Showing posts from May, 2018

Possible: something that can be done. Impossible: something that cannot be done. Impossibility is the exact limit beyond which we cannot do anything.

Everything else - every single thing -  is in the realm of the possible.

People of faith - of any faith -  rarely believe in an indifferent and uncaring universe. It is the cynics and skeptics that do - and even then Sartre’s belief (not surprisingly, from a Marxist), that we are “condemned to be free,” suggests that even freedom is a type of fatalism, where the safety rails are removed and you’d better be careful. Many do believe that there are no advantages to freedom that are worth the risk of being free. The possibilities that come with freedom are balanced between the possibility of good outcomes and the possibility of evil outcomes. But there is an equal argument that this is not such a cold world that it must be traversed upon a tightrope.

This year has run its course and is put away, and in a couple of months a new sc…
A Modern Fable
Once upon a time a ship steamed on in dark water. She was the queen of the seas, a masterwork of the steam-powered era, a model of modernity and luxury. She was made of iron and produced 46,000 horsepower. There were over 2000 people aboard. Her displacement was over 100 million pounds. She was called “unsinkable.”
On a cold spring night over a century ago a terrible collection of events unfolded - the hubris of the owners swayed the captain to operate full-speed through the night, the dark night and speed meant the lookouts could not see far ahead. There were not enough lifeboats to evacuate all of the people aboard if there were any problems. But there was determination in abundance. A growing trend to keep pushing, to force a situation that was not ideal. The zeal and confidence was contagious. Exciting. No power on Earth could stop them!
Then, deep into that black night, an iceberg smacked that ship like..well, like a gigantic mass of frozen water would. It pushed t…

Good Advice

Some Shared Advice from my Mentors
In my military career there were many people who were good mentors and models of leadership to me. As I have said many times, traits of good leaders and traits of good teachers are fundamentally the same.
Two of them, Captain Chappelle and Lieutenant Colonel Jayne, were both specifically Army leadership trainers, and were probably among the best, and I’ve kept a list that I got from LTC Jayne that has been helpful for me, professionally, for decades, now.
Here is his list for professional success:
The Jayne List

Lead by example. Play the role. Constantly acquire expertise in your field. Know your competition. Cultivate professional networks.
The Royal Order of Adjectives
Language is the medium of everything people do and it is both incredibly simple and phenomenally complex. For example, English is a very informal language but 30% of it comes from Latin (among the most formally structured and pure languages) and another 30% from French, which itself uses few loan-words.

Most people can define what  a noun  (“A person, place, thing or idea”) and a verb are. Many people know what adjectives are (“Words that describe or modify…), but most people don’t know why we combine them the way we do. It really does have a pattern, and native English speakers use it but almost none of them know why, and non-native speakers who don’t know to use it can be confusing to listen to.  It is slightly difference in the UK and Canada, but not by much. In English we tend to put adjectives before nouns, but that’s not universal to all languages.

In the English language, adjectives are organized in speech and writing in a specific way, which is known…