Sunday, May 31, 2020

Feel-Good Films - A Series

Art Break

Art Contrarian looks at the work of French illustrator Géo Ham.

The New Stormtroopers

U.S. Attorney General Barr is correct: the radicals are hijacking legitimate protests

I recall a CNN news commentator several years ago say that "antifa" was a genuinely anti-fascist group. In practice, they are far from anti-fascist. They have used Nazi stormtrooper tactics for years in places like Portland to beat, bully, and silence opponents and to destroy property.

They are a domestic terrorist group.

Find Something Beautiful Today

vintage orange car during daytime

[Photo by Clem Onojeghuo at Unsplash]

Saturday, May 30, 2020

"Can we get to the end of this movie?"

Full of good questions, FutureLawyer looks at an unusual story.

Outside of an Airport

The Babylon Bee: "CNN draws largest crowd in years."


An important message from Patrick Rhone: "We Know."

Thinking about Innovation?

gray spacecraft taking off during daytime

Check out Wally Bock's weekend leadership reading assignments.

[Photo by SpaceX at Unsplash]

First Paragraph

The people of the South should be the last Americans to expect indefinite continuity of their institutions and social arrangements. Other Americans have less reason to be prepared for sudden change and lost causes. Apart from Southerners, Americans have enjoyed a historical continuity that is unique among modern peoples. The stream of national history, flowing down from seventeenth-century sources, reaches a fairly level plain in the eighteenth century. There it gathered mightily in volume and span from its tributaries, but it continued to flow like the Mississippi over an even bed between relatively level banks.

- From The Strange Career of Jim Crow by C. Vann Woodward (originally published in 1955)

I highly recommend this book.

Walking in Memphis

A Blog to Know

Live & Learn with David Kanigan is a thoroughly charming blog.

Be the First on Your Block

Political Calculations has the details.

Find Your Style

baked pastries on saucer

[Photo by Dana DeVolk at Unsplash]

Friday, May 29, 2020

Feel-Good Films - A Series

Music Break

First Paragraph

At war with Germany - at war with Germany - the silence was so deep that the precise voice might have had the sitting-room to itself. Adam, who was leaning against the mantelpiece, sighed and turned and glanced at the wireless and Peter and I sat motionless on the sofa, hand in hand. The voice carried on with its message but I was no longer listening. It was as if each of us was away in separate worlds, groping hesitantly towards just what meaning those words would have for us.

- From The Past is Myself by Christabel Bielenberg

Learning to Lead Is Not Like Learning to Play the Piano

Read Wally Bock's observations here.

The Cancel Culture

City Journal: Rafael A. Mangual looks at the Amy Cooper case.

A Humble Abode

The Architectural Digest article on Rob Lowe's house in Santa Barbara, California.

The Ghost of Ambrose Bierce is Always with Us

Riot, n. A popular entertainment given to the military by innocent bystanders.

- From The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce


The manuscript has gone from the very rough draft stage to the merely rough draft stage. 

But some parts are very smooth indeed. 

[Those should be carefully examined because smoothness can be deceptive. As Dorothy Parker said, "Murder your darlings."]

The rough but presentable stage is not far off.

That's where it gets very interesting.

First Paragraph

How do you make contact with the mind of another person? In what way should that other person respond to your effort?

- From How to Speak How to Listen by Mortimer J. Adler

"Great American Novel" Contenders - A Series

The American: James, Henry: 9781537656854: Books

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Bravo for Purdue!

Purdue University President Mitch Daniels on why the university has a responsibility to re-open.

Loneliness: A Hidden Epidemic

"Many people think of loneliness as isolation, but the difference between these two terms is substantial. Loneliness is the subjective feeling that you're lacking the social connections you need. It can feel like being stranded, abandoned, or cut-off from the people with whom you belong - even if you're surrounded by other people. What's missing when you're lonely is the feeling of closeness, trust, and the affection of genuine friends, loved ones, and community."

- From Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World by Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., 19th Surgeon General of the United States

Feel-Good Films - A Series

Common Sense (as Thomas Paine Would Put It)

Thanks to Cultural Offering's Kurt Harden for alerting me to the best thing I've read all day: the judge's ruling on a request for a temporary restraining order in Illinois.

Find Your Style

woman holding kid at the street

[Photo by Sai De Silva at Unsplash]

First Paragraph

No tree becomes deep-rooted and sturdy unless strong winds blow against it. This shaking and pulling is what makes the tree tighten its grip and plant its roots more securely; the fragile trees are those grown in a sunny valley. "Why then," asks Seneca, "do you wonder that good men are shaken in order that they may grow strong?" Just like for the trees, heavy rains and strong winds are to the advantage of good people, it's how they may grow calm, disciplined, humble, and strong.

- From The Little Book of Stoicism: Timeless Wisdom to Gain Resilience, Confidence, and Calmness by Jonas Salzgeber

"Great American Novel" Contenders - A Series

Killing Mister Watson: Matthiessen, Peter: 9780679734055: Amazon ...

Twitter's Ideological Slant

Advice to Twitter: Check yourself out .

From 2018: Ideological intolerance at Twitter.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Good Pandemic Viewing

Light Touch

The Washington Examiner: 

Rob Long with "Three Rules for Life."

From 1995: Never Heard of It

But look at the cast!

Making It Work Well

black and gray laptop computer beside black smartphone

Nicholas Bate has some very good thoughts on the new permanent home office.

[Photo by Roberto Nickson at Unsplash]

Minneapolis: What Happened to George Floyd?

With all of the training that police departments have had for years on the proper way to subdue suspects, and considering the number of officers on the scene, it is hard to conceive of how this sort of conduct is in any way defensible.

There may be criminal prosecutions. There will certainly be civil litigation.

"Great American Novel" Contenders - A Series

What Makes Sammy Run? by Budd Schulberg (25-Dec-2011) Paperback ...

My Mission

brown and white house near green grass field and trees during daytime

I always strive, when I can, to spread sweetness and light. There have been several complaints about it.

- P.G. Wodehouse

[Photo by Mangopear Creative at Unsplash]

Learning and Memory

What I learned on my own I still remember.

- Nassim Nicholas Taleb

In the Doctor's Office

I went to a doctor's office yesterday in preparation for some eye surgery. 

There were chairs in the hallway for non-patients. The lobby area, which had its chairs carefully separated, was reserved for patients. Each patient was required to be masked.

My temperature was taken when I signed in. Everyone in the office wore a mask.

And everyone was happy. This is a top-notch office and the morale has always been high but it seemed even higher.

The beauty of work.

Feel-Good Films - A Series

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

These Sounds are Exciting in Phoenix

Modern Culture

An Upswing?

Politico: Ryan Lizza and Daniel Lippman on what the economy might look like in November.


Great News!

Cultural Offering has found The Cure.


A Book That Can Change Your Life

person holding hotdog sandwich with cheese

The Critic: Alexander Larman recalls the brilliance of "A Confederacy of Dunces."

[Photo by Anthony Espinosa at Unsplash]

"Great American Novel" Contenders - A Series

Mr Sammler's Planet: bellow-saul: 9780141188812: Books

A Management Consultant Looks at the Newspapers

Knowing how power bases react when threatened, I would suggest that, amid all of the news about China's efforts to achieve a "blue water" navy, it would be wise to keep a close eye on China's traditional power base: the Chinese army.

It will seek to prove its worth.

Because the Past is Never Quite Past

Aspiring Writer?

Go to Steven Pressfield's site and scroll down to register for his The War of Art mini-course.

It's free.

Podcast Nation

two black headphones on brown wooden table

Ann Althouse on Joe Rogan's mega-deal.

I find it difficult to give any weight to "journalists" criticizing these new approaches. Most of the critics abandoned serious journalism long ago.

[Photo Austin Distel by at Unsplash]

Feel-Good Films - A Series

Find Your Style

close up photography of man wearing orange Raptors cap

[Photo by Christin Hume at Unsplash]

Monday, May 25, 2020

Golfer. Icon. Pioneer.

"The Legend of JoAnne Carner."

[HT: Suzanne Stork]

El Cid: A Film Soundtrack That Was an Instant Classic

"Great American Novel" Contenders - A Series Once An Eagle: A Novel (9780060196967): Myrer, Anton ...


First Paragraph

Nobody could sleep. When morning came, assault craft would be lowered and a first wave of troops would ride through the surf and charge ashore on the beach at Anopopei. All over the ship, all through the convoy, there was a knowledge that in a few hours some of them were going to be dead.

- From The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer

The Memorial Day Film

Memorial Day

USA flags on tombstones

[Photo by Justin Casey at Unsplash]

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Not a Feel-Good Film


This evening as I drove from Scottsdale to Phoenix, it was heartening to see that nothing will keep Arizonans away from Mexican food.

For the less conventional, LoLo's Chicken and Waffles was also open.

First Paragraph

I rode a streetcar to the edge of the city limits, then I started to walk, swinging the old thumb whenever I saw a car coming. I was dressed pretty good - white shirt, brown slacks and sport shoes. I'd had a shower at the railway station and a hair-trim in a barber college, so all in all I looked okay. But no one would stop for me. There'd been a lot of hitchhike robberies in that section, and people just weren't taking chances.

- From After Dark, My Sweet by Jim Thompson

An Unsolicited Commencement Speech

Cultural Offering has an outstanding commencement speech by Mike Rowe.

A Great Film with Some Subtle Yet Powerful Leadership Lessons

It's a good time to re-watch "Lawrence of Arabia."

Teams: A Very Hot Topic

person holding white android smartphone

Teams are scattered now more than ever. 

There's much to ponder in Wally Bock's weekend leadership reading assignments.

[Photo by Mika Baumeister at Unsplash]

Friday, May 22, 2020

MasterClass: You Will Smile

FutureLawyer has found a MasterClass we all can use.


Sick dog. Long night. Off to the 24-hour animal hospital around 2 a.m.

Great work by staff. Patient now home recovering.

She's not the only one ready for sleep.

What did I have planned for this morning? 


"Great American Novel" Contenders - A Series

Rabbit, Run: Updike, John: 9780449911655: Books

An Interesting Assortment

rectangular brown wooden table with chair lot inside building

Wally Bock has book recommendations for business leaders.

[Photo by Benjamin Child at Unsplash]

Phoenix Rising

aerial photo of city

In the distance: Camelback Mountain

Continued growth in the Valley of the Sun.

[There is an appeal in not having to shovel snow.]

[Photo by Chris Tingom at Unsplash]

Handwriting vs. Typing

Patrick Rhone's advice on journals is sound. A handwritten journal will mean more than a typed one.

[I have some letters written by an ancestor who served in the Union cavalry during the Civil War. His handwriting, which is beautiful, conveys more than any printed version.]

Thursday, May 21, 2020

NOT a Feel-Good Film

Pot Meets Kettle

New York Post: John Podhoretz on The New York Times versus The New Yorker.

Perspective and Skin in the Game

"Great American Novel" Contenders - A Series

Legends of the Fall: Harrison, Jim: 9780802126221: Books

Through the Rabbit Hole

Commentary magazine: Eli Lake reviews the Michael Flynn case.

Dashboard Reports

black BMW steering wheel

Whenever you look at "dashboard reports" that highlight key performance indicators, it is important to examine the comparisons. The slow gains in a category over the last six months may, if compared to the same subject's status five or ten years ago, be losses.

Does the information reveal or conceal?

[Photo by Roberto Nickson at Unsplash]


Feel-Good Films - A Series

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Your Assignment, Should You Accept It

Unteleported Man 1ST Edition Mind Monsters G-602: Philip K. / Cory ...

Virus Revision Update

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revised its position on how easily the coronavirus spreads on contaminated surfaces.

And so it begins.

The Trial

"Great American Novel" Contenders - A Series

The Scarlet Letter (Barnes & Noble Classics): Hawthorne, Nathaniel ...

Quarantine Edition: 20 Blogs

Internet LED signage beside building near buildings

Many thanks to Chris Foley for the kind mention as well as his list of "20 Blogs I Read in 2020: Quarantine Edition."

I found some very interesting new blogs.

[Photo by Leon Seibert at Unsplash]


While no one's around

Nicholas Bate on:

Old corporate office

New corporate office.

Feel-Good Films - A Series

Talking It Out

I have a major writing project that requires a chunk of research and a lot of thinking and also talking in order to clarify my thinking.

My wife is my usual sounding board. She listens well and challenges and picks up on small points.

Sometimes you think and then write and sometimes you write in order to discover your thoughts.

What is the subject? Let's just say that I've learned more about bureaucracy than I ever expected. 

Very strange bureaucracy.

But that's not the subject.

The Jettisoning of Journalistic Standards

person welding black metal part

The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald takes a blowtorch to today's corrosive journalism

[Photo by Chetan Menaria at Unsplash]

Find Your Style

woman in red blazer holding smartphone

[Photo by Alireza Esmaeeli at Unsplash]

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Aaron Copland's "Billy the Kid"

Please Print

Patrick Rhone on the power of paper.

A "journaling rant" but a nice and very practical one.

[Photo by Hannah Olinger at Unsplash]

Helping My Wife and I Survive the Craziness of Two People Working from Home

Bob Seger - Greatest Hits - Music

Don't Let the Media Loons Affect You

Get thee to The Hammock Papers.

Feel-Good Films - A Series

In The Short Stack

Property and Freedom: Richard Pipes: 9780375704475: Books

Justice Thomas

PBS: "Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words."



I loved the Cultural Offering post of Nassim Nicholas Taleb's use of a blackboard with Zoom.

Whiteboards are a feeble imitation of the old blackboards and, besides that, chalk beats markers.

Working at Home: Have You Ever Forgotten to Take a Sick Day?

person lying on bed while covering face with pillow and holding eyeglasses

Forgetting to take a sick day is especially possible while working at home. You're not feeling well. Where are you going to go? You're already home. And so, unless it's the sort of flu that tapped me on the shoulder a few years ago and then clobbered me into bed, it can be very tempting to forge on. 

And that, I would respectfully submit, is not a wise idea.

If you can work-work (as opposed to faux-work), then work. But if you are truly under the weather, it may make more sense to pretend that you've left the office and drive your carcass on over to the sofa or the bed.

You're sick. You've earned the recovery. Even if you're already home.

[Photo by twinsfisch at Unsplash]

"Great American Novel" Contenders - A Series

East of Eden: John Steinbeck: 9780140049978: Books

Find Your Style

man holding brown stick smiling

[Photo by Capturing the human heart at Unsplash]

Monday, May 18, 2020

Should Be Periodically Viewed

First Paragraph

Not that Gwen Murphy would tell anyone. She pushed the idea away as soon as it came. But the refugees were starting to creep her out.

- From The Night Ranger by Alex Berenson

Ken Osmond, RIP

"Eddie Haskell" has passed.

Everyone in my generation can attest that they knew guys like Eddie Haskell. 

Feel-Good Films - A Series

I've never seen the film but the Jimmy Breslin novel was fun.

Virus Models

"Great American Novel" Contenders - A Series

Middle Passage: Charles Johnson: 9780689119682: Books