Saturday, February 17, 2018

Quick Look

The trailer for the restored version of "The Third Man."

It is described as the best British film ever made. 

I think it may well be the best film ever made, period.

Southern Rock

Cultural Offering has the essential mixes.


All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff.

- Frank Zappa

No Magic Shower

One of the arguments for being very wary of dicey corporate practices overseas is that however much executives may argue that they are simply "doing as the Romans do," at some point those same executives will be returning home. They won't emerge from a magic shower that washes away their questionable foreign conduct. Those loose ethical attitudes may linger.

I find a similar problem with what is currently going on at many college campuses. Students who have shown an eagerness to suppress free speech are future teachers, HR officers, lawyers, and judges. 

As with the business executives, we should not assume that they will go through a transformation. The number who do not may seriously affect the future of our society.

Quick Look

The trailer for "The Secret Agent."

Art Break: George Wunder

Art Contrarian looks at the details within Terry and the Pirates.

Novels for Leaders

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It would be impossible to compile a list of novels for leaders without including this classic by Michael Shaara. I read it years ago and a vivid memory is the impact of the fact that when the forces of the North and the South met, both sides usually were commanded by men who knew one another. They either had been at West Point at the same time or had served together during the war with Mexico. That meant they knew the personality and temperament of their opponent and often had a grasp on that person's likely approach.

Check it out.

First Paragraph

Mellas stood beneath the gray monsoon clouds on the narrow strip of cleared ground between the edge of the jungle and the relative safety of the perimeter wire. He tried to focus on counting the other thirteen Marines of the patrol as they emerged single file from the jungle, but exhaustion made focusing difficult. He also tried, unsuccessfully, to shut out the smell of the shit, which sloshed in the water that half-filled the open latrine pits above him on the other side of the wire. Rain dropped from the lip of his helmet, fell past his eyes, and spattered onto the satiny olive cloth that held the armor plating of his cumbersome new flak jacket. The dark green T-shirt and boxer shorts that his mother had dyed for him just three weeks ago clung to his skin, heavy and clammy beneath his camouflage utility jacket and trousers. He knew there would be leeches clinging to his legs, arms, back, and chest beneath his wet clothes, even though he couldn't feel them now. It was the way with leeches, he mused. They were so small and thin before they started sucking your blood that you rarely felt them unless they fell on you from a tree, and you never felt them piercing your skin. There was some sort of natural anesthetic in their saliva. You would discover them later, swollen with blood, sticking out from your skin like little pregnant bellies.

- From Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes

Great Book Titles

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Quote of the Day

Pay attention to what they tell you to forget.

- Muriel Rukeyser

Friday, February 16, 2018

Black Ice

The Hammock Papers, usually a place of serenity, has video and sound of a person skating on thin ice.

The sound is spooky and you may find your tension rising as the skater glides along.

Quick Look

The trailer for "The Kremlin Letter."

Reading to Consider

Inc.: 32 favorite books of high achievers.

Any list that has a Saul Bellow novel gets my attention.

As We Approach the Presidents Day Weekend

The excitement builds.

In many homes, the fans of Warren G. Harding are retrieving decorations from the attic. In others, Buchanan and Carter advocates do likewise. The Andrew Johnson Fan Clubs normally meet in bars, sipping beer and bemoaning the evils of impeachment. William Henry Harrison followers, whose slogan is "Quality, Not Quantity," volunteer in medical clinics. 

Nixon devotees don dress shoes, brood, and wander the beach.

All of that is well and good but let's go back to separate holidays for Washington and Lincoln.

FutureLawyer Enters an iPhone Store

If the reality TV people had any sense, they'd head for south Florida and begin a series about a lawyer with a solo practice who also is a poet and a tech wizard with parrots in his lobby and a disdain for Apple products. The first episode could involve a purchase of an iPhone. Hilarity ensues.

Media Manipulation

Sheryl Attkisson speaking on "Astroturf" and media manipulation.

Great Book Titles

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Quote of the Day

You'd be surprised at how much it costs to look this cheap.

- Dolly Parton

Thursday, February 15, 2018

In the Background

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Quick Look

The trailer for "Moonstruck."

Fear and Intuition

Here is a video of Gavin de Becker, author of "The Gift of Fear," talking about paying attention to intuition.

De Becker runs a personal security firm in California; one which provides protection for many celebrity clients.

I've been recommending his book for years and have pressured family members into reading it.

A Taste of Why "The Civil War" series by Ken Burns is Great

Shelby Foote on the South's chances in the Civil War.

Here's a clip on his view of the importance of the war.

Candid Conversation

"What did you tell them?"

"I told them we wanted to hear the truth and that they should be absolutely candid about any problems that are facing us either now or in the near future."

"Did they believe you?"

"I hope so because they will be crucial players in turning the place around."

"Would you say they were open?"

"They talked quite a bit."

"But were they open?"

"I'm not sure.  One conversation isn't enough. We need to earn their trust."

Quick Look

The trailer for "The Sorrow and The Pity."

Great Book Titles

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Quote of the Day

Economics has gained the title Queen of the Social Sciences by choosing solved political problems as its domain.

- Abba Lerner

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Peterson of "The 12 Rules for Life"

Cultural Offering notes the Psychology Today interview with Jordan Peterson. 

Dr. Peterson's thought-provoking book is a best-seller and deservedly so.

Bear Down

A sad tale of vicious discrimination at a bar in Tempe.

Quick Look

The trailer for "Shakespeare in Love."

Poetry for Wooing

Christopher Marlowe's "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love."

But then reality steps in with Sir Walter Raleigh's "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd."

[Update: My apology for the earlier spelling error. Unforgivable.]

Organizing Computer Files

Ah, the joy of organizing computer files. 

I have been remiss in sorting the worthless from the important although the good news is I can quickly spot the difference between the two. The entire exercise is a lesson in humility. "Why did I ever think File X was important enough to save?" 

It is also a reminder to name files in such a way that their subject is easy to ascertain. Anything too specific or too broad can be mysterious and mystery is not good with files. 

The real joy comes not from finding some forgotten work of brilliance - that has yet to occur - but from deleting masses of those suckers. [A machine gun sound effect would add to the pleasure.] 

"If in doubt, throw it out" is the mantra of office re-organization wizards and it works well with files. I am toying with the idea of creating a File Limbo, in which those close to salvation could linger, but I fear that could be a dodge.

The culling continues.

Happy Valentine's Day

Not a day to forget.

A Job with Meaning

Years ago, I heard a man talk about recruiting for police officers. 

He said that if the recruiters emphasized pay and benefits, they got blank stares but when they emphasized community service, the applications shot up.

Whether the subject is recruitment, supervision or motivation, when you provide genuine meaning you will reach the heart.

Great Book Titles

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First Paragraph

The coppers smashed my father's printer when I was eight. I remember the hot, cling-film-in-a-microwave smell of it, and Da's look of ferocious concentration as he filled it with fresh goop, and the warm, fresh-baked feel of the objects that came out of it.

- From "Printcrime," a story by Cory Doctorow in the book, Overclocked

Quote of the Day

The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.

- Bertrand Russell

Monday, February 12, 2018

Quick Look

The trailer for "Bond 25: RISICO."

Wanted: Generic Father Figure for Backyard BBQ

Cultural Offering has the ad.

The list of desired names is unimaginative. I'd suggest adding Jack, Hal, Rex, Wolfgang, Carlo, and Kurt.

Especially the last one.

A Busy Little Bee

In one post, Althouse manages to combine "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," "Gladiator," porn, and a few other subjects.

She was wrong, of course, about "Gladiator."

"A Remarkable Example"

Winston Churchill accepts a rather controversial portrait.

[It is believed to have been destroyed.]

Quick Look

The trailer for "The Exception."


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Above: Jamie Wyeth's portrait of John F. Kennedy.

The portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama.

Poetry Break

One of the best by the great Robert Burns. The last stanza is famous.

Popular Reading at NBC

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Today is Lincoln's Birthday

Abraham Lincoln is one of those rare figures whose greatness increases with familiarity. I plod through books about him not because he is boring but because the material is so rich that it cannot be quickly consumed.

I am still shifting between Lord Charnwood's great biography and Harry Jaffa's classic on the Lincoln - Douglas debates. Each book has had plenty of "wow" moments.

To call him "great" demonstrates the inadequacy of words.


For many of us, a cause for embarrassment is recalling times when we failed to thank someone who richly deserved our thanks.

Consider how many times a boss has thanked you in your career. Sadly, that is a rare event with many people.

Thank someone.

You Can Trust Dictatorships to Be Dictatorships

When the 1936 Olympics were held, Nazi Germany could do all it could to act civilized but all of the pictures of a happy audience around a smiling Hitler could not erase the fact that the nation was in the grip of a thuggish regime that threw opponents into prison and terrorized Jews. [Large-scale slaughter would occur later.]

It is interesting to watch the reactions to the North Korean delegation's appearance at this year's Olympics. The savages of the world don't always seem to be savages. [Herman Goering is said to have had a certain charm.] 

We would so like the truly evil people of the world to be open to reformation but reality tells another story. The North Korean dictatorship is mind-boggling in its cruelties. The cruel can also be sly.

The Train to Istanbul

Reprise: Taking the train from London to Istanbul

It is interesting to see how the quality of the trains varies.

Very Interesting

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Quote of the Day

A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.

- Thomas Mann

Sunday, February 11, 2018

An Axiom

Consider then that the alleviation of unnecessary pain and suffering is a good. Make that an axiom: to the best of my ability I will act in a manner that leads to the alleviation of unnecessary pain and suffering. 

- Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Find Something Beautiful Today