Monday, August 10, 2020

No Lock-Down in Sweden

The Federalist: Sweden and the quest for herd immunity.

What Are You Laughing At?


Bad Handwriting


I never had great handwriting but it was far better than my current scrawl.

The realization came to me yesterday as I was sorting through books and files. I found a book I've had since college. In the front, I'd written my name.

It was a young person's signature. So clear and innocent. Not hurried. Thoroughly legible.

Quite unlike my present signature which looks as if it were signed while the other hand was clamped in a tightening vise.

You'd think that as we age our handwriting would improve. After all, we've had plenty of practice. Instead, we aim to beat a speed record.

There must be a mountain of psychological studies on the topic.

First Paragraph

See the child. He is pale and thin, he wears a thin and ragged linen shirt. He stokes the scullery fire. Outside lie dark turned fields with rags of snow and darker woods beyond that harbor yet a few last wolves. His folk are known for hewers of wood and drawers of water but in truth his father has been a schoolmaster. He lies in drink, he quotes from poets whose names are now lost. The boy crouches by the fire and watches him.

- From Blood Meridian: or The Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy

Unusual Films I Recommend - A Series


The Cost of One Person

We had a case recently where a 1,000 tons of coal was lost and the reason for the strike was that the men wanted the dismissal of the lady in charge of the canteen.

- Gwilym Lloyd George, Minister of Fuel and Power, in the House of Commons, July 1944

Sunday, August 09, 2020

Crackdown in Hong Kong

The New York Times: Hong Kong publisher Jimmy Lai has been arrested.

The Mega-Scandal is Coming



Steven P. Schrage on "The Spies Who Hijacked America." An excerpt:


What is surprising for anyone valuing journalistic standards, is that those under government investigation for abuses of power have so easily avoided hard questions. Some have even been given media contracts to spin their own actions. Imagine if Nixon’s allies appointed the Watergate burglars to investigate themselves, then placed them in nightly news positions where they could attack anyone questioning them. Politics shouldn’t destroy our principles.


Well Done

FutureLawyer has a great clip of Steve Jobs on why you can't please everybody (and a bit more).

Find Something Beautiful Today

photography of inside black structure




[Photo by Chad Greiter at Unsplash]

Saturday, August 08, 2020

Fear

black and white adidas slide sandals


"I define fear as standing across the ring from Joe Louis and knowing he wants to go home early."

- Max Baer

[Updated]



[Photo by Prateek Katyal at Unsplash]

First Paragraph

"This study will examine the semantic twists and turns undergone by the word fascism since the 1930s. Like other terms that have changed their meaning, such as conservatism and liberalism, fascism has been applied so arbitrarily that it may be difficult to deduce what it means without knowing the mindset of the speaker. Fascism now stands for a host of iniquities that progressives, multiculturalists, and libertarians all oppose, even if they offer no single, coherent account of what they're condemning. Some intellectuals and publicists may be demonstratively antifascist but feel no obligation to provide a historically and conceptually delimited definition of their object of hate."

- From Fascism: The Career of a Concept by Paul Gottfried

Miscellaneous and Fast


Weekend Leadership Reading

assorted books in the rakc


Wally Bock has the assignments.

[Stoics rejoice!]



[Photo by Charles Deluvio at Unsplash]

Unusual Films I Recommend - A Series


Friday, August 07, 2020

Abolish the Police?

The New York Times on the horror show that took place in Seattle.

Art Break: Dixon




Art Contrarian looks at the work of Maynard Dixon.

Zoomed Out Yonder



Although I am still able to meet in person with several of my coaching clients, many of them are now forced by their employers to use Zoom.

And with one client, I've noticed an extra problem.

Unlike the Zoom stereotype of the person who sits close to the screen, this client sets up Zoom meetings in a large conference room and the camera is up on the wall on the other side of the room.

As a result, I see and hear them at an extra distance. The subtle signals of facial expressions are lost.

Aargh. 

It is quite professionally done but I'd greatly prefer the amateurish, closer to the camera, count-my-dental fillings, view.

This is, I am given to understand, as good as it's going to get. The Zoom room was set up by their IT professionals and the fact that the place is "workable" is regarded as Mission Accomplished.

Slick, but a little too slick. Seeking modifications is deemed unthinkable. I am left describing the marvelous virus-protection regimen of organizations that permit socially distanced face to socially distanced face meetings.

As with many hints, those remarks do not register.

May we soon return to the good old days.


Back By Popular Demand: Are Your Auditions As Good As This?


A "Things Could Be Worse" Movie


Leadership is Something You Do

silhouette of man holding flashlight


Leadership is something you do. 

It is not a rigid caste from which many people are barred. 

It is not a highly centralized system where everyone goes to the padrone for answers. 

Given certain circumstances, anyone in an organization may perform leadership responsibilities even though those responsibilities may not be in their normal duties.

The key considerations revolve around what the situation demands and how well the responsibilities are performed.


[Photo by Lanju Fotographie at Unsplash]

Find Your Style

man wearing black coat standing near brown kitchen counter



[Photo by Javier Reyes at Unsplash]

Unusual Films I Recommend - A Series


Thursday, August 06, 2020

Book Recommendations for Business Leaders



As one would expect, Wally Bock has compiled a very interesting list.

"The Adventures of Henry and The Landlord"


Cultural Offering announces a new sitcom.

Unusual Films I Recommend - A Series


News Bias is a Serious Problem



"News is becoming a form of entertainment masquerading as journalism."

Read all of Jonathan Turley's column here.

First Paragraph

The old ram stands looking down over rockslides, stupidly triumphant. I blink. I stare in horror. "Scat!" I hiss. "Go back to your cave, go back to your cowshed - whatever." He cocks his head like an elderly, slow-witted king, considers the angles, decides to ignore me. I stamp. I hammer the ground with my fists. I hurl a skull-size stone at him. He will not budge. I shake two hairy fists at the sky and I let out a howl so unspeakable that the water at my feet turns sudden ice and even I myself am left uneasy. But the ram stays; the season is upon us. And so begins the twelfth year of my idiotic war.

- From Grendel by John Gardner

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Catchy Tune


Wrestling with Font Size

FYI: There is a new version of Blogger which, in accordance with modern practices, is inferior to the old version. My biggest complaint is the font sizes are too large. 

Fortunately, I still have the option of reverting to the old version and I have done so.

But that option may not be forever.

Which is all the more reason for me to pursue a newsletter option. I am moving in that direction and will keep you posted.

The Nonconformist

Coleman Hughes writes a profile of Dr. Thomas Sowell in City Journal.

In a just world, Thomas Sowell would be a household name. Years ago, when I started working in the Equal Employment Opportunity field, Dr. Sowell was a refreshing voice because of his courage and his depth. 

Every Fortune 500 CEO should read his books on equal opportunity and affirmative action but I suggest starting with Ethnic America.

When a Zoom Meeting Gets Scary


The Assumptions

rectangular brown wooden table with chair lot inside building

It is not unusual for organizations and teams to study resources, training, office space, timing, goals, recruitment, evaluations, surveys, publicity, facilities, legal opinions, competitors, rewards, diversity, markets, finances, cash flow, regulations, technology, legislative reports, predictions, strategies, and tactics.

What I've noticed, however, is that key assumptions receive far less attention than they deserve. 

If you want to find out what is really going on, start with the assumptions.


[Photo by Benjamin Child at Unsplash]

First Paragraph

Early on 27 August 1944, General Dwight D. Eisenhower left Chartres to see the newly liberated Paris. 'It's Sunday,' the Supreme Allied Commander told General Omar Bradley, whom he took with him. 'Everyone will be sleeping late. We can do it without any fuss.' Yet the two generals were hardly inconspicuous as they bowled along towards the French capital on their supposedly 'informal visit'. The Supreme Commander's olive-drab Cadillac was escorted by two armoured cars, and a Jeep with a brigadier general leading the way.

- From Ardennes 1944: The Battle of The Bulge by Antony Beevor

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

The Importance of Low Overhead



FutureLawyer notes the advantages of keeping down the expenses.

Unusual Films I Recommend - A Series


Beirut

BBC News report on the explosions in Beirut. 

Absolutely horrific.

Unusual Films I Recommend - A Series


Nitwittery Update

Reason magazine: "Kindergarten Cop" has been pulled from Portland's Northwest Film Center film schedule.

Modern Politics and the Spirit of Liberty

white Anonymous mask

On August 3, 2020, Andrew Yang, former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, published a seemingly uncontroversial Tweet: "I disagree with my friends' politics quite often - still my friends."

And then the inevitable Twitter storm moved in. These comments are representative of the whole:
  • This is why I can't take you seriously my dude. Because at the end of the day, politics is just a game to you and your friends. But for so many people, politics have become a life or death situation and until it's treated as such, there won't be substantial change in this country.
  • A difference of opinion is meant for whether pineapple belongs on pizza (it doesn't). There's no difference of opinion when it comes to basic human rights. There's only right and wrong.
  • That being said, there is PLENTY of things that should never be considered politics to begin with such as free healthcare. I don't want to be friends with someone who is against free and easily accessible healthcare. I'm also not friends with people against BLM or LGBTQ.
  • What if your friends are fine with trump's racist comments about Asians? I've dumped a few friends because of that.
  • For me, this is beyond politics. It's like saying that agreeing with Hitler is just politics. Trump has inflicted incredible cruelties and he's destroying what's left of the country. How is that political differences?
  • To a degree. I can disagree with someone and still be a friend. I cannot be a friend with a Trump supporter. To support that man says something about ones character, and i wont have it in my life.
  • Politics!? We're talking morality, human decency, the greater good. What's happening now, is abt greed and selfishness vs.Justice and Inclusivity. The dysfunction of US politics affects the quality of millions of lives! Crimes against humanity in the world's wealthiest Nation!
  • We are fighting literal fascism, right now. We don't need the cutesy, feel-good kumbaya messages.
  • I can't be friends with a fascist or someone who thinks it's ok to put kids in cages or thinks it's ok to tear gas peaceful protesters. Just can't do it.
  • That's the most elitist thing I've ever heard you say. If you can still be friends with people who are killing others with their "politics" then you are really only worried if their politics effect you. That isn't reasonable. It's sociopathic.
  • Political positions are one thing. But I have to question Trump supporters' decency as human beings. I guess it's a matter of degree. Monsters have to be kept at bay and aren't suitable as friends.

I offer the following prescription for all sides during (and after) the election season:


"The spirit of liberty is the spirit which 
is not too sure that it is right."

- Learned Hand



A Cartoon for Our Times

May be found at A Large Regular.

So Strange I'm Posting This Again


Some Alarms

man wearing black suit sitting by the table while smoking


Some alarms clang and some work silently. There are, however, particular circumstances when it is wise to observe and listen with care. Beware when the following are present:

  • Extreme cleverness. "Too clever by half" is the great old description for a smart move that, upon reflection, isn't all that smart.
  • Tight deadlines. Unless it is an absolute bullets-flying and blood-pumping emergency, don't rush to make your mistakes.
  • No downsides. There are always downsides. They may not be large but they are always there.
  • Precedent-breaking. As the poet said, don't tear down a wall until you know why it was put up.
  • A temporary solution. Temporary practices can have long lives.
  • An underestimated opposition. Those slugs may show you some new and creative strategies.
  • Secrecy. As a general rule, if you cannot shout your goals from the rooftops, it is time to reconsider. Are there ethical reasons for the secrecy?
  • You're in love. It is very easy to fall in love with an idea, overlook its negatives, and lock the door to objectivity. A long courtship has its virtues.
  • Others?

[Photo by ali barzegarahmadi at Unsplash]