Sunday, September 30, 2018

Saturday, September 29, 2018

The Elio


The commuter car for the masses - the Elio - is still in the pipeline and FutureLawyer, long known as an early adopter, is in line to get one.

Here is the story.

Quick Look

The trailer for "Jamaica Inn."

A Guideline to Remember

surrealism photography of person reading news paper in fire while sitting on stool

[Photo by Elijah O'Donell at Unsplash]

Not every ignorant, illogical, or mean statement deserves a response.

Miscellaneous and Fast

black car macro shot

[Photo by Serge Kutusov at Unsplash]

Art (and Sports) Break

Art Contrarian looks at the work of Willard Mullin, sports cartoonist. The poster above depicts the Giants, the Yankees, and the Dodgers (then known as the Brooklyn Bums).

Bock's Reading Assignments

Wally Bock has issued his weekend reading assignments.

So What's the Story?

woman cosplaying little riding hood near tree

[Photo by Anthony Tran at Unsplash]

I don't need a chronology. A full briefing is not required. I'm not interested in the underlying research at this point.

Just give me the story in plain language and in a maximum of three paragraphs. 

One paragraph would be even better.

Oh, and outline the theme in one sentence.

To Understand Crazy Times

person wearing guy Fawkes's mask while holding torch

[Photo by Ahmed zayan at Unsplash]

  • "Darkness at Noon" by Arthur Koestler
  • "The First Circle" by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  • "Julius Caesar" by William Shakespeare
  • "The Last Hurrah" by Edwin O'Connor
  • "1984" by George Orwell
  • "The Bonfire of the Vanities" by Tom Wolfe
  • "Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers" by Tom Wolfe
  • "Submission" by Michel Houellebecq

Friday, September 28, 2018

Interval Act

In 1994, an interval act at the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin stole the show.

Quick Look

The trailer for "In Darkness."

First Paragraph

A few years ago, a cable news producer asked me to appear on his television program to discuss a grisly murder in which, if I recall correctly, a Muslim immigrant had hacked someone to death in the name of Islam. I begged off, partly because I had no special expertise in the matter. But as a professional pundit, that doesn't usually stop me: not only would I have happily discussed a swing Senate race or corporate tax cuts, but, if invited, I would also have gladly weighed in on the upcoming NATO military exercises in Romania or the latest developments in the Canadian-U.S. softwood lumber dispute. Nevertheless there was something about being asked to pontificate on this particular subject that gave me pause. Did my Muslim origins somehow make me an authority on terrorist violence? My opinions on Islamic extremism were, frankly, not all that unique. There were plenty of other journalists who knew far more about homegrown terrorism than I did, so I passed a few names along and politely declined to take part myself.

- From Melting Pot or Civil War?: A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders by Reihan Salam

Slight Edges

person wearing black suit jacket

[Photo by Alvin Mahmudov at Unsplash]

I've found that many people adopt certain habits to provide a slight edge on the small demands of life. Some examples:

  • Filling the car's gas tank as soon as it reaches the half-full point.
  • Shining shoes on Sunday.
  • Showering and shaving at night instead of in the morning.
  • Planning meals a week in advance.
  • Dedicating certain days for chores such as balancing the checkbook and paying bills.
  • Exercising at a set time each day.
  • Wearing the same type of clothing every workday; e.g. some men only wear white long-sleeve shirts in order to reduce the number of decisions. [I believe the current French president always wears the same type and color of tie.]
Other suggestions?

Thursday, September 27, 2018

First Paragraph

Outlasting competition is difficult. Doing so over decades or a century often seems impossible. Since the great Industrial Revolution, every country that has become rich started by copying others: the French copied the British, the Americans copied the Germans, and the Japanese pretty much copied everybody else.

- From Leap: How to Thrive in a World Where Everything Can Be Copied by Howard Yu

Beauty, Style, and Humor

silhouette of 3-tower building with flag of U.K.

[Photo by Matt Milton at Unsplash]

From the last night of the Proms, 2018.

Murder and a Fig Tree

A story in the Mirror that Agatha Christie could have written.

Push Against the Times

The nose of a mob is its imagination. By this, at any time, it can be quietly led.

- Edgar Allan Poe

More Civilization, Please

George Frideric Handel by Balthasar Denner.jpg

Some more Handel: "Sarabande"

Learning Blocks

man sitting on chair with book

[Photo by Dmitry Ratushny at Unsplash]

In strategy + business, Jess Sostrin explains how leaders can break through their learning blocks . An excerpt:

Pay attention to the people you work with and you’ll quickly notice which ones are habitually prone to slow down their learning — or block it altogether. They’re the ones who go through the motions at meetings, failing to find relevant and interesting things to learn and contribute. They remain content with what they already know, avoiding reading or exploring new subjects. And they’re the ones who treat both the informal and formal learning opportunities they encounter as nothing more than a quick box to check.


This is a good day for some reminders of civilization.

Let's have some Handel.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Some Werner Herzog to Lift Your Spirits

The trailer for "Fitzcarraldo."

Bock to Basics

Wally Bock's advice: Don't read another leadership book.

But, of course, he backs up that advice with sound guidance.

Innovation: Really Sort of Amazing

Inc. magazine: What happened when a border patrol agent started a part-time business out of his garage.

"She had a seriousness, and a sense of duty."

United Kingdom flag

[Photo  by James Giddins at Unsplash]

A World War II code-breaker is buried in Nebraska with British military honors.

Stare at This Cake. You'll Feel Better.

Outrageous Chocolate Coconut Cheesecake Cake - layers of chocolate cake, brownie, coconut chocolate chip cheesecake and coconut pecan filling!

The recipe is here.

Stolen Idea

I believe this is my all-time favorite commercial.

The casting and facial expressions are perfect but the ad has such strong appeal because so many of us have seen this behavior in real life.

Innovation and a Bike Helmet

[Photo: Park & Diamond]

Fast Company has details on a bike helmet that can be easily folded and carried and which - big item here - may be more likely to be worn.

Marines at "MacGyver Camp"

At a desk in a trailer along a fence behind a garage, America’s future war fighters are squinting at widgets. If not for the camouflage uniforms, they could be watchmakers, these eight Marines, age 20 to 25, all grasping digital calipers and taking precise measurements of tiny things to put those measurements into a computer-assisted design program and build a 3D model that will be printed in plastic. When the day began, only a few of these men had ever worked in CAD or touched a 3D printer, and now they have only one hour to make a functional multitool.

Read all of the story at Bloomberg Business Week.

The Kavanaugh Hearings - continued

Nieuport 17

[Picture from Wikipedia]

I saw this and couldn't resist a flashback to elementary school days. The first model airplane I ever assembled was a French Nieuport 17, a World War I fighter with a machine gun on top of the top wing. It was a well-respected plane for its time.

Here is a video of the plane in flight.

Geezer question: Do kids even build models these days?

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Call Me Seneca

I just enrolled in the Stoicism class.

See The Sovereign Professional for details.


man reading a books

[Photo by Jilbert Ebrahimi at Unsplash]

We read to know that we're not alone.

- William Nicholson in "Shadowlands"


Check the Map

clear and white compass with ruler on map illustration

[Photo by Hendrik Morkel at Unsplash]

Be yourself. Seize the moment. Go with your feelings. Always say yes to new experiences. He who dies with the most toys wins. None of us is as smart as all of us. The early bird catches the worm. Believe in magic. Something will always turn up. Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.


Since the world is filled with highly questionable advice, a periodic review of assumptions can be very helpful.

Amid the Current Political Squalor

Remember the story of Paulina Plaksej and other Polish Catholics who rescued Jews during the Holocaust.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Oscar Wilde

The trailer for "The Happy Prince."

What Used to Be the Library

brown wooden mini stair in between of book shelves

[Photo by Marten Bjork at Unsplash]

This essay by Lars Walker in Intercollegiate Review did not shift me from agreeing with Shelby Foote's view of the significance of a library.

And I like my Kindle.


The trailer for "Manifest."


three men laughing while looking in the laptop inside room

[Photo by Priscilla Du Preez at Unsplash]

There is no kind of idleness by which we are so easily seduced as that which dignifies itself by the appearance of business.

- Samuel Johnson

Big Brother and "Social Credit"

white security camera on white wall

[Photo by Ibrahim Rifath at Unsplash]

Cultural Offering points to a scary report from China.

And it is scary not only from what it is but because of how many non-Chinese would welcome it.

Our Times

May you be nominated for the U. S. Supreme Court.

- Modern curse

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Saturday, September 22, 2018

It's a Jungle Out There

The trailers for:

View from My Desk

A recovering and reading day. 

"For pleasure, read one chapter by Nabokov. For punishment, two."

- Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Wolf Hall

This is a good time to re-watch the series.

New Stats on Immigration

A new look from Yale at the number of undocumented (a.k.a. illegal) immigrants. 

An excerpt:

Our original idea was just to do a sanity check on the existing number,” says Edward Kaplan, the William N. and Marie A. Beach Professor of Operations Research at the Yale School of Management. “Instead of a number which was smaller, we got a number that was 50% higher. That caused us to scratch our heads.”

Life Expectancy: Tick Tock

person holding white mini bell alarmclock

[Photo by Lukas Blazek at Unsplash]

If you are an American, Political Calculations has your life expectancy.

Modern Times

Image result for the trial poster amazon

The trailer for "The Trial."

Attention Stoics

The Sovereign Professional has information on a free, online University of London class on stoicism.

I'll be enrolling. The teachings of Seneca and Epictetus are as relevant today as in their time, perhaps even more so.

Bock's Reading Assignments

person holding green paper

[Photo by Hitesh Choudhary at Unsplash]

Not a man for fluff, Wally Bock's weekend leadership assignments are on artificial intelligence.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Highly Recommended

Image result for a war like no other amazon

I am still in the process of reading this but will put in an early recommendation. It is one of the most interesting books I've read in years. There is a reason why The Peloponnesian War is studied at West Point and I now see why historians such as Lord Bullock stressed reading Thucydides in order to understand the modern world. Victor Davis Hanson does an outstanding job of providing a perspective that is often missed.

An excerpt:

"No government was as calculating or sober - or blinkered - as Sparta's gerousia, a governing senate of old men who had seen little of civilization abroad and thus were loath to sanction rash action beyond the vale of Laconia. No government was as reckless and dangerous as Athens' assembly, composed of many leaders who had traveled the Aegean. Yet the latter in a minute's fit could call for the execution of a man - or an entire captured city across the seas - on the flimsiest of charges."

Another excerpt:

"No one foresaw such carnage in 431. Who believed that in just two years, the majestic Pericles would end up covered with pustules, grasping an amulet as he coughed out his life in the fevers of the plague? The millionaire Nicias never imagined that twenty years later he would beg for his life before having his throat slit eight hundred miles away in Sicily. Nor did the handsome Alcibiades, the rage of Athens, envision that he of all people would be murdered by assassins in an obscure hamlet in Asia Minor. Everything considered wisdom at the beginning of the war would be proven folly at its end."

Always Timely

This animal is very bad; when attacked it defends itself.

- Old French song

A Prescription I've Been Longing For

Following this morning's skin-carving procedure - no photos will be provided - my dermatologist prescribed a regimen for which I've longed. She said, "Be lazy for a couple of days."

I thought, "I can handle that."

It reminded me of a story I've mentioned before about one of my aunts. She was anemic as a child and was taken to see Dr. Moeur, a rough old guy who later became governor of Arizona. He told my grandmother, "Take that girl home and give her plenty of red meat and red wine."

I've searched the globe for a doctor who'd prescribe red meat and red wine but apparently the medical profession has declined since Dr. Moeur's day.

I'll settle for lazy.

Is It Numb?

gray scissors and scalper on table

[Photo by rawpixel at Unsplash]

My forehead and I get to spend some scalpel time with a dermatologist this morning; penance for my having had a childhood in Phoenix in the days when a tan was desirable, sunscreen was unknown, and swimming was a big part of life. 

Back later.

Old Lizard

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Delving into Falstaff's Background

Some more on "Chimes at Midnight."

Great stuff.

Quick Look

The trailer for "Stan and Ollie."

First Paragraph

Several of us, all more or less connected with the sea, were dining in a small river-hostelry not more than thirty miles from London, and less than twenty from that shallow and dangerous puddle to which our coasting men give the grandiose name of "German Ocean." And through the wide windows we had a view of the Thames; an enfilading view down the Lower Hope Reach. But the dinner was execrable, and all the feast was for the eyes.

- From Falk: A Reminiscence by Joseph Conrad

Some Little Moment

person sitting inside train

[Photo by Jeffrey Blum at Unsplash]

Some little moment, some slight facial expression, word, tone, comment, hesitation or gesture that was not here seconds ago but by now has arrived and gone and you know, for good or ill, you will remember it the rest of your life.

On My List

Image result for the hollow crown amazon

The trailer for "The Hollow Crown."

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


film tape on floor

[Photo by John Moeses Bauan at Unsplash]

The trailer for "Magician: The Astonishing Life & Work of Orson Welles."

Reading Goal

books closed selective focus photo

[Photo by Kiwihug at Unsplash]

Cultural Offering notes some calculations showing that you can read 200 books a year.

I would say it depends on the type of books. Even allowing for some of the more challenging ones, it is not difficult to read at least 40 books a year. 

50 to 55 is a good goal.

It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day

woman wearing sleeveless crop top

[Photo by Vladislav Todorov at Unsplash]

As if I needed to tell you. You've probably been planning for weeks.

Of course, Robert Newton set the standard.

Seeing Your Neighbor

man taking selfie

[Photo by Timothy Barlin at Unsplash]

To love your neighbor is to see your neighbor. To see somebody, really to see somebody, you have to love somebody. You have to see people the way Rembrandt saw the old lady, not just a face that comes at you the way a dry leaf blows at you down the path like all other dry leaves, but in a way that you realize the face is something the likes of which you have never seen before and will never see again. To love somebody we must see that person's face, and once in a while we do. Usually it is because something jolts us into seeing it.

- Frederick Buechner in The Remarkable Ordinary: How to Stop, Look, and Listen to Life

Orson as Falstaff

The re-release trailer for "Chimes at Midnight."

The Kavanaugh Hearings

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Quick Look

The trailer for "Presumed Innocent."

First Paragraph

white concrete temple frame near body of water

[Photo by Cristina Gottardi at Unsplash]

The beginning of the Peloponnesian War is now 2,436 years in the past. Yet Athens and Sparta are still on our minds and will not go away. Their permanence seems odd. After all, ancient Greek warring parties were mere city-states, most of them smaller in population and size than Dayton, Ohio, or Trenton, New Jersey. Mainland Greece itself is no larger than Alabama, and in antiquity was bordered by empires like the Persian, which encompassed nearly one million square miles with perhaps 70 million subjects. Napoleon's army alone had more men under arms by 1800 than the entire male population of all the Greek city-states combined. In our own age, more people died in Rwanda or Cambodia in a few days than were lost in twenty-seven years of civil war in fifth-century B.C. Greece.

- From A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War by Victor Davis Hanson

Coming Out in December

The Chain

TED Talk: Bob Davids on leadership without ego.

Modern Times

[Photo by Maria Darii at Unsplash]

The dogs bark and the caravan moves on.

- Arabian proverb