Saturday, March 17, 2018

Law Latte Blog

[Photo by Charissa T. at Unsplash]

Law Latte Blog has a lot more than just law or latte.

Timeless Advice on Leadership

[Photo by Victoria Heath at Unsplash]

Forbes 2004: Peter Drucker, sharp as a tack, discussing effective leadership.

Employee Counseling

Reprise: The scene from "Young Frankenstein."

Back in Action

The meeting went well. Much was accomplished. Potential rabbit holes were avoided.

You can't ask more than that.

Will Be Held Captive in a Long Meeting

[Photo by Patrick Fore at Unsplash]

An unavoidable board meeting. The agenda is long, the subjects sensitive, and those present will be tempted to say more than is necessary. My briefcase will have a couple of cans of double-shot espresso in case I need an extra dose of alertness. I will also adopt a zen attitude as an invisible shield. 

A good time to listen to the rocks grow.

Or the donuts whimper.

Since it is St. Patrick's Day, all snakes will be driven out. 

I have a tie with some green stripes. Am taking no chances.

Quote of the Day

People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything.

- Thomas Sowell

Friday, March 16, 2018

Where Does He Find This Stuff?

You can find nostalgia, beauty, and much more at Eclecticity Light.

First Paragraph

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When the man was dead, Jon was compelled to tidy up the mess he'd made in the process of killing him. Because the man had put up something of a struggle there was a fair amount of furniture to be straightened, photographs uprighted and pillows to be fluffed, which he went about with efficient detachment born of a sense of contractual and personal obligation. He knew that little touches, insignificant in themselves, could be surprisingly effective in context of the whole. It was a question of presentation.

Random Thought

~ Some large projects fall like Goliath while 
some small ones are very hard to finish off. ~

Creativity's Downside

The Onion has an Elon Musk update.

Quick Look

The trailer for "Army of Shadows."

A Lawsuit Prevented is a Lawsuit Won

Lessons from Walt Disney

Here is a classic story from the Disney Institute blog: one to keep and periodically read.

From the Essential Tools of Excellence Series

Nicholas Bate discusses a useful place to catch ideas: the back of an envelope.

It's one of my favorites. Distinctive. Unlikely to lose. An appropriate size.

And we all know what happens if you tell yourself you'll remember that great idea later.

The Need for Definitions

[Photo by Curtis MacNewton at Unsplash]

Do not assume that your team or other departments will define the following items in the same way:

  1. "Applicant."
  2. "Best qualified."
  3. "Mission."
  4. "Eligible list."
  5. "Probationary."
  6. "Complaint."
  7. "Investigation."
  8. "Structured interview."
  9. "Hostile work environment."
  10. "Other duties as assigned."
  11. "Essential functions."
  12. "Job offer."
  13. "Chain of command."
  14. "Confidential."
  15. "Progressive discipline."
  16. "Job-related."
  17. "Off-duty."
  18. "Consultation."
  19. "Coordination."
  20. "Career ladder."
  21. "Documentation."


[Photo by Philipe Cavalcante at Unsplash]

We don't know where our first impressions come from or precisely what they mean, so we don't always appreciate their fragility.

- Malcolm Gladwell

Quick Look

The trailer for "Office Space."

To Kill a Play? Yes!

Althouse on the lawsuit about the "To Kill a Mockingbird" play.

As a long-time fan of the book and the film, I hope that Harper Lee's estate is able to stop the play.

If the producers and writers want a different story, they should write one on their own.

Quote of the Day

To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people is a chimerical idea.

- James Madison

Thursday, March 15, 2018


[Photo by Conner Murphy at Unsplash]

Don't dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.

- Denis Waitley

Music Break

The Traveling Wilburys: "End of the Line."

The World's Smartest Tent

What do you do if you're a lawyer and a poet and you reside near a beach?

Find a way to get away, of course.

FutureLawyer has found a new portable office and I have to say that I'm impressed.

"Wowed" might be a more accurate description. Be sure to watch the video.

Managing an Expectation

Close-up of a businessman's hands adjusting his tie

[Photo by Ruthson Zimmerman at Unsplash]

"Expectation" is an uplifting word. We say it and our spirit rises. We think of related concepts such as hope and an expectation seems to be a very positive thing.

As with most positives, however, it can also have a downside. In this case, that occurs when reality or perfectionism enters. If you have an unrealistic expectation for social encounters or business transactions, that is a way of producing nervousness and disappointment. 

I've known people who deliver speeches with the expectation of being another John F. Kennedy or Ronald Reagan. In doing so, they miss the magic that could have arrived if they'd sought a simplicity and genuineness that was their own. 

Others go to social events with the idea that if they are not the ultimate extrovert who glides through the room, remembering every name and dispensing memorable doses of wit, then they have failed. They would have been better advised to be a successful wallflower, have a pleasant encounter with one or two (or perhaps even three!) people, and leave smiling.

Should we seek improvement? Certainly, but it helps if we don't turn improvement efforts into an exercise in self-chastisement. When unreasonably crafted, an expectation can be a very dangerous thing.

First Paragraph

He was a small, narrow-faced man nicknamed the Door Mouse. After coming up the steps of the Admiralty House, he quietly made his way past the first sea lord's office and opened the door to a dark, dingy room at the end of the corridor.

- From 1917: Lenin, Wilson, and the Birth of the New World Disorder by Arthur Herman


I have a feeling that some World Cup organizers are very nervous right now. A lot can happen between now and then.

Quick Look

The trailer for "The Nightingale."

Quote of the Day

Never have people been more the masters of their environment. Yet never has a people felt more deceived and disappointed. For never has a people expected so much more than the world could offer.

- Daniel Boorstin in 1962

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

In the Background

Image result for the beatles amazon

Because You Need This

Back by popular demand: 

David Hasselhoff with "Hooked on a Feeling."

I am a river to my people.


[Photo by Ryoji Iwata at Unsplash]

The thoughtful soul to solitude retires.

- Omar Khayyam

The Importance of Skills

This is probably the most famous discussion on skills in our society.


[Photo by Jeremy Perkins at Unsplash]

You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one.

- John Wooden

Advice for a Young Employee

Dress so well and so conservatively that your appearance is not an issue. You want your "look" to bolster your professional image and not distract people from noticing your competence. Do your homework but know what the required subjects are or else you may squander time on trivia. Focus on your current assignments without losing sight of where you want to be in the future. Take initiative and don't always wait to be asked. Do more than you have to. Learn to say no but don't let it be your default response. Do nothing that is untrustworthy and shun any tempting excuses that may lure you into dodgy behavior. Avoid anything that feels "cheap' in terms of ethics, grace, and style. Foster a reputation for reliability, effectiveness, and courtesy. Treat everyone with kindness but straighten up and draw a line if someone seeks to diminish or take advantage of you. Don't keep score on your good deeds. Let that be the chore of others. Never stop learning, not even for a day. Value your time and the time of others. Seek to avoid mistakes but recognize they are inevitable and always study how they can be avoided. If there is a dispute, be reasonable and take the high ground. If you blunder, admit it. Value your opinion but don't fall in love with it. Respect the dignity of everyone's job and the importance of each individual's role. And always, always, remember that you are working alongside human beings with their own dreams, fears, and challenges.

Quick Look

The trailer for "Solo: A Star Wars Story."

Great Book Titles

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Quote of the Day

Failure is the foundation of success . . . success the lurking place of failure.

- Lao-Tzu

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Quick Look

The trailer for "Annihilation."

Currently Reading

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This book was published in 1962 and its insights are still relevant. One item noted is how journalism went from reporting the news to making the news. Boorstin cites the use of interviews as one way in which the press was able to generate news. An excerpt:

Historians of journalism date the first full-fledged modern interview with a well-known public figure from July 13, 1859, when Horace Greeley interviewed Brigham Young in Salt Lake City, asking him questions on many matters of public interest, and then publishing the answers verbatim in his New York Tribune (August 20, 1859). The common use of the word "interview" in this modern American sense first came in about this time. Very early the institution acquired a reputation for being contrived."The 'interview,'" The Nation complained (January 28, 1869), "as at present managed, is generally the joint product of some humbug of a hack politician and another humbug of a reporter." A few years later another magazine editor called the interview "the most perfect contrivance yet devised to make journalism an offence, a thing of ill savor in all decent nostrils." Many objected to the practice as an invasion of privacy. After the American example it was used in England and France, but in both of those countries it made much slower headway.

Quick Look

The trailer for "The Mercy."

Basket Case

I just noticed that my Amazon basket contains books by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Edward Luttwak, and Keith Richards. 

How's that for variety?


Classic old books with hardback arranged on a bookshelf in a library.

[Photo by Clem Onojeghuo at Unsplash]

I love everything that's old, - old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wine.

- Oliver Goldsmith

Quick Look

The trailer for "Rome." 

Excellent series.

Random Thoughts Update

~ Small organizations that grow due to the dedication of a cadre of true believers soon find that the interview pools are filled with agnostics. ~ The Internet has done nothing for the already dicey reputation of slide shows. ~ Give us another decade of declining attention-spans and people may regard Reader’s Digest articles as lengthy. ~ If we were candid, a frequent entry in our appointment books would be meetings with our old friend Project Avoidance. ~ It is an odd world in which watching zombie attacks is a pleasant diversion from watching the news. ~ Individuals who loudly proclaim a desire for dramatic change often prefer far more drama than change. ~

The above thoughts are candidates for the next volume but why wait? You can get 701 others by visiting Amazon and purchasing the paperback and/or the e-book. Click here.

Quote of the Day

A life of ease is a difficult pursuit.

- William Cowper

Monday, March 12, 2018


[Photo by Taylor Bryant at Unsplash]

The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.

- George Bernard Shaw

The Long March

The Long March through the institutions the paperwork continues.

I can now see the floor in most of my office.

Damned impressive.

Jordan Peterson as Guru

Image result for jordan peterson 12 rules for life amazon

Writing in First Things, Matthew Schmitz analyzes the popularity of Jordan Peterson.

I've been very impressed with Peterson and am slowly reading and enjoying his book. [It is not something to speed-read.]

Nobly Done

By providing this brief video of Umberto Eco conducting a tour of his private library, Patrick Rhone has done a huge favor for those of us with close family members who hint that we have too many books.

Keith and the Stones

Great article. I'd link to it but the story is behind a subscription wall.

There's a certain thing in this band, which I find really weird, is that they just want to do it. Some nights we're better than others, of course, but all I know about this damn band is that they always want to make it better than the night before. And that's one of the things that keeps us going.

- Keith Richards on The Rolling Stones

Now That is a Real Desk


The above desk belongs to Cultural Offering. He provides details.

There is serious envy here in Phoenix.

I can see that my search should expand to antique stores and other places featuring items from the days when desks were desks.

Quick Look

The trailer for "Word Wars."


National Public Radio: Feminist bookstore slams "Portlandia."

An episode at the bookstore.

Quote of the Day

Wherever you are, I've been there. Wherever you've been, I've gone.

- Little Richard

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Bock: Weekend Leadership Reading

Wally Bock, who knows the subject well, has some weekend leadership reading for us.

First Paragraph

Let it be clearly understood that the Russian is a delightful person till he tucks in his shirt. As an Oriental he is charming. It is only when he insists upon being treated as the most easterly of western peoples instead of the most westerly of easterns that he becomes a racial anomaly extremely difficult to handle. The host never knows which side of his nature is going to turn up next.

- From The Man Who Was by Rudyard Kipling


[Photo by Dan Freeman at Unsplash]

Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.

- John W. Gardner

Quick Look

The trailer for ""

In the Background

Image result for little richard's greatest hits recorded live amazon

Diplomacy 101

Now on Kindle for easy reference at an irresistible price.

Great Scenes

The father - son talk in "The Godfather."

A Desk Confession

Cute but way too small.

[Photo by at Unsplash]

I don't think I have ever had a desk I really liked.

Some came close. Several were okay. A few were terrible. My current desk is functional and the coldness of that word conveys its level of appeal.

The good news is all of these experiences have taught me a great deal about what I want - and don't want - in a desk. This is my current list:

  1. Wood. Real wood. I've had metal or faux-wooden and the feel is not the same. Glass might work if I were a clean desk person but I am (understatement alert) not. Besides, who ever fell in love with a glass desk? I am in search of a serious commitment, not a fling, and I don't want to glance down and see my feet.
  2. Large surface space. Give me an expanse - something Mussolini might build if he were a carpenter - with plenty of room to spread out documents and books.
  3. Mucho drawer space. None of the cutesy mobile cart stuff. I like all of the varied nooks of roll-top desks but the damned things are too small. Besides that, the nooks might as well be called, with a bow to Dorothy Parker, "What Fresh Hell is This?" spaces. I want places to hide things and not lose them.
  4. Style. This can easily be knocked out by function but it would be nice to have a desk with personality and preferably some charm. My old desks have had the charm of a clam.
If you know of a desk that meets all of the above, let me know. I am nearing the point of considering the use of doors. [I know I mentioned that several years ago but I chickened out.] Doors bring their own special problems and yet I may be reduced to that.

Desk lovers of the world, unite.

First Paragraph

[Photo by Ryoji Iwata at Unsplash]

This book is inspired by a remarkable fact: in stark contrast to its more rapidly aging rivals in Europe and Asia, America's population is expected to expand dramatically in coming decades. According to the most conservative estimates, the United States by 2050 will be home to at least four hundred million people, roughly one hundred million more than live here today. But because of America's unique demographic trajectory among advanced countries, it should emerge by midcentury as the most affluent, culturally rich, and successful nation in human history.

- From The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050 by Joel Kotkin [The Penguin Press, 2010]


[Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris at Unsplash]

Youth is wasted on the young.

- George Bernard Shaw

Quick Look

The trailer for "The Promise."

Quote of the Day

The strongest continuous thread in America's political tradition is skepticism about government.

-  George Will

Friday, March 09, 2018

It's Casual Friday

FutureLawyer's junior partner gets to dance on the chair.

The photo is thoroughly charming.

On the Street: Honfleur

Google Maps: Wander down the country lane in Honfleur, Normandy, France.

Great Scenes

The memorable transformation near the beginning of "Man of La Mancha."

Quick Look

The trailer for "The Secret of My Success."

"Thoughts" on Kindle

Random Thoughts is now available on Kindle at an irresistible price.

The Autumn of the Oscars

Ross Douthat in The New York Times analyzes the decline of the Oscars. An excerpt:

The key problem for the Oscars is not, as Hollywood’s critics on the right sometimes suggest, that the movie industry’s liberal politics are dragging down both box office numbers and Oscar ratings — that the desire to preach is swamping the desire to entertain. There is a political problem, but it is secondary: The key issue for the academy is that the Hollywood system no longer produces enough of the kind of movies that a mass-audience awards spectacle requires.

[HT: Jim Stroup]

Quick Look

The trailer for "Herb and Dorothy."

Current Affairs

I won't rule out direct talks with Kim Jong Un. I just won't. As far as the risk of dealing with a madman is concerned, that's his problem, not mine.

- President Trump at the Gridiron Dinner


[Photo by Alexis Chloe at Unsplash]

Our self-image, strongly held, essentially determines what we become.

- Maxwell Maltz

The Doctor and Prime Minister Churchill

May 24, 1940

Winston Churchill is 65. He has just been appointed Prime Minister, and I have become his doctor, not because he wanted one, but because certain members of the Cabinet, who realized how essential he has become, have decided that somebody ought to keep an eye on his health.

It was in these rather ambiguous circumstances that I made my way this morning to Admiralty House* wondering how he would receive me. Though it was noon, I found him in bed reading a document. He went on reading while I stood by the bedside. After what seemed quite a long time, he put down his papers and said impatiently:

"I don't know why they are making such a fuss. There's nothing wrong with me."

He picked up the papers and resumed his reading. At last he pushed his bed-rest away and, throwing back the bed-clothes, said abruptly:

"I suffer from dyspepsia, and this is the treatment."

With that he proceeded to demonstrate to me some breathing exercises. His big white belly was moving up and down when there was a knock at the door, and the P.M. grabbed at the sheet as Mrs. Hill came into the room.

Soon after, I took my leave. I do not like the job, and I do not think the arrangement can last.

- From Churchill: Taken from the Diaries of Lord Moran: The Struggle for Survival 1940-1965

[*Churchill lived at Admiralty House for "some weeks after he became Prime Minister in the Rooms he had occupied as First Lord of the Admiralty."]


Person in a blazer and business clothes with a Starbucks coffee finding a seat

[Photo by Ben White at Unsplash]

Being on a team is either/or. 

There should be no "sort of" being on or being off of a team.

Quick Look

The trailer for "Something Ventured."

Celebrate Westerns

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Quote of the Day

I'm not a snob. Ask anybody. Well, anybody who matters.

- Simon Lebon

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Quick Look

The trailer for "The Big Lebowski."

Personal Development at the Candy Counter

[Photo by Sharon McCutcheon at Unsplash]

Take a few minutes today and read this excellent post by Wally Bock. An excerpt:

One day, she realized that the world was not likely to change, and so she probably should. She decided that she was going be a success where she was. She decided to become a great candy salesperson. She wouldn’t make any more money, but she figured that concentrating on getting better would keep her from thinking about how hard life had become.


[Photo by Becca Tapert at Unsplash]

Work is the meat of life, pleasure the dessert.

- B. C. Forbes

Art Break: Kauffer

Art Contrarian looks at the work of poster artist E. McKnight Kauffer.

Jazz Man

Cultural Offering has the essential mixes for The Dave Brubeck Quartet.

Great stuff.

Quick Look

The trailer for "A Small Act."

Highly Recommended

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Memorable Commercials Update

Put Abe Lincoln and a talking beaver into an ad and it will be hard to forget.


[Photo by Oziel Gomez at Unsplash]

Some of your most productive days are not spent amid brilliance and creativity but instead involve continuous slogging through task after task and doing what you know needs to be done but which was set aside in those earlier days when you decided, however indirectly, that your time was better spent in thought and daydreams and mindless meetings instead of achievement.

All of which is nice but achievement is better. 

Schedule some days for slogging.

Quote of the Day

To my daughter Leonora without whose never-failing sympathy and encouragement this book would have been finished in half the time.

- P. G. Wodehouse

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Quick Look

The strudel scene from "Inglourious Basterds."

Highly Recommended

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Our Day

[Photo by Maaria Lohiya at Unsplash]

For most of us, regardless of our job, part of our day will be like this.

Re-Setting Your Personal Compass

Nicholas Bate keeps us on course and, in a single post, provides a legion of links.

Is It Real Training or Is It "Training?"

A training broker recently told me that she'd noticed a trend toward 90 minute classes. Her theory is that the time limit may be spurred by a desire for a workshop that delivers the essentials quickly and which does not take a half or full day.

Having sat through many programs while wishing the presenter would get to the point, I can understand that desire. In my experience, many training programs take far too long. Most of the classes I teach run 3 1/2 hours long. A few run around six hours. I am seriously considering 90 minute programs for some topics.

On the other hand, some subjects genuinely require more time. Rushing through them so the employer can check a box and announce, "They've been trained!" is a farce. 

"They" have sat through a class but they have not been trained.

And that brings up the nature of the training market. Inertia has always been a major competitor. Employers tell themselves that training isn't needed and so they sit tight. But now, more than ever, there is the fake action competitor. The fake action classes are extremely low-priced, very short, sessions that are held so someone can say they were held. Their main purpose is to provide management with the ability to say "We've had training."

I can't do that.

But I sort of like the 90 minute option.


A blurry close-up of a turntable needle

[Photo by Luke Chesser at Unsplash]

Music is the greatest communication in the world. Even if people don't understand the language that you're singing in, they still know good music when they hear it.

- Lou Rawls