Monday, August 31, 2020


"They're Not Staying Down There Anymore"

Another "Visit The Big Apple" film.

Confessions of Voter Fraud

New York Post: The techniques of "fixing" ballots are revealed.

First Paragraph

The United States of America had let down its defenses. In contrast to the four million Americans armed by the end of World War I, by 1935 the United States Regular Army had declined to 118,750 men, which, as Army Chief of Staff Douglas MacArthur noted, "could be crowded into Yankee Stadium" and he added that it would be "relatively helpless in the event of a foreign invasion.

- From The Rise of the G.I. Army 1940-1941: The Forgotten Story of How America Forged a Powerful Army Before Pearl Harbor by Paul Dickson

Miscellaneous and Fast

Lunacy on Campus

Instapundit: While discussing hate speech, a law school professor quotes - quotes! - a racial epithet and all hell breaks loose.

I Am Thinking

white and black ceramic cup filled with brown liquid on brown wooden sufface

I am thinking about it by not thinking about it. 

I am writing about it by reading books about it. 

I am completing the project by stepping away from it.

I will scrutinize it by looking elsewhere.

Some of you know exactly what I mean.

[Photo by Nathan Lemon at Unsplash] 

First Paragraph

The story of Adenauer's life can best be seen as three stories in one. The first is the story of a homeland: the land of the Rhine, that ambiguous and mythic river which - like Adenauer's own life - rises in obscurity, gains strength and momentum in its course, but ends in doubt and confusion. The second is the story of the emergence of a fourth Germany out of the shipwreck of the three earlier Germanies through which he lived. The third is the story of a man who lived a full and occasionally dangerous life, who was disliked by many for his complex and difficult character but who, at the end of his biblical span, summoned the energy and ambition to bring his country back into the civilised world from what seemed to be permanent ostracism and into a new Europe based on the recognition of individual freedom, tolerance and, above all, democracy.  

- From Adenauer: The Father of New Germany by Charles Williams

Job for The Dude

From an ad for a Cannibis Cultivator:

"Must have at least 5 years of growing indoor, high grade marijuana experience. Must be able to build a grow room and have a strong understanding on harvesting, trimming and packaging the products. Must pass a background check and possess a medical marijuana caregiver card for the state of Arizona."

Sunday, August 30, 2020

"Then 7"

people riding on boat on river during daytime

Nicholas Bate, writing from the wilds of Oxford, has a short but important list that, if simply followed, would improve many lives.

[Photo by Noel Broda at Unsplash]

Another Cheery Film for Shut-Ins


marble toy

Living on our planet requires a lot more imagination than we are made to have. We lack imagination and repress it in others.

- Nassim Nicholas Taleb

[Photo by Louis Maniquet at Unsplash]

Find Something Beautiful Today

vintage red Jaguar car

[Photo by Karim MANJRA at Unsplash]

Saturday, August 29, 2020

On Order

How Ike Led: The Principles Behind Eisenhower's Biggest Decisions (English  Edition) eBook: Eisenhower, Susan: Tienda Kindle

Quick Look

And There are Many Stations

If there's an intellectual highway, there's also an intellectual subway.

- Stanley Crouch

Nitwittery Update: "In Defense of Looting"

National Public Radio provides a perspective from another planet.

Saturday Byrds

Jack Price is Back Again The Price You Pay: A novel (9781524733377): Truhen, Aidan: Books

Okay, I've recommended this novel before - perhaps even several times - or definitely several times - but if you like quirky books this is one to check out.

It is quirky but very good. I read it the first time and then read it again.

And then I recommended the book to a friend in New Orleans who can still quote sections. Which doesn't surprise me because he strongly resembles the main character.

As do many people in New Orleans.

Consider this to be proof that I don't just read Anthony Trollope novels.


Wally Book has collected a variety of views in his weekend leadership reading.

First Paragraph

We live in a networked world, or so we are constantly told. The word 'network', which was scarcely used before the late nineteenth century, is now overused as both a verb and a noun. To the ambitious young insider, it is always worth going to the next party, no matter how late it is, for the sake of networking. Sleep may be appealing, but the fear of missing out is appalling. To the disgruntled old outsider, on the other hand, the word network has a different connotation. The suspicion grows that the world is controlled by powerful and exclusive networks: the bankers, the Establishment, the System, the Jews, the Freemasons, the Illuminati. Nearly all that is written in this vein is rubbish. Yet it seems unlikely that conspiracy theories would be so persistent if such networks did not exist at all.

- From The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook by Niall Ferguson

Friday, August 28, 2020

When Personal Injury Attorneys Dream

Stop the Coddling

Sound Advice

First Things: Several Princeton professors offer some "Advice for Students in a Time of Strife."

Go Directly to Fame

Butterfly Mind

butterfly perched on flower

Ads. Reviews. Headlines. Calls. Gossip. Tweets. Email. Unexpected visitors. 

Memories. Alerts. Regrets. Unfairness. Deadlines. Chores. Errands. Clutter.

Smells. Sounds. Trivia. Questions. Files. Research.

All can be enticing. All can be distracting.

And the more creative you are, the more you may notice.

[Photo by Daniel Klein at Unsplash]

An Important Reminder

black and white hospital bed in the middle of interior building

Kurt Harden at Cultural Offering gives vertical and horizontal perspectives.

A lesson to be reviewed again and again.

[Photo by Arseny Togulev at Unsplash]

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Mozart Break


He is now running as an Independent.

Operation Not Forgotten

US Marshals have found 39 missing children in Georgia.

I Was Recently Reminded That Not Everyone Has Seen This Paul Newman Film

Excellent cast. It also was Jessica Tandy's last film. 

Based on Richard Russo's fine novel.

Back By Popular Demand

Arizona State University Tackles COVID-19 Arizona State Sun Devils Dust Face Cover Washable  Reusable,Dustproof,Cycling(Adults&Kids Size): Clothing

Arizona State University is one of the nation's largest universities. They've developed a comprehensive approach to COVID-19. Note the following:

An update from ASU President Michael Crow.

ASU's COVID-19 management framework.

The Pride Train: Identity Politics Goes Off the Rails

Not surprisingly, there are plenty of gay critics of the "virtue signaling."

First Paragraph

I grew up around a father and a mother who read every chance they got, who took us to the library every Thursday night to load up on books for the coming week. Most nights after dinner my father stretched out on the couch to read, while my mother sat with her book in the easy chair and the three of us kids each retired to our own private reading stations. Our house was very quiet after dinner - unless, that is, some of my father's writer friends were over. My father was a writer, as were most of the men with whom he hung out. They were not the quietest people on earth, but they were mostly very masculine and kind. Usually in the afternoons, when that day's work was done, they hung out at the no-name bar in Sausalito, but sometimes they came to our house for drinks and ended up staying for supper. I loved them, but every so often one of them would pass out at the dinner table. I was an anxious child to begin with, and I found this unnerving.

- From Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Quick Look

Bourbon Street

Take the New Orleans EarthCam for a quick visit to Bourbon Street.

Well Done

Looking Ahead

The Current Mystery at Yale

Althouse on the current mystery at Yale.

Is Yale Law School dealing with multiple allegations of sexual harassment against a professor or a campaign of political retaliation?

Observations for Frequent Reflection - A Series

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Do We Need a Right to Repair?

silver french door refrigerator beside white wooden kitchen cabinet

Writing in Commentary, James B. Meigs asserts "You don't really own your own gadgets."

He notes how some products are purposely designed to thwart generic replacement parts.

Not surprising but very interesting.

[Photo by Sidekix Media at Unsplash]

Some Pandemic Humor

Another Reason to Read Raymond Chandler

“The girl gave him a look which ought to have stuck at least four inches out of his back.”

- Raymond Chandler

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Nitwittery Update: PC Uproar at the BBC

The Sun: The BBC has created an uproar over the possibility that the words of "Rule Britannia" and "Land of Hope and Glory" will not be sung at the BBC Proms.

Innovation and the Pandemic

They're using wooden currency in Tenino, Washington and not for the first time.

The Liberation of the Ritz Bar

A Large Regular contrasts Ernest Hemingway with today's media.

That Holmes Family

"Top 7 Warning Signs in a Man's Bookshelf"

close-up photography of beige ceramic coffee cup on top of Joseph Heller book

Althouse has attracted comments on the original Warning Signs tweet. 

Several of the comments list books that I like, such as A Confederacy of Dunces and Catch-22.

Here's my advice: Read whatever the hell you want. Just don't stop learning.

Some of the smartest people I've known had very odd reading preferences.

[Photo by Hans Vivek at Unsplash]

Tin Ear

"You have described a sensitive situation in which the facts are unclear. What did you do?"

"I wrote them a letter."

"Did you consider going to see them and discussing what had happened?"

"No. I figured that would make matters worse. That's why I decided to send a letter."

"You ruled out discussing the problem over the phone?"

"Oh, yes. That would have made matters worse."

"How successful was the letter?"

"It made matters worse."

Unusual Films I Recommend - A Series

Theory and Practice

In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

- Attributed to Yogi Berra

- Benjamin Brewster

Monday, August 24, 2020


Universal Emotion

Refreshing Candor Compared to Portland

“Last night was a riot in our city,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. “We will not be using the words protest or march. This was a riot.”

Read the rest here.

First Paragraph

I keep the Beast running, I keep the 100 low lead on tap, I foresee attacks. I am young enough, I am old enough. I used to love to fish for trout more than almost anything.

- From The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

Miscellaneous and Fast

Another Reason to Read Raymond Chandler

“I'm an occasional drinker, the kind of guy who goes out for a beer and wakes up in Singapore with a full beard.”

- Raymond Chandler

Sunday, August 23, 2020

The Weekend

Completed a bunch of correspondence. Made major progress on reorganizing my office. Ate too much chocolate mint ice cream. Washed my car. Trimmed bushes in the back yard. Read several chapters of Robert Harris's novel about the Munich conference. Made extensive notes on a major writing project. Ordered a biography of Konrad Adenauer. Had great conversations with family members.

Achievement fills the best weekends. 

The worst weekends are a swamp of sloth and regret.

Modern Times

Find Something Beautiful Today

brown barn owl

[Photo by Lorenzo Moschi at Unsplash]

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Election Year

"True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country."

- Kurt Vonnegut

Embrace The Batman Strategy and Never Retire

Not a Campaign Commercial

Timely Point

“Don't own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.” 

- Wendell Berry

Art Break

Art Contrarian looks at the art of Harry Anderson.

No Taste Map

brown tree trunk on brown field during daytime

Althouse's readers weigh in on the Worst Attraction in Every State map.

You know there is an intentional move to generate controversy when they list The Grand Canyon for Arizona and The Alamo for Texas. 

If they were serious, they would have nominated "The Thing" for Arizona.

[Photo by Eric Murray at Unsplash]

Acted Early

It is not uncommon for organizations to recognize those stalwart individuals who responded well during a crisis. 

Unfortunately, it is quite uncommon for organizations to recognize those who prevented a crisis.

[What is particularly irritating is when organizations extol leaders who mastered a problem or a crisis that they failed to prevent.]

We are long overdue for an Acted Early award.

Very Interesting

man in black and white crew neck shirt reading book

Wally Bock's weekend leadership reading list.

[Photo by Maxim Potkin at Unsplash]



Friday, August 21, 2020

Just Another Reason to Read Raymond Chandler

“There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.”

- Raymond Chandler, Red Wind: A Collection of Short Stories

"Irreversibly tainted"

The New York Times: A judge orders a new election in New Jersey following evidence of mail-in voter fraud.

Let's go to the polls.

Must Viewing

And Many Happy Returns

FutureLawyer - the blog, that is not the lawyer, poet, and techie - is 25 years old.

FutureLawyer is a daily visit for me. It provides a practical and insightful view of how technology can be used by professionals. 

Before reading it, I always make sure that my quill is well-sharpened and that there's plenty of papyrus on hand.

During the Depression, There Were Feel-Good Films

New Beatles Book! Alert Nicholas Bate!

And in the End: The Last Days of The Beatles: McNab, Ken ...

"Leadership in War"


A timely topic. Read Wally Bock's book review here.

Music Break

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Find Your Style

man in black suit jacket

[Photo by Miazor Ekom at Unsplash]

"First Do No Harm" Would Have Been a Good Standard

Political Calculations on Corona virus deaths and nursing home admission policies.

Beethoven: Choral Fantasy

Coming in October


Free Titania!

Twitter purged anti-woke satirists such as Titania McGrath.

Time for an Agatha Christie Binge

There's a Pattern Here

person in black suit jacket holding gold crown

If only the chief knew.
If only the king knew. 
If only the queen knew.
If only the emperor knew.
If only the czar knew. 
If only the president knew. 
If only the prime minister knew.
If only the governor knew. 
If only the CEO knew. 
If only my boss knew.

[Photo by Lians Jadan at Unsplash]

Another Cheery Film for Shut-Ins

Refining Your Intuition

Study your experiences. Create some ground rules. Refine your intuition.

Intuition? Absolutely. There will be moments when you don't have enough time to go up on a mountaintop and ponder the situation. You may need to decide in seconds.

It helps to create some tie-breakers. 

I'll give you a tip from my own arsenal: Most of the time they involve the word "no."


Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Just Another Reason to Read Raymond Chandler

“From 30 feet away she looked like a lot of class. From 10 feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from 30 feet away.”

― From The High Window by Raymond Chandler

Not a Rare Question

"Are they preparing a serious plan for success or are they assembling their excuses for failure?"

Music Break

First Paragraph

The Middle Ages is an unfortunate term. It was not invented until the age was long past. The dwellers in the Middle Ages would not have recognized it. They did not know they were living in the middle; they thought, quite rightly, that they were time's latest achievement. The term implies that the Middle Ages were a mere interim between ancient greatness and our modern greatness. Who knows what the future will call it? As our Modern Age ceases to be modern and becomes an episode in history, our times may well be classed as the later Middle Ages. For while we say time marches forward, all things in time move backward toward the middle and eventually to the beginnings of history. We are too vain; we think we are the summit of history.

- From The Middle Ages by Morris Bishop

Miscellaneous and Fast

Observations for Frequent Reflection - A Series

They are playing a game. They are playing at not playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me. I must play their game, of not seeing I see the game.

- R.D. Laing

Find Your Style

woman standing near blue wall

[Photo by KAL VISUALS at Unsplash]

Monday, August 17, 2020

The Meeting

The meeting was a collection of fake actions. 

Person after person reported, with some pride, on decisions that seemed serious and yet would do nothing to advance the organization.

Several of the steps taken would even produce losses.

The frightening thing was that most of the people in attendance probably regarded the event as a success.

After all, they'd been busy.

Crank It Up

An Alternative to Zoom?

FutureLawyer has the details.

Well Done


man standing beside wall with art

Cultural Offering has the essential mixes.

[Photo by Johny vino at Unsplash]

Something to Consider

black and brown duck on ocean

"We do not spontaneously learn that we don't learn that we don't learn. The problem lies in the structure of our minds: we don't learn rules, just facts, and only facts. Metarules (such as the rule that we have a tendency to not learn rules) we don't seem to be good at getting. We scorn the abstract; we scorn it with passion."

- Nassim Nicholas Taleb in The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

[Photo by Qurratel Ayin Sadia at Unsplash]

First Paragraph

On June 28, 1919, the same day that much of the rest of the world marked the signing of the Treaty of Versailles that officially ended the Great War, a US Army captain strolled down the aisle of his local church to marry his sweetheart. Although he had distinguished himself in the war and proven himself as a leader on the battlefield, he had little desire to make the military a career. Nor did he, at this point in his life, express any special desire to enter the world of politics. He and another veteran of the war had instead taken out a lease in order to open a men's clothing store. The war had ended. In the future, he hoped, he would spend his time thinking about his family and his business, not war. On this day of all days his thoughts were far from wars and the peace treaties that end them.

- From Potsdam: The End of World War II and the Remaking of Europe by Michael Neiberg

Get Ready

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Saturday, August 15, 2020

"Europe is committing suicide."

From June 2019.

Shameless Plug

Distribute it to your team before someone says something that sparks a meaningful relationship with lawyers.

Simple Things

white ceramic mug on table

I start the weekend by doing simple things: making coffee, feeding the dog, getting the morning paper.

Most of the time my wife stays in bed, enjoying the special rest that comes when one is half asleep and, in the distance, there is the faint scuttle of chores being done by someone else. 

That last part doubles the pleasure.

By the time she gets up, the coffee will be ready, the newspaper will be waiting, and I'll be balancing a book and an English muffin.

Which is all fine in my eyes. I like to get at the paper early, while it's pristine, because once she's read it one could swear that raccoons were fighting over the editorial page. Some article is always missing.

Simple things. 

They are the secret.

[Photo by Danielle MacInnes at Unsplash]

Friday, August 14, 2020

There Should Be No Meetings on Friday

photo of dining table and chairs inside room

There should be no meetings on Friday. 

The day is too good to waste on motions and seconds and votes and whether Carson got a promotion or Jane's moving to Baltimore or Maria is going to quit and go for a PhD. 

Fridays should be sacred. 

People like Saturday mornings but, let's face it, they are feeble substitutes for Friday and they're often filled with chores and errands and always, always, lurking in the back is the impending Sunday with its reproach for time poorly spent.

Sunday is like being strapped to a gurney and you know that wherever they take you won't be fun.

But Fridays are kind and full of promise. Even if you screw them up you still have the weekend to recover and play or hide out.

And yet, we need the rule: No meetings on Friday.

Why should we press our luck?

[Photo by Nastuh Abootalebi at Unsplash]

Not a News Cast

Leadership Reading

books on brown wooden shelf

Wally Bock has some weekend leadership reading assignments for us.

[Photo by Fallon Michael at Unsplash]

Students as Customers

Megan McArdle argues that we are looking at the end stage of college as a commodity.

A Mad Rush for the Exits Escape from New York Movie POSTER 27 x 40 Kurt Russell ...

2020 New York Post: Moving companies are busy in New York City

I have a feeling they'll soon be busy in Seattle and Portland.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

"Chaos By The Bay"

Christopher F. Rufo, an editor at City Journal, has produced a video on the cruelty of homelessness in San Francisco.

First Paragraph

"Good man," said Dalmire, gratefully accepting the gin Morgan Leafy offered him. "Oh, good man." He presents his eager male friendship like a gift, thought Morgan; he's like a dog who wants me to throw a stick for him to chase. If he had a tail he'd be wagging it.

- From A Good Man in Africa by William Boyd

The Fanatics

people in ice hockey stadium

Anyone who has watched and studied fanatics for many years will have noticed these practices:

  • The average person is interested in fairness. Fanatics are not. Without a trace of shame, they will shut down debate, slant programs, violate laws, and nudge out anyone who is not in lock-step with their ideology. 
  • Whatever devotion they may have to diversity, it certainly does not extend to intellectual diversity. A non-fanatic may consider publishing or promoting a fanatic as a way of showing openness and tolerance. That gesture is never reciprocated by fanatics. If they compromise, it is in the mode of two steps forward and one step back.
  • The average person does not employ language as a weapon. The fanatics do. They push for the use of terminology that favors their results and ostracize anyone who doesn't adopt the "proper" terms.
  • The average person has other interests and will not (and often cannot) devote a sizable amount of time to certain issues. The fanatics will devote that time and by doing so they'll establish beachheads that are hard to dislodge. [One of the tactics that Communists used decades ago was to attend meetings, prolong discussion, and then, when a sufficient number of liberals, moderates, and conservatives grew weary and left to do other things, hold the vote. And when the Communists voted, it was as a bloc and not as independent thinkers.]
  • Another tactic favored by fanatics is to hold the opposition to rules which they themselves eagerly violate. Since their opponents believe in the rules, that is not difficult to do. Fanatics do not care about being hypocritical.
  • Standard ethical practices, such as truth-telling, fairness, justice, and respect for others, are only honored by fanatics if it is convenient or expedient to do so. In recent years, we've seen the presumption of innocence pushed aside if embracing it would slow or foil the fanatics. 
  • You can trust a fanatic to be a fanatic. As a historian recently noted in a study of appeasement, Neville Chamberlain was thrown off by Adolf Hitler because he'd never met anyone like Adolf Hitler. Chamberlain was assuming that he was dealing with a responsible European leader whose word could be trusted. Instead, he was dealing with a fanatic who had a completely different set of rules.
  • The most effective defenses against fanatics first require that they be identified as fanatics. These are not neighbors, co-workers or peers who just happen to have somewhat different views. The sooner that is realized, the sooner various defenses can be employed.
  • Finally, the fanatics are always with us. They may be few in number but they always are out there. Unfortunately, nowadays they are numerous.

[Photo by Gabe Pierce at Unsplash]

My Next Civil War Film

Is the Election Over?

brown wooden tree house

[Photo by Yan Berthemy  at Unsplash]

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Modern Times

And They Listen for Silence and Meaning

Most of the successful people I've known are the ones who do more listening than talking.

- Bernard Baruch


In the Bag

There's not a lot of time to pack. You know you'll want something good to read both on the journey and after you arrive. Quickly, quickly, which novelists should you consider? Here's my quick list:

Jiri Weil, Agatha Christie, Elmore Leonard, Mario Vargas Illosa, Flannery O'Connor, Joseph Conrad, Olivia Manning, James Baldwin, John Updike, Rudyard Kipling, Elspeth Huxley, Mark Twain, Anthony Trollope, Richard Price, Eric Ambler, George Orwell, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Hilary Mantel, William Boyd, Patrick O'Brian, George MacDonald Fraser, Edwin O'Connor, Len Deighton, Daniel Silva, Rose Tremain, Carl Hiaasen, Umberto Ecco, Edward Abbey, Alexander Kent, V.S. Naipaul and a bunch of others I can't think to name.

Who am I missing? Quickly, quickly!