Saturday, August 16, 2014

Oh well................................................

Kenny Chesney................................There Goes My Life

A bubble............................................


Opening paragraphs.....................

There were three watchers, two men and a boy.  They were using telescopes, not field glasses.  It was a question of distance.  They were almost a mile away from their target area, because of the terrain.  There was no closer cover.  It was low, undulating country, burned khaki by the sun, grass and rock and sandy soil alike.  The nearest safe concealment was the broad dip they were in, a bone-dry gulch scraped out a million years ago by a different climate, when there had been rain and ferns and rushing rivers.
-Lee Child,  Echo Burning: A Jack Reacher Novel

Validation.........................................














via

Fifty years ago.....................................

The Rivieras.....................................................Little Donna

Hope so................................

“I believe . . . that if our country ever comes into trial again, young men will spring up equal to the occasion, and if one fails, there will be another to take his place.”
-Ulysses S. Grant

As the world turns.....................................

“The difference between treason and patriotism is only a matter of dates.” 
-Alexander Dumas

Imagine a conversation.......................

The hay in the loft 
misses the night sky,
so the old roof
leaks a few stars.

Rain clouds gone,
and muddy paw prints
on the moon.

I've never learned from experience.
What else is there? you ask.
How about ninety billion galaxies.

What is it that the wind has lost
that she keeps looking for 
under each leaf?

I grow older.
I still like women, but mostly
I like Mexican food.

Sleeping on my right side I think
of God.  On my left side, sex.
On my back, I snore with my dog.

Some nights are three nights long,
some days a mere noon hour, then whistled
back to work, the heart dredging sludge.

The nightmare we waken from,
grateful, is somebody else's life.

Mirrors have always given the wrong
impression of me.   So do other people.
So do I.  Let's stop this right here.

-as excerpted from Braided Creek:  A Conversation in Poetry between Ted Kooser and Jim Harrison.
Back story here

Writing...............................

          Write Injuries in Dust,
            Benefits in Marble.
-Ben Franklin

Friday, August 15, 2014

One of my favorites.....................

The Marshall Tucker Band.........................Running Like The Wind

Checking in with Aesop.........................



A famished fox saw some clusters of ripe black grapes hanging from a trellised vine.  She resorted to all her tricks to get at them, but wearied herself in vain, for she could not reach them.  At last she turned away, hiding her disappointment and saying:  "The Grapes are sour, and not as ripe as I thought."

Moral:  It is easy to despise what you cannot have.

image via

Managers vs Leaders...................................

     Central to his thinking was a distinction between managers and leaders.  Managers are people who like to do things right, he argued.  Leaders are people who do the right thing.  Managers have their eye on the bottom line.  Leaders have their eye on the horizon.  Managers help you get where you want to go.  Leaders tell you what it is you want.  He chastised business schools for focusing on the first at the expense of the second.  People took MBAs, he said, not because they wanted to be middle managers but because they wanted to be chief executives.  He argued that "failing organisations are usually over-managed and under-led."
-Schumpter, as excerpted from this essay on the passing of Warren Bennis

Warren Bennis........................................



Warren Bennis (1925-2014) was one of the first to truly study "leadership."  He wrote, or co-authored, thirty some books on the topic.  Feel free to read more about him here or here.  A few of his quotes are here:

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” 

"Good leaders make people feel that they're at the very heart of things, not at the periphery."


"Silence - not dissent - is the one answer that leaders should refuse to accept.” 

“Who succeeds in forming and leading a Great Group? He or she is almost always a pragmatic dreamer. They are people who get things done, but they are people with immortal longings. Often, they are scientifically minded people with poetry in their souls.” 

"Leaders must encourage their organizations to dance to forms of music yet to be heard."

“Too many companies believe people are interchangeable. Truly gifted people never are. They have unique talents. Such people cannot be forced into roles they are not suited for, nor should they be. Effective leaders allow great people to do the work they were born to do.” 

"The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why."


"There are two ways of being creative. One can sing and dance. Or one can create an environment in which singers and dancers flourish."

"The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born — that there is a genetic factor to leadership. This myth asserts that people simply either have certain charismatic qualities or not. That's nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born. And the way we become leaders is by learning about leadership through life and job experiences, not with university degrees."

What's another word for "Leadership Advisor"...?

.....Go to the head of the class if you answered:  Execupundit.

Actually, the process of getting to the head of any class (and staying there) can be made simpler by the daily reading of (and meditating on) Michael Wade's blog.  In this installment, he describes his day job.  Enjoy!

Yep...............................................

“after a man passes 60 , his mischief is mainly in his head” 
-Washington Irving

Fifty years ago......................................

The Beach Boys................................The Girls on the Beach

Opening paragraphs..............................

It had been a "complete revolution," one lawyer recalled in 1829, a transformation producing "a substantial improvement" in the lives of Americans.  "What abundant reason have we to be satisfied with our condition," another exclaimed the following year, now that Americans had been "disencumbered from most of the burthensome and intricate legal regulations" that had fettered them in the past.  This was the language of July 4 speeches in the early republic, but these lawyers were not celebrating the Declaration of Independence or the successful outcome of the war.  They were talking about the law of property.
-Stuart Banner,  American Property:  A History of How, Why and What We Own

Mad.....................................

414.    Men are so necessarily mad that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness.
-Blaise Pascal,   Pensees

On guilt...................................

Guilt serves no purpose.  The past is just that:  passed!  Gone.  Slipped away.  Not to be repeated.  If you need to make restitution, then do it.  If you messed up, apologize.  If you are forgiven for your mistake, give thanks and move on.  If you are not forgiven, move on anyway.  Forgive yourself, learn from the experience, and act differently next time.  At that point, it's over.  Don't bother with guilt.
-Larry Winget

Best way...........................................

“The best way to predict your future is to create it” 
-Peter Drucker

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Random thoughts...............

He's at it again....................................

We should re-read some of our favorite books from childhood because adult life also has trolls, knights, and the occasional pirate.......People who claim that there would be no wars if all of the world leaders were female know neither history nor women very well......You could base an entire philosophy of life on what to ignore..... Most of our lives are spent dealing with strangers, even those we've known for years....Rather than searching for new assets we should get greater leverage from the ones which are at hand.... Each week should include at least one very good cup of hot chocolate. 

Spread your wings...................................

Billie Holiday...................................................Summertime

Summertime...................................





















"Summer is stressful......................There is so much pressure to enjoy yourself."
-unattributed quote passed on by my young son

With apologies to Bill Shakespeare......























Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 can be found here.

Lots to like.................................


Fifty years ago..................................

The Beach Boys....................................All Summer Long

Ah, those always interesting humans..........

The knock-off:




















The original:

There's just something fun...........................

......................................about a random field of sunflowers.


My enemy's enemy........................

................may also be my enemy.  Obama continues to roll the dice with Iran.  It is worth noticing that this has been a constant with him from the get-go.  Sure hope it turns out well.  Walter Russell Mead is still on the story:

"It’s not clear that the President’s goal of a grand bargain with Iran is within reach, or that it will deliver the kind of stability he hopes for. For one thing, it’s possible that the Iranians are less interested in reaching a pragmatic and mutually beneficial relationship with Washington than in using Obama’s hunger for a transformative and redeeming diplomatic success to lure him onto a risky and ultimately disastrous course."

Seem like................................


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What I didn't know then..........................

Bob Seger................................................Against the Wind

Opening paragraphs.................................

It began with an accident, but then matters involving Julian Isherwood invariably did.  In fact, his reputation for folly and misadventure was so indisputably established that London's art world, had it known of the affair, which it did not, would have expected nothing less.  Isherwood, declared one wit from the Old Masters department at Sotheby's, was the patron saint for lost causes, a high-wire artist with a penchant for carefully planned schemes that ended in ruins, oftentimes through no fault of his own.  Consequently, he was both admired and pitied, a rare trait for a man of his position.  Julian Isherwood made life a bit less tedious.  And for that, London's smart set adored him.
-Daniel Silva,  The Heist

The Economist has noted.....................

........................................the George H. W. Bush revival.

"Two decades since losing the presidency after a single term, George Bush senior is in fashion.  No living ex-president enjoys higher net approval ratings (although his successor, Bill Clinton, comes close)."

"The problem is structural.  Centrists still fill big jobs in business and the public sector, but control the beating heart of neither party.  Bush-nostalgia is surging in a country stalked by populism.  Missing the 41st president in one thing.  Reviving the America that could elect someone like him, quite another."

Full essay is here.

Couldn't agree more..................................


Fifty years ago.....................................

The Beatles........................................Things We Said Today

Attibution..................................

“In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is Freedom, in water there is bacteria.”
-attributed to Ben Franklin

Our friends at goodreads labeled the above as a "quote" from Ben Franklin.  I've got my doubts.  While it sounds like something Ben would say, I'm not sure "bacteria" was a word during his lifetime.  This comes from the Wiki on bacteria:


Bacteria were first observed by the Dutch microscopist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek in 1676, using a single-lens microscope of his own design.[181] He then published his observations in a series of letters to the Royal Society of London.[182][183][184]Bacteria were Leeuwenhoek's most remarkable microscopic discovery. They were just at the limit of what his simple lenses could make out and, in one of the most striking hiatuses in the history of science, no one else would see them again for over a century.[185] Only then were his by-then-largely-forgotten observations of bacteria — as opposed to his famous "animalcules" (spermatozoa) — taken seriously.
Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg introduced the word "bacterium" in 1828.[186] In fact, his Bacterium was a genus that contained non-spore-forming rod-shaped bacteria,[187] as opposed to Bacillus, a genus of spore-forming rod-shaped bacteria defined by Ehrenberg in 1835.[188]

This comes from the Wiki on Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723):
Raised in DelftNetherlands, Leeuwenhoek worked as a draper in his youth, and founded his own shop in 1654. He made a name for himself in municipal politics, and eventually developed an interest in lensmaking. Using his handcrafted microscopes, he was the first to observe and describe single-celled organisms, which he originally referred to as animalcules, and which are now referred to as microorganisms. He was also the first to record microscopic observations of muscle fibers, bacteriaspermatozoa, and blood flow in capillaries (small blood vessels). Leeuwenhoek did not author any books; his discoveries came to light through correspondence with the Royal Society, which published his letters.

Can't we all just get along........................?

Spengler has never owned rose-colored glasses.  His world view is not for the faint of heart.  He sees great parallels between today's Middle East and Europe in the time of the 30 Years' War (1618-1648).

"War in the Middle East is less a strategic than a demographic phenomenon, whose resolution will come with the exhaustion of the pool of potential fighters."

Today's history lesson and some serious finger-pointing can be found here.

A universal feeling...............................

"I have one life and though I love my country, I cannot wait for its leaders to grow up."
- as excerpted from here

Curing.......................................

“The latter part of a wise person's life is occupied with curing the follies, prejudices and false opinions they contracted earlier.”
-Jonathan Swift

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

But I write................................

Gina Blitstein speaks out on depression:

Depression is a bitch. She’s a disease of the entire self – affecting thought, body, and emotions equally. Here’s how she breaks a person down:

Please read her full post

Call out my name.......................................

J. D. Souther........................................You're Only Lonely

The top ten list......................

...........on how to find happiness from Pope Francis?

“They say: Campa e lascia campà (Live and let live). That’s the first step to peace and happiness.”

Full post with nine other steps to happiness is here.

thanks

On everything......................................

"Nothing is more irritating than the certainty with which a man who has had success in one thing gives his opinion on everything."
-Don Colacho's Aphorisms, #2,909

Odd creatures, indeed................................

    Mankind are very odd Creatures:
One half censure what they practice,
      the other half practice what
  they censure;  the rest always say
          and do as they ought.
-Benjamin Franklin

On the importance of a vision..................


Quite the year................................


Fifty years ago......................................

Elvis Presley................................................What'd I Say

Conscious noticing..............................













"The goal is to keep a clear head. A head so aware that we are conscious when our productivity methodologies are actually making us less productive."
-Nicholas Bate

Clearly she touched a hot button.................

When we speak different languages, clear communication can be difficult.  For instance, this question from this blog post:

5. Which of these takes the largest toll on the federal government’s bottom line each year?
A) Social Security
B) Defense spending
C) Tax expenditures (loopholes, deductions, etc., in the tax code)
     The answer given by the author is C).   Forgive me for being difficult, but the Internal Revenue Code is the official fund raising document of the federal government.  In the way the Code is currently organized (and written by Congress) there are a myriad of deductions and credits available to all tax payers and a myriad of deductions and credits available only to certain taxpayers.  These are not "Tax Expenditures."  They are part of the Code, usually inserted to serve a specific purpose that Congress, in its collective wisdom, deemed worthy.  If one is to say these provisions of the Code take "a toll on the federal government's bottom line," one must believe that ALL the money belongs to the government in the first place.
     Social Security and Defense Spending are among the many true expenses of running the federal government.   The provisions of the Internal Revenue Code are not.
     The Washington Post opinion columnist who penned the above question clearly has a point of view she is trying to get across.  More power to her.  I would likely be more open to her arguments is she wasn't playing with the language and skewing the questions.  Just saying.

illusions.................................

On summer evenings we sat in the yard,
the house dark, the stars bright overhead.
The laps and arms of the old
held the young.  As we talked we knew
by the dark distance of Heaven's lights
our smallness, and the greatness of our love.

Now from the upland once surrounded
by the horizon of unbroken dark, we
(who were children only a life ago)
see reflected on the clouds the lights
of three cities, as if we offer to the sky
some truth of ours that we are certain of,

as if we will have no light
but our own, and thus make illusory
all the light we have.

-Wendell Berry
Sabbaths,  1996 II

Guanciale.............................

..................................................continues his hot streak.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sad news.....................................

One game you don't have to play.............

Ryan Tennis and the Clubhouse Band.....................Walk On

Let's argue about the word "important".................

"Why deceive ourselves? Science has not answered a single important question."
-Don Colacho's Aphorisms, #2,919

Beauty.......................................


















To know gratitude -
observe and feel the moment
you are in

'cause it helps with that..................................


Opening paragraphs...............................

I had dressed for Chestnut Hill:  a button-down tattersall shirt that Susan had bought for me, crisp dress khakis, a navy blazer with gold buttons, and a pair of well-broken-in loafers worn without socks.  The lack of socks implied a devil-may-care attitude understood by the wealthy.  Even though the wealthy individual I was calling on today was a two-hundred-and-sixty-pound NFL linebacker with a twenty-two inch neck named Kinjo Heywood.  I'd seen Kinjo toss around quarterbacks like rag dolls and doubted that he'd notice the missing sock.
-Ace Atkins, channeling Robert B. Parker in Cheap Shot:  A Spenser Novel

Fifty years ago.................................

Del Shannon...................................................Handy Man

So keep smiling.......................................


Ray shares his opinion..............................

It is an acquired taste, on that we will probably agree.  I prefer the Caol Ila 12 year old, but the fun is in the tasting.  Do watch the commercial video.

The breadth.......................

..............of his taste for music is astonishing.  His willingness to share benefits all mankind.  Do take advantage of it.

Or watch the TV news.............................


Does this include watching golf on TV........?

"Be always ashamed to catch thyself idle."
-Ben Franklin

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sing along...........................................

Craig Morgan.................That's What I Love About Sundays

Miracles.............................

"Anyone who does not believe in miracles is not a realist."
-David Ben-Gurion

Proverbs..................................

"Proverbs, like the sacred books of each nation, are the sanctuary of the intuitions.  That which the droning world, chained to appearances, will not allow the realist to say in his own words, it will suffer him to say in proverbs without contradiction."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing...........

A few dozen well known proverbs, from this list of hundreds:

A poor workman always blames his tools

Don't cross the bridge till you come to it

Everyone wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die

Fortune favours the brave

Hard work never did anyone any harm

It takes two to tango

Judge not, that ye be not judged

Let bygones be bygones

Moderation in all things (including moderation)

Music has charms to soothe the savage breast

Nature abhors a vacuum

No pain, no gain

One law for the rich and another for the poor

People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones

Silence is golden

There's many a good tune played on an old fiddle

There's none so blind as those who will not see

Time and tide wait for no man

Truth is stranger than fiction

Walnuts and pears you plant for your heirs

Where there's a will there's a way

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink

You can't judge a book by its cover

Youth is wasted on the young

The channel.................................

"That well-known voice speaks in all languages, governs all men, and none ever caught a glimpse of its form.  If the man will exactly obey it, it will adopt him, so that he shall not any longer separate it from himself in his thought;  he shall seem to be it, he shall be it.  If he listens with insatiable ears, richer and greater wisdom is taught him;  the sound swells to a ravishing music, his is borne away as with a flood, he becomes careless of his food and of his house, he is the fool of ideas, and leads a heavenly life.  But if his eye is set on the things to be done, and not on the truth that is still taught, and for the sake of which the things are to be done, then the voice grows faint, and at last is but a humming in his ears.  His health and greatness consist in his being the channel through which heaven flows to earth.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson,  Emerson on Man and God

Fifty years ago...................................

The Supremes................................Where Did Our Love Go

A pretty full plate...................................


Opening paragraphs.......................

Many people think the Judas was the supreme betrayer of Jesus.  But others say Paul has a better right to that title.  Judas gave Jesus' body over to death.  Paul, it is claimed, buried his spirit.  He substituted his own high-flown but also dark theology for the simple teachings of the itinerant preacher from Galilee.  Thomas Jefferson wrote to his friend William Short that Paul was the "first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus."  Bernard Shaw said the same thing in the preface to his play Androcles and the Lion:  "There has never been a more monstrous imposition perpetrated than the imposition of the limitations of Paul's soul upon the soul of Jesus."  This represented a triumph over the four evangelists ("good news bearers") by what Nietzsche called Paul in The Antichrist - "the Dysangelist" (Bad News Bearer), a man with a "genius for hatred."  Shaw told a correspondent in 1928 that "it would have been better for the world if Paul had never been born."
-Gary Wills,  from the Introduction to What Paul Meant

Fabulous...............................................


Speaking of problems.........................

"Not all problems can be fixed.  Don't kill yourself trying.  Sometimes your only choice is to learn to live with the problem.  You have to work with the problem.  Go around the problem.  Move faster than the problem.  Be smarter than the problem.   You can't avoid it;  just learn to deal with it."
-Larry Winget

Vive la différence....................................

"Equal opportunity means giving everyone the opportunity to become unequal."
-Doug Fine