All Aboard

It’s 8 am and the Acela is pulling out of Penn Station in New York, silently and stealthily, passing hundreds of arriving commuters from local train mere feet away from the tracks. They are trudging, infantry-like, down the platform and up the escalators, heads down, backpacks swaying, resolute and without choices. They are marching into a never-ending battle that will always be a stalemate, because no matter what they accomplish or fail to accomplish today, they will be doing the same …


Reveille

Do you awake under your own control or someone else’s? I don’t mean the alarm clock, or wake up call, or rooster. I mean, do you wake up with the intent of having a great day mostly under your control, or faced with the burdens of a new day mostly under others’ control? Do your clients, family, friends, venders, and others have demands on you? Do you feel obligations to help or please? Do you feel your time is already …


What If It’s Not “This or That,” But Both?

Folks, let’s understand that seldom does one advance in any area replace all that went before it. We still don’t have a checkless society, nor paperless offices. We continue to use propeller-driven planes. Radio, even AM radio, has not disappeared. (And, by the way, steam-powered locomotives made the trip from New York City upstate much faster than today’s diesels.) For that matter, we still use horses, don’t we, even in police departments? Life isn’t an “on/off” switch, it’s a rheostat. …


A Good Cigar

I had a gift certificate to one of my cigar clubs, and I know they carry the “cigar of the year.” (La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull) I walked in mid-day, when I’m never otherwise there, and I encountered the bar/cigar tender who’s on that shift, a very attractive woman I had never met. I told her what I needed and we entered the vast humidor. We found the cigars, and when I tried to leave, the door was locked. “Uh, …


The Non-Resolutions

Statistically, 94.56% of New Year’s resolutions are not met. (I made that up, but I’d bet on it.) The error is in making them in the first place without support. Want to accomplish some great objective—write a book, lose 25 pounds, close six-figure projects, learn to play the guitar? Then, counterintuitively, focus on the tasks and write them in your calendar as non-violable “appointments with yourself” beginning January 1. Examples: Hire a music teacher, stop eating starches, write a book …


Real Security, Real Opportunity

The only safety in a herd, school, or flock is that you’re with so many, you may not be the one eaten by predators. You only have to run, swim, or fly faster than the next slowest member. But the safety of the Maverick is in creating your own future, following your own path, creating our own meaning. You can avoid and outsmart the predators who will look for easier prey. You can join other Mavericks without being a herd. Remember, …


Thank You Very Much

I bemoan service standards in Europe, Australia, and South America (and Canada) as being far below those of the US. But Asia is right up there, and far better on the airlines. At JAL first class, a woman escorted us to the proper area and another came out from her station and invited us to check in. This was handled within two minutes. A man appeared and removed our luggage from the cart, and a second took the checked bags …


Adventures of A Lefty

I’ve had an operation to correct a crooked ring finger on my right hand, which put the hand in a splint from Wednesday until this coming Monday, So this righty has become a lefty, like my hero, Sandy Koufax. My observations: • My typing has been reduced from 60 words per minute to about 15. I’m like those airport ticket agents who use a keyboard all day but never, inexplicably, learned to type. • My dog, Bentley, is just as …


The Platitudinous

Which of the following are actual quotes from famous authors, statesmen, or philosophers? (Answer far at the bottom.) To love one’s country demands the love of diversity. The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. Animals can be ruthless, but no one considers them to be criminals. Repent no more, you’re excusing the deed. The sea can’t be a woman, it is not sufficiently ruthless. We breathe the same air but do not exhale …


A Quick Tip

A taxi in Sydney takes me to my meeting. I pay the driver, including my usual tip, and thank him. “Good Lord,” he says, “you’re American.” “Can you tell by my accent?” “No, I can tell by your tip!”