Wednesday, September 19, 2018


film tape on floor

[Photo by John Moeses Bauan at Unsplash]

The trailer for "Magician: The Astonishing Life & Work of Orson Welles."

Reading Goal

books closed selective focus photo

[Photo by Kiwihug at Unsplash]

Cultural Offering notes some calculations showing that you can read 200 books a year.

I would say it depends on the type of books. Even allowing for some of the more challenging ones, it is not difficult to read at least 40 books a year. 

50 to 55 is a good goal.

It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day

woman wearing sleeveless crop top

[Photo by Vladislav Todorov at Unsplash]

As if I needed to tell you. You've probably been planning for weeks.

Of course, Robert Newton set the standard.

Seeing Your Neighbor

man taking selfie

[Photo by Timothy Barlin at Unsplash]

To love your neighbor is to see your neighbor. To see somebody, really to see somebody, you have to love somebody. You have to see people the way Rembrandt saw the old lady, not just a face that comes at you the way a dry leaf blows at you down the path like all other dry leaves, but in a way that you realize the face is something the likes of which you have never seen before and will never see again. To love somebody we must see that person's face, and once in a while we do. Usually it is because something jolts us into seeing it.

- Frederick Buechner in The Remarkable Ordinary: How to Stop, Look, and Listen to Life

Orson as Falstaff

The re-release trailer for "Chimes at Midnight."

The Kavanaugh Hearings

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Quick Look

The trailer for "Presumed Innocent."

First Paragraph

white concrete temple frame near body of water

[Photo by Cristina Gottardi at Unsplash]

The beginning of the Peloponnesian War is now 2,436 years in the past. Yet Athens and Sparta are still on our minds and will not go away. Their permanence seems odd. After all, ancient Greek warring parties were mere city-states, most of them smaller in population and size than Dayton, Ohio, or Trenton, New Jersey. Mainland Greece itself is no larger than Alabama, and in antiquity was bordered by empires like the Persian, which encompassed nearly one million square miles with perhaps 70 million subjects. Napoleon's army alone had more men under arms by 1800 than the entire male population of all the Greek city-states combined. In our own age, more people died in Rwanda or Cambodia in a few days than were lost in twenty-seven years of civil war in fifth-century B.C. Greece.

- From A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War by Victor Davis Hanson

Coming Out in December

The Chain

TED Talk: Bob Davids on leadership without ego.

Modern Times

[Photo by Maria Darii at Unsplash]

The dogs bark and the caravan moves on.

- Arabian proverb

"The Last Man on Earth"

person standing near cliff

[Photo by Leio McLaren at Unsplash]

Cultural Offering reviews the series and then outlines what he would do if he were the last man on earth.

A sound plan. I'd add ammo to his list but I know he already has plenty of it.

[Here's the trailer for the series.]

"The Girl from Ipanema"

Her song is at The Hammock Papers.

Monday, September 17, 2018

More Hans

Hans Zimmer:  "Chevaliers de SangrĂ©al."


five black toy bats with sticks

[Photo by Mel Poole at Unsplash]

Don’t forget to take a break from planning your elaborate Halloween costume to ask yourself how things went this wrong for you.

- Tim Siedell

This Looks Promising

The trailer for "Green Book."

First Paragraph

Around the time that he reached the unnerving milestone of turning thirty, Leonardo da Vinci wrote a letter to the ruler of Milan listing the reasons he should be given a job. He had been moderately successful as a painter in Florence, but he had trouble finishing his commissions and was searching for new horizons. In the first ten paragraphs, he touted his engineering skills, including his ability to design bridges, waterways, cannons, armored vehicles, and public buildings. Only in the eleventh paragraph, at the end, did he add that he was also an artist. "Likewise in painting, I can do everything possible," he wrote.

- From Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

One Damned Thing After Another

silhouette of person kicking on mid air

[Photo by Jason Briscoe at Unsplash]

If life is one damned thing after another, then let that be your strategy and take them on one at a time.

Not two or three at a time. Just one. And then another. And another.

Quick Look

The trailer for "A Simple Favor."

If there'd only been a clue.

First Paragraph

George Washington was dying. The rumor spread quickly through Manhattan neighborhoods ravaged by influenza, the "contagious distemper" first diagnosed on Roman streets half a century earlier. Impartial to class, color, or politics, the disease was more democratic than the young American republic whose ruling elite it threatened. At a boardinghouse on Maiden Lane, Congressman James Madison took to his bed, too sick to argue with Alexander Hamilton over the secretary of the treasury's audacious plan to consolidate federal power by having the government in New York assume the debts and revenue sources formerly reserved for individual states.

- From Patriarch: George Washington and the New American Nation by Richard Norton Smith

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Off the Grid

Back soon.

Slow Learning

photography of person holding book

[Photo by Annie Spratt at Unsplash]

Tanmay Vora explores the advantages of "slow learning."

I've long enjoyed the benefits of slow reading. Savor the words.

Bock's Assignments

man sitting on staircase behind woman sitting on highest staircase

[Photo by Viktor Kiryanov at Unsplash]

Wally Bock has some weekend leadership reading assignments for us.

Always thought-provoking stuff.

Times Change

I know it is possible to find this program on cable. I was always a fan and it was particularly heartening to see a show where the bad guys lost and the good guys had clear values.

But take a quick look at the show's beginning and ask if a new program of that nature would have a chance today. 

Far from being a threat, the hero was a walking "safe zone."

In those days, to borrow a line from Churchill, people knew the difference between the arsonist and the fire brigade.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Gabriel Allon Fan

Image result for the kill artist daniel silva amazon

I am slowly completing the entire "Gabriel Allon" series by Daniel Silva

Truly excellent. Check it out.

What is Most Worth Seeing

There is an astute observation on this subject at The Hammock Papers.

What Not to Wear on "Casual Friday"

woman in gray cardigan seating

[Photo by Valerie Elash at Unsplash]

Several opinions:

The Dumbest Management Fad of All Time

Inc. magazine describes a serious contender.

[HT: Hilary Wood]


Some More Hans Zimmer

Image result for interstellar amazon

The main theme from "Interstellar."

Distance and Presence

grayscale photogaphy of man sitting on concrete bench

[Photo by Matthew Henry at Unsplash]

Who says you cannot be present and distant at the same time? 

It need not be either/or. 

It can be both/and.

And that ability can permit you to see the picture when you are inside the frame.


Hans Zimmer with "Time" from the film "Inception."

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Quick Look

The trailer for "The Swimmer" with Burt Lancaster.

[Be sure to look for Joan Rivers.]

Music Break: Rhapsodie D'Auvergne

Back by popular demand: Let's have some Saint-Saens.

A Blog for Stoics and Other Thinkers

brown maple leaf on open book

[Photo by Ksenia Makagonova at Unsplash]

The Sovereign Professional has lots of great stuff.

The "Without Glasses" Policy

They insisted that I remove my glasses

Around a year ago I had a passport renewed and received the sad news that I could not wear eyeglasses for the passport photo despite the fact that, being as blind as the famous bat, I wear glasses almost all of the time. The result was a photo of some leg-breaker straight out of The Sopranos; not the sort of person you'd want to let past Customs.

I recently went in to renew my driver's license. Once again, the no-glasses rule was applied. This time, a photo of a villain from one of the Ghostbusters films emerged. 

It will be interesting to see how this works out in the field. In the old days of IRA bombings in London, whenever I went to Britain I was invariably and politely taken aside for questioning; an interruption which amused friends and family. Now that I have a passport photo which could be reasonably described as menacing, the old days may be revived.

What You Feel Like When You Reach a Certain Age

white single cab pickup truck parked near green tree at daytime

[Photo by Ben Cliff at Unsplash]