Monday, January 31, 2022

"Zero Responsibility"

 Writing in The Atlantic, George Packer on the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The Greatest Show on Earth: Debate in the British Parliament

 


An update from the live version.

Think. Ask. Challenge.

Tyranny comes in different forms. It can come in anarchic form. It can come in monarchic and oligarchic forms. It can even come, as the American founders warned, in democratic form. It will come, in whatever form, when people yield to it, censor themselves, stop asking questions.

- Robert P. George


12 Questions

 


  1. Who is - and is not - in the room?
  2. What is - and is not - being measured?
  3. Is everyone operating with the same dictionary and the same calendar?
  4. What are the real and artificial constraints?
  5. Which side cares the least?
  6. Which side is the most impatient?
  7. Have you fallen in love with a proposed course of action?
  8. What is irreversible?
  9. Are you solving the wrong problem?
  10. Are you focusing on the "whats" and glossing over the "hows"?
  11. Which benefit or advantage conceals a significant problem?
  12. Have you considered the advantage of doing nothing?

Something Along the Way

The successful don't start with brilliant ideas . . . they discover them!

- Peter Sims

Recommended

 


Saturday, January 29, 2022

On My List

 


History is THE Subject

 Wally Bock gleans technology and leadership lessons from Agincourt.

Is This Still an Emergency?

Writing in The New Atlantis, M. Anthony Mills asks for a definition of victory over Covid.

52 Years


I am not sure where he found the comparison, but my older brother brought this to my attention the other day:

1918 to 1970: 52 years

1970 to 2022: 52 years

In which 52-year period did the world change the most?


[Photo by Mr. Cup/Fabien Barral at Unsplash]

School Wars in California


 The Alliance for Constructive Ethnic Studies

"Don't Let Ethnic Studies Be Hijacked By A Narrow Ideological Agenda."

Your Obligatory Tesla Fix

 


Friday, January 28, 2022

Don't Side With the Censors

When the choice is between those who would repress opinions and those who would permit those opinions to be expressed. support the second group. 

That group has faith in your ability to make up your own mind.

Crank It Up

 


Zoological Garden of the Mind

The intellectual world of my time alienated me intellectually. It was a Babel of false principles and blind cravings, a zoological garden of the mind, and I had no desire to be one of the beasts.

- George Santayana

The Atlantic's Sad Slide

 Writing in Commentary magazine, Christine Rosen looks at the decline of a once-great magazine.

Italia

 


Great Book Titles


  • "The Last Camel Died at Noon" by Elizabeth Peters
  • "Chronicles of Wasted Time" by Malcolm Muggeridge
  • "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" by Dave Eggers
  • "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" by Hunter S. Thompson
  • Any others?

Loneliness, Social Media, and Alienation


The problems of loneliness, social media, and alienation were already significant when the pandemic came along and made them worse.

Unless there is a direct effort to address them, I see no sign that the post-pandemic practices - the so-called new normal - will produce any improvements.

My hope is that individuals will find the solution despite various groups seeking to tug them in the wrong direction.

This may be one of those "If they give you lined paper, write against the lines" situations.

Modern Times

 


Thursday, January 27, 2022

Holocaust Remembrance Day: Two Novels

I highly recommend both of these:

  • "Life With a Star" by Jiri Weil
  • "The Wall" by John Hersey

Holocaust Remembrance Day

 


Music Break

 


Citizens of the World (and a World Unto Themselves)

Ambitious people understand, then, that a migratory way of life is the price of getting ahead. It is a price they gladly pay, since they associate the idea of home with intrusive relatives and neighbors, small-minded gossip, and "Middle America," as they imagine it: a nation technologically backward, politically reactionary, repressive in its sexual morality, middlebrow in its tastes, smug and complacent, dull and dowdy. Those who covet membership in the new aristocracy of brains tend to congregate on the coasts, turning their back on the heartland and cultivating ties with the international market in fast-moving money, glamour, fashion, and popular culture. It is a question whether they think of themselves as Americans at all. Patriotism, certainly, does not rank very high in their hierarchy of virtues. "Multiculturalism," on the other hand, suits them to perfection, conjuring up the agreeable image of a global bazaar in which exotic cuisines, exotic styles of dress, exotic music, exotic tribal customs can be savored indiscriminately, with no questions asked and no commitments required. The new elites are at home only in transit, en route to a high-level conference, to the ground opening of a new franchise, to an international film festival, or to an undiscovered resort. Theirs is essentially a tourist's view of the world - not a perspective likely to encourage a passionate devotion to democracy.

- From The Revolt of the Elites and The Betrayal of Democracy by Christopher Lasch [published in 1995]

It Takes Two to Have a Conversation

I recently spoke with a friend who had been interrogated by a zealot. She thought she was going to have a conversation (remember conversations?) but the zealot was having none of that, preferring instead to mix questions with accusations. 

Any responses were dismissed because zealots are not interested in hearing the other side. In their minds, there is no other side, you're either ignorant or evil. If you present a cogent argument, then you land in the second category.

My advice is not to attempt to have a conversation with anyone who's sizing you up for a re-education camp.

Or worse.

Modern Times

 


Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Reminder

Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

- George Eliot, Middlemarch

Hmm

 


Straight Out of "Animal Farm"

Biden has taken the position that he will not consider any candidate who is a man or a woman who is white, Asian, Hispanic, or other minority that is not black, no matter how qualified. He would not consider a nominee like Ruth Bader Ginsburg because of the color of her skin. He would not consider Thurgood Marshall because of his gender. Louis Brandeis and Oliver Wendell Holmes would be two-time losers under this policy. Indeed, this is just ironic for those four members of the Supreme Court who have voted consistently to uphold admissions policies based on race. Now their own bench could be the subject of a threshold selection not based on merit.

Read the rest of Jonathan Turley's column here.

In the Background







Evil If True

 Washington Free Beacon in 2019: Did Harvard artificially boost African American rejection rates?

First Paragraph

A few years ago, the University of California system published a document on "microaggressions." In a section titled "myth of meritocracy," one of the supposedly offensive remarks listed was "I believe the most qualified person should get the job." That statement, according to the primer on microaggressions that was also provided in the document, is a "snub" or an "insult."

- From Unassailable Ideas: How Unwritten Rules and Social Media Shape Discourse in American Higher Education by Ilana Redstone and John Villasenor

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."


 

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Uptalk Alert

 


When Escape Becomes Thinking


 When I want to think about a project, one of my best strategies is to engage in an activity completely unrelated to the project - walking, yard work, etc. - so thinking about the project becomes a pleasant diversion from the task at hand.

Geography's Role

 


In the Stack

 


First Paragraph

A fourteen-year-old girl sits cross-legged on the floor of a circular vault. A mass of curls haloes her head; her socks are full of holes. This is Konstance.

- From Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

Monday, January 24, 2022

Very Big News

The Washington Post: Race conscious university admission policies are going to the US. Supreme Court.

"But they have eyes."

Spiked: "The culture war is a class war in disguise" by Batya Ungar-Sargon.

John McWhorter

 


So True

People decline in energy as they advance in years. Some make up with experience and wisdom what they have lost in vitality and agility. But at all ages people commonly mistake the mirror for the window.

- Theodore Levitt

Polluting the Leadership Pool

It is difficult to think of a great leader of yesteryear who would survive the scrutiny of today's cancel culture. That cruel practice discourages the participation of many capable people.

If this trend continues, we eventually will be left with a leadership pool in which raw ambition is blended with a lack of shame.

Re-Fighting Battles


Just as people review military campaigns, so too can we expect a vigorous review of the strategies used against the virus.

Many of the participants will not fare well.

Nitwittery Update

 A university places a trigger warning on "1984" - no surprise.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Grab Some Lectures

Hillsdale College's Center for Constructive Alternatives has an impressive program. Check out the archives.

Out-learn the competition.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Off the Grid


Working on a project. All is good. Will explain later.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Societal Lunacy

 


News You Can Use

Political Calculations provides the price history of Campbell's Tomato Soup.

Some Music You Can't Refuse

 


When a Cult Takes Over a University

 Jordan Peterson on "Why I am no longer a tenured professor at the University of Toronto."

The tide is turning.

[HT: A Large Regular]

Ending Tenure and More

 Tablet magazine: Michael Lind on "Why Ending Tenure is Only a Start." An excerpt:

I have had the privilege of teaching at different times as a graduate student instructor, nontenured faculty member, or professor of practice at Yale, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and the LBJ School at the University of Texas at Austin, which I will depart by choice in the summer of 2022 in order to write full-time. My conclusion, as an outsider with one foot on campus, is that the practices of the producers of higher education and the needs of its consumers are no longer compatible. It is in high school, not college, that American students need to learn skills that allow them to obtain good jobs, innovate, and build wealth, with the help of employer-provided training when appropriate. For most young Americans it is a waste of time and money to spend four years being socialized into the weird woke lingo and thought patterns of a small national oligarchy that the vast majority of Americans can never realistically hope to join.

First Paragraph

In the Swiss canton of St. Gallen, near the northern banks of Lake Zurich, is a village named Bollingen. In 1922, the psychiatrist Carl Jung chose this spot to begin building a retreat. He began with a basic two-story stone house he called the Tower. After returning from a trip to India, where he observed the practice of adding meditation rooms to homes, he expanded the complex to include a private office. "In my retiring room I am by myself," Jung said of the space. "I keep the key with me all the time; no one else is allowed in there except with my permission.

- From Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Follow the Money

 

I can remember when I thought the "National" part of the NBA undoubtedly meant the United States.

Spooky Science

 


Big Changes Are Coming to Campus

Radical politics was a rising force on the campuses, and we were trying to draw attention to the dangers of what was happening while there was still some chance of arresting it. But it's now clear that we failed to stop the slide, because the political radicals on campus never had any interest in what we had to say. Their purposes were not ours. We were interested in the quality of higher education, but what they cared about was getting control of the campuses so they could use them to promote their political ideology, one so unpopular with the general public that it could not have been advanced in any other way. We got to this point not because they didn't foresee the grim result of what they were doing - the virtual destruction of higher education as we have known it - but because they did.

- John M. Ellis in The Breakdown of Higher Education: How It Happened, The Damage It Does, & What Can Be Done

Training Not to See Alternative Worldviews

When I ask a room full of students why someone might support using race in determining college admissions, they usually have a few answers ready. They offer reasonable points like, “to offset historical and current disadvantage” or “because of the unique challenges that members of underrepresented groups face.” But the opposite question—why someone might oppose the use of race in college admissions—often yields one response: racism. When pressed, few students can come up with alternative suggestions; they struggle to think of any principled reason why someone might take that position. The asymmetry in the students’ ability to produce morally reasonable arguments for both positions is particularly notable given that, according to Pew, 73% of Americans agree with the statement that “colleges and universities should not consider race or ethnicity when making decisions about student admissions.”

Read the rest of Ilana Redstone in Tablet on "The Crisis of Moral Legitimacy."


Reason's Limits


An economist and a person who is not an economist are walking down the street. The noneconomist says, "Look, there's a $20 bill on the sidewalk!" The economist replies, "That's impossible; if it were really a $20 bill, it would have been picked up by now."

- Fred Kofman, The Meaning Revolution: Leading with the Power of Purpose


[Photo by Blogging Guide at Unsplash]

Quick Look

 


Tuesday, January 18, 2022

School Closures

New York magazine: Jonathan Chait on why school closures were a catastrophic mistake.

[HT: Althouse]

Modern Architects Should Take Note


Art Contrarian looks at the interior of the Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona.

It's Time to Save Yourself

 


What Happened to Attention Spans?


Check out the following books:



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

Jaron Lanier, Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now

Cal Newport, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Sherry Turkle, Reclaiming Conversation. Also see her earlier book: Life On the Screen.

[Photo by Alexandre Boucher at Unsplash]


Put Down the Smartphone

 In The Guardian, Johann Hari: "Your attention didn't collapse. It was stolen."

[HT: Law Latte]

Monday, January 17, 2022

Modern Times

 The Dorchester Review: The story of "mass graves" in Canada.

Analyzing the Voting Rights Debate

 The Dispatch: Bob Driscoll on debate over the Voting Rights Act.

Saving the Classics

 

The Atlantic: Thomas Chatterton Williams on "Saving the Classics From Identity Politics."

Restoration Man


In my opinion, Patrick Rhone (of Rhoneisms) always achieves Wow in his Whoa to Wow blog.

Content of Character

 


I have a dream my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!

- The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., August 28, 1963

I Support FAIR

 


Sinema and the Haters

 Jonathan Turley on the ACLU and Senator Sinema.

Whether one agrees or disagrees with Senator Sinema's positions, the attacks on her have been reprehensible and they erode the potential for reasonable debate.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Question Authority and Catch-22

Matt Taibbi talks with author Walter Kirn.

I have to re-read Catch-22.

Computer, a.k.a.The Distraction Machine.



[Photo by John Schnobrich at Unsplash]

Blogs for Life


Wally Bock asks a key question: "What good can we make of this?"

Rick Georges weighs in with "Why I Don't Wear a Mask Anymore."

A Layman's Blog and The Hammock Papers and Nicholas Bate always have tips on life. 

Cultural Offering is a daily reminder of a life well lived.


[Photo by Bewakoof.com Official at Unsplash]

Stop the Decline

 


Ten Minutes

 


A leadership retreat to prepare. Two book projects. Some presentation coaching for engineers. Coaching for executives and managers. An analysis of the equal opportunity problems of a large organization. Multiple zoom meetings and follow-up actions. Billing. Marketing. Administrative chores.

And the floor around my desk is filled with books.

All of the above means nothing

What matters is what happens in the next ten minutes.

And then the next ten.

On My List

 


Start the Weekend Right

 


Dictators: The Main Thing


When analyzing the management of dictatorial regimes, it is important to keep in mind that such regimes are not designed to be efficient or effective. They are designed to keep the dictator in power.

Everything else is secondary.

The Abolition of Biological Sex

 Andrew Sullivan: "The Trans Movement is Not About Rights Anymore."

Just in Case

The British created a civil service job in 1803 calling for a man to stand on the Cliffs of Dover with a spyglass. He was supposed to ring a bell if he saw Napoleon coming. The job was abolished in 1945.

- Robert Townsend

Friday, January 14, 2022

Woke Essentialism: The New Racism

 According to this worldview, you are simply a fault line at the intersection of the tectonic plates of group identity. You aren't really a free agent in the world, but simply a member of your "group" who is supposed to advance your group's interests. Your race isn't just the color your skin happens to be. It's essential to your voice, your ideas, and your identity. This is what woke essentialism is all about: it posits that your genetically inherited attributes are the true essence of who you are.

- Vivek Ramaswamy, Woke, Inc.

Modern Times

One of the largest hospital systems in the United States gave race more weight than diabetes, obesity, asthma, and hypertension combined in its allocation scheme for COVID treatments, only to reverse the policy after threats of legal action.

Read the rest in The Washington Free Beacon.

Theme Song

 


My Attitude Exactly

People say I don't take criticism very well, but I say what the hell do they know?

- Groucho Marx

Batman

 


Read, Then Discuss


The material is not sent out in advance. It is given to them at the meeting. A sizable amount of time is provided so everyone can read the report and its recommended action. The participants then discuss the proposed action and, in most cases, a decision is reached.

The approach's level of effectiveness can vary with the complexity of the decision and the quality of the report but, all in all, that is not a bad way to elicit informed discussion.

Why I Live in the Desert

 


Thursday, January 13, 2022

The Supreme Court Weighs In

The Washington Free Beacon: The U.S. Supreme Court decides on the vaccine mandates.

Our Current Situation

A Large Regular has an observation by C. S. Lewis that could have been written yesterday.

As for those who publicly pushed what turned out to be false stories, you'll wait in vain for their acknowledgement and apologies.

Scribbling a Draft


Scribble the draft and then leave it alone.

Return later with fresh eyes and new ideas.

Scribble again.

Repeat as often as needed.

Happiness via Purpose

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

Crank It Up

 


Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Through the Scar Tissue

Exercising leadership is a way of giving meaning to your life by contributing to the lives of others. At its best, leadership is a labor of love. Opportunities for these labors cross your path every day, though we appreciate through the scar tissue of our own experiences that seizing these opportunities takes heart.

- From Leadership on the Line by Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky

Uma's Back

 


Training Guidelines

 


Generalizations to connect the material. Examples to explain the material. Sprinkle in the new but not simply because it is new. Contrast it with previous practices and show differences, flaws or advantages. Avoid repeating what is already known but consider reminders of points they may have forgotten. [Many of us attend training to be reminded.] 

Know what is essential and which items can be jettisoned in the interest of time. Omit jargon. Vary your tone. Give plenty of short breaks. Move along at a good pace. 

The ending should leave audience members just a little hungry for more. They should be confident and equipped with practical knowledge that can put to immediate use.

If you are especially excited about a particular portion of the class, consider eliminating it.

Hollywood's Diversity Quotas


Peter Kiefer and Peter Savodnik on "Hollywood's New Rules."

No viewpoint diversity, of course.


[Photo by Thea Hdc at Unsplash]

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

True

 We've heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true.

- Robert Wilensky

Big Brother is Working Remotely

 


A Visit to the Dermatologist

 Those of us who grew up in Arizona are like old lizards. Back in my youth - during the Grant administration - there was never any mention of sun screen. Some people, more genteel, used sun lotion to enhance their tan but the rest of us simply swam and ran about. When not contemplating Greek philosophy, we thought of avoiding sun burn.

In our autumn and winter years, however, the tally for our youthful negligence has come due. We regularly visit the dermatologist to get body portions burnt, frozen, or cut off. Fortunately, the dermatologists are sociable types and their small talk is soothing as they zap the top of your head with dry ice.

The pain doesn't kick in until you reach your car.

That will be part of today's schedule. 

I have a big meeting on Thursday. I'm sure I'll look great.

Everyone's Home

 "You feel instantly at home when you arrive in Kenya because Kenya was once everyone's home!"

- Richard Leakey

Extraordinarily Popular

 


Monday, January 10, 2022

Remembering Dobie Gillis

Ann Althouse has the update. I recall the show as charming and edgy.

The book, of course, was better.

The Charisma of Charisma

Bloomberg Opinion: Adrian Wooldridge notes "Don't Give Up on the Charismatic CEO."

Modern Times

“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

First Paragraph

"Global was born in the age of aeronautics and Sputnik, with great circles wheeling around the planet bereft of topographical restrictions. Global back then implied something visceral about movement, maintained in the world of tourism, commerce, and overnight shipping. Increasingly, however, global has become a parasitic adjective: global industries, global science, global news, global education, global exchange, global warming, global imperialism, global war on terror, global markets, global jihadism, global integration, and so on. How many globals can a person comprehend? We live in a globalized world of global globalism."

- From Digital Stockholm Syndrome in the Post-Ontological Age by Mark Jarzombek

Reading Rules


 A great post at Cultural Offering with one exception: don't stay away from Proust.

Hollywood's Idealism

 


Watch What Happens to This

 


Saturday, January 08, 2022

We Need This

 


Roles


Many years ago I told a large group of Human Resources professionals that they seemed to have three main roles: consultant, clerk, and cop. 

I urged them to reduce the cop role while increasing the consultant one. 

Areas of emphasis will change, of course, depending upon circumstances but you'll generally want to lean in the direction which provides the greatest overall effectiveness.

What is your primary role? What are the secondary ones?

When Techies Dream

 


The Movement Against Women's Sports


 A new form of misogyny is taking hold in contemporary culture. It comes in the guise of a liberationist philosophy, a transformational movement dedicated to open-mindedness. Its advocates believe they are ushering in a world in which one can be whomever one chooses to be. And in doing so, they are treating womanhood itself—the defining feature of half of humankind—as though it is a disposable commodity.

- Christine Rosen in her Commentary magazine essay, "The New Misogyny."




Friday, January 07, 2022

Hmm

 


Alexis the Great

When the past no longer illuminates the future, the spirit walks in darkness.

- Alexis de Tocqueville

Sidney Poitier, R.I.P.

 


Peter Bogdanovich, R.I.P.

 


Some Time with Professor Robert George

 


Fears and Dreams

We must not be afraid of dreaming the seemingly impossible if we want the seemingly impossible to become a reality.

- Vaclav Havel

"We Americans, of all stripes, have a great deal in common"


First Things: Glenn C. Loury on "The Case for Black Patriotism." An excerpt:

"Connections among various groups in America could be stronger if we focused more on the things we have in common than on the things that divide us. Those who make their living by focusing on our differences believe there is something fundamentally wrong with America. They're wrong. We should resist their divisive rhetoric. It is easy to overstate the racial problems facing our country, and to understate what we've achieved."



[Photo by J Dean at Unsplash]

Before It Slides Down the Memory Hole

Time magazine: When celebrities urged Electoral College members to dump Trump.

Thursday, January 06, 2022

Polar Bears, Forest Fires, and Hurricanes


For some contrast to the usual stories, check out the Environmental Progress site.


[Photo by Jason Hillier at Unsplash]

No "Sound of Music"

 


Succession-Planning Problem

 

Kurt Harden at Cultural Offering discovers that the last shoe repair shop in town has closed.

[Quick! Snag that retiree and get him to train a successor!]

We have a shoe repair shop in our Phoenix neighborhood. It's run by an immigrant from Russia. Friendly. Diligent. Does good work, but he's not young.

How many shoe repair shops are out there?

Protecting the Law


“What would you do, cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? … and when the law was down and the Devil turned round on you, where would you hide … the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws from coast to coast. Man’s laws, not God’s. And if you cut them down … do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I give the Devil benefit of law for my own safety’s sake.”

—Robert Bolt, "A Man for All Seasons”

Take It Easy on Yourself


There is a myth that most people are easy on themselves. 

Reality does not support that. 

With rare exceptions, people hold themselves to impossible standards. They are cold-blooded prosecutors of their most minor infractions. No statute of limitations is recognized. Stupid or cruel remarks made in elementary or high school can be quickly cited. Their most minor mistakes can be rapidly catalogued and footnoted.

The same people who would urge a friend to get real and put the past in perspective somehow lose all compassion when looking in a mirror.

If you are among this crowd, it is time to abandon those lingering regrets. They get you nowhere and are colossally unfair. You would not judge others that harshly. Stop judging yourself. 

A fresh horizon awaits you.

When You're Ready for Your Home Gym

Nothing here about using treadmills as clothes racks.

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Biden or the Bureaucrats?

Commentary magazine: Noah Rothman on the behind-the-scenes challenge posed by the bureaucracy.

On My List

 


Famous (and Infamous) Rationalizations

 


  • It's our policy.
  • We were just following orders.
  • I didn't know.
  • It may be wrong but it's legal.
  • We knew, but no complaint had been filed.
  • When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
  • We were fighting fire with fire.
  • Everybody does it.
  • No one told me.
  • We did it, but they were worse.
  • The end justified the means.
  • We had no choice.
  • We didn't lie. We just didn't tell the whole story.
  • We used a different definition.
  • I had other loyalties.
  • They would have done it to me.
  • We had to meet a deadline.
  • It was either that or lose my job.
  • No one told us to stop.
  • It's for a good cause.

Retreat



I am preparing a retreat for a group of executives. We'll be reviewing key leadership elements along with plenty of exercises that should stimulate debate and hone perspectives. There will be reminders as well as some items they may never have encountered because, as a notably eccentric consultant, I glean items from history, business, government, sports, and philosophy.

If they enjoy the retreat as much as I am enjoying its preparation, the event will be a success.


[Photo by Per Lööv at Unsplash]

First Paragraph

 In January 1933, when Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany, he inherited the best-led, best-trained, and arguably the most-modern army in the world. The process of creating the tactical doctrine of this army and the incorporation of this doctrine into the army's weapons, organization, and war plans are the primary concerns of this work. In the immediate aftermath of World War I, German Army leaders, on their own initiative, began to analyze the lessons of that war carefully, and they set out to create a military system that would be a great improvement on the admittedly impressive one of the old Imperial Army.

- From The Roots of Blitzkrieg: Hans von Seeckt and German Military Reform by James S. Corum

Nicely Done

 


Tuesday, January 04, 2022

Flashback

 


Memories of Driving I-95

 Traffic was a little crazy when I worked in Washington, DC and yet.

Kubrick

Althouse admits that she has not seen all of Stanley Kubrick's films.

Neither have I. 

It's nice to learn that I am not the only person who has never watched "Spartacus." 

A great film-maker, of course, but how many of his films would you want to watch more than once? Do I really want to see "Clockwork Orange" or "The Shining" or "Barry Lyndon" again?

On the other hand, "Dr. Strangelove" is a multi-view movie.


Universities and Covid

 Common Sense: Marty Makary on "Universities' Covid policies defy science and reason."

Didion

 


Focus Pocus

Nice people will interrupt you. Attractive projects will distract you. Good deeds will soak up time. Needed rest will take you to bed. Sunrises. Sunsets. Clouds. Beauty. Love. Nature.

Not everything that erodes your focus is bad.

That's why life is complicated. Sometimes you need to get off track. Sometimes the track is a trench.

The Great Woke North

 Tara Henley on why she resigned from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Big Picture

 It's not sufficient for the senior leadership team to have real work; it also must be crystal clear to members what the ultimate purpose of the work is.

- Ruth Wageman, Debra A. Nunes, James A. Burruss, and J. Richard Hackman in Senior Leadership Teams: What It Takes to Make Them Great

Monday, January 03, 2022

Free Speech for Me, But Not for Thee

 Reason magazine: Nick Gillespie on a taxonomy of cancel culture.

It All Gets Back to Virtue

“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”

- Benjamin Franklin

Drink Up

A Large Regular has Neil Gaiman's video on "The Wonderful Weirdness of Water." 

One Day

 


First Paragraph


The first signs of the next shift began to reveal themselves to me on a spring afternoon in the year 2000. That was when I began to notice people on the streets of Tokyo staring at their mobile phones instead of talking to them. The sight of this behavior, now commonplace, in much of the world, triggered a sensation I have experienced a few times before - the instant recognition that a technology is going to change my life in ways I can scarcely imagine. Since the practice of exchanging short test messages via mobile telephones has led to the eruption of subcultures in Europe and Asia. At least one government has fallen, in part because of the way people used text messaging. Adolescent mating rituals, political activism, and corporate management styles have mutated in unexpected ways.

- From Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution by Howard Rheingold


[Photo by Beth Macdonald at Unsplash]

Nature Film

 


Sunday, January 02, 2022

Saturday, January 01, 2022

Fascinating

 


New Year's Resolutions and Reality Checks


Wally Bock provides clarity.

Questionable Progress

Was it actually moral to discard the "content of our character" and "equal opportunity" principles of the prior Civil Rights movement of 60 years ago? Are their replacement fixations on the "color of our skin" and "equality of result" superior?

Read all of Victor Davis Hanson's essay in Real Clear Politics.

A Big Wave


Universities. Elementary and high schools. Corporations. Churches. The news media. Professional organizations. Political parties. Big tech. School boards. Hollywood.

What is coming their way?

A wave of changes.

And 2022 will simply be the beginning.


[Photo by Matt Paul Catalano at Unsplash]