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Archive for April, 2016

I Got It Honest

It ain’t nothin’ but a small frame house on an acre lot
It ain’t that much different from any other house on the block
And it may not look like we’ve got all our share of the promise
But at least one thing’s for sure, I got it honest
Roll out of the sack every mornin’, head on down to the mill
Give ’em all I got for eight, ’cause that’s the deal
If you’ll check out my paycheck
Well, you’ll see that there ain’t that much on it
But every single penny I’m paid, I got it honest
I never had to hang my head in shame
For puttin’ a price tag on my name
Never turned my back on what I believe
Or let my heart be ruled by greed
‘Cause buddy if I didn’t earn it, I don’t want it
That way I can always say, I got it honest
Now you ain’t looking at some dude
That was born with a silver spoon in his mouth
And I might seem like some kind of low-life
To that high-falutin’ crowd
But I’m plain spoken, straight talkin’
And damn proud of what I have accomplished
And some folks appreciate that and some don’t
But, I got it honest
Now when I die, I may not leave my kids a fortune
But I hope they know’d my life stood for things that were important
And I’ll hand out the same sturdy old values
Of my daddy and my momma
It made me every ounce of what I am and I got it honest
I never had to hang my head in shame
For puttin’ a price tag on my name
Never turned my back on what I believe
Or let my heart be ruled by greed
‘Cause brother if I didn’t earn it, I don’t want it
That way I can always say, I got it honest
Friend there ain’t no doubt about it, I got it honest
Writer(s):  Bruce Burch, Marcus Franklin Johnson, Aaron Tippin
Performed by: Aaron Tippin
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On This Day In:
2015 Less And More Irritation
2014 That Marvelous Feeling
2013 Exceptional
2012 A Wild And Crazy Believer
2011 A Lack Of Scarcity
The Joy Of Prevention

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To survive, you must tell stories.
  —  Umberto Eco
[There is a saying that you “live” as long as you are remembered.  I wonder if blogging counts?  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2015 Stretched Today?
2014 Outta Here
2013 Getting Words Right
2012 There’s A New Dog In Town
Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is
2011 A Conservative Is…

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How to grow great [software] designers:
1.  Systematically identify top designers as early as possible.  The best are often not the most experienced.
2.  Assign a career mentor to be responsible for the development of the prospect, and keep a careful career file.
3.  Devise and maintain a career development plan for each prospect, including carefully selected apprenticeships with top designers, episodes of advanced formal education, and short courses, all interspersed with solo design and technical leadership assignments.
4.  Provide opportunities for growing designers to interact and stimulate each other.
  —  Fred Brooks
From his essay: “No Silver Bullet
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On This Day In:
2015 When It Is Darkest
2014 Knowledge And Doubt
2013 Three Thoughts
2012 Gentle Reader
2011 Leave The Light On For Me Anyway

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A Beautiful Mind  (2001)  —  movie review
This movie asks the question: is it possible to separate genius from insanity?  The movie is an adaptation of the book (biography) of the same name written by Sylvia Nasar.  The movie relates the story of American mathematician John Forbes Nash, Jr.  Nash won the Nobel Prize (shared actually) for Economics in 1994 for work he did back in 1950 on “Game Theory” – more specifically on non-cooperative games.  Russell Crowe, of “Gladiator” fame, stars as Nash and Jennifer Connelly stars as his long suffering wife, Alicia Nash.  Long suffering because she cared for him most of his adult life as Nash himself suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.
I read the book (way back when) and I bought and watched the DVD, too, but really didn’t remember either in much detail.  About all I remembered was the bit about agreeing to work in your own self interest as long as it doesn’t detract from the total group interest of the group you belong to.  In other words, you can do anything you want to do as long what you do doesn’t hurt your team.  In a world which had long accepted “dog-eat-dog” / “me first” as the fundamental of economic theory, this was a shock.  Essentially, it means if we all benefit (more or less) from “the game”, no one should try to destroy the game to keep anyone else from winning or from benefitting a little more than everyone else.  At least, this is the rational course of action.
The movie is beautifully shot and Connelly is simultaneously drop-dead gorgeous and sympathetic in her role.  I must admit to not being a big Crowe fan.  I haven’t seen many of his films, so my opinion is somewhat biased here, but I think this was the first movie where I thought, “Wow!  This guy CAN act.”  What I really found interesting was that there is “chemistry” between the two leads, but it didn’t strike me as sexual chemistry – even when it was meant to by the scenes.  They “seemed” to me to be adult friends who genuinely cared about each other – loved rather than being in love.  Either way, I thought they were both excellent in their respective roles.
Maybe I understand the concept of the Nash Equilibrium better than before, even if I still have no clue about the math behind it.  Final recommendation: moderate to strong recommendation.  I don’t really feel like I understand schizophrenia any more than before watching this movie.  I’m not sure if we are meant to.  Nash himself said it was difficult to separate the delusions from the real because both the delusions and his mathematical genius both came from the same place: his mind.  Is it possible to separate genius from insanity?  The answer seems to be: only with love.
…My quest has taken me through the physical, the metaphysical, the delusional, and back.  And I’ve made the most important discovery of my life.  It is only in the mysterious equations of love that any logical reasons can be found.
     —  John Nash
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On This Day In:
2015 He Says It’s Hard To Get There From Here
2014 Question From A Founding Father
2013 Make Heroes
2012 See And Hold
2011 Am Not, Are So

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The Enemy (2004©)  —  book review
This book is #8 in the Jack Reacher series written by Lee Child.  Yes, I admit it.  I’m coming late to the party…  (More on this later.)
A couple of years ago, I borrowed the movie “Jack Reacher” from my brother (review here).  I enjoyed the movie so much I actually watched it several times in the weeks following and then looked up the character on Wikipedia.  There I “discovered” the movie was based on a series of books by Lee Child.  This book is the eighth book in the series, but it is the prequel to the entire series.  That is, the first book starts with Jack out of the Army and goes from there.  In this book, Jack is still in the Army.
The book is about a series of murders (duh!) and some missing papers which might lead to a “problem” for the Army.  To say more is to give away much of the book.  (Sorry…)  We also learn about Jack’s family.
I bought this book with a gift voucher my Hil gave me for my birthday back in March.  I also picked up the first volume in the series, so there will be a review of that in due time.  I was reading the book in the waiting room of my blood testing facility.  I have to give blood every month because I’m on blood-thinners for my AFib.  An older lady (I’d say seventies or early eighties) was sitting next to me and she was also reading.  She asked what I was reading and I showed her the spine and said: “One of the Jack Reacher series…”  She interrupted, “I’ve read them all.  They’re terrific!  If you like that series, I also recommend James Patterson (and she held up the paperback she was reading).  My reading club loves both authors and get them as soon as they come out.”  How’s that for a personal recommendation from a stranger?!?  (My wife got a chuckle out of this, too, because, as she says, I’ll talk to anyone…  Including random, little old ladies I sit down next to in a waiting room.)
Anyway, final recommendation: strong to high – a fast, fun read.  Because I’ve seen the movie and now read a prequel, it’ll be interesting to see how I like the series from the start.  For now, this book is very much like the movie – a fast experience (read), with lots of mystery / who-done-it, intermittent high-action and a sprinkling of non-graphic sex.
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On This Day In:
2015 Getting The Story Right
2014 Like Shells On The Shore
2013 More And Why
2012 How To Gain Effective Fire
2011 Patriot Act

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Searching for the ideal rose we don’t see that each rose is the utmost perfection for itself.  For fear of not finding the rose we seek, we hang on to the concept of “rose” and never learn that “a rose is a rose is a rose”.
  —  Claudio Naranjo
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On This Day In:
2015 Getting The Story Right
2014 Like Shells On The Shore
2013 More And Why
2012 How To Gain Effective Fire
2011 Patriot Act

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Like any art, the craft of battle requires proper tools, good craftsmanship and a little inspiration.  In this case, the proper tools are good weapons, sound tactics and effective organization.  Although these differ a bit from army to army, there is little to be gained by any one, or any combinations of them against a corresponding combination in the enemy’s bag.  In other words, systems, tactics and organization are about even.
What makes the difference in battle?  It is the excellence of the craftsmanship and the combined inspiration of soldiers and leaders.  It is the excellence of the training, the quality of the leaders and the courage of the soldiers, there is no doubt.  The problem is to get that courage harnessed in usable fashion and put to work on the battlefield.  That is a problem for leaders.  May I further suggest that the day of the instant hero is gone – the time when charisma alone can be made to suffice for technical skill and excellence in battle is past.  Certainly, this is so when one considers the number of competent leaders who will be required to win in modern war.  A few may be charismatic in addition to being technically competent; many, many more will not.  Therefore, the leader problem is likewise a training problem.  Quality leadership comes from sound training of leaders.
Sergeants are leaders.  Sergeants’ business is leadership.  Therefore, the sergeants must be trained as leaders – not as administrators.  The cement that binds together good weapons, sound tactics and effective organizations into winning battle teams is training.  Training develops excellence in the skills of leaders and soldiers, to the end that they have both the capability to fight the tough battles and win, and the conviction that they can and must fight hard and well, and that, if they do, and have a little luck, they will win against all odds.
   —  General Donn A. Starry
U. S. Army
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On This Day In:
2015 However Vast The Darkness
2014 The Omnipresent Teacher
2013 Don’t Waste
2012 Earning Thanks
2011 Fuzzy Vision
2010 Movies and Book

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