One Thing & Another

Delray Beach, FL

Notes From My Journal: The wrong way to build a creative team

It was a team of eight people. All but two resembled their boss, who had hired them. They had the same or compatible personalities. The same cut of mind. The same manner of speaking. They even looked alike physically — their bodies and their clothing.

Not a good sign.

When you are building a creative team, you must be willing to hire people that are intellectually and emotionally different from you. If you hire people that make you feel comfortable, it’s more than likely that the team, when completed, will be unable to push the common work beyond what you could do on your own.

The two exceptions to the above-mentioned team were weaker, not stronger, than the rest. That made me suspect that the manager was reluctant to hire anyone that could replace him.

If you work for the sort of business where politics is important, you should quit that business and find one where the focus is outward looking – towards creating value for its customers.

If you are currently in charge of a creative team that gives you no trouble, you should consider firing yourself or changing your ways.


Today’s Word: perspicuity vs. perspicacity (nouns)

Perspicuity (per-spih-KYOO-ih-tee) is clarity or transparency. Example from the literary critic Lionel Trilling: “He was at great pains to insist on the perspicuity of what he wrote.”

Don’t confuse perspicuity with perspicacity (per-spih-KAS-ih-tee), which means insight or discernment. Example from Wuthering Heightsby Emily Bronte: “It was a marvelous effort of perspicacity to discover that I did not love her.”


Fun Fact

Historically speaking, according to the CDC, more babies tend to be born in the USA in August than in any other month.


From My “Work-in-Progress” Basket

Is Trump Trying to End the Cold War?

Or Is He Destroying Democracy?

Or Just Making Hotel Deals?

Many of the accomplishments of presidential administrations in modern US history are endeavors that ran contrary to campaign promises or at least the image projected during the campaign. Reagan, for example, ended the Cold War and developed relationships with China. And Nixon signed many important bills supporting social welfare.

If Donald Trump succeeds in defusing our new Cold War with Russia, that will be another one added to the list.

Few of the people I know believe Trump will succeed – or want him to. My liberal friends, former doves and even Socialists back in their prime, have developed a very hawk-like attitude toward Russia. Some consider it America’s greatest threat. Greater than Islamic terrorists. Greater than the threat of nuclear war. On a par with global warming.

If you took their rhetoric seriously, you’d think they’d like nothing better than an all-out assault on Russia simply because of what they did to Hillary.

I don’t pay much attention to politics. I think it’s generally unhealthy and unproductive. But since a reality star and sometimes billionaire shocked the world by capturing the presidency, it’s hard to ignore the show.

And it’s a show on both sides. Conservatives, who were so appalled by Bill Clinton’s under-the-table goings-on at the White House, are not the slightest bit upset by Trump’s history with strippers and porn stars. They point out, quite rightly, in my view, that these issues have nothing to do with how Trump does his job.

Of course, how he does his job is entirely unprecedented and impossible to predict or, it seems, control. One moment he’s defending women’s rights and the next moment he’s dismantling them. On Monday he’s calling our intelligence community liars and cheats, and on Wednesday he’s saying nobody supports them more than he.

Since he doesn’t seem to have any principles (moral or political), it’s understandable that those who voted against him are hard-pressed to object to his actions on any actual grounds.  So they have opted to act like Republicans did during the Obama administration. They simply condemn everything he does.

This whole thing with Russia is a good example.

Trump’s attempts to make friends with Putin have been characterized as a huge diplomatic blunder – either enormously stupid or incredibly malign. Some call it treason.

The big gripe is that Russia tried to influence our last election. They did this through an orchestrated effort involving sophisticated Internet technology. As far as I’ve been able to gather, the primary weapon was fake news. They planted phony stories about Hillary and the Democrats, and did their best to spread those stories far and wide through social media.

No actual proof of this has been offered. Our intelligence service says it cannot disclose the facts because they are “classified.” I can’t understand how that could be, but it’s probably true. I’ve no doubt that Russia and virtually every other country with skin in the game tried to influence the outcome of this and every other US election, just as the US has tried to influence the outcome of elections all over the world.

It has been characterized as an “attack on our democracy.” But the Russians didn’t try to attack our democracy. If they had, they would have attacked our actual voting mechanism. What they did was to try to influence the outcome of the election. That is a big and important difference that seems lost to virtually everyone talking about it today.

Behind the outrage there is a supposition that they not only attempted to get Trump elected but, in fact, succeeded in changing voters’ minds.

I don’t see that. I can’t think of a single person I know whose opinion changed on Trump and Hillary since the pre-election campaigns started. I can think of a few that said they were “undecided” who probably voted for Trump. But I believed then and I believe now that every one of them said they were undecided simply because they didn’t want to admit they were going to vote for Trump.

A second charge against Russia has to do with their annexation of Crimea. This is portrayed as the last in a series of immoral and illegal aggressions in Russia’s corner of the world.

But you don’t have to be a scholar of modern politics to understand that almost every “aggression” by Russia in the last several decades has been a defensive response to aggressions that the US government is taking all over the world.

As Pat Buchanan pointed out in a recent essay in Taki’s Magazine

Was it the US invasion of Iraq to strip Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction he did not have that plunged us into endless wars of the Middle East?

Was it US support of Syrian rebels determined to oust Bashar Assad, leading to ISIS intervention and a seven-year civil war with half a million dead, a war which Putin eventually entered to save his Syrian ally?

Was it George W. Bush’s abrogation of Richard Nixon’s ABM treaty and drive for a missile defense that caused Putin to break out of the Reagan INF treaty and start deploying cruise missiles to counter it?

Was it US complicity in the Kiev coup that ousted the elected pro-Russian regime that caused Putin to seize Crimea to hold onto Russia’s Black Sea naval base at Sevastopol?

Many Putin actions we condemn were reactions to what we did.

Russia annexed Crimea bloodlessly. But did not the US bomb Serbia for 78 days to force Belgrade to surrender her cradle province of Kosovo?

Russia is portrayed as the huge, scary enemy of America with an intensity that harkens back to the Cold War. But though Russia is, indeed, the second most dominant nuclear power in the world, it is hardly the biggest and baddest in terms of its economic or political standing. Not by a longshot.

I can believe that Russians generally fear and even dislike the USA. And I can see why, especially when Hilary was out there bashing them, they’ve wanted to curtail US influence in every possible way.

But I don’t believe they are a big threat. And if we weren’t always destabilizing them through our international bullying, they wouldn’t be much of a threat at all.

If I’m correct – and I’m sure no anti-Trump person thinks I am – it makes perfect sense for Trump to approach Putin differently than we have in the past. It gives us a chance to  find a way to reduce tensions and, thus, reduce whatever possibility there is that we could one day be on the verge of a nuclear war.

When I was in grammar school, we were taught to believe that Russia was on the verge of sending atomic warheads to our shores because they hated democracy. And that the only way for us to protect ourselves was to engage in the biggest arms race in the history of the world.

When I was in high school, we were told that the biggest threat to our freedom was North Vietnam. That after taking over South Vietnam, those starving little Communists were going to sail over to our shores and start attacking us.

A lot of my friends and acquaintances died fighting to support what was then an idiotic conservative idea. Now it’s the liberals that have refloated the idiocy and they are promoting it as strongly as ever.

On this issue, I came across this video by a very interesting guy:


Recommended Reading

Recommended Reading

The oldest man in America thought he’d never live to see his 40s. Richard Overton was 39 when he fought in the battle of Iwo Jima during WWII. More than 6800 of his fellow American soldiers died in the fight. “Bullets went behind me, above, me,” he says. “Why they didn’t hit me, I don’t know.”

When he got home from the war, he took up cigar smoking. He found it satisfying and relaxing. He used to have a doctor who bugged him about it. But he outlived that doctor – and a few others.

Richard still smokes up to a dozen cigars a day. And he likes a splash of whiskey in his morning coffee. “It’s like medicine,” he says. It’s hard to argue his point, since he is 112 years old. And he’s still active and sharp as a tack.

“I ain’t dead and I ain’t sick,” he says. “I don’t take no medicine. I still walk. I still talk. And I still drive. They gave me an eye test. But I passed it.”

He lives in the house that he built with his own hands. He even has a girlfriend.

Richard Overton’s story was showcased in The Institute for Natural Healing’s August issue of Independent Healing. The issue featured a breakthrough in biological research – a discovery that could explain the incredible longevity and good health of “super agers” like Richard. One scientist calls it “the essence of life itself.”

You can read about it HERE.

And that’s not the only research they’ve been doing on anti-aging over at INH. They also uncovered a recent study thatfound a way to reverse up to 20 years of aging in just 6 months–in a random group of men as old as 81.

Go here to see how.