Saturday, June 24, 2017

Leadership and Gallipoli

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Writing in The Weekly Standard, Andrew Roberts reviews a new book on Winston Churchill's involvement in one of the most controversial decisions of the First World War.

Productivity Seminar

The incomparable Nicholas Bate is holding another productivity seminar.

I know if I could be there, I would.

Fame is Fleeting


How many of the following once-famous people could you identify in a line-up? Try this on your children.]
  1. Lloyd Nolan
  2. Veronica Lake
  3. Wallace Beery
  4. Strother Martin
  5. Lena Horne
  6. Warren Oates
  7. Marjorie Main
  8. Scatman Crothers
  9. Sam Jaffe
  10. Lloyd Bridges
  11. Mitch Miller
  12. Cesar Romero
  13. Jean Simmons
  14. Greta Garbo
  15. Joseph Cotten
  16. Godfrey Cambridge
  17. Peter Lorre
  18. Burl Ives
  19. Louis Calhern
  20. Ricardo Montalban
  21. Sidney Greenstreet
  22. Eartha Kitt
  23. Greer Garson
  24. Monty Woolley
  25. Andy Devine
  26. Paul Lynde
  27. Chuck Connors
  28. Randolph Scott
  29. Broderick Crawford
  30. Leo G. Carroll

Quote of the Day

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.

- Ronald Reagan

Friday, June 23, 2017

First Paragraph

Since this book was published there has been a lively debate, among politicians, through the media, in the public square, about the place of Islam in the modern world.

- From Celsius 7/7 by Michael Gove

A Sound Decision

From 2011: Who won the honors as Britain's greatest general?

The Music of Squeeze

Cultural Offering has the essential mixes for Squeeze.

[Confession: Until seeing his post, I had never heard of Squeeze. The man is an almanac of music.]

Celebrating Westerns

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Writers for Dinner


You can invite 12 writers, living or dead, novels and plays, for dinner and they will magically appear. Who would make your list?

My quick choices:
  1. William Shakespeare
  2. Charles Dickens
  3. Flannery O'Connor
  4. Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  5. George Orwell
  6. Leo Tolstoy
  7. Anthony Trollope
  8. Agatha Christie
  9. Tom Wolfe
  10. John Updike
  11. Graham Greene
  12. William Faulkner

Great Book Titles

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Quote of the Day

Put every person on horseback and let the blood be half a foot deep. Be very profane and have plenty of shooting. No episodes must occur in the dark.

- Frederic Remington's advice to Owen Wister on how to write a western novel

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Film Break


The trailers for:

Signs of Decline

Althouse has the details.

Workshop Complaint

Today's workshop went well and there are great evaluations but my feet have filed a complaint.

Threats to Free Speech


Commentary presents an interesting collection of thinkers on whether free speech is threatened in the United States.

First Paragraph

Long before George Washington's death, Americans began writing about him in terms resembling the descriptions the New England Puritans had used to describe God. The Puritans never claimed ultimate insight into God's essence - God, no matter how thoroughly studied, no matter how lovingly worshiped, remained unknown and unknowable. He could be approached, in a manner of speaking, by listing his attributes - his power and justice, for example - but the list could never be more than a beginning, certainly not a full understanding. George Washington, a mere man, was called godlike while still alive - meaning he had been chosen by Providence to do great things; he was the being created to take a leading role, indeed the essential part, in leading his country out of the British Empire and into the new world of republics.

- From Washington's Revolution: The Making of America's First Leader by Robert Middlekauff

Quote of the Day

Almost all unhappiness in life comes from the tendency to blame someone else.

- Brian Tracey

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Turning Off What?


FutureLawyer interrupts beach time to reveal what may happen during Microsoft updates.

The Teacher of the Year, a Fan, and the President

Photo published for Q And A With The 'Sassy' Teacher Of The Year About That Fan And Going Viral

NPR: The story behind the photo that has gone viral.

Where Helicopter Childhoods May Lead


Pratik Chougule explores whether American childhood will create an authoritarian society. An excerpt:

Hard numbers illustrate these trends:
  • The amount of free time school-aged children enjoyed plummeted from 40 percent in the early 1980s to 25 percent by the mid 1990s.
  • The time young children spend in school jumped from 5-6 hours in the early 1980s to almost 7 hours beginning in the early 2000s.
  • By 2006, some 40 percent of schools had either eliminated recess or were considering doing so.

Haidt and the Culture Wars

The Chronicle of Higher Education: "Can Jonathan Haidt Calm the Culture Wars?" An excerpt:

In 2011, during a talk at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Haidt asked the audience of about 1,000 people for a show of hands: How many considered themselves liberals? Eighty percent raised their hands. Centrists or moderates? About 20 hands. Libertarians? Twelve. Conservatives? Three. "When we find any job in the nation in which women or minorities are underrepresented by a factor of three or four, we make the strong presumption that this constitutes evidence of discrimination," he said. "And if we can’t find evidence of overt discrimination, we presume that there must be a hostile climate that discourages underrepresented groups from entering." He likened the situation of nonliberals in social psychology to closeted homosexuals in the 1980s.

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On a morning in May 1804, there arrived at the White House by Baltimore coach, and in the company of the painter Charles Willson Peale, a visitor from abroad: an aristocratic, young German, age thirty-four, a bachelor, occupation scientist and explorer. And like Halley's comet or the white whale or other such natural phenomena dear to the nineteenth century, he would be remembered by all who saw him for the rest of their days.

- From Brave Companions: Portraits in History by David McCullough

Great Book Titles

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Quote of the Day

It is a characteristic mistake of the enlightened to demand too much of humans and then to loathe them for falling short.

- Michael Novak

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Advice with Scars on It

I wrote this back in 2008:

  1. If something doesn't feel right, don't pretend that it is right.

  2. Be wary of wit at the expense of others. It has a habit of turning sour.

  3. There are times when one of the smartest things you can do is to lose an argument.

  4. One of the most dangerous moments in a meeting is when everyone agrees.

  5. There are no little slights.

  6. Don't set higher standards for your secretary than you do for your chief executive officer.

  7. There are people who are wrong at the top of their voice.

  8. Predators may be beautiful but they are still predators.

  9. It can be easier to take a group from the bottom to the top than to keep a group at the top.

  10. If you have no competition you'd be wise to invent some.

  11. Whenever you are being given too much detail, rest assured that it is being used as a cloak.

  12. Look, and keep looking, for new ways of looking.

Celebrating Westerns

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Did the Job Kill FDR?

Look at the photographs of President Franklin D. Roosevelt shortly before his death and you will find an exhausted man. It surprises many to discover that FDR was only 63 years old when he died but anyone who studies his presidency may be amazed that he lasted that long.

Franklin Roosevelt was a brilliant leader but his management skills were terrible. An adept manipulator, FDR intentionally created chaos. He often assigned the same task to more than one Cabinet officer and even at the best of times his Cabinet was not a happy crew. He encouraged rivalry, took on a massive workload, and maintained a White House staff that was almost nonexistent. [A previous attempt to reorganize the executive branch had been blocked in Congress before the war.] 

And then the war came. By 1944, there were 47 war agencies reporting directly to the president. When he arrived at the Yalta Conference to meet with Churchill and Stalin, his health had declined so greatly that the British were shocked at his appearance. Lord Moran, Churchill's doctor, said, "I doubt, from what I have seen, whether he (Roosevelt) is fit for the job here." 

That observation was made on February 4, 1945.

President Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945.

Great Book Titles

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Quote of the Day

When your victimhood is your empowerment, recovery is the enemy.

- Tammy Bruce

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Next 25 minutes


Inc.: This method for using intense focus during 25 minute periods is not necessarily new but it is helpful. Many individuals work in bursts, not in a flow, and focus is key.

Amazon + Whole Foods

Fortune magazine on what Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods could mean for Costco.

You can easily imagine.

"Seven years of college down the drain."

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The Miami Herald gives the background to "Animal House" and includes the story of how "Flounder" got the part. 

[It was a creative move involving pizza.]

Journalism's Demise

Imprimis: Michael Goodwin on the 2016 election and the demise of journalistic standards. An excerpt:

Among the many firsts, last year’s election gave us the gobsmacking revelation that most of the mainstream media puts both thumbs on the scale—that most of what you read, watch, and listen to is distorted by intentional bias and hostility. I have never seen anything like it. Not even close.

First Paragraph

Imagine that you were alive in the summer of 1900, living in London, then the capital of the world. Europe ruled the Eastern Hemisphere. There was hardly a place that, if not ruled directly, was not indirectly controlled from a European capital. Europe was at peace and enjoying unprecedented prosperity. Indeed, European interdependence due to trade and investment was so great that serious people were claiming that war had become impossible - and if not impossible, would end within weeks of beginning - because global financial markets couldn't withstand the strain. The future seemed fixed: a peaceful, prosperous Europe would rule the world.

- From The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century by George Friedman

Back to Basics


FutureLawyer shows how to delete yourself from the Internet.

Great Book Titles

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Quote of the Day

Reason has seldom failed us because it has seldom been tried.

- Edward Abbey

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Much Appreciated Father's Day Loot


  • Lost Illusions by Honore de Balzac
  • The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century by George Friedman
  • SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard
  • Lehrter Station by David Downing
  • The American Spirit:Who We Are and What We Stand For by David McCullough
  • Brave Companions: Portraits in History by David McCullough

In the Background

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Father's Day: A Sound Philosophy


Find Something Beautiful Today