In a selfless act of heroism, Cultural Offering has decided to forego the Swanson's TV Turkey Dinner option.
Some history from 2018.
We were sitting on the patio under a black, moonless sky, our faces lit by the flickering light of a few candles in the center of a large stone table. We all had iced drinks in our hands or in front of us. His interruption took the form of very slowly putting down the glass that was in his hand - so slowly and so quietly, and with such a measured, even movement that at first it seemed like some kind of ritual gesture. Everyone suddenly became quiet and looked at him, waiting. I remember listening for a long time to the waves of the bay and watching the lights of San Francisco across the water. The wind was shifting and turning cool. People were putting their collars up and hugging themselves, but no one dared get up. Foghorns were answering each other like far-off, unseen sea creatures.Just as slowly and evenly, he angled his long, lean body back in his chair and gazed at nothing in particular. Then he turned his head as though it were a gun turret and looked directly at the husky, bearded young man who had just been speaking about the crimes of America. In the flickering candlelight, his bony face seemed wondrously alive and menacing at the same time. What he said to the young man - and of course to all of us present - was only this:
The elevated desk works well. I am going to have to move a large photo of Churchill on the wall behind me so I can squeeze in a flip chart but I'll have plenty of room for hand gestures and other elements of the performing arts.
Because every class is a performance. The presentation cannot be dry. It must be memorable.
[Photo by Zacke Feller at Unsplash]
Penguin Random House employees in Canada are upset about the firm publishing a new Jordan Peterson book.
[I will, of course, make a point of buying that book.]
The first executive has a lot of rough edges, is blunt to the point of rudeness and sometimes even far beyond. But this person has one saving grace: he or she produces results.
The second executive is ultra smooth and sophisticated. Picture-perfect and quite charming. But this person has one flaw: talks a great game but doesn't seem to produce very much.
You can learn a lot about an organization by seeing which one is favored.
My home office "reformation" is progressing nicely.
The electric desk is assembled. Another, more traditional, desk arrives in early December. Both desks have large work spaces and the elevated desk will permit me to stand while teaching classes on Zoom. A reading chair, a bookcase, and a new filing cabinet also are in the pipeline.
The two desks will have very different "personalities" and will be separated with a diagonal walkway leading to a small reading area.
I know I should have addressed the matter of the floor first but that was not possible. Getting the furniture in order will be a relief and will speed up completion of some projects. The issues with the floor can wait.
P.S. Major cheers for banker's boxes and trash bags.
[Photo by Kirubakaran Manoharan at Unsplash]
My son and I had a talk the other day about the practice of the late and great rabbi, Menachem Mendel Schneerson (often called the Rebbe) who followed a practice of immediately doing important things.
Did that mean that the Rebbe had no sense of priorities? Does that mean that his practice should always be followed?
No. It means that he knew the power of immediate action and that he was wary of the immense temptation to lapse into unnecessary delays.
I suggest keeping two people in mind:
Rabbi Schneerson with his "Do it now" approach and former Secretary of State George Shultz with his advice to "Don't just do something. Stand there."
Each can be right but not at the same time.
Loneliness, public-health experts tell us, is killing as many people as obesity and smoking. It’s not much comfort that Americans are not, well, alone in this. Germans are lonely, the bon vivant French are lonely, and even the Scandinavians—the happiest people in the world, according to the UN’s World Happiness Report—are lonely, too. British prime minister Theresa May recently appointed a “Minister of Loneliness.”
New York Post: Scientists reverse the aging process in a new study.
[Photo by Naassom Azevedo at Unsplash]
"Why . . . do boards tend to spend hours debating small issues while large ones sail by comparatively unexamined? Why do groups of competent and assertive individuals allow themselves to be held hostage by the loudest or most insistent board member? Why do boards spend hours making decisions that they then forget they made or that go unrecorded or, if recorded, are difficult to locate? . . . Why are boards of effective individuals so often ineffective groups?"
- John and Miriam Carver in The Policy Governance Model and the Role of the Board Member
"The most striking among Milgram's findings is the inverse ratio of readiness to cruelty and proximity to its victim. It is difficult to harm a person we touch. It is somewhat easier to afflict pain upon a person we only see at a distance. It is still easier in the case of a person we only hear. It is quite easy to be cruel towards a person we neither see nor hear."
- Zygmunt Bauman in Modernity and the Holocaust
I wrote this post several years ago and it is now an Execupundit tradition:
Some revolutions begin with a gunshot, others with a party. This one was kicked off on a Friday night in downtown Athens, in 415 BCE. Alcibiades, a prominent Greek general and politician, had invited a small circle of friends to his villa for what was to become one of the more famous bacchanals in history. Hooded in the stolen robes of a high priest, Alcibiades swept down his marble staircase, recited a forbidden incantation, and produced an ornate decanter. Carefully, he poured a single shot of a dark liquid into each guest's glass. A few words, an exuberant cheer, and everyone drained their cups.
- From Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work by Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court says that election observers don't need to see anything, they just need to be in the room?
No, this is not an article from The Onion.
Charles Dickens would have smiled. Mr. Bumble has moved up in the world.
[Photo by Steve Harvey at Unsplash]
Columbia Journalism Review: Clio Chang on Substack and its writers. Clio soon lets us know her take:But as you peruse the lists, something becomes clear: the most successful people on Substack are those who have already been well-served by existing media power structures. Most are white and male; several are conservative. Matt Taibbi, Andrew Sullivan, and most recently, Glenn Greenwald—who offer similar screeds about the dangers of cancel culture and the left—all land in the top ten. (Greenwald’s arrival bumped the like-minded Yascha Mounk to eleventh position; soon, Matthew Yglesias signed up for Substack, too.)
As part of my management consulting practice, I have been teaching a workshop on "Equal Employment Opportunity" for decades.
Equal Employment Opportunity is a fascinating subject. The various types of discrimination are discussed via fast-paced case examples and there is always one goal: to provide practical information that is easy to understand and which can be put to immediate use.
Well, the bad news is that when the pandemic hit, all of my workshops began to evaporate. My coaching practice continued but marketing in-person training became next to impossible.
But now there is good news. I will be teaching my first EEO workshop via Zoom in December.
I look forward to scheduling many more.
[Photo by Jon Tyson at Unsplash]
Read all of James B. Meigs in City Journal.
The great comedian Henny Youngman once joked that when he said he couldn't afford an operation, his doctor offered to touch up his x-rays.
Many managers resemble the doctor. Rather than directly addressing a problem, they "touch up the x-rays" so they can pretend that the matter either doesn't exist or that it has been resolved.
The question for any major action: "Does this stand a reasonable chance of genuine progress or is it touching up the x-rays?"
Read all of Lance Morrow's essay in City Journal.
With regard to the story that historian and MSNBC commentator Jon Meacham commented on a Biden speech without disclosing that he helped write it:
That revealed a sin of commission and a major screw-up by Meacham.
[As for the sins of omission where a news channel fails to cover - or only superficially covers - a significant story because the channel favors a particular candidate, well that, of course, is not news. In their world, news is not news until they determine it to be so.]
Measure your frustration level and seek the Goldilocks standard.
[Photo by Klara Avsenik at Unsplash]
Some of my related random thoughts:
It is usually in the best interests of top management and the employees that an organization be well-run but that doesn't mean it is.
And even if an organization is well-run that doesn't mean it will continue to be so.
There can be pockets of excellence or mediocrity in any organization. Those may exist at any level and may even exist side-by-side.
The individuals with power have to struggle to acquire new ideas.
Those with insight have to struggle to gain power.
So much of the scene is blurred and transitory. Excellence may be especially fleeting and knowledge - true knowledge - may be a ghost.
Everyone is scrambling.
It was easy for Doctor Plarr to remember the first time he met Charley Fortnum. The meeting occurred a few weeks after he had arrived in the city from Buenos Aires. The Honorary Consul was exceedingly drunk, and he had lost the use of both legs. Doctor Plarr was making his way up to Bolivar when an elderly gentleman leant from the window of the Italian Club and called to him for help. 'The bloody waiter's gone home,' he explained, speaking in English.
- From The Honorary Consul by Graham Greene
Most of us are beset by a legion of passwords. The suckers keep changing and so that complicates matters.
Even if you use a site that compiles them in one secure spot, it's wise to make a regular habit of updating them.
Wander down Memory Lane and see the multitude of your password changes. That can be a great reminder of why relying on your memory is not a sound strategy.
And yes, it may be wise to use memorable phrases from songs and literature to confound the villains.
Jonathan Turley on the danger of greater censorship on the Internet.
Christina Hoff Sommers wrote about the roots of this issue years ago.
Nowadays, when my wife sees me staring off into the distance and asks "What's on your mind?" most of the time I can honestly say, "German bureaucracy."
Why? Because ours is a strange household and I am immersed in a book project.
You should see the stacks of books on the dining room table.