Riding Metro-North S/N. With Crawford.

Amtrak Cascades train 509 races through Vader, WA.

Miracles.
The Show plays same time daily. Pre-dawn in a tight band around 4:30 am.
Zeke‘s bred to hunt birds. His Dad, to wake free of alarms.
I peek out from under the covers, and voila.
6 hours of intermittent shut-eye, and the florescent digits blaze 4:38 am.
The red spark plugs ignite the engine.
I calculate the odds of catching the 5:01 am.
22 minutes to shower, shave, dress, cover 1/4 mile and buy ticket.
Too tight. Next train: 5:40 am.

*  *   *

I make the 5:40.

I finish skimming the morning e-papers.

I move to Matthew Crawford’s new book: The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction.  After an engaging introduction, I catch myself jumping words, then sentences and whole paragraphs. I’m skipping a torrent of multi-syllabic words. I’m not understanding much of it — it’s washing over me like dirty runoff. I’m hoping something sticks. Nothing does. [Read more…]

He was in love with the world

Mike-Nichols

His closest friends this week marveled at the depth of the impression he made on all whose lives he touched. “He’d make you feel you were better than you believed—smarter, funnier, more alive…” A friend noted something else: his unbounded excitement about life, his ability to retain a freshness, an innocence. “It was always possible that this was going to be the best dumpling, the best conversation, this play was going to have a moment in it we’d never forget. . . . He was in love with the world. He was in love with Egg McMuffins ! He took such joy in what was. Maybe the Buddhists have it wrong, maybe the great livers are the ones who love things, too—that book, that painting, the McDonald’s breakfast.

A thing that distinguished Mike professionally is that he thought he had to know things. He came up in a generation that thought to know the theater you have to know the theater. They read. He read, all his life. He knew the canon—his Chekhov, Ibsen and Molière, his Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams and Tom Stoppard…

…To make great art you have to know great art. And so his learned, highly cultivated mind. He dropped out of the University of Chicago and sought to teach himself through great books and smart people. Great writers and directors have to start as great readers or it won’t work, nothing needed from the past will be brought into the future, and art will become thinner, less deep, less meaningful and so, amazingly, less fun, less moving and true.

~ Peggy Noonan, on Mike Nichols

Read entire opinion article here: The Pleasure of His Company


Mike Nichols, 83, died on November 19, 2014. He was a German-born American film and theatre director, producer, actor and comedian. He won the Academy Award for Best Director for the film The Graduate. His other films include Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?Catch-22Carnal KnowledgeSilkwoodWorking GirlThe BirdcageCloserCharlie Wilson’s War (his final picture), and the TV mini-series Angels in America. He also staged the original theatrical productions of The Apple TreeBarefoot in the ParkLuvThe Odd Couple and Spamalot. As well as winning an Academy Award, Nichols won a Grammy Award, four Emmy Awards and nine Tony Awards. He was one of a small group of people who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award.

Image Credit: jewishcurrents.org

Stop. And…

beginning-purpose-meaning


Source: RudyOldeSchulte

Monday Mantra: Go Deep

thomas-bernhard

“I have, in my life, turned pages a million times more often than I have read them, and always derived from turning pages at least as much pleasure and real intellectual enjoyment as from reading. Surely it is better to read altogether only three pages of a four-hundred-page book a thousand times more thoroughly than the normal reader who reads everything but does not read a single page thoroughly, he said. It is better to read twelve lines of a book with the utmost intensity and thus to penetrate into them to the full, as one might say, rather than read the whole book as the normal reader does, who in the end knows the book he has read no more than an air passenger who knows the landscape he overflies. He does not perceive the contours. Thus all people nowadays read everything and know nothing. I enter into a book and settle in it, neck and crop, you should realize, in one or two pages of a philosophical essay as if I were entering a landscape, a piece of nature, a state organism, a detail of the earth, if you like, in order to penetrate into it entirely and not just with half my strength or half-heartedly, in order to explore it and then, having explored it with all the thoroughness at my disposal, drawing conclusions as to the whole. He who reads everything has understood nothing, he said. It is not necessary to read all of Goethe or all of Kant, it is not necessary to read all of Schopenhauer; a few pages of ‘Werther’, a few pages of ‘Elective Affinities’ and we know more in the end about the two books than if we had read them from beginning to end, which would anyway deprive us of the purest enjoyment.”

— Thomas BernhardOld Masters: A Comedy (University Of Chicago Press, 1992)

[Read more…]

The Secrets

Tony-Gwynn

NY Times: In a .338 Lifetime Average, Every Day Counted.

  • Tony Gwynn died of cancer on Monday at age 54.
  • Gwynn won a record 8 National League batting championships, he was a 15-time All-Star, he amassed 3,141 hits and gained acclaim as one of baseball’s most passionate students in the art of hitting…and his pudgy 5′ 11″ frame (give or take a few pounds) did not evoke streamlined athleticism.
  • Tony Gwynn may have embodied the game of baseball better than anyone else who has played.  It was not because Gwynn was among its greatest hitters. It was because of the wonder he found in the game and the joy he took in applying his daily discoveries.
  • He spoke passionately about the attitude of the modern player. “They just feel like stuff is supposed to happen to them,” he said. “They’re not going to have to work for it. And that bugs me because I know how hard I had to work to get where I got.
  • Gwynn’s love for the low-key atmosphere in San Diego and his devotion to the Padres may have been costly. He shunned free agency in favor of multiyear contracts…But he told The Times during his final season: “Twenty years in one place, one city. It looks good.”
  • Tony Gwynn’s 2 Hitting Secrets: Work and More Work.

What a player. What a Man. What an inspiration. RIP Tony Gwynn.


Coach? Bah! Hmmmm. Yah.

portrait-close-up-man

It’s Saturday morning. I’m flicking through Netflix and there it was – “Recommended for me: The Legend of Bagger Vance.” It was ten, maybe eleven years ago. The Executive Coach assigned to me recommended the book. An Executive Coach from Little Rock, Arkansas. Hired and paid for by the Firm. “Good for my career,” they said. (Good for my career? I didn’t need help with my career. My team’s results were exceptional. Employee Survey scores ranked my team’s morale #1, with no one remotely close.  Little Rock, Arkansas? Come on. You’ve got to be kidding.)

The first meeting was scheduled. Big Cat was tired, wary and his fur was up. (Last thing I need is some corporate shrink dishing out pablum that I wouldn’t eat and then reporting back to management that I was a head-case. What can he possibly teach me? “He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches.”)

He outlined the program. Clinical. To-the-point. No wasted words. No wasted movement. He explained that he wanted to conduct a 360-survey with my direct reports, colleagues and key partners. Get me the names, and we’ll get started. He was in and out.

Session 3, the survey feedback comes in. Big 4-inch ringed binder.  I’m flipping through the pages. I skip the strengths. I know what they are. Eyes scan the charts, and land on the categories hitting the low points. (Memory is hazy…but I remember thinking Holy Sh*t as a read through the color commentary: “Ambitious. Would roll me if I missed. Aggressive. Relentless. Tough. Standards unrealistically high. ‘Always on.’ Don’t really know him. An enigma, can be hard and soft, therefore difficult to read. And Trust.” I gently closed the binder to trap the words in – dropping my head and tasting the bitters of stomach acid.) [Read more…]

{ The meaning of life }

David Kanigan:

Here’s the “Meaning of Life.” ~9,000,000 people have watched this video in the past 2 weeks and seem to agree. I’m one of them. I was moved by this short film. (Be sure to check out Ana’s wonderful blog. She’s from Portugal. Her blog’s name is “Sol de Dezembro” (“December Sun”).

Originally posted on Sol de Dezembro:

View original

Are you getting lapped?

laps

Tim Sanders: If You Don’t Expand This Annually, You Are Getting Lapped:

Here’s the point: If you aren’t expanding your resume every year, you are likely being getting lapped in the sport of business by those that do.  You can improve a resume without changing jobs.  You can add areas of expertise or new areas of project work.  You can add volunteer work, hobbies or interests. You can add professional associations you’ve joined and contributed to.  All of these additions give your career a sense of momentum, which gives you the confidence to embrace change. My point is more salient for those reading this post born in my generations (Boomer and Echo Boomer).  We become very comfortable with our titles, our financial stability and our status…

Read more on how here.


Image Credit: Thank you Carol

1 out of 4. Wood to chop.

face, close-up,portrait,wrinkles,face,eyes,portrait,photography

If only I may grow: firmer, simpler, quieter, warmer.

~ Dag Hammarskjöld


Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961) was a Swedish diplomat, economist, and author. The second Secretary-General of the United Nations, he served from April 1953 until his death in a plane crash in September 1961. He is one of just three people to be awarded a posthumous Nobel Peace Prize.  After Hammarskjöld’s death, U.S. president John F. Kennedy regretted that he opposed the UN policy in the Congo and said: “I realise now that in comparison to him, I am a small man. He was the greatest statesman of our century.”


Image Credit. Quote Source: Journal of a Nobody.

Something inside seems to be waiting, holding its breath

Alice-Walker

“Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger, spiritually, than we were before. Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant. But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.”