Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Beauty of Paper

books closed selective focus photo

FutureLawyer, whose reputation as The Techie of All Techies is unquestioned, has now kindly posted an amusing picture showing the advantages of paper - paper! - books.

Each of the advantages is true. I recently thought of a few while jotting in margins and dog-earing a book. 

Kindles are nice but the good old fashioned paper book has inherent advantages.

[Photo by Kiwihug at Unsplash]

Another Film on the Perils of Retirement

The trailer for "Polar."

The Cost of Nothing

selective focus photography of gray Newton's Cradle on brown wooden table

Doing something costs something. Doing nothing costs something. And, quite often, doing nothing costs a lot more.

- Ben Feldman

[Photo by rawpixel at Unsplash]

All Road Warriors

person looking up to the flight schedules

All road warriors should read the post at Cultural Offering.

Warning: you will have flashbacks.

[Photo by Erik Odin at Unsplash]

But They're Wizards at Harvard

man shaking a woman hand

I imagined when I went to Harvard Business School to study for my MBA that sales would be part of the curriculum. But it wasn't. In fact, the subject is absent from most MBA programs. If you accept the idea that business is about selling things and making things, and that everything else is secondary, then this absence makes no sense. When I asked one of my Harvard professors to explain it, he told me that if I really wanted to study sales, I could pay for a two-week evening course somewhere. You could say the same thing about a lot of what the school taught, but no one was suggesting we go and learn strategy at night school.

- Philip Delves Broughton, The Art of the Sale: Learning from the Masters About the Business of Life

[Photo by rawpixel at Unsplash]

Daniel Silva

A video clip of novelist Daniel Silva being interviewed about "House of Spies" and the upcoming TV series on his Gabriel Allon novels.

I highly recommend the Gabriel Allon books. A friend of mine, who is also an avid fan, has been sending me the names of possible cast members. I hope that MGM realizes that the selections will be extensively critiqued by Allon fans.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The American System of War in World War II

War is waged in three elements; but there is no separate land, naval, or air war. Unless all assets in all elements are efficiently combined and coordinated against a properly selected, common objective, their maximum potential power cannot be maximized.

- General Dwight D. Eisenhower

The American emphasis was not so much on creating a fierce individual warrior, bound with strong ties of loyalty and honor to fellow men of arms (although the GI was often just that), as on making sure that he was supported with enough materiel, and acquired sufficient expertise, to defeat any adversary he faced, and to reassure him that he had a good chance to survive the conflict. The system rather than the man was what would win the war. It was in some ways a throwback to the first centuries BC and AD when standardized and far better-equipped Roman legionaries near the Rhine and Danube occasionally tangled with Germanic tribes that put a much higher premium on individual warriors' weapons prowess, courage, and skills, but eventually lost.

- From The Second World Wars by Victor Davis Hanson

Today's To Do List

  1. Stack the deck in your favor.
  2. Remember that time is limited.

Quick Look

An R-rated trailer for "Black Monday."


Someone asking me if it would be okay if we reschedule a meeting is like me asking my dog if she'd like a treat.

Novels for Leaders

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One of the best novels about ethics you'll ever read.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Ted Goff, Business Cartoonist

Ted Goff should be a household name.

Feeling Vindictive?

gold downlight chandelier

Crank it up.

[HT: Rick Miller]

[Photo by Alessia Cocconi at Unsplash]

Thaw Out with The Bleat

For those of you in the Great Frozen Midwest, I will refrain from giving the temperature in Phoenix but will instead provide a link to The Bleat which comes to us from a hellish place called Minnesota.

Click here and scroll down.

An excerpt:

Tuesday it’s supposed to be about 20 below. Okay. After a certain point it’s meaningless; I haven’t the finely tuned senses that can detect the difference between -10 and -15. Anyway, the AAA guy was prompt.

But he didn’t have a battery. They were out of batteries. Will you be getting some? He didn’t know. Huh. So . . . going to the auto supply store six blocks away isn’t on the table? Sigh. Drove Wife to work, which was hard on her, since she tries to influence my driving by grasping the door handle as hard as possible, which I’m sure leads to capillary damage.

[Photo by Collin Merkel at Unsplash]

Sounds Normal

gray mini figure under white sneaker

Happily, no wives were harmed (or even present) during this episode, and of course there is nothing funny about most domestic disputes. But there is something funny about a 34-year-old man attacking his own car with an axe because he thought his wife had harmed some of his prized action figures. Hence, this shall become GRTK #75.

Read the entire story at Lowering The Bar.

[Photo by James Pond at Unsplash]

Twilight of the Elites: A Look at France

If you ever want to be reminded of why a majority of Britons voted for Brexit, consider two French elitist reactions quoted by Mr. Guilluy: Businessman and political adviser Alan Minc claimed that Brexit "was the victory of uneducated people over educated people." The philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, meanwhile, saw it as the "victory of the little over the great, of stupidity over the mind." There is not the slightest empathy or generosity in those responses. Not a flicker of interest in why people would feel so fed-up with the European Union - its undemocratic nature, its trampling on national immigration priorities - that they might want to leave it. Just pure contempt. The fuel for a revolution.

- From Philip Delves Broughton's review of Twilight of the Elites by Christophe Guilluy in The Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2019

A Common Practice Nowadays

selective focus photography of brown egg

“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”

- From Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

[Photo by Annie Spratt at Unsplash]

Harvey Weinstein Documentary

The trailer for "The Reckoning."

Monday, January 28, 2019

Potentially Stunning

The Jerusalem Post: Israeli scientists believe they may be able to announce a cure for cancer within a year. 

Belated Birthday Wishes to Wolfgang

I missed Mozart's birthday - which is a shame because he was a couple of classes behind me - but Cultural Offering was on the case.

First Paragraph

After dinner I sat and waited for Pyle in my room over the rue Catinat; he had said, "I'll be with you at latest by ten," and when midnight struck I couldn't stay quiet any longer and went down into the street. A lot of old women in black trousers squatted on the landing: it was February and I suppose too hot for them in bed. One trishaw driver pedalled slowly by towards the riverfront and I could see lamps burning where they had disembarked the new American planes. There was no sign of Pyle anywhere in the long street.

- From The Quiet American by Graham Greene

Agatha Christie: Escape Artist

The trailer for "Crooked House."

Java Man

selective focus photo of white mug near wireless mouse

Starbucks founder Howard Schultz may run for president as an independent.

I think his greatest appeal is his focus on reducing the national debt (three cheers!) and his having brought Starbucks Double-Shot Espresso to the world.

[Photo by Bruno Cervera at Unsplash]

"Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists"

smoke between vehicles on street

The trailer for the documentary.

AP' David Bauder on the film. An excerpt:

Toward the end of the documentary, which premieres Monday at 8 p.m. ET, filmmakers unspool a statistic that shocks. In 1988, the New York Daily News, the tabloid both Breslin and Hamill called home at times, had 400 reporters and editors. Thirty years later, that number was 45.

[Photo by Patrick Hendry at Unsplash]

Novels for Leaders

Image result for an operational necessity by gwyn griffin amazon

Note to friend who borrowed my copy: It has been 20 years. I'd like it back.

Off the Grid

Back soon.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Do You Use the Phone or Does It Use You?

men and women using smartphones

Cal Newport on how Steve Jobs might regard the current use of the iPhone.

[Photo by rawpixel at Unsplash]

Correction made in original heading. Reason for mistake: Undue haste.

Novels for Leaders

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Truly excellent and the material following the court-martial has some of the most important lessons.

Twitter Control

Let Saturday be the only day to check on Twitter.

The only day.

And only for a maximum of 20 minutes.

Miscellaneous and Fast

Your Assignments

white and black electronic device

Wally Bock has some weekend leadership reading for us.

[Photo by Nicole Honeywill at Unsplash]

First Paragraph

I first came to know Sophia Leonides in Egypt towards the end of the war. She held a fairly high administrative post in one of the Foreign Office departments out there. I knew her first in an official capacity, and I soon appreciated the efficiency that had brought her to the position she held, in spite of her youth (she was at that time just twenty-two).

- From Crooked House by Agatha Christie

Friday, January 25, 2019

The Unforgettable Christopher Hitchens

The trailer for "Hitch in Washington."

Protect the Grid

You don't need to be a survivalist to worry about an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) attack.

"How to Think Like a Roman Emperor"

The Sovereign Professional has details on the upcoming book.

And no, it is not about Caligula or Nero.

Novels for Leaders

Image result for sarah dunant in the name of the family amazon

The Borgias and Machiavelli. Who could ask for more?

In the United States Today

man using DSLR camera taking a mirror photo

To paraphrase Niall Ferguson and Christina Hoff Sommers, we are all in a Tom Wolfe novel.

It's time to re-read The Bonfire of the Vanities

[Photo by frankie cordoba at Unsplash]

In Short: Low

person holding firing newspaper

Columbia Journalism Review looks at polls on trust in the media.

[Photo by Anthony Bevilacqua at Unsplash]

"We See the Good in Men"

The ad for Égard Watch Company.

Thursday, January 24, 2019


I know a couple of young people who've never seen "The Third Man."

This trailer is for them.

Good News in the Labor Market

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 199,000 for the week ended Jan. 19, the lowest level since mid-November in 1969 when 197,000 applications were recorded, the Labor Department said.

Polish Noir?

The trailer for "Cold War."

In the Monster's Lair

The Hammock Papers: Churchill tours the Reich Chancellery.

For Fashion Ideas

Check out Patrick Rhone at Daily Thread.

Sharp-dressed man.

Novels for Leaders

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Sign Me

Jonathan V. Last at The Bulwark looks at the important role played by graphic design in political campaigns.

I am assuming some of it is tongue-in-cheek.


Conversing with the poet-novelist is somehow akin to watching his dogs work the cover for birds. They race off on tangents, describing broad loops and arcs, or tight circles, always returning in a controlled, if circuitous, pattern that is at once instinct, training, ritual, and play.

Read The Paris Review interview with Jim Harrison.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Quick Look

The trailer for "The Last Man."

Unsocial Media

John Podhoretz at the New York Post makes the case. An excerpt:

Elementary fairness requires that people know the facts of a case before they pass judgment, and any minimal understanding of how things work in America today should ensure that people know there is no way to get the facts of the case in the five seconds it takes someone to read a tweet.

Someone's Watching Me

First Paragraph

A bottle of wine. A family-sized packet of Nacho Cheese Flavoured Tortilla Chips and a jar of hot salsa dip. A packet of cigarettes on the side (I know, I know). The rain hammering against the windows. And a book.

- From Magpie Murders: A Novel by Anthony Horowitz

"Why Has Masculinity Become a Dirty Word?"

grayscale photography of group of people playing rugby on muddy field

Imagine the following scenario. It is decided that there are aspects of female behaviour that are deeply troubling. Indeed they are so troubling that a phrase enters the language, first on the campuses and then across wider society: ‘Toxic femininity’. It’s an ugly phrase to be sure, but even those who recognise that also recognise that it would be unwise to deny its existence. Eventually a new generation begins to take the existence of ‘toxic femininity’ for granted.

Read the rest of Douglas Murray in UnHerd.

[Photo by Quino Al at Unsplash]

[Note: Post title corrected]

Novels for Leaders

Image result for master and commander amazon

There was a reason why Patrick O'Brian was invited to a luncheon with the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. This book is the start of a magnificent series of novels.

The Covington Fiasco

Althouse analyzes a podcast featuring Bari Weiss and Joe Rogan on the Covington Catholic High School students.

I recall an old law professor who heavily stressed what should be obvious: get all of the facts, examine the evidence, and then carefully study the other side's arguments. The Twitter world does not even get past the first stage. It's sad that many journalists also fell short there.


If a hundred-foot oak tree had the mind of a human, it would only grow to be ten feet tall.

- T. Harv Eker

The Incomparable Bate

bird's eye photography of gray gothic building

Nicholas Bate hides out in Oxford where he has a consulting practice, several books constantly in the pipeline, and an excellent blog.

[Photo by Sidharth Bhatia at Unsplash]

Quick Look

The trailer for "Band of Brothers."

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Modern Times

Giant Alice upsets the jury (literally)

‘Let the jury consider their verdict,’ the King said, for about the twentieth time that day.
‘No, no!’ said the Queen. ‘Sentence first — verdict afterwards.’
‘Stuff and nonsense!’ said Alice loudly. ‘The idea of having the sentence first!’

- From Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

The Beauty

The beauty of putting some thoughts on paper is that the process often elicits other thoughts as well as dissent and conclusions in the mind of its author. 

Don't just think it, write it. 

Staring at scribbles of ink can work all sorts of magic.

First Paragraph

The first rounds slammed into the windshield like a jackhammer. I winced, expecting the worst. Luckily, the bullet-resistant glass did its job, otherwise my brains would have been blown all over the truck. Rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) shot by just feet away, so close I could see the spring-loaded stabilizer fins that can easily shear off men's heads, arms, legs, and destroy a small vehicle with appalling quickness. Their vapor trails hung in the air. The roar of machine guns was deafening, overwhelming. We had just arrived at the battlefield.

- From Lions of Kandahar by Major Rusty Bradley

Novels for Leaders

Image result for the godfather mario puzo amazon

Monday, January 21, 2019

Tech Appeal

FutureLawyer can rest assured that the appeal of smartwatches continues to be strong. 

The market in south Florida alone must be enormous.

The Bad Old Days

From Commentary in 1997: Norman Podhoretz recalling his war with Allen Ginsberg. An excerpt:

It was about 3 A.M. when Kerouac and I left together. He walked me to the subway station in Sheridan Square and we parted with pleasant words which stood in the sharpest possible contrast to the ominous parting words Ginsberg had flung at me a few hours earlier just as I was leaving his apartment: “We’ll get you through your children!”

Before There was Twitter

The "two minutes of hate" scene from the film version of "1984."

Old But Timely

printing machine

The trailer for "Absence of Malice."

[Photo by Bank Phrom at Unsplash]


We must be careful to make a distinction between the intellectual and the person of intellectual achievement. They two are very, very different animals. There are people of intellectual achievement who increase the sum of human knowledge, the powers of human insight, and analysis. And then there are the intellectuals. An intellectual is a person knowledgeable in one field who speaks out only in others.

- Tom Wolfe

Highly Recommended

Image result for bearing the cross david garrow amazon


The website for The King Center.

First Paragraph

"Get up, Herman Redpath," my father-in-law Leo Bebb said. His fat face was slippery with sweat and his eyes tight shut as though he'd gotten soap in them. The box had not been lowered into the ground yet but still hung cradled in canvas straps. Inside the box, Herman Redpath was laid out in his brown silk shirt and chocolate-brown suit with a Navajo blanket tucked around him at the waist. Possibly there were damp sots on the blanket. My father-in-law crowded him with his prayer as though if he didn't, the old man might dawdle there indefinitely.

- From Open Heart by Frederick Buechner

"It was a different time."

And George Lucas and Ron Howard made a film. 

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Some Old Friends

Image result for frog and toad books

One of the quiet joys as a parent is when you discover a children's book which both you and your children can enjoy.

Excellent stories. Beautifully written.

Update sample:

Frog put the cookies in a box. “There,” he said. “Now we will not eat any more cookies.”
“But we can open the box,” said Toad.
“That is true,” said Frog.

Quick Look

The trailer for "Modern Romance."

To Reach the Unreachable Star?

The trailer for "John Wick: Chapter Three: Parabellum."

I confess to being amused that such an uplifting song is used with this high-body-count trailer. 

Someone in Hollywood has a sense of humor.

First Paragraph

The morning Rino telephoned, I thought he wanted money again and I was ready to say no. But that was not the reason for the phone call: his mother was gone.

- From My Brilliant Friend [Book One of the Neapolitan Novels] by Elena Ferrante


The Rusanovs loved the People, their great People. They served the People and were ready to give their lives for the People.

But as the years went by they found themselves less and less able to tolerate actual human beings, those obstinate creatures who were always resistant, refusing to do what they were told and, besides, demanding something for themselves.

- From Cancer Ward by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Getting Back to Basics

two person playing chess on park

There are decent and intelligent people who voted for Hillary Clinton. 

There are decent and intelligent people who voted for Donald Trump.

All of them are our fellow Americans and they deserve, as a minimum, some basic respect and even - dare I say it? - some friendliness.

Let others savage one another on the Internet. We need not fall prey to the weirdness and meanness of our times.

[Photo by AP x 90 at Unsplash]


flat-lay photo of Read Me. book beside cup and silver mug on table

Wally Bock has weekend leadership reading assignments for us.

[Photo by Us Wah at Unsplash]

Novels for Leaders

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Raw ambition, for one thing.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Quick Look

The trailer for "The Sense of an Ending."

In The Background

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As Martin Luther King Day Approaches

. . . Our great national achievement - fashioning a common citizenship and identity for a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-racial people - is now threatened by a process of relentless, deliberate Balkanization. The great engines of social life - the law, the schools, the arts, - are systematically encouraging the division of America into racial, ethnic and gender separateness.

- Charles Krauthammer in 1990

Novels for Leaders

Image result for the rector of justin amazon

Seven Career Viruses

  1. Fear of failure. The opportunity-killer. Careers are made by seizing opportunities.
  2. Lack of judgment. Just make sure you don't seize every opportunity. An open door sometimes leads to the basement.
  3. Fear of success. Beware if you notice that whenever success is within reach, you choose to re-tie your shoe laces or reassess your strategy.
  4. Perfectionism. You want to do excellent work but a quest for perfectionism can be paralyzing.
  5. Indiscretion. If saying something will bring intense pleasure, it may be time to edit your words or to embrace an old ally named Silence.
  6. Sloth. Do your research and get the job done. (Repeat)
  7. Unreliability. You don't need to be a wizard, but it pays enormously to be known as a reliable performer.