Wednesday, June 30, 2021

The Study

You can find
a lot of interesting things in The Study.

This is Really Fly


The Exceptions

Oliver Wendell Holmes once observed that the young men know the rules but the old men know the exceptions.

I'd offer the additional observation that in any given organization, while some people know how to get things done, many people know how to screw things up. 

Donald Rumsfeld, RIP

Donald Rumsfeld has passed.

An extraordinary man. Rest in Peace.

Modern Times

Quick Look



I don't compose. I assemble materials.

- Aaron Copland

We Fight the Jungle Every Day

Every day is a battle against the jungle of complications in our lives. 

Left unchecked, matters become entangled, distractions fall from trees, and paths are overgrown.

It becomes very easy to lose one's bearings.

Every single day. 

Order flees if neglected while its relentless adversary thrives on inattention.

[Photo by Max Böhme at Unsplash]

San Franciscans Look at Relocating

The Chamber of Commerce poll contains no surprises.

Sad. A beautiful city brought down by incompetent political leaders, most of whom were probably supported by the residents who now want to flee.

[Photo by Brandon Nelson at Unsplash]

First Paragraph

The body lay in the middle of the room between the table and the bed. Anyone looking at it from the door would have mistaken it for a bulging sack. It lay huddled up, face buried in the carpet.

- From The Night of the Generals by Hans Hellmut Kirst

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Just In

Very Early Sopranos


The Lab-Leak Theory Cover-Up

James B. Meigs writes a thought-provoking and even rather scary analysis in Commentary magazine. An excerpt:

During the Trump years, we heard a lot of hand-wringing about the public’s unwarranted “distrust” of our society’s designated experts and leaders. But to be trusted, people and institutions have to be trustworthy. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed a profound corruption at the heart of our expert class. The impact of that revelation will reverberate for years to come.

Curse You, Wally Bock!

Once again, Wally Bock has added to my book expenditures.

I was snared as soon as he placed The CEO Test in the same league as The Effective Executive.

First Paragraph

"Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor crossed. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him by the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned: - Introibo ad altare Dei."

- From Ulysses by James Joyce

The Coddling of the American Mind


Monday, June 28, 2021

I Assume the Pay Was Very Good


One Hour a Day

A recommended daily habit: Replace one hour of screen time with one hour of reading in your job's subject area.

It can be a major boost both in the short and long term.

Rotunda Triggering

Jonathan Turley examines the latest lunacy. 

You can imagine what they'd say about The British Museum. 

Free Speech, the Colorado Baker, and Live and Let Live

 Barbara Kay at The Post Millennial weighs in on the old and new cases involving Jack Phillips, a baker who asserts his religious beliefs.

"Great minds don't always think alike"

 Diversity of thought is promoted by the Heterodox Academy.

Get Ready for the Week

[Photo by Xiang Gao at Unsplash]

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Baker Street Irregulars

The Sherlock Holmes Society of London.

Bringing Home The Middle Ages

The Society for Creative Anachronism.

Nike: Just Surrender It


"Nike is a brand that is of China and for China."

- Nike CEO John Donahoe

It is a sign of the moral confusion of our times that in some circles, Mr. Donahoe would have gotten more criticism if he'd said, "Nike is a brand that is of the United States and for the United States."

[Update: spelling correction.]

[Photo by Shuja Official at Unsplash]

Better Sooner Than Later

Where, if anywhere, do we draw the line between the computer and the self? When, if ever, do we turn to the machine and say, "Back off. I've got this"?

- Nicholas Carr




Those only are happy, who have their minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness; on the happiness of others, on the improvement of mankind, even on some art or pursuit, followed not as a means, but as itself an ideal end. Aiming thus at something else, they find happiness by the way.

- John Stuart Mill

The True, the Good and the Beautiful


Recognizing Reality

Wally Bock, a wise realist, notes that 100 percent of managers fail.

Just In


Thursday, June 24, 2021

The Stack and a Goal

The stack on my desk will be gone by this afternoon. It is unsightly and demoralizing. Based on experience, I can assume that something helpful or urgent is hiding near the bottom.

And removing the stack will contribute to a major goal: a state of calm. 

Let others go for excitement. I opt for the calm camp.

Films with Perspective


Odd Strategy

Judging from the popularity of this practice, there must be a management program somewhere that says you can tell people how evil they are and then expect to have their support in the future.

[Photo by Leon at Unsplash]

We are Sooo Unworthy

Commentary magazine: Noah Rothman writes about those who decide to self-cancel their programs or careers.

[Photo by Victor Rodriguez at Unsplash]

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Talking about "Doom"


The Level of Public Debate

"The conflicts in which I became involved over the ensuing years, brought home to me just how low the level of public debate had sunk in Britain. On the left there seemed to be no response to the enormous changes introduced by mass immigration except to describe everyone who attempted to discuss the matter as a 'racist'. This crime resembled the crime of being an émigré in Revolutionary France, or a bourgeois in Lenin's Russia: the accusation was proof of guilt. And yet nobody ever told us what the crime consisted in. I was reminded of Defoe's comment, at the time of the Popery Act of 1698, that 'the streets of London are full of stout fellows prepared to fight to the death against Popery, without knowing whether it be a man or a horse'."

- Roger Scruton in How to be a Conservative

Quick Look


Nice to Know

 "Lovely book but was a little bent from shipping but not enough to return."

- A reader's review of a book on Amazon

The Handrail

"Tradition does not mean that you never do anything new, but that you will never fall below the standard of courage and conduct handed down to you. Then tradition, far from being handcuffs to cramp your action, will be a handrail to guide and steady you in rough places." 

- William Slim

Films for Perspective


Let's Have a Letter Revival

Remember letters? You know, from way back in the days before phone calls and faxes and email and texting?

Those odd things that you might spend a chunk of time writing and then you'd mail them and not expect an answer that afternoon. It might be a week or so before you'd seriously expect a reply. And when you received a letter, you might study the letterhead and the quality of the paper and, of course, the person's signature.

I still have letters from several decades ago. 

[I even have some letters that an ancestor of mine wrote to his parents while he was serving in the Union cavalry during the Civil War. The quality of his handwriting puts mine to shame.]

It's time to revive the practice of writing letters. Go all the way. Get some nice stationery and a decent fountain pen and handwrite those gems.

Believe me, they will be favorably noticed.

First Paragraph

As I write, highly civilised human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me.

- George Orwell, in his 1941 essay "England Your England."

Modern Times

May Be Ready for This


Tuesday, June 22, 2021

The Transient You

"The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting, and as temporary, as all the people you've ever been."

- Dan Gilbert

Circle Beards?

Cultural Offering has evidence that many people have lost their minds.

Turn Off Your Television

Glenn Greenwald: Rachel Maddow fends off a defamation case by using a famous defense.

Huddle in the Niches

Althouse: A story sparks the question: what is the last time there was a television program that everyone watched?

Films for Perspective: A Series




Some Noise Up Yonder

I am working at home today and the roofers arrived at six. 

Not that blame them. If I were a roofer in Phoenix, I'd want to arrive at four, although today is expected to be a bit cooler, topping off at a mere 108 degrees.

My dog, of course, responded with a Werewolf of London routine, but has now calmed down and is napping near my desk. At least I think she's napping. She may be plotting some form of dog justice against the owners who'd permit such disruption. 

A few weeks ago, it was a coyote. Now it's roofers.

And the guy who's replacing a broken irrigation valve has yet to arrive.

Today is an exercise in focus.

The Mysterious Class Lengths

As a management consultant, I occasionally conduct workshops. When preparing a class, the initial question centers on the amount of information the participants will need in a particular subject area. The question turns to how much time will be needed to convey that information. Most of my classes take only a half-day while a few require six or seven hours.

That process has caused me to wonder about the magical way in which college classes take roughly the same amount of time, regardless of the subject matter. Obviously, a college class is not the same as a management workshop but most of us recall classes where the professors engaged in no small amount of "padding." As a student, I thought they were simply indulging in a pleasant diversion. As an instructor, I now see that many - not all - of them were stretching out the time needed to cover material that could have been easily addressed in a much shorter period.

Imagine a structure in which a multitude of subjects is handled in three to five weeks. You could gain exposure to many subjects that are now unavailable. Back in my old undergraduate days when I minored in History, I took classes in the history of Britain, France, Mexico, the United States, and the Soviet Union. I regret not having taken classes in German, Italian, and Chinese history. 

In a streamlined system, I might have been able to do so.

The Book-Burners Are Out There

 Common Sense with Bari Weiss: Abigail Shrier on "The Books Are Already Burning."

A Hiring Decision: Who Would Play Harry Bosch?


NYC Political Theater


A candidate's poster from 1965.

The New York City primary election is today.

Films for Perspective: A Series


Monday, June 21, 2021

For The Dickens Fans Out There


Knowledge Enters a Black Hole

 City Journal: Heather Mac Donald sees science succumbing to wokeness.

In the Stack





Data, the novelist and critic Cynthia Oznick once wrote, is "memory without history." Her observation points to the fundamental problem with allowing smartphones and the companies that program them to commandeer our brains. When we constrict our capacity for reasoning and recall, or transfer those skills to a machine or a corporation, we sacrifice the ability to turn information into knowledge. We get the data but lose the meaning. Barring a cultural course correction, that may be the Internet's most enduring legacy.

- Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: How the Internet is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember

Changing Times

Old line: "If you knew what they know, you'd understand."

New line: "If you knew how much they don't know, you'd understand."

Watch Out for the Slash Mark

Many matters are not either/or. They may be both/and.

But watch out for the slash mark. 

A lot of life is lived in a hazy territory that is in-between.

Interesting Websites: A Series

The websites for: 

So Many Blogs, So Little Time

Foley Music and Arts: 21 Blogs (and Newsletters) I Read in 2021.

[HT: Cultural Offering]

Sunday, June 20, 2021


Whenever I leave a restaurant, I always stop by a random table and say, “Thank you for taking care of our check.”

- Steve Martin

A Noted Father's Entrance Music


Happy 40th Anniversary to Texas Leigh

 One of my loyal readers. My guess is she is probably with her husband near the River Walk in San Antonio.

Not a bad place to be.

The Not-So-Cowardly Lion

John Lahr remembers his father, Bert.

Happy Father's Day

[Photo by Jon Tyson at Unsplash]

Saturday, June 19, 2021

News You Can Use

Cultural Offering has an important grammatical guide.



FAIR's Advisors

The Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism [FAIR] has an impressive Board of Advisors.


Political Calculations tells the story behind George Dempster's Dumpster.

A Warm Family Film, Just in Time for Father's Day


Bock: On Sharing Ideas

Take a few minutes, visit Wally Bock's blog, and read the story of a remarkable man named Vic.


[Photo by Austin Ramsey at Unsplash]

Glenn Loury and John McWhorter

Modern Times

Friday, June 18, 2021

It Was a Different Country Back Then


Brief, Bright, and Always on Point

Nicholas Bate, a man of action and ideas, scribbling, thinking, and hidden away in the wilds of Oxford.

[Photo by Toa Heftiba at Unsplash]

Find Your Style

[Photo by Serhiy Hipskyy at Unsplash]

Pick One

We must all suffer from one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.

- Jim Rohn

An Approaching Meteor? Some Steak and Chocolate Would Be in Order.


Hiring Tip

We look for three things when we hire people. We look for intelligence, we look for initiative or energy, and we look for integrity. And if they don't have the latter, the first two will kill you, because if you're going to get someone without integrity, you want them lazy and dumb.

- Warren Buffett

The People's Republic of Campus

The American Mind: Habi Zhang reflects on her experience in Maoist China and the current climate at American universities.

[Over the years, I have gotten notes from readers who insisted that the oppressive climate on campuses was not a matter of concern. No big deal! I wish they had been correct. We are going to pay the price of squelched thought and banned speech for a long time.]



The Flip-Side of the To-Do List

The flip-side of the "To-Do" list should always be the "Not To-Do" list. 

It may be far more important.

[Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters at Unsplash]

A Few Rules I Try to Follow


Focus on the next ten minutes. Preach what you practice. Fend off fanatics. Take regular breaks from technology. Hoard time. Ignore small irritations. Pay attention to small kindnesses. Appreciate the beauty of a moment. Be wary of drift. Chop back the jungle. Get it done.

[Photo by Maja R at Unsplash]

Interesting Websites: A Series

The websites for:

Films for Perspective


Thursday, June 17, 2021

Love Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry


A Pessimistic Optimist

 The Guardian interviews Chinamanda Ngozi Adichie.

There are many gatekeepers out there.

First Paragraph

 On June 27, 2017, something strange and terrible began to ripple out across the infrastructure of the world.

- From Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin's Most Dangerous Hackers  by Andy Greenberg


Without conscious intent or explicit planning of anyone in particular, rapidly-evolving technology has turned us into a nation of matchers. Today it is easier than ever before to be on a quest for people like ourselves, for an indistinguishable mate. For the ideal hobby, for the perfect meal and the perfect app to photograph our pets. We match on our own, or, more and more, algorithms guide us. matches us in love, Spotify and Pandora match our taste in music. Software matches college roommates. Linkedin matches executives and employees. Facebook helps us reconnect with our past - our old neighbors, our old boyfriends - and more generally even brings us to just the right news and advertisements, or at least what we think is just right.

- Tyler Cowen in The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for The American Dream (2017)

Interesting Websites: A Series

The websites for:

A Five Minute Conversation

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

You Are Not a Racist to Criticize Critical Race Theory

John McWhorter's timely essay should be circulated to school boards.

"A mature society cannot continue in this way."

Films for Perspective



Focus on the next ten minutes, then the ten minutes beyond that, and so on.

Do what you need to do. That is your sole goal in that time period.

If it is a crisis, focus on the next two minutes. Many a crisis has been overcome two minutes at a time.

And yes, there are times when you focus on the next ten seconds.

[Photo by Jasper Garratt at Unsplash]

Interesting Websites: A Series

The websites for:

Tuesday, June 15, 2021


Althouse points to a new perspective which asserts that joking about your own lockdown weight gain is fatphobia.

Very interesting. Such perspectives have made a bigger man out of me.

The New McCarthyism

Reason: Composer Daniel Elder makes a statement against arson and a mob goes after his career.

"I chose to be that guy who didn't issue the apology," he says. "Things went from there and it wasn't good."

How Social Media Makes Us Unsociable


Old and New Styles of Argument

Old Style: Listen carefully and look for issues on which there may be agreement as well as disagreement. Be prepared for a discussion in which both sides are willing to be persuaded.

New Style: Quickly determine if the person is in your camp. If that's not the case, then attack the person's values, knowledge, sincerity, intelligence, and/or identity. Be prepared to launch further attacks. The merit of the other person's argument is not worthy of consideration because the other side's positions are inherently evil, racist, ignorant, and/or dumb.

Old Style: Try to find common ground.

New Style: There is no common ground. If you look for it, then there may be something wrong with you.

Old Style: Concede weak points.

New Style: Concede nothing. Your side has no weak points and the other side is evil.

Old Style: Defend your position.

New Style: Defend nothing. Stay on the offensive.

Old Style: Strive for logical consistency.

New Style: Logic is a trap and it is not a requirement for your side. All evidence favoring the opposing viewpoints is false and irrelevant.

Old Style: The same rules should apply to both sides.

New Style: Your side doesn't have to follow rules. Rules only apply to the other side.

Old Style: Tell the truth.

New Style: There is no objective truth. Tell your truth. Either ignore whatever the other side calls truth or use it as a snare to trip up their arguments. Never concede that any "truth" weakens your side.

Welcome to the new world.

[Photo by icons8 team at Unsplash]

Christopher Rufo's Critical Race Theory Documentary


Cultures with embedded habits, like individuals with habits, are hard to change. All the ligaments and tendons of Washington's permanent apparatus - civil servants, lobbyists, lawyers, contractors, media, and politicians - are conditioned to play their roles in its giant bureaucratic apparatus. Big change is literally inconceivable to them: "Why, no, that's not how we do things here." The million or so public employees, lobbyists, and other stakeholders are dug in. Civil servants have a phrase for resisting any efforts at change: "WEBEHWYGs" (pronounced WEE-BEE-WIGS), or "We'll be here when you're gone."

- Philip K. Howard in Try Common Sense: Replacing the Failed Ideologies of Right and Left

Monday, June 14, 2021

Multi-Lingual Orientation


Detracking in the Schools

Commentary magazine: Christine Rosen on the war on excellence.

Nostalgic for the Days When Eisenhower Met with Macmillan, De Gaulle, and Adenauer


Simon's Advice

Don't listen to those who say, you are taking too big a chance. Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor, and it would surely be rubbed out by today. Most important, don't listen when the little voice of fear inside you rears its ugly head and says "They are all smarter than you out there. They're more talented, they're taller, blonder, prettier, luckier, and they have connections." I firmly believe that if you follow a path that interests you, not to the exclusion of love, sensitivity, and cooperation with others, but with the strength of conviction that you can move others by your own efforts, and do not make success or failure the criteria by which you live, the chances are you'll be a person worthy of your own respect.

- Neil Simon

Flag Day

[Photo by Jordan Crawford at Unsplash]

If Seclusion Has Ever Appealed to You

Check out Mountain Living magazine.

Books for Dad

The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway. IMO: Hemingway's short stories are often better than his novels. [It's hard to beat the memoir of his early days in Paris: A Moveable Feast.]

Future Crimes by Marc Goodman. A security expert looks at what can be done with our technology. Damned scary.

Maverick: A Biography of Thomas Sowell by Jason L. Riley. I'm getting this one for myself.

Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by Sherry Turkle. One of the best books I've read in a long time.

Tai-Pan and Shogun by James Clavell. Your father's probably read them but he should read them again.

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Beautifully plotted and beautifully written.

The Teammates by David Halberstam. Ted Williams is dying and some of his old teammates head to Florida for a final visit.

Into Africa by Martin Dugard. Stanley and Livingstone resembled space explorers. An amazing story.

The Fall of France: The Nazi Invasion of 1940 by Julian Jackson. Much of what you've heard about that fall wasn't true.

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. The Battle of Gettysburg had a distinct characteristic: the opposing generals knew one another. A classic.

The Wonderful Country by Tom Lea. An upscale western with a sharp eye on the border.

The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe. A novel that tells more about our time than the newspapers.

The Fortunes of War by Olivia Manning. This contains The Balkan Trilogy and The Levant Trilogy. Two of the best novels about World War II and not a battlefield in sight.

Father's Day is Coming Up

[Photo by Tim Mossholder at Unsplash]

Steyn: Civilization and a Matter of Urgency

In general, our leaders are urgent about nothing that matters and not in the least bit urgent about things that matter very much.

Read all of Mark Steyn's address to Hillsdale College's National Leadership Seminar.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

First Paragraph

It seemed, as I tossed and turned far into the night, maddened by a dripping tap I was too irresolute to fix, that I owed too many people too many things.

- From The Egg Shaped Thing by Christopher Hodder-Williams

Cal Newport and Social Media


How Can the Malls Be Saved?

Many once-thriving shopping malls are now deserted.

If you were hired to re-vitalize shopping malls, what would you do?

[Photo by Irving Trejo at Unsplash]

The Sound of Our Lives

The crow of a rooster. Two carpenters talking at their work in another room. The tick-tock of a clock on the wall. The rumble of your own stomach. Each sound can be thought of as meaning something, if it is meaning you want. After some years of living with roosters, I know that their crow does not mean that the sun is coming up because they crow off and on all day long with their silly, fierce heads thrown back and the barnyard breeze in their tail feathers. Maybe it means that they are remembering the last time it came up or thinking ahead to the next time. Maybe it means only that they are roosters being roosters. The voices and hammering in the other room mean that not everybody in the world sits around mooning over the past, but that the real business of life goes on and somewhere the job is getting done; means, too, that life is a mystery. What are they talking about? What are they making? The ticking of the clock is death's patter song and means that time passes and passes and passes, whatever time is. The rumbling stomach means hunger and lunch. But meaning in that sense is not the point, or at least not my point. My point is that all those sounds together, or others like them, are the sound of our lives.

- From The Sacred Journey: A Memoir of Early Days by Frederick Buechner

Interesting Websites: A Series

The websites for:

Paul Miller's Year Away from the Internet


Thursday, June 10, 2021

Computer Wrestling

Strange things with my computer. 

[I knew that buying one from Yugoslavian war surplus was risky but the price was great.]

I note this in case the posts become erratic.

On My List


The Advantage of Coaching

The pandemic rapidly dried up most of my training workshops but, although somewhat reduced, the coaching sessions continued. Some were done over Zoom or Teams while others were in person but with a reasonable amount of distance. None of my coaching clients was infected.

Which brings up a point. A key advantage of coaching versus training is you get to know the people. You can see them improve. You can spot the areas that need reinforcement and the ones that are squared away. You hear about their progress.

Careful listening. Eye contact. A passion for the practical. I could go on with what is needed in a good coach.

The key ingredient for the coaching client, however, is simple: the person must be coachable. If that is not present, then all else is wasted. 

Fortunately, most people are receptive.

P.S. There's always one person who is silently coached throughout the process: me.

Interesting Websites: A Series

The websites for:

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Good Times Ahead


Time to Re-Read


Spam Issues

Due to a recent onslaught of spam, comments on this blog have been blocked. It's easier to block comments for a while than to delete massive numbers of worthless messages.

We live in strange times.

I hope to open up for comments in the near future after researching more creative ways of dealing with spammers.

Bear with me.


Many people are starting to realize that they work a lot and that working on stuff they believe in (and making things happen) is much more satisfying than just getting a paycheck and waiting to get fired (or die).

- Seth Godin in 2008

Interesting Websites: A Series

The websites for: 



Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Sherry Turkle: Alone Together


Modern Times


The thing I most admire about Omar Bradley is his gentleness. He was never known to issue an order to anybody of any rank without saying 'please' first."

- Will Lang, Jr. on five-star General of the Army Omar Bradley



If Some Business Books Were Conversations

"That's what I faced. Do you want to know how I solved it?"


"First, let me tell you about the organizations that tried different approaches."

"That's okay, just tell me  . . . ."

"There were several in Europe, one in Asia, and four in the United States."

[Two hours later.]

"I studied their examples and, after some heated arguments with my team, decided their situations were not applicable."

"What did you do?"

"My strategy was similar to the one used by the Germans and completely the opposite to those used by the Japanese firm."

"And that was?"

[Two more hours later.]

"You might say my plan comes down to three words: innovation, insight, and review. I suppose I could have said that at the start, but I figured you would want the big picture. Wait, where are you going?"

[Sound of door closing.]

Interesting Websites: A Series

The websites for: