Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Canadian Inflation Debate




Proper Cloth

 Custom-made clothing.

Interesting site. I placed an order. 

AI and the Coming Passivity

You don't need to lift or walk. Strap-on mechanical muscles will do that for you.

You don't need to think. Artificial Intelligence will be able to handle all of your questions. 

If the goal is to produce human obsolescence, we're on our way.

What could go wrong?

Art Film


I Have Just Seen a Case Where This Took Place

"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"

- Sherlock Holmes in The Sign of the Four (1890)



Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Smartphones vs. Smart Kids


Random Thoughts on Organizations

 ~ The best performance evaluations are delivered via monthly meetings that are ten minutes long. ~ There are more people in search of comfort than in search of excellence. ~ Disasters rarely occur because someone asked too many questions. ~ Department A may do an excellent job and Department B may do an excellent job, but an important blend of their jobs may not even be acknowledged. ~ Dropping the term "Human Resources" and going back to "Personnel" would be a major advance. ~ To measure the effects of a job, look at a new recruit and then revisit that person in five years. ~ Getting rid of secretarial pools was a mindless blunder that harmed efficiency, lowered morale, and squandered time. ~ The executives who approved DEI initiatives have a lot of explaining to do. ~ One chronic emailer can destroy hours of concentration. ~ CEOs may know Paris and London, but have they discovered the exotic worlds one, two, or three floors away from their office? ~ Do not merely examine the products you produce. Look at the people you produce. ~ It is important to know which critics should be ignored. ~ Standard office furnishings create epidemics of boredom. ~ Many a workplace would benefit from brighter colors. ~ Many a large waiting room could use a grand (or a player) piano. ~ Smartphones are distractions and should be banned from meetings. ~ When did doctors decide that it is wise to have rooms with screens or posters that scare patients? ~ If your job consists of administrator, cop, and consultant responsibilities, try to give more attention to the third group. ~

First Paragraph

 Qi smelled danger.

- From Of Course They Knew, Of Course They ... by John Moody

Monday, January 29, 2024

Late Night Reading




The "Adults" Make a Mess

Commentary magazine: Matthew Continetti on the results of sophisticated leadership in Washington, DC.

Echoes of David Halberstam's book on "The Best and the Brightest."

Find Your Style


[Photo by Andrew Neel at Unsplash]

When Everything Is a Target

 Going after "Rhapsody in Blue."


I'm with John O'Hara's take: "George Gershwin died on July 11, 1937, but I don't have to believe it if I don't want to."

Thomas Sowell and Intellectual Influence


Who Are You? Really.

 Nicholas Bate knows the territory and advises us to dig deeper.

Through the Looking Glass

  • Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
  • Of Course They Knew Of Course They by Jim Moody
  • Zone One by Colson Whitehead
  • The End We Start From by Megan Hunter
  • The Silence by Don DeLillo
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  • The Unbinding by Walter Kirn
  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  • The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Far North by Marcel Theroux
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • A Time of Changes by Robert Silverberg
  • Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
  • We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
  • Minority Report by Philip K. Dick
  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Not Alone by Sarah K. Jackson
  • The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
  • The Children of Men by P.D. James
[Photo by Ioann-Mark Kuznietsov at Unsplash]

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Saturday, January 27, 2024

International Holocaust Remembrance Day


International Holocaust Remembrance Day


International Holocaust Remembrance Day

 The German idea of history was to shake mankind to its foundations. The bureaucrats in particular stood at the helm of that historical march. The German shadow covering Europe was cast from their height. As wearers of the uniform and holders of titles, all Europe was to stand in awe of them.

- Raul Hilberg, The Anatomy of the Holocaust

International Holocaust Remembrance Day


International Holocaust Remembrance Day

On the basis of experience and extensive consultation with 'Jewish experts' in other ministries, Eichmann's legal and financial experts created a system that operated remarkably smoothly.

- From Becoming Eichmann: Rethinking the Life, Crimes, and Trial of a "Desk Murderer" by David Cesarani

Serious Talent


Musical Instrument Museum


One of the most interesting museums in the world.

I was skeptical when I first heard about it but have become a believer. 

Friday, January 26, 2024

The Greatest Westerns (Unranked)


  1. Stagecoach
  2. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence
  3. High Noon
  4. Lonesome Dove
  5. Tombstone
  6. The Magnificent Seven
  7. The Searchers
  8. Shane
  9. Red River
  10. Rio Bravo
  11. El Dorado
  12. True Grit (Jeff Bridges)
  13. Open Range
  14. The Wild Bunch
  15. The Oxbow Incident
  16. Hombre
  17. Joe Kidd
  18. Little Big Man
  19. The Outlaw Josey Wales
  20. Arizona
  21. The Big Country
  22. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
  23. 3:10 to Yuma (Russell Crowe)
  24. The Shootist
  25. The Ballad of Cable Hogue
  26. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
  27. Fort Apache
  28. My Darling Clementine
  29. A Fistful of Dollars
  30. For a Few Dollars More
  31. Pale Rider
  32. Jeremiah Johnson
  33. Wyatt Earp
  34. Unforgiven
  35. Ride the High Country
  36. Valdez is Coming
  37. The Appaloosa
  38. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  39. High Plains Drifter

Back to the Seventies


Rest in peace.


 The lost Trojan epics are but a tiny fraction of the lost works of Greek antiquity. To take Greek historians as an example, only the writings of Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, and Polybius have survived, along with a few Greek-language histories of Rome by Diodorus Siculus, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Josephus, Appianus, Dio Cassius, and Zosimus - ten historians in all. But an authoritative survey counts 856 other Greek historians and chroniclers of which nothing survives save fragments embedded in other works.

- Edward N. Luttwak, "The Lost Homerics" in The New Criterion January 2024

Thursday, January 25, 2024

There Goes the Neighborhood


A Few Steps

 Here are a few steps that would benefit many an organization:

  1. Get rid of the jerks. Don't pretend that you don't know who they are. 
  2. Pay as much attention to internal customer service as you do to external customer service.
  3. Turn most of your meetings into in-person ones and call, don't email or text.
  4. Get out of your office. Go see.
  5. Foster relationships. They can be as important as completing projects.
  6. Review your assumptions. There be dragons.
  7. Don't believe your own publicity.
  8. Beware of undue complexity. Simplify!
  9. Ask about the mission and make that a habit.
  10. Know what is going on. [If you think that is obvious, think again.]

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

The Turning Tide


Died: January 24, 1965



 In New York City in 2000-07, only eight teachers out of 55,000 were terminated for poor performance. Why? Because as one supervisor said, "Dismissing a tenured teacher is not a process. It's a career." New York City has a number of teachers who, unfit for the classroom but not subject to termination, sit all day in what are called "rubber rooms," doing nothing while receiving full pay and benefits.

- From John Steele Gordon's review in The New Criterion (January 2024) of Not Accountable: Rethinking the Constitutionality of Public Employee Unions by Philip K. Howard

Tuesday, January 23, 2024


 I have been publishing books since the early 1990s about the growing threat to American norms from academic leftism. But even I was shocked by the speed of the radical takeover of media and the publishing industry in the last few years. We have entered a new phase - as disturbing as it is predictable - in which dissenting liberals and nonconforming leftists are also being canceled due to insufficient wokeness. Soon the spectrum of acceptable opinion will be so narrow that large companies will have nothing left to publish. What's the solution? Simple: the supposedly liberal executives who run these corporations must stand up to their spoiled and coddled junior staff and uphold the liberal principles of free speech and diversity of opinion that they piously claim to uphold. As of now they are doing a terrible job.

- Adam Bellow

To Be Remembered from "Sherlock"


Just Arrived


Monday, January 22, 2024



Commencement Speech

 FutureLawyer has a candid one.

Reviewing the Basics

The conflict between the sections had gone on for months.

Each side could not understand the irrational behavior of the other.

The argument was complicated by the fact that they were on both sides of the country and had never been in the same room.

Imagine their surprise when they discovered that a fact assumed by each side was incorrect.

When you're going in circles, go back to the basics.

In the Pipeline


On The List


Sunday, January 21, 2024

Friday, January 19, 2024

Lay-Offs at Sports Illustrated

I've sensed that Sports Illustrated has been in decline for some time.

Even so, this is a surprise and so is the information about the AI-generated stories.

Men, Women, and Our Times


A New Type of Recruitment Announcement

Job recruitment announcements are one of the most common forms of fiction in the world today. They are way too wordy and mention all sorts of things you'll rarely if ever encounter on the job. They discourage good people from applying and harm HR's reputation because one would hope HR would have the guts to tell the departments to trim the fat and keep the lean.

How's this for a different approach?

  1. Here's the job title and here's what the job really requires. 
  2. If you think you will be a good fit for that job, then send us a clear and candid description of your background and abilities. We'll decide whether to call you in for an interview. 
  3. You'll be told if you were not selected for an interview.  We believe in basic courtesy. 
  4. If you are selected for an interview, here's what you can expect: We will listen carefully and we will respect your time. The interview will focus on whether you know the difference between average and very good/excellent performance; whether you can produce the latter; whether we can trust you; whether you'll embarrass us; and whether you'll be able to fit in with our team and not drive people nuts. Satisfy us on all of those areas and you will be a serious contender. 
  5. We will always strive to select the best person for the job. We don't dawdle about on hiring decisions but hiring a team member is an important decision, so we don't rush. 
  6. If we discriminate at all, it will be on the basis of merit. Remember, when we hire, it is not for a generic job title. It is for that specific job at our specific organization at that specific time. What we need three or four months later may be different. We don't use cookie-cutters as selection devices.
  7. If you think this opening might be a good fit, then by all means apply. We will take every application seriously.
  8. Thank you for your time.

First Paragraph

 There is a great gulf today between what is popularly known as liberalism and conservatism. Each side demands that you not only disagree with but disdain the other as (at best) crazy or (at worst) evil. This is particularly true when religion is the point at issue. Progressives cry out that fundamentalism is growing rapidly and nonbelief is stigmatized. They point out that politics has turned toward the right, supported by mega-churches and mobilized orthodox believers. Conservatives endlessly denounce what they see as an increasingly skeptical and relativistic society. Major universities, media companies, and elite institutions are heavily secular, they say, and they control the culture.

- From The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller

Crank It Up


Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Who Loves the Media?


The DEI Disaster

 Tablet magazine: Corey Brooks on "America works. DEI doesn't."

Solitary Confinement?

Cultural Offering looks at the latest in office design.

Rather than an old-fashioned phone booth, it resembles a coffin or a prison cell.

Kurt's advice is right on target. Don't be a pod person.

First Paragraph

Hugh Hefner and Marilyn Monroe - those two icons of the sexual revolution - never actually met, but they were born in the same year and laid to rest in the same place, side by side. In 1992, Hefner bought the crypt next door to Monroe's in the Westwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles for $75,000, telling the Los Angeles Times: 'I'm a believer in things symbolic . . . [so] spending eternity next to Marilyn is too sweet to pass up.' At the age of ninety-one, Hefner got his wish. The long-dead Marilyn had no say in the matter. But then she had never been given much say in what men did to her over the course of her short life.

- From The Case Against the Sexual Revolution: A New Guide to Sex in the 21st Century by Louise Perry

In This House

 A Layman's Blog has all of the yard signs.

Monday, January 15, 2024

No Lock on the Door Jazz


Words Fail Me

 The Arizona Republic: Valley Metro in Phoenix has a No Pants Day.

Grammar Revolution


MLK Day: Coleman Hughes on the Case for Color-Blindness


MLK Day: Thomas Sowell on "Social Justice Fallacies."


MLK Day: Loury and Thomas

 City Journal: Glenn Loury on Justice Clarence Thomas.

Informal Book Club: A Series


Snug Rooms as an Encouraging Sign


Homes & Gardens gives some ideas for "snug rooms."

The Wall Street Journal recently noted a shift away from the large combo rooms in which people feel lost. Some interior designers also noted the growing desire to get away from television sets.

That's great news.

When it comes to rooms, less can be more.

Go snug!

[Patrick Perkins at Unsplash]

AI Jitters


This Would Be a Good Time for This Series to Return


Sunday, January 14, 2024

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Informal Book Club: A Series


Should Be Mandatory Reading in the Fortune 500 Companies


Modern Dating


On Stage

 If all the world's a stage, do your best to write your own role.

Beware of parroting the lines of others. Know when to laugh and when to sigh. Study the other players. Try to avoid the villains. Help the lost.

And don't bump into the furniture.

Last Night

A quiet evening. Conversation around the dinner table followed by some guitar-playing as well as talk about guitars and music. Near the end, some brief star-gazing.

The beauty of family and simplicity.

Whenever that happens, soak it in.

Friday, January 12, 2024

The Harvard Story Continues

 The anti-Semitism complaint against Harvard.

I'm More of an Augustus Caesar Fan


I Got My Copy


From Nicholas Bate, a.k.a. The Man Who Never Sleeps.

Modern Times: Women and Mental Health



That first cup of coffee. The story on page nine of the newspaper. Shining your shoes. Calling an old friend. Slowly reading a Ray Bradbury story. Talking to a dog. 

Savor the small moments. There is a last time for everything, and you don't know when it will be.

[Photo by Cathryn Lavery at Unsplash]

Watch This

[HT: Stephen]

First Paragraph

 "Waiter," I said, in an exuberant mood, "I have a perfect life, but I don't have a knife."

- From The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander

Simply Excellent

 Stephen Landry's Blog is not to be missed.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Important Question


Poet/attorney Rick Georges asks, "What are you doing today?"

[Photo by Sean Oulashin at Unsplash]



To Foil a Presentation

There can be a fine line between an effective presentation and a poor one, but here are some things to avoid:

  • Telling the audience more than it needs. In most cases, less is more. It is far better that they leave a little hungry. 
  • Failing to provide examples. A bunch of generalizations without specific examples can be frustratingly vague.
  • Failing to connect the dots. The examples may seem meaningless if you fail to show how the details fit together in the bigger picture.
  • Too much technology. If you are going to use Evil PowerPoint at all, use it sparingly. Keep it pithy.
  • Lack of a theme. Your presentation should have a trunk with branches. Avoid going too far out on a branch or getting lost in the leaves. Stress the trunk. That is your main message. 

[Photo by Niko photos at Unsplash]

Men, Women, Red Flags, and Happiness


Intentionally Ugly Architecture

 The New Criterion: Anthony Daniels explores the world of "brutalism" architecture.

Solution: Tear it down.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

The Good Snares

The good snares will hook you and whisper that something isn't quite right.

Pay enough attention and discover what is meant.

Sort of Amazing


The Second Question

In addition to "What are you doing?" be sure to ask, "What are you becoming?" 

That question may be far more important.

Tuesday, January 09, 2024

Gator Guideline


Some Things to Think About




The Culture of Transgression

 From Tablet magazine in July, 2023: Michael Lind on a rebellion whose focus has gone from the oligarchy to the working class. An excerpt:

By declaring the democratic preferences of the working class a danger to society, the West's oligarchs justify subjecting their enemies to pervasive surveillance and other counterextremism measures originally designed for foreign terrorist groups.

Miscellaneous and Fast

[Photo by Nik at Unsplash]

Bond, James B___

The Bondologist Blog in 2012: James Bond novels that were edited, censored, and banned.



Monday, January 08, 2024

Vacancy at DOD?

Does Lloyd Austin speak for the president? How about: Does Lloyd Austin speak to the president? And while it’s true that Austin’s disappearing act didn’t seem to have any consequences for American foreign policy, that… sounds like an argument against taking Austin seriously from this point onward. 

Read the rest of Seth Mandel's column in Commentary magazine.

First Paragraph

Berliners, gaunt from short rations and stress, had little to celebrate at Christmas in 1944. Much of the capital of the Reich had been reduced to rubble by bombing raids. The Berlin talent for black jokes had turned to gallows humour. The quip of that unfestive season was. 'Be practical" give a coffin.' 

- From Berlin: The Downfall 1945 by Anthony Beevor

Packs of Wolves

Every day, social media has packs of wolves determined to bring down the happiness and influence of someone who is not in their pack.

Either disconnect or side with their prey. 

And remember, anyone who is not in their pack is their prey.

Solid Advice


Update: I had earlier titled this post "His New Book Is "How to Know a Person."

Wrong! That book is written by David Brooks.

The World's "Hottest Model"

 Daily Mail: Emily Pellegrini is AI-generated.

Thousands weep.

Martin Gurri: Let's Have a Boring 2024

The Free Press: Martin Gurri on Donald Trump and the political divide.

[HT: Cultural Offering]

County Highway and Walter Kirn


Sunday, January 07, 2024

Saturday, January 06, 2024

Rick and Paul


Sculpture Augmented

Where is this? Art Contrarian has the details.

The Third Objective

I have two primary objectives this month and that means I also have a third: 

Protecting those two from undue interruptions and distractions.

Maintaining the Iron Dome is vital.

Good Times Ahead


Good Rule

 It is a good rule of thumb that one should become skeptical - and perhaps also concerned - whenever everyone in a position of authority starts to say the same thing. Particularly when they also all do so at the same time.

- Douglas Murray

First Paragraph

 Beyond the Indian hamlet, upon a forlorn strand, I happened on a trail of recent footprints. Through rotting kelp, sea cocoa-nuts & bamboo, the tracks led me to their maker, a White man, his trowzers & Pea-jacket rolled up, sporting a kempt beard & an outsized Beaver, shoveling & sifting the cindery sand with a teaspoon so intently that he noticed me only after I hailed him from ten yards away. Thus it was, I made the acquaintance of Dr. Henry Goose, surgeon to the London nobility. His nationality was no surprise. If there be any eyrie so desolate, or isle so remote, that one may there resort unchallenged by an Englishman, 'tis not down on any map I ever saw.

- From Cloud Atlas: A Novel by David Mitchell

"Defining Deviancy Down"

 Glenn Loury on Daniel Patrick Moynihan's famous essay.

A brief biography of Moynihan. It's sad that he never ran for president. That would have been a fascinating choice.

Friday, January 05, 2024

Wisdom: Don't Make Unnecessary Enemies


On the Bay and On the Ropes


Our Times

Rick Rubin on Creativity


Too Often Overlooked

I can remember way back when these novels were very popular. They are worth checking out.

  • "The Travels of Jamie McPheeters" by Robert Lewis Taylor
  • "The Sand Pebbles" by Richard McKenna
  • "The Secret of Santa Vittoria" by Robert Crichton
  • "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison
  • "On the Beach" by Nevil Shute
  • "Auntie Mame" by Patrick Dennis
  • "I Was Dancing" by Edwin O'Connor
  • "The Virginian" by Owen Wister
  • "Laughing Boy" by Oliver La Farge
  • "Ride With Me" by Thomas Costain
  • "Andersonville" by MacKinlay Kantor
  • "An Operational Necessity" by Gwyn Griffin
  • "The Caine Mutiny" by Herman Wouk

Thursday, January 04, 2024

Back By Popular Demand: Meeting Jeffrey Epstein


First Paragraph

 I'll never forget cross-examining my mother about punchcards.

- From The Geek Way: The Radical Mindset That Drives Extraordinary Results by Andrew McAfee



The Sickness

 If our side does it, then it's fine because we have good intentions and the other side is filled with greed, evil, and bias plus they've gotten away with so much for so long while we've had to sacrifice and overcome their little games and this is frustrating because they're flat-out ignorant and we're the side that is well-educated and worldly and they are so shallow it's as if we're up against a squad of empty-headed cheer leaders and that doubles the frustration when they win because who in the hell could support them in the first place?

The Extraordinary Sarah Marquis

[Photo by Sebastian Laube at Unsplash]

On My List


Every Morning


Wednesday, January 03, 2024

One of the Best Films on Leadership



On a job-related item: Part of my morning involved a review of religious beliefs in ancient Rome.


I'll See You at Sundown, Harvard

 City Journal: Heather Mac Donald on Claudine Gay's resignation as president of Harvard.

Lose the Smartphones. Be in the Moment.


Men and Marriage in the Modern World


Ways to Speak Up


  • What are the arguments against that course of action/position?
  • Is there a downside that we haven't considered? For example, what would be our response if a plaintiff's attorney were to say there is not a strong basis for point A or point B?
  • Jack and Mary raised a possible negative issue in their emails. What is our response?
  • I know the lawyers have blessed this. Does anyone see any potential ethical problems?
  • This seems complicated. Is there a reason why we can't take a few more days before reaching a decision?
  • They cite a study in support of the proposed course of action. Has anyone read that study? If so, how detailed was it?
  • Are there any overstatements or understatements in this document?
  • What are some possible options in addition to the ones presented?
  • Is there an example from here or another organization where the proposed course of action has clearly worked?
  • What are the benefits and downsides of doing nothing?
  • Are any other departments working on a similar project? If so, where are they on it?
  • I propose that regardless of whether or not people favor the course of action, everyone here should voice their opinion. No one should simply pass.

[Photo by Headway at Unsplash]

Tuesday, January 02, 2024

Pulp Fiction's Management Consultant


The Newly Defined

 They call it a university, but it's not the university you and I once knew.

 They may call it a debate, but it's not a real debate. 

A piece of paper may be called a high school diploma, but it is nowhere near what a high school diploma meant in the Thirties or Forties.

Terms such as freedom, security, work, service, manners, wise, and bravery can change their definitions right under our noses and yet we continue to think of them as What They Once Were and not as they currently are.

It is a great and quiet deception that is made without altering the dictionary.

Be on the alert.

Quasi-Arranged Marriages Nostalgia


Remember Your Not to Do List

As we move into 2024, we can jot down a brief Not to Do List that can be carried in a pocket and used every day. 

Why every day? 

You know the reason. Because the same things should not be done day after day. 

Option: Leave a couple of blank spaces for any special additions.

Monday, January 01, 2024



Plain Spoken

The BBC interview with Katherine Birbalsingh regarding education in Britain.

[Photo by Kimberly Farmer at Unsplash.]

Never Forget

"We have not journeyed all this way across the centuries, across the oceans, across the mountains, across the prairies, because we are made of sugar candy."

- Winston Churchill

Tis the Spirit


Improving 2024

 2024 is here. 

It looked hellish from a distance. Let's do our best to make 2024 less so even as the walls shake and furniture is splintered.

Regardless of your choice for president, we can avoid the craziness that has infected so much of American politics for so long. The genius of the American system is that the Founders designed checks and balances on the belief that even the brightest members of high office need to be restrained.

In other words, our system was designed by the only modest revolutionaries in history. [Look at the contrast with the French, Russian, Chinese, Cuban, and Iranian revolutions.] 

We need to share that modesty and know that each side, no matter how smart or wise, has flaws. I say that as one who strongly believes that one side is far better than the other, but the time is always ripe to check yourself out.

Let's lower our voices, listen carefully, and have a great year.