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Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

Exigencies create the necessary ability to meet and conquer them.
   —  Wendell Phillips
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On This Day In:
2016 Trying To Ignite Ice
2015 Or Increasingly Unwilling To Pay For…
2014 Returning Time
2013 Gentle Invitation
2012 Pleading The Insanity Defense
2011 Graduations And Conservatives
The Big Sin

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… I had dinner with another English friend, now a banker, who had been a student at Harrow when its most famous alumnus, Winston Churchill, came back to the school to speak to the boys.  He was a great man, and everyone knew why.  He had carried the Western world through its worst crisis.
Now he looked out over the fresh-faced audience and said, “Never give up.  Never give up.  Never, never, never give up.”  It brought the house to its feet.
What Churchill was saying was this: You can act cleverly, selfishly or prudently in any situation, but what finally matters is character, desire and faith.  Victory never comes easy.
   —  Barnaby Conrad III
From the article: “Have the Yanks Given Up?
Published in “This World“, 18 May 1986
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On This Day In:
2016 Which Generation Are We?
Congratulations, Kyle!
2015 Centered
2014 Economic Trinity
2013 At Both Ends
2012 Holding Allowance
2011 The Power Of Good

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Today I have reviews for two movies I’ve just watched (initial viewings) over the weekend and a third which is a re-watch.
Beauty And The Beast (2014) — movie review (La Belle et la Bête)
No, this is not the Disney remake which came out earlier this year of the now classic Disney animated film (from 1991).  I’ve not seen that version yet, but I hope to when it comes out on DVD.  This is the 2014 Belgium / French / German version (a romantic / fantasy) of the fairy tale by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve.  The film stars Vincent Cassel as the Beast / Prince and Léa Seydoux as Belle.  I must admit to never having read the original fairy tale, so I can’t speak to how closely it follows the original.  With three young children growing up in the 1990’s, I have, of course seen the Disney animated musical multiple times.
This version is live action with special effects.  The “live action” is strangely European.  I’m not sure (quite) how to put my finger on it, but it is unmistakably NOT and American film.  That is not good or bad.  It just is.  The special effects were okay, but reminded me of the “Jack and the Beanstalk” movie from 2013.  (I believe that movie was titled: “Jack the Giant Slayer“.)  In other words: adequate, obviously computer generated, but okay.  The problems I had with the movie came down to this: worse than the predictability, too many parts made no sense or were never explained.  They just kind of happened.  This detracted from the overall theme of the movie: that true love is magical and can be redeeming in itself.
Having said this, I found the movie pleasantly enjoyable.  Not great, but enjoyable.  It’s not terribly frightening and can be viewed by the whole family – well, maybe not very small children.  I give it a moderate to strong recommendation.
War Machine (2017)  —  movie review
Brad Pitt stars as General Glen McMahon, a character based on General Stanley McChrystal.  McMahon is portrayed as an accomplished general with degrees from West Point and Yale brought in by the Obama Administration to bring a resolution to the conflict in Afghanistan because he is an “expert” on counter-insurgency.  Pitt’s portrayal is one of a focused, disciplined, but rather buffoonish military leader who “seems” to be caught in a situation he can’t lead his troops out of.  In a terrific casting, Ben Kingsley plays President Hamid Karzai, the former president of Afghanistan.  “Caught” in a similar situation (one of figurehead leadership), Karzai only seeks to go with the flow and enjoy the ride.
Are the portrayals of the fictionalized characters accurate to the real people?  I can’t say because I have never met them and have not read enough about them to form a solid opinion.  Do they “appear” to be realistic portrayals?  Yes, they do.  So, is the movie a satire and / or a dark comedy or is it a realistic depiction of what happened?  My gut feeling is this movie is FAR more realistic than we want to believe.  Absent the horror of combat (injuries and death) and collateral civilian casualties, when viewed externally, most of war can easily appear as satire and dark comedy.
So, is this a good movie?  Yes!  You (or I) may not like what it says about our politics or our wars, but I believe it is an accurate window into the crisis situation we place our combat troops in when we send them into (and leave them in) places where / when they cannot engage and destroy the enemy because they can’t tell the enemies from the friendlies.  Collateral damage becomes almost a certainty.
I highly recommend this movie!  If all you see is the dark comedy or the even darker portrayal of our military and civilian leadership, that’s fine.  If it is, re-watch the film and ask yourself: “What if it’s true and this is what it was (is) really like in Afghanistan?”  What does it mean to you?
Captain America:  Civil War  (2016)  —  movie review
I have reviewed this movie before (here) and watched it a couple of more times since.  Every time I watch it I see something a little different(ly) and I enjoy it even more.  Now don’t get me wrong, this is not great drama and the physical effects of the combat scenes are completely ridiculous, but it’s a comic book movie and if it’s not “JUST” the way you would imagine it from the comics, it’s pretty darn close.
I highly recommend this movie (again).  I would add one side comment.  I watched this movie on TV with commercial breaks and found it MUCH less enjoyable.  Some movies can stand the interruptions, some can’t.  I found this to be one that did not hold up well with the frequent breaks.  Again, just my opinion.  So, watch it on a movie channel or get the DVD.
Apologies for such a long post.  Thanks for hanging in there with me (and finishing it).
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On This Day In:
2016 Patronage
2015 For Blogs, Too!
2014 Righteous Anger
2013 An Irish Blessing
2012 But Is It Worth It?
2011 Let Us Start

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In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
  ―  Martin Luther King Jr.
I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice!  And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!
    —  Senator Barry Goldwater
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On This Day In:
2016 But I Have Too Many Questions
2015 A New Friend
2014 Do I Have To Fall In Love?
2013 More Democracy, Please
2012 Speaking Of Love
2011 Limits

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A manager develops people.  Through the way he manages he makes it easy or difficult for them to develop themselves.  He directs people or misdirects them.  He brings out what is in them or he stifles them.  He strengthens their integrity or he corrupts them  He trains them to stand upright and strong, or he deforms them, whether he knows it or not.
   —  Peter Drucker
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On This Day In:
2016 Or Blog
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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He isn’t a real boss until he has trained subordinates to shoulder most of his responsibilities.
   —  William Feather
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On This Day In:
2016 You Just Have To Care
Day 4 – Blending
2015 My Slow Education
2014 Great Service
2013 You Really Should Wear More Sweaters
Here I Am God
2012 The Serenity Prayer
2011 The Victory Of Life

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Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great.
   —  Ralph Waldo Emerson
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On This Day In:
2016 There Is A Difference Between Dangerous And Frightening
2015 Always A Goal
2014 Standing Strong
2013 Shaken And Stirred
The Bird With The Broken Wing
2012 Friends In High Places
2011 Objective Independence

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