Saturday, June 30, 2018

A True Story, Of Course

Image result for the adventures of baron munchausen movie poster amazon

Both a trailer and a music break.


Jamee Lileks is enjoying the summer in Minnesota:

Sitting outside and regretting it. Skeeters. After the rains of this week, they rose in clouds to roam the land, skeletonizing small children and squirrels, leaving behind sacks of skin sucked dry. My wife bought some all-natural repellant whose labels assures you it doesn’t contain all these mean nasty chemicals, which is your guarantee that it won’t work at all. Seriously: I sprayed every inch of exposed skin with this stuff, and I am a Golden Corral buffet for these bugs right now.

Hit Them with "Mandy"

A pharmacy chain is using Barry Manilow music to discourage vagrants and panhandlers?

Let's see if they crank up some Guy Lombardo. People would be running into cars in the parking lot.

[I recall hearing about shopping malls that play classical music to drive off teenagers. When I was a teenager I would have been attracted to shopping malls that played classical music.] 

"On Grand Strategy"

I'm almost done with "On Grand Strategy" by John Lewis Gaddis.

A fascinating book. Click here for the review in The Wall Street Journal.

Fair Warning

A person in a black hoodie with obscured face holds up a pink smoke grenade

[Photo by Warren Wong at Unsplash]

One of the small courtesies inadvertently provided by political fanatics: their conduct when they lack power gives us fair warning of what they'd be like if they had power.

I Hope the Film is Better than the Trailer

The trailer for "A Discovery of Witches."

Bock's Assignments

Wally Bock has weekend leadership reading for us.

If Gettysburg Had Been Lost

Cultural Offering (and A Large Regular) are remembering Gettysburg.

All of us should do so.

Ease into the Weekend

With "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus."

Friday, June 29, 2018

The Crocodile

Back by popular demand, Roald Dahl's classic poem.

First Paragraph

There are many towns named Stratford in England, but the one that stood on the banks of the river Avon had special reason to be proud of its native sons. John of Stratford had become Archbishop of Canterbury and lay buried in a tomb of alabaster at the high altar, and Hugh Clopton had gone to the great city of London and ended by becoming its Lord Mayor.

- From Shakespeare of London by Marchette Chute

"The Three Rules"

Check out Wally Bock's review.

Another "My Dinner with Andre"

A nice, quiet, thought-provoking film for the weekend about the "last hope for humanity."

With Boundless Delight

Close-up of a fountain pen writing in a notebook

[Photo by Aaron Burden at Unsplash]

We have read your manuscript with boundless delight. If we were to publish your paper, it would be impossible for us to publish any work of lower standard. And as it is unthinkable that in the next thousand years we shall see its equal, we are, to our regret, compelled to return your divine composition, and to beg you a thousand times to overlook our short sight and timidity.

- Rejection slip from a Chinese economic journal, quoted in The Financial Times

I Need to Put This Over My Desk

[Photo by Tom Holmes at Unsplash]

For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe.

- Larry Eisenberg

"And nearly everyone will be disgusted by at least one of them"

Ann Althouse is doing three things in Chicago. 

As with all of her posts, be sure to read the comments.

Quick Look

The trailer for "Leave No Trace."

The Flip Chart in the Dining Room

I was at home and overwhelmed with a series of projects. The dining room table was filled with notes and files. Their details were a font of both assistance and complexity.

And then an ancient flip chart came to mind. It was soon out of my back office and into a corner of the dining room. As key points were transferred to one large sheet, clarity and confidence returned.

Confession: Some days I find it difficult to see/use the obvious.

Which should serve as a reminder of some obvious truths: Obstacles require the right tools. It is hard to connect dots if they are on separate pages. Don't underestimate the power of the visual. There are things we see better with distance.

A Condensed Version of Soviet History

There was a great Marxist named Lenin
Who did two or three million men in.
That's a lot to have done in
But where he did one in
That grand Marxist Stalin did ten in.

- Robert Conquest

First Paragraph

It is now thirty-five years since I climbed a fence to pick a poppy in an English meadow on which lay the mists of an August morning. The memory of that poppy prompts some questions that are urgent now though they did not seem even relevant thirty-five years ago.

- The Fall of Fortresses: A Personal Account of One of the Most Daring - and Deadly - Air Battles of the Second World War by Elmer Bendiner [published in 1981]

Quote of the Day

It is no secret that organized crime in America takes in over forty billion dollars a year. This is quite a profitable sum especially when one considers that the Mafia spends very little for office supplies.  

- Woody Allen

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Althouse: Tower of Skulls

And I thought the Aztecs were such gentle souls.

You Know You Want One

The Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye.

Recipe for a Film

Image result for layer cake movie poster amazon

Given the cast, I'm surprised this film isn't better known.

Perhaps it is and I'm the only person who didn't know about it.

The Problem Out There

A person walking through a maze made out of rocks by the side of the beach

[Photo by Ashley Batz at Unsplash]

Anytime we think the problem is ‘out there,’ that thought is the problem. We empower what’s out there to control us. 

– Stephen R. Covey

Occupations as Depicted in Films

Image result for office space movie poster amazon

Introducing the lead management consultant in "Office Space."

The consultant team interviews Peter.

They interview his boss.

Miscellaneous and Fast

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Another Reason Why I Don't Explore Caves

The trailer for "The Descent."

Swing Vote

SCOTUSblog on the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Border Tale

The trailer for "Sin Nombre."

Art Break: Lamb

Art Contrarian looks at the work of Henry Lamb.

Labor Law Blockbuster

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a huge decision on requiring non-members to pay union fees.

"That's cool."

The trailer for "Numbered."

An excerpt: "That's cool."

First Paragraph

A hat came skipping down the main street of Long Grass, propelled only by the wind, which was sharp for March. The hat was brown felt and had a narrow brim.

- From The Last Kind Words Saloon by Larry McMurtry

The Due Date

[Photo by rawpixel at Unsplash]

The due date was spoken of in hushed tones since to a few it was a quasi-religious commitment and others, equally soft-spoken, said it was a date from hell and that an extension was not just desirable but even damned necessary to avoid disaster but the adherents of the due date refused to budge because the due date had become more than just a spot on the calendar but instead was now a sign of change and hope and new direction and any objections were pushed aside because, as everyone knows, such dates are special and although logic would argue otherwise magic would surely appear.

Achieving Your Potential

The trailer for "Limitless."

The Plot

I think that a part of what to tell one's story in a religious sense means is to affirm that there is a plot to one's life. It's not just incident following incident without any particular direction or purpose, but things are happening in order to take you somewhere. Just the way a story begins and has a middle and an end. Things are somehow wrapped up at the end, and everything in some fashion can be seen to have led to this inevitable conclusion and to have had its own place, however circumstantial and odd and out-of-the-way some of those things that happened may have been. They had their purpose in the overall shape and texture and reality of one's story.

- Frederick Buechner, The Remarkable Ordinary

Quote of the Day

It's better to pay a good attorney than a bad employee.

- Larry Winget

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Not an Ordinary Bike Race

Althouse reports on cyclists who ride on "skinnies" but the story is stolen by the video of an unbelievable bike race in Chile.

If any of you participate in the Chile race I expect a full report or, barring that, some information on your hospital.

I Return with a Film for the Techies

The trailer for "A Scanner Darkly."

Bear with Me

This is a meeting day and my Commodore computer is a bit slower than usual. Back soon.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Not Your Standard Alien Invasion Film

At least not in all respects: The trailer for "Attack the Block."

The Rude Dutch?

Posted in 2006, this item still gets a lot of attention. Note the number of comments.

First Paragraph

The first thing you need to understand is that most large organizations in the private sector are run by curmudgeons like me. That statement may not be true of organizations in the entertainment or information technology (IT) industries, which are often filled with senior executives who are either young themselves or trying to be. But it is true of most large for-profit businesses, nonprofits, foundations, law firms, and financial institutions. Academia goes both ways, with many professors who try to be best buddies with their students but a few who are world-class curmudgeons.

- From The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead: Do's and Don't's of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life by Charles Murray

A World Without Twitter

Just think, without Twitter millions of people might learn to embrace the beauty of the unexpressed thought.  

Basic Rules of Courtesy

Even if we disagree with someone, we:

  • listen to them.
  • talk to them.
  • serve them in our business.
  • treat them the way we'd like to be treated.
And hope they'll accord us the same level of courtesy. 

It's not very difficult.

Quote of the Day

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who ruleth his spirit than he who taketh a city. 

- 16 Proverbs 32

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Saturday, June 23, 2018

You Woke?

Althouse has the BBC Comedy support group for people who are so woke they can't have any fun.

The Fox's Advantage

[Photo by howling red at Unsplash]

It will take just a few minutes to read Charles Krauthammer's 1997 tribute to Isaiah Berlin. An excerpt:

And one more thing, he said (in the fourth and final essay of the book): The true heart of the liberal political tradition is the belief that no one has the secret as to what is the ultimate end and goal of life. There are many ends, each deserving respect, and it is out of this very pluribus that we get freedom.

"Music is a Dream"

The trailer for "The Lady in Number 6."

Names: An Obvious Bias Regarding Trixie and Candy

[Photo by Sean Mungur at Unsplash]

The most popular girl name by state 1960 - 2012.


An animated film about when the Shah was replaced by something much worse.

A Man of Depth, Humor, and Perspective

[Photo by Max Sulik at Unsplash]

Cultural Offering is on a roll.

Occupations as Depicted in Films

Jurassic Park's computer technician.

"I finished de-bugging the phones."

Friday, June 22, 2018

To Be Put on a Card Near Your Computer

Charts with statistics on the screen of a laptop on a glossy surface

[Photo by Carlos Muza at Unsplash]

Nicholas Bate has a fact to remember about email.

La Grande Bellezza

Image result for the great beauty movie poster amazon

The trailer for "The Great Beauty."

Bock's Assignments

Wally Bock gives his weekend leadership reading assignments.

I May Add This to My List of Ethics-Related Films

"The Invention of Lying."


Althouse points to a horrific story about a New Jersey sixth grader who was the victim of bullying.

I have two memories related to bullying from when I was an elementary school student. One memory was seeing it on the playground at recess and looking around and not seeing a teacher in sight.

Another is much more pleasant, although it would get the school sued today. I was entering a breezeway on my way to the playground when I saw a kid holding another kid in a headlock. He was trying to bash the kid's head against the wall. The Assistant Principal walked up, grabbed the aggressor and flung him so hard across the breezeway that the kid splattered against the opposite wall. It was a cartoon vision brought to real life - splattered! - and I've long cherished it. He then dragged the kid off to the Principal's office so the real punishment could begin.

I always liked the Assistant Principal.


The Onion Social CEO is conducting a tour of several coffee shops near where he lives to learn more about the lives of everyday Americans.

Onion Social CEO responds to company chaos by donating $50 to Haiti.

Are You at The World Cup?

Ruffneck Scarves

To the person I know with Ruffneck Scarves: Are you at The World Cup?

"The Migrant Question"

Europe, despite its Union, is as divided as ever. Recently, when Italy’s new right-wing government—anxious to prove its credentials—refused to allow a boat carrying 629 African migrants to dock in Italy, Spain’s new left-wing government—equally anxious to do the same—accepted the boat. When the French president, Emmanuel Macron, criticized the Italians for their decision, the Italian government accused the French of hypocrisy, inasmuch as they had refused to take more than 9,000 migrants from Italy that they had previously agreed to accept.

This story is revealing in several aspects. The first is that, whatever attitude governments take to the migrants, no one truly believes that they are more of an asset than a liability. Madrid’s action, for example, was taken on “humanitarian” grounds, rather than because it believed that Spain would benefit from the migrants’ presence. When European leaders discuss the migrant question, it is always in terms of sharing the burden, not the assets, equitably. No one speaks of foreign investment in this way, which suggests that European politicians believe, whether rightly or wrongly, that the free movement of people and capital are different in an important way.

Read the rest of Theodore Dalrymple in City Journal.

In The Stacks

[Stefan Steinbauer at Unsplash]

Bear with me. Back soon.

Quote of the Day

If we continue to teach about tolerance and intolerance instead of good and evil, we will end up with tolerance of evil.

- Dennis Prager

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Quick Look

The trailer for "Big Trouble."

The Subject That Never Goes Out of Style

I am briefing a group of seasoned executives today on "Ethical Decision Making."

A grand time will be had by all.

BTW, my "ethics-related movies" list is in need of updating. It has included Braveheart; The Bridge on the River Kwai; Casablanca; Chariots of Fire; Fiddler On The Roof; Forrest Gump; Friendly Persuasion; Groundhog Day; Harvey; High Noon; It's a Wonderful Life; Key Largo; A Man For All Seasons; Nobody's Fool; Primary Colors; Schindler's List; Saving Private Ryan; Shoah; The Sorrow and the Pity; A Tale of Two Cities; The Third Man; To Kill a Mockingbird; and The Battle of Algiers.

Please recommend additions.

There She Is

You can now spend the rest of the day expunging this song from your brain.

"The Freshman" is a weird but fun film. [It also has Bert singing "I Ain't Gonna Work on Maggie's Farm No More."]

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Much to Ponder

A conversation between Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and Jacques Barzun.

School Days

The trailer for "Brick."

I think I'm more of a Napoleon Dynamite type.

Doing Something

[Photo by Jared Rice at Unsplash]

The defense of "At least he (or she) did something" is often heard. It is a last ditch defense usually employed after multiple failures to establish that the actions taken were effective or even wise.

Doing something, the reasoning goes, is assumed to be superior to doing nothing. Unfortunately, the positives of doing nothing and the negatives of doing a half-baked job are seldom explored. "Doing something" is a very low bar and the fact that something was done does not mean that it did not make matters worse.

Action can be seen as a sign of caring while inaction can signal indifference. Certainly, such can be the case, but is it logical to assume that it is always so? Action, especially the weak sort, can simply be a sly effort to craft a defense against allegations of uncaring. Refraining from action may be a form of wisdom and not a sign of indifference, ill-intent or cowardice.

An alarm bell should sound at the grand declaration that at least something was done.

How Could We Have Missed This?

The trailer for "The Good, The Bad, The Weird."

A Normal Day

Bike sits against Amsterdam brick wall painting reads "Wake me up when I'm famous"

[Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse at Unsplash]

The task that was to take 15 minutes took more than three hours. The project that had a leisurely pace was suddenly accelerated. There were various emergencies and some minor roadblocks. Phone calls. Emails. An insurance question. A medical matter. A request from a friend. A committee dodged. A car in the shop. News of an upcoming and unexpected presentation to a board. A sudden meeting. Have I neglected someone? I'm certain I have. Oh yes, there is a call to be made but the time is not right. It can be done on Friday. [Beware of slipping too much to Friday.] I'm behind on my reading and some administrative items are nipping at my heels. I've been keeping up with my children via text messages and that's not a good practice. My wife's schedule is hellish. She goes to bed early, rises early, and then goes to work on another planet. My late night reading shifts between history, theology, and science fiction. The dog - sweetness dogified - has become very respectful and only interrupts when it's something important. I've been exercising more and losing weight but the most effective medicine is provided by doctors Bach, Copland, and Handel.

In other words, a normal day.

First Paragraph

The trip was a failure, as the object of it was to get into prison, and I did not, in fact, get more than forty eight hours in custody; however, I am recording it, as the procedure in the police court etc. was fairly interesting. I am writing this eight months after it happened, so am not certain of any dates, but it all happened a week or ten days before Xmas 1931.

- From Clink, an essay in Facing Unpleasant Facts by George Orwell 

The Perils of Cross-Cultural Communication

The trailer for "Tucker and Dale versus Evil."

Quote of the Day

Neither the hair shirt nor the soft berth will do. The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.

- Frederick Buechner

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

More to Come

At Althouse: Congressman Trey Gowdy questions Inspector General Horowitz on one of the more fascinating aspects of the FBI mess/scandal/fiasco.

Miscellaneous and Fast

Quick Look

The trailer for "The Man from Earth."

Being Fully Alive

A technician refueling an airplane

[Photo by Pandu Agus Wismoyo at Unsplash]

The fact to which we have got to cling, as to a lifebelt, is that it is possible to be a normal decent person and yet to be fully alive.

- George Orwell

Defusing the Advocacy Culture

[Photo by Ahmed Zayan at Unsplash]

There are days when it seems as if political discourse has been infected by the tactics of a sleazy lawyer. Not the kindly and ethical Judge Hardy type, of course, who would occasionally turn to a prospective client and say "You haven't got a case" but the vicious weasels who will say and do anything in the name of being an effective advocate for their cause. Advocacy for advocacy's sake is bad enough but when it is merged with zealotry, standards sink even lower. 

A basic reminder that is sadly appropriate for our times: In the vast majority of circumstances, the other person isn't ignorant or evil. He or she simply has a different point of view. Rudeness and vilification do little to advance a cause or to clarify an issue.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Rat Computer Security Tips

FutureLawyer has them and they do make sense.

Your Problem

[Photo by Caroline Hernandez at Unsplash]

You know what your problem is, it's that you haven't seen enough movies - all of life's riddles are answered in the movies.

- Steve Martin

While Researching Family History

Photo showing a German Me410 fighter just off the wing of an American B-17 bomber of the U.S. 388th Bomber Group during World War II. My uncle Rensler Pomeroy was a navigator with that group.

Anti-Social Media

"Woman Who Doesn't Use Facebook Completely Out Of Touch With Friends' Prejudices" 

- See 2016 issue of The Onion.

Random Thoughts

[Photo by Joshua Coleman at Unsplash]

There are few facial expressions more avoidable, more cruel, and more memorable than a slight smirk. ~ We carefully walk through the jungle, watching for gorillas, and are ambushed by baboons. ~ It is important to know what can go wrong without later making that knowledge an obsession. - Those who shout loudly against a matter may be cloaking their affection for it. ~ As soon as a leader is announced the associates and adversaries have a common question: How does this affect me? ~ There is a big difference between not having good manners and forgetting good manners but the importance of that distinction may be lost upon the victims. ~ One of the regrettable by-products of higher education is the damage it does to our handwriting. ~ In many respects, the translator is the co-author. ~ Front porch swings and open carports are remnants of a more trusting time. ~ Stylish failures seldom hesitate to lecture ill-bred victors. ~ Before dreaming of selling shoes to a million Chinese try selling them to fifty. ~ Three hours of absolute silence should be a weekly, if not a daily, ally. ~ Compare working at an intense and fast pace for 20 minutes with working at an intense but slow pace for 20 minutes. See which achieves the most. ~ The best use of email can be found in the ones with this underlying message: I'm here and you have not been forgotten. 

Irritating Terms Update

Business Dictionary on the origin of the term "c-suite."

Music Break

Cyndi Lauper singing "Carey."

Quote of the Day

What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left. 

- Oscar Levant

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Bert Lahr: Father

The Telegraph: John Lahr remembers his father Bert Lahr. An excerpt:

When you grow up in the household of a star, certain privileges accrue. You get to watch the Macy’s Day Parade from the window of Ethel Merman’s Central Park apartment, to carry Buster Keaton’s ukulele to the train station, to pick up Groucho Marx from the hotel. Your godfather is Eddy Foy Jnr, one of vaudeville’s Seven Little Foys, who, when his wife threatened to leave him, nailed all her clothes to the floor. You learn quickly that these public figures are more complicated than they seem, that there is often a confounding disparity between their perfect poise on stage and their haplessness off it. Inevitably, for my sister and myself, mystery surrounded Dad and the business of show. The performing self and the alchemy of performance – the transition from ordinary to extraordinary, the turning of private torment into public triumph – became an abiding fascination.

Happy Father's Day

Bill Wade on the swim team at the University of Arizona.

Find Something Beautiful Today

[Photo by Dana DeVolk at Unsplash]

Friday, June 15, 2018

Bock's Assignment

[Photo by David Iskander at Unsplash]

Wally Bock has a weekend leadership reading assignment for us.

Along for the Ride

A reminder of what matters: A.B. Stoddard on the unconfined life of Charles Krauthammer.

Health Food Update

Carrot Cake with Coconut, Ginger and Macadamia Nuts recipe

How to Feed a Loon shows how to make Carrot Cake with Coconut, Ginger, and Macadamia Nuts.

A Film of Suspense and Surprise

The trailer for "Master and Commander."

Last Minute Gifts for Dear Old Dad

Other bloggers will have different Father's Day suggestions but this is my list and I'm sticking to it.

  • "The Outsider" by Frederick Forsyth. The thriller writer's life is a thriller.
  • Pilot Metropolitan ballpoint pen. Inexpensive but far superior to the status pens.
  • A Swiss Army Knife. I prefer the small pen knife model and it is a rare day when it is not used.
  • "Churchill & Orwell" by Thomas E. Ricks. Two fascinating people and their times.
  • "The Generals" by Thomas E. Ricks. The wisdom of sacking generals and much more.
  • "On Grand Strategy" by John Lewis Gaddis. Because everyone needs a grand strategy.
  • "Master and Commander" DVD.  Russell Crowe as the hero of the Patrick O'Brian novels.
  • "John Adams" by David McCullough. A beautiful book about an admirable man.
  • "Lincoln" by Gore Vidal. One of Vidal's best novels.
  • "The Terror" by Dan Simmons." I recently got a copy. It looks like a very good scare.