Define "moderation"

Drink coffee.  It is good for you.

Manual rules!!

From Matthew Lang:

"Automation is great for when it’s mundane tasks that can be repeated over and over without interruption, but when we want to tailor that task each time it happens, we need to step in and do the work ourselves."

All of the greatest things I have done in my life were manual tasks.  No automation needed for the best things.

The bureaucratic moment - a modern fable

He stopped mid-form, looked up at the cluttered cubicle wall, sighed, and leaned back in his chair.  This wasn't about helping anyone - not the "clients" on his case list, not the people in his charge.  This wasn't about the mission.  It wasn't about any mission.  What was the "client's" name anyway?  Which one was he?

This had become paperwork.  It was about the forms and the process.  The workstreams.  It was about the latest directive on how handle a larger and larger caseload.  How to step people - "clients" - through the system.  It was about making sure the i's were dotted and box 56a was filled in.  If the paperwork met the standards, and all the boxes were completed, no one cared about the names or the descriptions.  It was a sophisticated maze and he was a well-trained rat.

There had been an objective once but was long gone, missing in the endless, faceless system.  The chair creaked under his weight as he rocked back and rubbed his face. 

Ten years.  He had ten years until retirement.

And he now had to decide. . .what would he do after retirement?

April stack


The most productive work space. . .ever??

Getting Things Done guru, David Allen, is selling his office:

Music for a Tuesday - George Jones

"Living and dying with the choices I've made."  George Jones sings the truth with "Choices".  So sad it'll make you happy:


"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt."

Margaret Atwood

The new world of work

"Sadly your interviewers don't think about getting professional: defining a job, defining a time line and being courteous to you."

Read on at Nicholas Bate.

Pay to quit

Amazon offers employees $5,000 to quit.  Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos explains:

"'The goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want,' he wrote in the letter. 'In the long-run, an employee staying somewhere they don't want to be isn't healthy for the employee or the company.'

Bezos said the offer is made under the headline 'Please Don't Take This Offer.' Amazon will offer to pay its associates to quit once a year.

The company has experimented with this program in recent years, but rolled it out to its 40,000 warehouse employees in January, according to a company spokeswoman."

The program raises interesting questions, the most important of which is:  How much damage can an unhappy employee cause to a company in terms of poor work and the associated costs, morale damage, schedule disruption due to absenteeism. . .

Thanks, Caroline.


Execupundit cracks the code of feeble responses.  Somewhere in there ought to be something about "best of intentions", and being in it "for the children".

Pimenento and cheese sandwich

Ray appreciates the finer things in life.

Scott's music. . .

charted here.

Warm up

Always warm up:

I do this before meetings.  Thanks to David for sending this article to me from USA Today.

"'Playing very solid all day, all day long. I feel very nice,' the Spaniard said. 'Minus six, you cannot complain.'

Not that he would, anyway.

Other players may toss clubs or drop expletives after poor shots, or let out roars and fist pumps after good ones. But Jimenez oozes a free-spirited cool, strolling the golf course as if he doesn't have a care in the world."

Mound of earth and pile of mulch. . .

Peanut gallery.

calling my name.

You dig the dirt out of the mound, put in in the back of the garden tractor trailer, take the the dirt where you want it, dump it, and smooth it out.  Repeat until the four tons of earth are gone.  Then you do the same thing with about as much mulch.  Load your brain with things to think about.  Play music.  Drink some water.  Get dirty.  Enjoy the smells and the therapy of the mundane.

Music for a Saturday - Eric Clapton and Wynton Marsalis

"Layla" with (yet another) twist from Play the Blues: Live from Jazz at Lincoln Center:

Don't ruin your love affair with yourself.

"You've left the supermarket and realize that the checkout person gave you $20 too much change.  You're already halfway to the car with your arms full of groceries.  The mistake is not your fault.  Let's assume you know that the checkout clerk won't have to pay for it.  It's a huge supermarket chain making millions in profits.  Do you schlep all the way back to the store to give the money back?

A convenient resource in making the right decision is to take great enjoyment in a self-conscious image of yourself - in this instance, to think of yourself as incorruptibly honest.  What happens if you don't return the $20?  You ruin your love affair with yourself.  You don't need to be self-righteous to make this strategy work.  I assume that I have a price at which I would be willing to ruin my love affair with myself.  I don't know what it is.  But I am quite sure that it is more than $20."

Charles Murray
The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead

Essential Mixes: 1-50

The history of music mediums is about stretching time.  The long-play album delivered 30 minutes tops before you had to flip it over.  8-tracks were continuous-play but broke up great tunes like Bowie's Golden Years and The Cars' Don't Cha Stop, not to mention Toto's Rockmaker

Cassettes delivered 90 minutes of great music at a time, all selected and recorded by moi.  Recordable music CDs could deliver a bit more. 

And then came the iPod, a magical device able to manage 10,000 songs sorted in any and many orders.  The iPod is a liberating device - 4 inches by 2-and-a-quarter, mobile and packed with the mixes as the owner wants them - as I want them.  The best of the best from (almost) every genre, and by (nearly) every mood I can imagine. 

Essential mixes are those I would recommend to anyone as a primer on the artist or subject matter.  Incredible music for playback at home, in the car, on the back deck or in the garage.  You haven't seen them all, but, like it or not, you will before it is all over ("Honey, where is my Summer, 2007 Mix?"). 

My only requirements for mixes are three: 1) I must enjoy the artist or music; 2) I must possess the mix on my iPod; and 3) the mix must run longer than a cassette or music CD; the mix must not be limited to 90 or 100 minutes - it needs to have time to wind out, breathe and settle in with the listener on a long car trip or during an afternoon or morning of work, relaxation or leisure.  Long form.

A review of 1 through 50:

1.   Frank Sinatra
2.   Johnny Cash
3.   The Beatles
4.   Mozart
5.   500 Greatest Rock Songs of All Time (according to me)
6.   George Jones
7.   Bach
8.   The Rolling Stones
9.   Vivaldi
10. Bob Seger
11. Beethoven
12. U2
13. Willie Nelson
14. John Coltrane
15. Sarah Vaughan
16. Genesis
17. The Jukebox Mix
18. Muddy Waters
19. AC/DC
20. The Work Mix
21. Toto
22. Pink Floyd
23. Bach Sunday Mix
24. Jethro Tull
25. Dire Straits
26. 100 Greatest Country Songs
27. Lyle Lovett
28. John Mellencamp
29. Brahms
30. David Bowie
31. Windham Hill Christmas Mix
32. McCartney
33. Electric Light Orchestra
34. Pat Metheny
35. Steely Dan
36. Songs to Sing Loudly in the Car
37. Roxy Music
38. Miles Davis
39. Ted Nugent
40. Jerry Jeff Walker
41. Colin Hay
42. Thelonious Monk
43. The Tubes
44. Poco
45. Eudaimonia Mix
46. Springsteen
47. Donald Fagen
48. Glenn Gould
49. Patsy Cline
50. Jimmy Buffett

Higher education

“Yesterday Brandeis University decided to withdraw an honorary degree they were to confer upon me next month during their Commencement exercises. I wish to dissociate myself from the university’s statement, which implies that I was in any way consulted about this decision. On the contrary, I was completely shocked when President Frederick Lawrence called me—just a few hours before issuing a public statement—to say that such a decision had been made."

She doesn't fit in the standard.  She doesn't speak the code.  Read on.

The cassettes. . .

are at Eclecticity Light.

The secret

"Rolling Stones records and mom's apple pies."

"Write it on your heart
that every day is the best day in the year.
He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day
who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety."

Read on at The Hammock Papers.
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