Thursday, November 30, 2023

Good Times Ahead


Past Cochise's Stronghold

This morning, I drove home past the Dragoon Mountains in southern Arizona. Beautiful. A storm was moving in. Passed a herd of Black Angus cattle in ranching country. 

The quiet country life has definite appeal.

It Seems as If That Once Upon a Time, There Were More Interesting People


Wednesday, November 29, 2023

My Zone of Indifference is Growing

 For years, I have advised my clients to develop a Zone of Indifference in which they can place subjects which deserve prolonged or temporary indifference.

It has been one of my most popular recommendations.

Lately, I have noticed that certain individuals deserve rapid relegation to the Zone. For example, anyone connected with managing Disney over the past ten years is an easy choice. 

Bear with Me

 I had to travel to southern Arizona to teach a class on Equal Employment Opportunity at the same time my wife was having flight troubles in her escape from New Jersey.

Many communication tangles including iPhone issues in the wake of their recent update.

All is well. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Chandler's LA


A Very Unusual Memoir

Logically, Rabier ought to do all he can to remove from Paris the best witness to his activity in the Gestapo, the most credible and the most dangerous witness against him: a writer, the wife of a member of the Resistance. Me. But he doesn't.

- From The War: A Memoir by Marguerite Duras

You Are the Product


Monday, November 27, 2023

Just Arrived


Roar into Monday



 In pdf format from novelist, blogger, and consultant Nicholas Bate.

WWII Naval Documentary


'You send your kids off to college."

“You send your kids off to college. They love you. You walk away with a Cornell mom T-shirt. You are walking away going this is great, and come Thanksgiving, your kid tells you that you are an imperialist, a racist and a homophobe. That is not worth $120,000.” 

- Andrew Breitbart

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Saturday, November 25, 2023

When Times Bring Focus

Those zen moments can come when the natural temptation to rush through difficulties is set aside. You slow down, focus, and upgrade the quality of your performance.

And, at least in my own life, surprise yourself.

Don't worry. You can collapse later.

May Your Saturday Be Like This


Friday, November 24, 2023

Sometimes, Not Giving Is The Best Gift of All

 Miami Herald: Dave Barry has released his 2023 holiday gift guide.

Flash Back: The Byrds


The Ability to Hang On

When the world seems to favor the superficial, the cheap, and the glib, the ability of a person of merit to persevere can be an example of great heroism. 

I continue to be stunned and impressed by those individuals.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving!

Forget envy and regrets. They do nothing for you.

Look about and let your day be filled with gratitude.

[Photo by Dillon Austin at Unsplash]

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Sherlock & Pages

 This bookstore in England looks very interesting.

ChatGPT and the Human Soul


We Need to Go Back to Folk Music


10 Rules for Thanksgiving


I wrote this post several years ago and it is now an Execupundit tradition:

  1. Thou shalt not discuss politics at the dinner. There is next to no chance that you'll convert anyone and any hard feelings that are generated may last long after the pumpkin pie is finished. Why spoil a good meal?

  2. Thou shalt limit discussion of The Big Game. This is mainly directed at the men who choose to argue plays, records, and coaches while their wives stare longingly at the silverware. The sharp silverware.

  3. Thou shalt say nice things about every dish. Including the bizarre one with Jello and marshmallows.

  4. Thou shalt be especially kind to anyone who may feel left out. Some Thanksgiving guests are tag-alongs or, as we say in the business world, "new to the organization." Make a point of drawing them in.

  5. Thou shalt be wary of gossip. After all, do you know what they say when you leave the room? Remember the old saying: All of the brothers are valiant and all of the sisters are virtuous.

  6. Thou shalt not hog the white or dark meat. We know you're on Atkins but that's no excuse.

  7. Thou shalt think mightily before going back for seconds. Especially if that means waddling back for seconds.

  8. Thou shalt not get drunk. Strong drink improves neither your wit nor your discretion. Give everyone else a gift by remaining sober.

  9. Thou shalt be cheerful. This is not a therapy session. This is not the moment to recount all of the mistakes in your life or to get back at Uncle Bo for the wisecrack he made at your high school graduation. This is a time for Rule #10.

  10. Thou shalt be thankful. You're above ground and functioning in an extraordinary place at an extraordinary time. Many people paid a very heavy price (and I'm not talking about groceries) to give you this day. Take some time to think of them and to express gratitude to your friends and relatives. Above all, give special thanks to the divine power who blesses you in innumerable ways.
[Photo by Preslie Hirsch at Unsplash]

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Matt Taibbi on The Censorship Industrial Complex


Formula for Disaster


Give awards for showing up. ~ Tolerate loathsome role models. ~ Urge immediate gratification. ~ Mock merit. ~ Claim that everything about the system is rigged. ~ Stress the animal over the civilized. ~ Tell the ignorant, mean, and selfish to "just be yourself." ~ Flaunt rules. ~ Denounce patience and restraint. ~ Replace books with screens and multiple distractions. ~ Discourage deep thought. ~ Neglect moral development. ~ Make politics your religion. ~ Equate courage with aggression and stupidity. ~ Teach the good to be passive and the bad to be demanding. ~ Honor identity instead of achievement. ~ Ignore the lessons of the past. ~ Regard nobility as myth and self-discipline as foolish. ~ Scoff at patriotism. ~ Foster victimhood. ~ Pretend that cowardice is tact or kindness. ~ Mistake crudeness for genuineness. ~ Demand sainthood from opponents. ~ Think that any problem can be solved with a sizable check. ~ Erect a large filter between you and the community. ~ Apply different standards to your side. ~ Be a good careerist. ~ Think of yourself as sovereign. ~ Avoid having skin in the game. ~ Become an expert at self-delusion.

[Photo by Kelly Sikkema at Unsplash]

A Silent Strategy


Monday, November 20, 2023

If You Need a Dose of Envy

Sippican Cottage on Boothbay Harbor.

Degree Gap

 "For every 100 bachelor's degrees awarded to women, 74 are awarded to men."

- From Of Boys and Men by Richard V. Reeves

Because We Love Making Movies


Against the Narrative

 Ann Althouse asks, "Is there any good reason why this was withheld?"

She's referring to the recently released January 6 videos.

She later notes:

The obvious bad reason is — from the point of view of those who controlled the withholding — that it was evidence against what they were trying to establish.

Unless you can demonstrate other reasons supporting the decision, we should count the withholding of the evidence as evidence against what they were trying to establish. And also evidence of corruption.

Frost + Punkin = Great Stuff

This has become an Execupundit tradition:

Kent Risley with 
a marvelous recitation of the poem.

[Photo by Aaron Burden at Unsplash]

Crank It Up


Speaking of the Skies

It is amazing how well you can see the moon by simply using a pair of binoculars.

Depending upon the strength of the lenses, of course.

You can even, well, let me put it this way: take a close look at Jupiter and Saturn.

You may be surprised at what you notice.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Saturday, November 18, 2023

International Space Station

I watched the space station soar overhead this evening.

Check out sighting times at this NASA site.

[And if you want some nostalgic background music, try this.]

[Thanks, Jonathan!]

Spy Game


He Gets on Base


The Search

The search is not always how to be better than the competition. It is to find an area in which there is no competition.

[Photo by Matilda bellman at Unsplash]

Bookshelf Blanket


Available here.

Friday, November 17, 2023

How the Chinese Think


Good Point

Ultimately unknowable, but I wonder what percentage of the *Bin Laden was right* people think J.K. Rowling is a monster.

- Conor Friedersdorf

Raymond Chandler Break

 Don't start reading a Raymond Chandler novel before you have to leave for an appointment. 

An excerpt from The High Window:

In the swivel chair at the desk sat an elderly party in a dark gray suit with high lapels and too many buttons down the front. He had some stringy white hair that grew long enough to tickle his ears. A pale gray bald patch loomed high up in the middle of it, like a rock above timberline. Fuzz grew out of his ears, far enough to catch a moth.

Will They Smile?

National Review: The administration has just made 10 billion dollars available to Iran.

A simple question: Does that move make Iran stronger or weaker?

Every Father in the Audience Remembers This Scene


Thursday, November 16, 2023

American Institute for Boys and Men

A new group has formed and it's long overdue. Read all of Jonathan Haidt's article here.

[Photo by Tobias Mrzyk at Unsplash]

American Anti-Semitism

Joel Engel in The Wall Street Journal. An excerpt:

Here in 2023 America, not 1938 Germany: Jewish students hiding in a college library from a mob; Jews being told not to "look Jewish" in public - or, better yet, to stay home; Hamas supporters trying to break down a door to Grand Central Terminal without a policeman in sight or an arrest made; swastikas proudly displayed; chants of "Globalize the Intifada." which is a war cry to kill Jews wherever they live.

A great essay. 

The anti-Semitism we've seen over the past weeks is outrageous and infuriating. 

It should not be tolerated.

The Bills Will Come Due

Uncontrolled government spending. Open borders. 

How do those two realities possibly end well for our nation? 

Whichever candidates are nominated for the presidency, there should be one debate in which those are the only topics.

But there won't be.



Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Little Miss BBQ


The next time you're in Phoenix.

Alert Kurt Harden at Cultural Offering!


Making Students Dumber

 Daniel Coupland explores the truth we know but are often reluctant to mention: the low quality of many of America's teachers.

Timely and Spooky


Very thought-provoking. The first chapter is close enough to current times to be troubling.

We Are NOT in the Best of Hands

 History major Steve Layman on a concern many of us have.

First Paragraph

Carol Frances, the former economist at the American Council on Education, describes it as a "spectacular upsurge" and "phenomenal success." Stephan Vincent-Lancrin, senior analyst at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD's) Centre for Educational Research and Innovation, says it is "astonishing . . . people can't believe it." For Hanna Rosin, author of The End of Men, it is "the strangest and most profound change of the century, even more so because it is unfolding in a similar way pretty much all over the world."

- From Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters, and What to Do About It. by Richard V. Reeves

Europe's Best Intentions


Monday, November 13, 2023

Not a Surprise

 City Journal: New York City is now offering illegal immigrants a free one-way ticket out of town.

Oatmeal and Cherry Cookies


Cultural Offering provides a recipe and a public service.

Silicon Valley Fairy Dust

Sherry Turkle, author of Reclaiming Conversation and other fine books, weighs in on the idealists of Silicon Valley.

The "What Could Go Wrong?" List


You have a slight concern, but your busy schedule causes you to push it aside. Later, when something does go wrong, you chastise yourself for having ignored the warning.

Start keeping a What Could Go Wrong? list. Jot down those little items of concern. Schedule follow-up points to get them resolved or, at the very least, to determine their current status.

Remember, our minds are processing information and when a warning, however slight, is sounded, it makes sense to pay attention.

Time is not on your side. It is on the side of crisis.

[Photo by Jan Kahanek at Unsplash]

Not Going After the Kings

Cultural Offering has a slice of essential Chesterton.

[Photo by Tommy Tsao at Unsplash]


Law professor Jonathan Turley applies a dose of Samuel Johnson to Hunter Biden.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Her Book Is Excellent




Scribbling and Taping

I am working on a class for the next few days and wrapping up a novel for the next two weeks.

Am also taking time out to tape up my injured right leg. (Don't ask.)

Have learned more about leg injuries than I ever wanted to learn.


Back By Popular Demand


Veterans Day

Regardless of the branch of service, a day of memories, gratitude, and respect.


Friday, November 10, 2023

I Only See One Road!


Journalism Dies in Darkness

The Washington Post withdraws a political cartoon for a nitwitted reason.

Althouse is on the case.



Our Changing Times

 "I didn't go to Stanford" is the new "I went to Stanford."

- Joel Engel

Get the Phones Out!

"So the time is right for parents and educators to ask: Should we make the school day phone-free? Would that reduce rates of depression, anxiety, and self-harm? Would it improve educational outcomes? I believe that the answer to all of these questions is yes."

- Jonathan Haidt, "Get Phones Out of Schools Now," The Atlantic, June 6, 2023

For My Uncle Ren


Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Reach Out



Bari Weiss, writing in Tablet magazine, advocates ending Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs.

As an old Equal Employment Opportunity officer, I agree. They do serious harm to civil rights.

First Paragraph

For a long time, the most disparate reports had been circulating about him. Some said he'd retired to a monastery on Mount Athos to pray among the rocks and lizards, others swore they'd seen him partying at a villa in Sotogrande with a cast of coked-up supermodels. Still others said he'd been spotted on a runway at the Sharjah airport, at the militia headquarters in the Donbas, or wandering the ruins of Mogadishu.

- From The Wizard of the Kremlin: A Novel by Giuliano Da Empoli

Tuesday, November 07, 2023


Sensitivity readers, be warned: the protagonist of this novel, Elliot Weiner, is cruel, racist, fatphobic, homophobic, and deeply, deeply petty.

- From Danzy Senna's foreword to My Search for Warren Harding by Robert Plunket

Great Film Soundtracks

 Not in any particular order and with many great ones missing:

  1. Lawrence of Arabia
  2. Ben-Hur
  3. Cinema Paradiso
  4. The Godfather
  5. The Last of the Mohicans
  6. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
  7. Amelie
  8. El Cid
  9. The Magnificent Seven
  10. The Thin Red Line
  11. Star Wars
  12. Jaws
  13. Gladiator
  14. Nowhere in Africa
  15. Seven Years in Tibet
  16. Interstellar
  17. Dr. Zhivago
  18. The Lion in Winter
  19. Mary, Queen of Scots
  20. The Taming of the Shrew
  21. To Kill a Mockingbird
  22. Gettysburg
  23. Dragonheart
  24. Get Shorty
  25. The Cowboys
  26. Is Paris Burning?
  27. Shakespeare in Love
  28. Schindler's List
  29. Braveheart
  30. Legends of the Fall
  31. Gone With the Wind
  32. Amistad
  33. Zulu
  34. Goldfinger
  35. The Quiller Memorandum
  36. Midnight Cowboy
  37. The Third Man
  38. The Mission
  39. Sherlock Holmes
  40. Crimson Tide
  41. High Noon
  42. Chariots of Fire
  43. Ragtime
  44. The Wizard of Oz
  45. On the Waterfront
  46. The Lord of the Rings
  47. King of Kings
  48. Chinatown
  49. Help!
  50. How the West Was Won


"My view is: One side is guilty. And it's not Israel." - George W. Bush

"Now is the time for the world to rally against terrorism and support democracy. I stand with Israel and all Israelis." - Bill Clinton

Newsweek: Liel Liebovitz on former President Obama's take on the Israel-Hamas war.

Monday, November 06, 2023


First, any time you see someone insisting, “No one’s hands are clean,” or that everyone is to blame, there’s a good chance you’re hearing from the person who actually is to blame.

- Jim Geraghty

Building the Culture



 It is nice to live in a state that does not have to change its clocks.


 The Daily Sceptic: A group has formed to fight cancel culture at British universities.


 Anderson Layman and Fred Reed raise the fact that wars always bring waves of the unexpected. Winning a war is one of the most difficult tasks because there usually are talented people and surprises that will work to ensure defeat.

It is entirely possible to concede that Putin is dangerous, that his aggression was vile, and yet wish that the Biden administration could answer a basic question: what is the expected result? 

So far, I have not heard a plausible description of how the Ukraine war will end. That is troubling because Americans do not like long wars with vague objectives.

Add to that the realization that we have just entered a new war for Western civilization. 

Suggestion for High Schools and Colleges

I wish that high schools and colleges would take a few hours one week each year and have a variety of teachers make brief presentations on the most fascinating aspects of their respective subjects.

Why hide the joy?


 City Journal: Steven Malanga on the state and local level cost of illegal immigration.

Douglas Murray: War for Survival


Sunday, November 05, 2023

Saturday, November 04, 2023


If Harvard or Stanford would like to signal a serious turn-around, hiring any of the following as president would be a good first step:

  • Victor Davis Hanson
  • Robert P. George
  • Glenn Loury
  • Ben Sasse
  • Douglas Murray
  • John McWhorter
  • Heather Mac Donald

Well Put


Great Book



One cannot seriously discuss reform without specifying accountability, but that topic is often skirted.

Notice how politicians frequently discuss the need to do this or that without mentioning the specific position or person that will be held accountable for the results.

How often have school math programs crashed without anyone - aside from the students - suffering the consequences?

Accountability is key.

Check It Out


Instruction Manuals

Due to some recent experiences, I can declare that the English majors of America should be more aggressive in marketing their services to the tech firms.

Thursday, November 02, 2023

Conspicuous Absence

Look for the Ivy League schools on this list.



Time to re-read the James Clavell novel.


"There seems to have been an error processing your cancellation."

Hmm. I have yet to encounter an error while subscribing to publications but frequently encounter them while ending them.


Nicholas Bate nails it.

A most under-rated quality.

Look Across the Boundaries

The boundaries may not be walls. They may be steppingstones.

[Photo by Clique Images at Unsplash]

Major Overhaul Needed

The craziness on major university campuses does not appear to be a bug. 

It is a feature.

Hamas and the Manson Family

 It is difficult to see the apologists for Hamas and not wonder what the reaction of many would be to the murders by the Manson family. I would now expect to hear:

  • No sympathy for Sharon Tate and the other privileged victims.
  • Enormous sympathy for Charles Manson and his team of outsiders who were, it would be said, driven to extreme acts by a heartless society.

Wednesday, November 01, 2023

Put Down the Smartphone

What happens when our attention is subject to mechanized appropriation, through the pervasive use of hyperpalatable stimuli? 

- Matthew B. Crawford, The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction

Last Night's Most Interesting Halloween Mask

Dr. Fauci, hands down.

And "he" didn't have a mask on the mask.

Customer Irritation Department

In attempting to fix a printer problem, I found that each visit to the manufacturer's customer service site only increased the level of frustration.

But there is a bright spot: I know to avoid those products in the future.

Another twist: I went to a customer service line on another matter. The employee was almost laughably abrupt but he quickly fixed the problem. At the end of the call, I thanked him and wished him a great day.