its second headquarters.

I suspect that Amazon will choose Denver because it has a major airport, beautiful surroundings, and is hipster enough to attract the Seattle crowd.

But Indianapolis would be a sound choice.

I lived there for several months while attending Adjutant General training at Fort Benjamin Harrison. [It was my first exposure to the work of Peter Drucker.]

Alas, Fort Ben is no more but I really grew to like the area and its residents. True, there was the occasional tornado warning but, aside from the remote possibility that your home and all of your belongings might be blown away, the place was green and pleasant.

Perhaps Amazon doesn't need a place that's "cool." 

Ten Minutes


It is disturbing to think of how often I've seen executives and managers who, although urged to seek legal counsel, decide that doing so would be too expensive and time-consuming. They instead wind up making a decision which blows up and consumes far more time and money.

In the great majority of those instances, calling their attorney would have taken around ten minutes. I'll grant that lawyers have a reputation for complicating matters but there are many times when a trusted advisor will simplify the situation and avoid needless complications.

Ten minutes without sound advice can be jarringly expensive.

Quick Look

The trailer for "Gomorrah."

Great Book Titles

Image result for jacques barzun books dawn to decadence amazon

Quote of the Day

A proletarian dictatorship is never proletarian.

- Will and Ariel Durant

Friday, January 26, 2018

Art Break: Stoops



Art Contrarian looks at the work of Herbert Morton Stoops.

First Paragraph

"You're new here, aren't you?" Those were his first words to me. (His last, twenty-five years later, would be "I'm sorry.") Already he had turned the tables on me. After all, I was the reporter. The one who was supposed to be asking the questions.

- From Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli

"A Networked World is a Dangerous World"


At Hoover, historian Niall Ferguson discusses his new book: "The Square and the Tower."

Quick Look

The trailer for "Taken 2."

Great Book Titles

Image result for the fox in the attic amazon

Quote of the Day

Humility is something I've always prided myself on.

- Bernie Kosar

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Aretha

Anderson Layman's Blog has the classic performance of "Chain of Fools."

Quick Look

The trailer for "Faces Places."

Today's Math



Nicholas Bate provides a simple but important rule

[I've been rigorously following it this week and can attest to its effectiveness.]

Miscellaneous and Fast



Fortune: Elton John is retiring.
Trailer:  "Steve Jobs."
Sohrab Ahmari: The invisible crisis in Europe.
The Ghan: Australia's outback train.
Bunga bunga: Italy's Berlusconi may be coming back.
TaxProf Blog: California bar exam zings out-of-staters.
Trailer: "Mad to Be Normal."
The Sun: Labor Party "charging whites more" reversal.
Bruce Bawer: The Islamization of Oslo.
Sports Illustrated: Upcoming swimwear fashion.
Forbes: Tesla locks in Musk.
Trailer: "The Great Beauty."

Re-Reading a Classic

Image result for the balkan trilogy olivia manning amazon


My bedtime reading has been Olivia Manning's The Balkan Trilogy. I first read it several years ago and my latest reaction is: "Wow. This is even better than I recall." 

A novel about a young British couple in Romania at the start of World War II may not sound intriguing but the story succeeds on several levels. Truly extraordinary. 

And don't miss the sequel, The Levant Trilogy. It's equally great.

Get Out There

Attractive young blonde woman in bandana adjusting wing mirror of vintage pickup truck

"Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen."

- Benjamin Disraeli

[Photo by Averie Woodard at Unsplash]

Quote of the Day

Office hours are from twelve to one, with an hour off for lunch.

- George S. Kaufman, on the U.S. Senate

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

What They Use



A fascinating look at the pens, journals, datebooks and more used by the folks at The Cramped.

At least one may surprise you.

Quick Look

The trailer for "L'Atalante."

"Mrs. Peel. We're Needed."

Image result for emma peel
My morale has greatly improved due to the kindness of Steve Layman, a gentleman and scholar who knows the power of The Rigg.

What If?

Maginot line 1.jpg

One of the items to watch for in any analysis of options is whether the possibility of failure has been adequately addressed.

You may be surprised by how often it is shunted aside as highly unlikely or as no big deal if it does occur.

It is more impressive when someone describes their fall-back plan and especially when they already have built-in ways to mitigate the adverse impact if things don't go as planned.

I recall a meeting where the response to the "What if?" question was a smug "Don't worry. It won't."

That was far from reassuring.

[Photo from the Wikipedia entry on the Maginot Line.]

Peter Jackson's World War I Film

The Imperial War Museum clips shown in this Mirror post are amazing.

In the Reading Stack

Image result for jordan peterson amazon 12 rules

Quote of the Day

The chief object of education is not to learn things but to unlearn things.

- G. K. Chesterton

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Quick Look

The trailer for "Logan."

Art Break: "Analytical Cubism"



Art Contrarian gives some examples.

The Jordan Peterson Interview

Cultural Offering looks at the now-viral interview of Jordan Peterson by Cathy Newman.

Also see this excellent article by Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic.

Quick Look

The trailer for "Genius: Picasso."

When Life Adjusts the Schedule.

Pirate Bandages

Yesterday morning I went to the dermatologist so he could carve off what is probably a skin cancer and zing other portions of my head with blasts of dry ice. I now have a round bandage in the center of my forehead and am glad no workshops are scheduled for this week. 

But at least it wasn't a pirate bandage.*

Then I went home where, feeling cocky because of major progress with a bad back, I boldly bent over to pick up something, only to be quickly reminded that the back has a schedule of its own. 

The rest of the day was spent doing Herman Munster imitations.

Minor salves are now abandoned. It is time for the Sloan's Liniment; a.k.a. The Nuclear Option.

*On second thought, that would have been amusing.

Lessons

A man in a navy blue blazer typing on a MacBook on his lap

What lessons may be drawn from that:
  • marketing campaign?
  • proposal?
  • client?
  • meeting?
  • misunderstanding?
  • retreat?
  • lay-off?
  • lawsuit?
  • memo?
  • crisis?
  • resignation?
  • recruitment?
  • promotion?
  • termination?
And will anyone take the time to search for them?

[Photo by Olu Eletu at Unsplash]

The Roll


Quote of the Day

Never work before breakfast; if you have to work before breakfast, get your breakfast first.

- Josh Billings

Monday, January 22, 2018

Fully What I Expect


Cultural Offering has a description of Heaven.

Miscellaneous and Fast


One for The Reading Stack

Image of The Greatest Empire: A Life of Seneca

Quick Look

The trailer for "Dear Dictator."

Remember

A notebook and a Bible on a bench next to a bag with a laptop

You may not recognize the great thing you are doing today because it will be disguised as a lot of little things.


[Photo by Aaron Burden at Unsplash]

The Wisdom of Sam Rayburn

In The Best and The Brightest, David Halberstam recounted a story about a conversation between Lyndon Johnson and Sam Rayburn regarding the qualifications of the Kennedy cabinet:

Stunned by their glamour and intellect, [LBJ] had rushed back to tell Rayburn, his great and crafty mentor, about them, about how brilliant each was, that fellow Bundy from Harvard, Rusk from Rockefeller, McNamara from Ford. On he went, naming them all. "Well, Lyndon, you may be right and they may be every bit as intelligent as you say," said Rayburn, "but I'd feel a whole lot better about them if just one of them had run for sheriff once."


Quick Look

The trailer for "Stage Fright."

Great Book Titles

Image result for is paris burning book amazon

Quote of the Day

I shut my eyes in order to see.

- Paul Gauguin

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Miscellaneous and Fast

10 Management and Leadership Books


Dan McCarthy lists his ten favorites

The Lessons of Experience is one that I've returned to many times.

Myths about the Filibuster

Sarah A. Binder on the history of the filibuster.

Pondering

A white coffee mug with “begin” written on it on a wooden table

An organization that regards employees as parts of a well-oiled machine (and thus easily replaced) will be run differently than one in which employees are regarded as people with skills that need to be developed.

An organization that believes a job recruitment is solely done to fill a vacancy is quite different from one that believes the recruitment is only part of a larger process to evaluate the skills of internal and external candidates.

An organization that hires on the basis of inflated job requirements may be more unlikely to get a good employee than one which hires on the basis of basic job requirements.

An organization with a large workforce in which roles are not clarified will be less successful than a much smaller competitor in which roles are clear.


[Photo by Danielle MacInnes at Unsplash]

The Great Unmentioned

A focused man working on a sticker-covered laptop in a coffee shop

Workplaces are awash with The Great Unmentioned. 
  1. "Crazier than a bed bug."
  2. "Has a voice that could cut iron."
  3. "The great undecider."
  4. "The command presence of Don Knotts."
  5. "Could not sell beer on a troop ship."
  6. "A legend in her own mind."
  7. "A knife without a blade or a handle."

[Photo by Tim Gouw at Unsplash]

Quick Look

The trailer for "Second Hand Lions."

Business Classics

Image result for the practice of management amazon

Quote of the Day

A man who knows he is a fool is not a great fool.

- Chuang-Tzu