Saturday, February 27, 2021

Avoid Multi-Tasking

Something about this story doesn't seem right but it is a reminder to avoid multi-tasking.

It also is an excuse to post the best quote from the television series M.A.S.H.:

"I do one thing at a time, I do it very well, and then I move on."

- Major Charles Emerson Winchester

The Power of the Powerless

The manager of a fruit-and-vegetable shop places in his window, among the onions and carrots, the slogan: "Workers of the world, unite!" Why does he do it? What is he trying to communicate to the world? Is he genuinely enthusiastic about the idea of unity among the workers of the world? Is his enthusiasm so great that he feels an irrepressible impulse to acquaint the public with his ideals? Has he really given more than a moment's thought to how such a unification might occur and what it would mean? 

I think it can safely be assumed that the overwhelming majority of shopkeepers never think about the slogans they put in their windows, nor do they use them to express their real opinions. That poster was delivered to our greengrocer from the enterprise headquarters along with the onions and carrots. He put them all into the window simply because it has been done that way for years, because everyone does it, and because that is the way it has to be. If he were to refuse, there could be trouble. He could be reproached for not having the proper decoration in his window; someone might even accuse him of disloyalty. He does it because these things must be done if one is to get along in life. It is one of the thousands of details that guarantee him a relatively tranquil life "in harmony with society," as they say.

Read the rest of Vaclav Havel's "The Power of the Powerless."

J & J Vaccine

 City Journal: Joel M. Zinberg on the advantages of the Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine.

Weekend Leadership Reading

Wally Bock has the assignments.

[Photo by Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu at Unsplash]

Lowry and McWhorter on Thomas Sowell


A Key Question


You can know the mission statement and the budget and the policies and the organization chart and your job description and the goals and deadlines as well as the relevant legal boundaries and the entire cast of characters but there is a highly revealing question that should be answered and periodically asked again:

"How does this place work?"

What? No Special Gyms?

I lived in a dorm for most of my college years. It had been built in the 1920s and had thick walls and radiator heating in the rooms and - although this was in Arizona - no cooling system whatsoever. It had sleeping porches in-between the separate two-person rooms. Bathrooms were communal. There was a payphone in the lobby but no phones in the rooms. Televisions were not allowed but radios and record players were permitted. There was a single phone on each wing and it was operated by an operator at the front desk. Each room had a buzzer system that would let you know if you were wanted in the lobby or had a phone call. You could lock your room but the doors to the dorm were never locked which was fine because some of the scholars would come in drunk at odd hours. 

There was a ping-pong table in the basement near some candy and Pepsi machines. There was a washing machine room that was sort of scary.

The lobby had a fireplace and a television and the type of mission furniture you'd find in motels if you traveled throughout the West in the Thirties or Forties.

Once a week there was room inspection and you could trade in your old bed linen for clean sheets.

In other words, it was nothing special. It had, however, one of the highest return rates of any dormitory and an eclectic group of residents. Someone working on a doctorate might be rooming with a freshman or sophomore.

The rent was $130 per semester. 

There may be a business model here. I'm waiting for a university that will cut the frills in both the courses and the campus facilities and chop most of the administrative staff. 

My guess is that many students today would go for that spartan environment. It would certainly leave more money in their pockets.

Friday, February 26, 2021

First Exposure to Tom Jones Which, Of Course, is Like Plutonium


Team Reading


Quick Look


Find Your Style


[Photo by Toa Heftiba at Unsplash]

Collecting Coronavirus Particles

If you could collect all of the Coronavirus particles in the world in one place, how much space would you need?

Political Calculations has an answer.

Verify You're Not a Robot


If You Like Raymond Chandler, Check Out Robert B. Parker's Spencer Novels

"You spend too much time reading, Spenser. You know more stuff that don't make you money than anybody I know.”

- Robert B. Parker

Equality Act Text and Analysis

Here is the text of the bill that passed the House and which now goes to the Senate.

A Missing Item on To-Do Lists


I've had a lot of to-do lists over the years. They helped me achieve quite a bit of things, but not always the right things, and certainly not always in the most effective manner.

Looking back, there was one chore that I should have put on every list and saved time for every day.

That missing item was "Thinking." 

I mean serious, not off-the-cuff, thinking where time is dedicated, assumptions are examined, unknown subjects are identified, plans are challenged, and conclusions are at least tentatively reached. This need not be done on a mountaintop, but it should be done.

And I can attest to one thing: it does not occur automatically. You have to approach it with care and attention.

Back by Popular Demand


Thursday, February 25, 2021

As a Potato Turns

 Hold that Tot – your main spud, MR. POTATO HEAD isn’t going anywhere! While it was announced today that the POTATO HEAD brand name & logo are dropping the ‘MR.’ I yam proud to confirm that MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD aren’t going anywhere and will remain MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD

- tweet from Hasbro

Heading to the Senate

 USA Today: The Equality Act has passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

What's Going On Up There?

Political Calculations may be the only blog (on Earth) to mention the economy of Mars.

"Mr. Potato Head Goes Gender-Neutral"

This is not a parody.

These people have lost their minds.

Looks Promising


Nitwittery at Smith College

Michael Powell in The New York Times on discrimination allegations and more at Smith College.


Truly amazing that these pictures are even possible.

Reality TV as a Wealth Strategy

 Yes, I owned a TV like this once and still miss it.

Commentary magazine: Rob Long explores "Getting Rich on TV By Being Crazy."

Studying Ancient Rome is Always Time Well-Spent

For centuries, Rome stood in the shadow of her Etruscan neighbors. The Etruscans in turn were outclassed by  the political experiments underway to the east and south. The early classical Mediterranean belonged to the Greeks and Phoenicians. While Rome was still a village of letterless cattle rustlers, the Greeks were writing epic and lyric poetry, experimenting with democracy, and inventing drama, philosophy, and history as we know them. On nearer shores, the Punic peoples of Carthage built an ambitious empire, before the Romans knew how to rig a sail. Fifteen miles inland, along the soggy banks of the Tiber River, Rome was a backwater, a spectator to the creativity of the early classical world.

- From The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, & The End of an Empire by Kyle Harper

The Canadian Butter Mystery

Call Out the Mounties!

The Globe and Mail: Julie van Rosendaal on what's been going on with Canadian butter.

[Photo by Nick Amaya at Unsplash]

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The Doors?


Some of Us Will Immediately Recognize the Name

Althouse notes the passing of The Argentine Firecracker.

Rest in Peace.

Quick Look


The Power and the Silence

Walter Kirn, author of truly interesting books ("Up in the Air" was made into a film starring George Clooney) is now writing at Substack. 

His latest essay is about Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, COVID, and much more.

Check it out here.

"We are Not Safer at Home"

City Journal: James Piereson and Naomi Schaefer Riley on the danger of lockdowns.

The mental health dangers alone should be enough to raise questions. Multiple that when it comes to children.

The New Religion

 John McWhorter continues his examination of Anti-Black Anti-Racism as a religion.

When Amazon Erased a Book

First Things: Ryan T. Anderson on Amazon's decision not to carry his book.

Consider the possible implications if this is frequently done to conservative authors. Most publishing houses lean to the left side of the political spectrum to begin with. Add to that the likelihood that a major sales venue won't carry a book and a conservative won't stand a chance of being published.

One does not have to be on the right to regard that as a dangerous limitation to debate and analysis.

I, Pencil


Tuesday, February 23, 2021


Sign Me Up

Eclecticity Light has a clean, well-lighted, place to blog.

I want it.

Came Out in 1978. Big Names. Big Director. I Never Heard of It.


Ah, The European Union


Failed Notions of Objectivity?

Those who stand to gain the most from this generational transformation—either because they will snag the old guard’s jobs or simply because they share the new generation’s embrace of woke ideology—are already celebrating. Writing in Press Watch, where he is editor, former Washington Post reporter Dan Froomkin raved: “A new generation of leaders is coming! And they have a lot of urgent repair work ahead of them. That includes abandoning the failed, anachronistic notions of objectivity under which they have operated for so long, recognizing and rejecting establishment whiteness, and finding dramatically more effective ways to create an informed electorate.”

Read all of Christine Rosen's essay in Commentary.

Find Your Style

[Photo by Favour Otunji at Unsplash]

"We Will Tell You What to Think and Say" Department

Defector: American journalism has lost its mind

The repressive attitudes sown at major universities have spread to newsrooms and workplaces across the nation.

Quick Look


"It was thought about as a Manhattan Project."

 The New York Post: Dr. Francis Collins, the Director of the National Institutes of Health, talks about Operation Warp Speed. An excerpt:

“Those words were used sometimes to describe what needed to happen in order to get all parts of the government together in an unprecedented way to test up to six vaccines in rigorous trials, and to do this at-risk manufacturing so that if any of those trials happen to work, you would already have doses ready to go into arms,” Collins added, “That would not be the way things are traditionally done.”

Remembering Heroism


Broadway and the Pandemic

 City Journal: Judith Miller explores how the pandemic damaged Broadway's stage performances and whether theater will recover. An excerpt:

Some of that fear is likely to linger even after patrons are vaccinated. Umanoff worries that it may take a few years for people to feel comfortable again indoors—but no one really knows. “There is no precedent for this. There is no business model.” If a silver lining exists for companies like Mark Morris, it’s the growth of the fan base, thanks to online programming. Some 4,400 people from the U.S. and abroad signed up in May 2020 for an event featuring dances on video. “So now we have nearly 10,000 names on our mailing list,” Umanoff said, “including over 2,000 new donors.” But the prospect of new subscribers can’t compensate for a lost year of live performances: some $1.8 million in revenue vanished in March 2020 when performances were suddenly canceled. Jobs, too, were lost. The company’s payroll of 226 in February 2020 shrank, at its lowest point, to just 59; it has slowly recovered and is now up to 122.

Neo-Racists Posing as Anti-Racists

Professor and author John McWhorter provides some chapters from the beginning of his upcoming book on racist anti-racists.

More on John McWhorter here.

When Puppets Kill

Fast Company: When Jim Henson (of Muppet fame) created violent ads for Wilkins Coffee.

Monday, February 22, 2021

An Advantage for the Long Term

If you're evenly split on a difficult decision, take the path more painful in the short term.

- Naval Ravikant

As the World Goes Insane: The Muppet Show Has a Disclaimer

 Althouse has the details

The Swedish Chef, of course, was really skating the edges, The Count made people from Transylvania weep, and we always knew that Johnny Cash was a rebel.

Deciding Who's a Nazi


Find Your Style

[Photo by Riccardo Lugermad at Unsplash]

Armani FutureLawyer

FutureLawyer has snagged the Emporio Armani Smartwatch

That means the Armani will soon be seen on the beaches of Florida or behind a cruising RV/law office swerving its way to the beaches.

Very stylish. The man is never out of touch.


There is something thrilling about a person who has passion for a particular job.

Cultural Offering recommends a documentary on such a person.

Today is George Washington's Birthday




An Inquisitive Mat

Stephen Landry has my next door mat.

Identity Politics as a Religion

The Giving Review has discussion with Georgetown political theory professor Joshua Mitchell about the religion of identity politics and the group it uses as a scapegoat. 

[I am reading Mitchell's latest book, American Awakening. Very insightful.]

[Photo by Possessed Photography at Unsplash]

How Cities Come Back

The American Affairs Journal: Joel Kotkin on "The American City's Long Road to Recovery."


Pew Research Center on the use of "Latinx." 

Few Hispanics use it but I suspect it is more popular in faculty lounges.

If Latino and Latina are viewed as exclusionary, then the Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese languages in general are going to pose serious challenges.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

The Shape of Stories


Plunging Caseloads

Political Calculations looks at Arizona's plunging Covid-19 caseloads and the vaccines.

I get my second shot on March 6. The process is one of the most efficient government operations I've ever seen. Bravo to the medical staff and all of the volunteers who are part of a team that gives vaccinations 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Moody Blues

Cultural Offering has the essential mixes.

Instant flash-backs.

First Paragraph

Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War offered a prospect of utter misery and desolation. Photographs and documentary films of the time show pitiful streams of helpless civilians trekking through a blasted landscape of broken cities and barren fields. Orphaned children wander forlornly past groups of worn out women picking over heaps of masonry. Shaven-headed deportees and concentration camp inmates in striped pyjamas stare listlessly at the camera, starving and diseased. Even the trams, propelled uncertainly along damaged tracks by intermittently available electric current, appear shell-shocked. Everyone and everything - with the notable exception of the well-fed Allied occupation forces - seems worn out, without resources, exhausted.

- From Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 by Tony Judt

Not a Boring Family Vacation


Currently Reading, Enjoying, and Scrawling Notes In


"Joshua Mitchell looks at what everyone else is looking at and sees what no one else sees. It's an extraordinary gift, and thanks to it this book amounts to a kind of key to the times we are living in. It reveals that the problems we face run even deeper than we might imagine, but also highlights some surprising reasons for hope."

--Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs

"American Awakening is a tour de force, the sort of book that forever changes the way one looks at the subject. It is the most important book on American politics of the past several years. Joshua Mitchell argues persuasively that America's political crisis has a religious origin, and that the extremes of identity politics are an expression of a dislodged Protestantism. This is a bold and deeply convincing alternative to conventional thinking that combines a subtle grasp of theology with profound insights into American political process and deep knowledge of history. So skillful a writer is Mitchell that the reader has the sense of remembering something that was always known, while learning something that was never imagined."

--David Goldman, "Spengler" columnist at Asia Times and author of You Will Be Assimilated: China's Plan to Sino-Form the World

Your Typical Weekend


A Complaint of Racism at Smith College

"We all know that something morally grotesque is swallowing liberal America. Almost no one wants to risk talking about it out loud.

"Every day I get phone calls from anxious Americans complaining about an ideology that wants to pull all of us into the past.

"I get calls from parents telling me about the damaging things being taught in schools: so-called antiracist programs that urge children to obsess on the color of their skin."

Bari Weiss writes about a case that should be unusual but isn't. 

Mother Nature is Angry


Leadership and the Pandemic

 Wally Bock has the reading assignments.

[Photo by at Unsplash]

Texas and the Scary Grid

This story in The Texas Tribune shows how close Texas came to power outages that could have stretched out for months.

Truly scary.

Paradoxical Productivity in a Covid World

Nicholas Bate has some great tips. 

I really like the one about e-mail.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Tension and Relaxation

Tension is who you think you should be.

Relaxation is who you are.

- Buddhist saying

News You Can Use: Exercise Update


Find Your Style

[Photo by Chris Montgomery at Unsplash]

Calvin Coolidge Was a Wise Man

"The only way I know to drive out evil from the country is by the constructive method of filling it with good. The country is better off tranquilly considering its blessings and merits, and earnestly striving to secure more of them, than it would be in nursing hostile bitterness about its deficiencies and faults."

- Calvin Coolidge

The Tide and the Waves

"You can judge a leader by the size of problem he tackles - people nearly always pick a problem their own size, and ignore or leave to others the bigger or smaller ones. The chief executive should be thinking about the long-term change which will bring growth or decay to different parts of the enterprise, not fussing over day-to-day problems. Other people can cope with the waves, it's his job to watch the tide. And yet you find boards of directors spending hours discussing priorities in the allocation of parking space when they move into the new building, you find executives deliberately holding a meeting down to trivial points, because that is all they can cope with. The trouble is that if the top management is thinking at too low a level, there are no levels left for the rest of the staff to think at, and they spawn a generation of managerial pygmies."

- Antony Jay in Management and Machiavelli: An Inquiry into the Politics of Corporate Life [published in 1967]

Multiculturalism is Not the Same as Diversity

City Journal: Kenny Xu on the difference between multiculturalism and diversity

[It's as great as the difference between equality and equity or goals and quotas.]

Immigrants shape America and America shapes immigrants. That's one of our strengths. In a variety of ways and over time, all Americans become a little bit of all groups. We are diverse, but we also favor assimilation in order to maintain a common American culture that is tolerant while operating within certain key boundaries.

And that's important. We don't want to become another Bosnia or another Beirut.

Some favor what they call a salad bowl of unmixed ingredients. 

I'll pass on that if only because of its dismal historical record.

Put me down for the melting pot.

Identify and Focus

People know you are not lazy. After all, you are always working.

But you may be working on the wrong things.

[Photo by Mimi Thian at Unsplash]

Remembering (and Saving) the Alamo

Law & Liberty: Mark Pulliam on "The Perilously Impermanent Past."

[Photo by Matthew T Rader at Unsplash]

Thursday, February 18, 2021




"A ship is safe in a harbor, but that is not what ships are built for."

- John Shedd

[Photo by Regine Tholen at Unsplash]

[HT: James Clear]

Art Break

 Art Contrarian looks at the work and technique of William Andrew Loomis.

Some People You'll Encounter

 "What? You disagree? Well, you're an intelligent person, have you read this article? You have? What about these books? And you still reached a different conclusion. That's amazing. I confess that this is disconcerting. I've always thought of you as a bright and caring individual and now I learn that you have a very different view of things. There must be a gap in your education. Perhaps there's some odd influence in your life. You can't think of any? Well, you may not be the decent person I thought I knew. Instead, you sound like one of them. Why can't you be more like me?"





"Trust, But Verify, the Science"

"But when people admonish me to
Trust the Science, what I hear sounds less like science and more like faith. All too often, the people appealing to science aren't asking me to accept a certain scientific conclusion about how the world works. They're asking me to accept their preferred policy prescription for how to change it." 

Read all of the Commentary magazine essay by James B. Meigs.

Crowd-Sourced McCarthyism

 Bari Weiss on the Gina Carano protests and canceling. An excerpt:

It’s impossible to overstate the bystander effect of these public humiliations. Normal people are functioning like we live under a new kind of McCarthyism — and for good reason. Our McCarthyism is crowd-sourced, but not necessarily less vicious or ruinous.  

Daily Rule

More page time.

Less screen time.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Find Your Style

[Photo by Heber Galindo at Unsplash]

Lincoln Project Sinking

The Lincoln Project continues to sink

Here's a recent column by Jonathan Turley on its donors.

And here's an earlier Associated Press story on its harassment scandal.

George Conway has called for the Lincoln Project to shut down.

And Althouse has zapped one journalist's rationale for missing the story.

Good Move

One example

Kurt Harden of Cultural Offering gives sound fatherly advice: get a home office.



Meetings Rule

Anyone who likes meetings should be banned from attending meetings.

- Nassim Nicholas Taleb

"False and Exaggerated Claims"

Glenn Greenwald takes on the press coverage of the Capitol riot.

It would be nice to have a competent and impartial news media.

Quick Look



 “That element of tragedy which lies in the very fact of frequency, has not yet wrought itself into the coarse emotion of mankind; and perhaps our frames could hardly bear much of it. If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence. As it is, the quickest of us walk about well wadded with stupidity.”

- George Eliot, Middlemarch

A Future Without Masks

 Karol Markowicz in the New York Post: Vaccines will end the pandemic.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Quick Look


Re-Opening the Schools

They must be assuming you are just too myopic, too busy, or too stupid to follow all this. And so, they’ve begun to appeal to the single most powerful heuristic of our time in the effort to force you to swallow these contradictions whole: negative partisanship.

Read the rest of Noah Rothman in Commentary.

Give That Man an Emmy

 City Journal: Seth Barron on Governor Cuomo and the nursing home deaths.

News You Can Use


Back By Popular Demand


"America's New Corporate Tyranny"

Today Americans live under two constitutions: the political constitution and the corporate constitution. The political constitution is functioning reasonably well. The corporate constitution, by comparison, is a lawless realm of out-of-control tyranny.

Read all of Michael Lind's essay in Tablet magazine.

Google for Baby Boomers

FutureLawyer may mock this but we know it was the best.

[Photo by Erol Ahmed at Unsplash]

Monday, February 15, 2021

"This was our Omaha Beach."

Words fail me.

Another Upbeat Film


Health Food Update

 How to make Martha Stewart's Mile High, Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake.

Thinking Thinking Thinking

 The Sovereign Professional has a wide-ranging conversation between Jordan Peterson and Matt Ridley.

Essential Mixes - Black Sabbath

Kurt Harden at Cultural Offering, a man who can cite Aristotle and Burke while listening to rock music, has the details.

The Eternal Workplace


The Warning

For frequent reflection and discussion: Abraham Lincoln's 1838 address to the Young Men's Lyceum. An excerpt:

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

Let's Drop Presidents Day

Drop Presidents Day. Go back to honoring Washington's and Lincoln's birthdays.

None of this "Everybody gets a prize" routine.

I think Big Warren would agree.

First Paragraph

We in the West are used to seeing women everywhere around us. We see them as colleagues in the office, sitting next to us on the bus, as patrons in restaurants, jogging in the street, and working in shops. We are also seeing more women than ever in leadership positions as prime ministers, politicians, chancellors, directors, and bosses. Women born in the West in the 1990s onward take this as a given. They do not consider that walking to school or sitting in a café is a triumph of liberalism. But in some parts of Western cities and towns these days, you may notice something strange: there are simply no women around - or very few.

- From Prey: Immigration, Islam, and the Erosion of Women's Rights by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

The Heavy Hand of Modern Journalism

 Astral Codex Ten: Statement on The New York Times article.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Traditional Valentine's Day Song


Schools, History, and the Challenges of Commemoration

“If you can only name schools after people who were perfect, you will have a lot of unnamed schools.”

- Eric Foner

See the  Statement by the American Historical Association on the renaming of schools in San Francisco.

Find Your Style

[Photo by Joshua Reddekopp at Unsplash]

To Whom Does the U.S. Government Owe Money?

 Political Calculations has the chart.

Religious Insight from a Celebrity


Evangelical leaders should themselves be impeached by the Vatican if they themselves don’t follow Nikki Haley’s lead & clearly state they should not have followed Satin into the bowels of hell. But, perhaps they are too busy at sex parties.

Find Something Beautiful Today

Happy Valentine's Day!

[Photo by Laura Ockel at Unsplash]

Saturday, February 13, 2021


A solid hit below the water line.

Conductor at Work



Law professor Jonathan Turley wrote this yesterday on the impeachment trial in the Senate.

Weekend Leadership Reading about Jeff Bezos

Wally Bock has the assignments.

[Photo by Super Straho at Unsplash]

What's on Your Wrist?

FutureLawyer compares his wrist gizmo to an expensive but standard wrist watch.


"I did not have to wait for more than a few minutes. Then, to the chagrin and annoyance of the mighty, an attendant appeared and whispered to me to accompany him. I smiled amiably and followed him into the police chief's office, a large airy room with a massive desk set against one wall. The man behind it had a still youthful face, but one on which burgundy and lobster already seemed to have left perceptible traces. He politely extended a soft, well-tended hand, exposing his small protuberant belly. I noted how well dressed he was, and remembered that his friends had mentioned this. He owned several hundred ties, eighty suits by Saraceni, the most expensive tailor in Rome, and countless pairs of shoes made for him by a bespoke bootmaker who was no less expensive and just as well known." 

- A description of a 1936 encounter with Arturo Bocchini, the chief of Mussolini's secret police, from The Interpreter: Memoirs of Doktor Eugen Dollmann

Everyone knows about the memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, Winston Churchill, and Charles de Gaulle but those by the lesser-known can be even more interesting. [Eugen Dollmann was both charming and repulsive. A scholar, he went into the SS and translated for Hitler and other Nazis.]

Here are some other unusual memoirs that I recommend:

  • Chronicles of Wasted Time and The Green Stick by Malcolm Muggeridge
  • Churchill by Lord Moran
  • Captured by History by John Toland
  • The Past Has Another Pattern by George Ball
  • On the Border with Crook by John Bourke
  • Unreliable Memoirs by Clive James
  • The Moon's a Balloon by David Niven

Your recommendations?