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Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’

Today’s TV series review is for the seven season / 151 episodes / 115 hours total viewing time, drama / crime-police / mystery series: “The Mentalist“.  The show stars Simon Baker as Patrick Jane (the Mentalist) and Robin Tunney as Agent Teresa Lisbon (his long suffering boss / side-kick”Watson”).  There are three other “main” supporting characters:  Kimball Cho (played by Tim Kang), Wayne Rigsby (played by Owain Yeoman) and Grace Van Pelt (played by Amanda Righetti).  The series originally aired between 2008 and 2015.  I viewed / “streamed” the series over several weeks in 3-to-4 episode chunks.  Some spoilers follow, so if you are intending to watch this series, do so before continuing this review…
The basic premise is that a “reformed” con-man / fake psychic (Jane) assists law enforcement (the California Bureau of Investigation [CBI]) with solving crimes (mostly murders).  Because the CBI is a state law enforcement unit, the crime is generally on California state property or CBI involvement is “requested” by someone with sufficient political influence to warrant the notice of the CA State Attorney General.  Sometimes this aspect is a REAL stretch…  and then has to be narratively explained away by dialogue.
The main character – Jane – has highly developed observational skill, exceptional memory skill and high intelligence which combined with his years as a con-man / magician / fake psychic allow him to “solve” each case in intuitive (sometimes illegal) ways – much to the discomfort of the supporting cast (professional law enforcement officers).  Jane becomes involved with CBI after recovering from a nervous breakdown following the brutal murder of his wife and daughter by a serial killer (“Red John”).  Red John’s modus operandi is “generally” a rape, disembowelment and then throat slitting of his (mostly female) victims.  Red John is a cult leader type criminal, generally following the “Dr. Moriarty” character type from the Sherlock Holmes genre.  Lisbon is Watson to Jane’s Sherlock.
The series has two over-arching series themes:  the developing romantic relationship between Jane and Lisbon and the developing friendship(s) between Jane and the rest of the law enforcement supporting characters.  Within this there are also three main seasonal story arcs:  seasons one through three are single episode murder mysteries developing the two main arcs.  Seasons four, five and half of season six are devoted to both episodic crimes and the hunt for Red John.  Red John is revealed (and killed) and then the last half a season six and all of season seven is Jane assisting in various FBI cases.  Season seven is an abbreviated season of only twelve episodes.  All of the other seasons are twenty-one plus episodes. Most of the series is based in Sacramento.  Post-Red John, the series moves from CBI to FBI and is then based from Austin, Texas.
So, is this series any good?  Has it stood the test of time?  How is the acting?  Is the show realistic for leadership, psychology or law enforcement?  And, finally, is it worth investing 115 hours of your life?  In order:  yes, mostly, poor to excellent, more often than not, so-so, “I sure hope not”, and yes.
More specifically, overall, this is a VERY good series.  It is as predictable as any police procedural:  crime, investigation, resolution.  It is mostly predictable for character development – but at a surprisingly / interesting slow pace and then – bang – your in rapids, and then – back to slow pace.  The series ends “happily” from a romantic perspective it is well rapped up – the two main couples wed.  So, bottom line, the good-guys win and live happily-ever-after.
Test of time / acting / theme portrayals:  As a police procedural – I hope not.  As a romantic drama, yes.  As a “Sherlock Holmes” genre, so-so.  In practically every episode, some person’s rights are either ignored or aggressively violated.  This is morally acceptable because the team is putting very bad people (mostly men) behind bars (or killing them).  No matter how honorable the character starts in their role, they are always corrupted by Jane and the concept of acting for “the greater good”.  On the romantic side, a big part of every drama is how long can you maintain the sexual tension between the main characters.  Although obvious from the first episode, both main relationship arcs are well developed.  As a super-sleuth / Holmes procedure series, the show has problems, but it (the show) still works because of the believability of the actors in their slowly developed / multi-layered character portrayals.  The portrayals of most of the bad-guys are mostly flat and one dimensional, but there are notable exceptions.  As the series progresses most of the other (non-super-genius) characters say:  “This is what Jane would (would not) have us do…”  For me personally, I found the various depictions of leadership styles / personalities to be one of the most interesting aspects of the series.  The whole gamut of leadership from criminal to sainted is represented and the strengths and weaknesses of the various styles is examined, critiqued and accepted or rejected.
Investment:  I feel there has been an on-going transformation in home entertainment happening over the course of my lifetime.  The progress is roughly equivalent to that of written literature.  In writing we have daily comics, short stories and comic books, short-moderate-long books (texts and novels), books series and encyclopedias.  In TV, the corresponding genre would be animated / cartoon shorts (multiple stories in a half-hour show), episodic stories (half-hour to hour long shows), movie length (90 minutes to mini-series [sub-30 hours of total viewing time]), and seasonal arcs (episodic, but with 3-5 minutes devoted to long-term character / story development), and then generational shows / series.  I consider “generational” series to be any series over 15 years / seasons – so, most day-time soap operas and multi-series franchises (“I Love Lucy“, “The Simpsons“, “StarTrek“, “Law & Order“, “NCIS“, etc).  I (personally) do NOT consider game shows to be “generational” series, even though many have gone well beyond 20 seasons, because they are normally not re-watched after the initial viewing.  Although, there is now some give on this characteristic, too, as you can “watch” some of the prior episodes (on TV-history channels).  The point of the “re-run” (though) is to view the contestants (famous personalities from yesteryear) and not viewing the contests, themselves.  At any rate, I would put a seven seasons series in the “War & Peace” – lengthy story grouping, but not in the generational level group.
Final recommendation:  This is a moderate to strong recommendation for an initial viewing (see caution later), a low to moderate for re-viewing in its entirety and a strong to highly for individual episodes (if you develop a favorite character or mini-story arc during your initial viewing).  For me, 100-plus hours is almost certainly too long to spend re-watching the entire series. I purchased my “series-bundle copy” on steep discount ($30 as I recall), at which price this a bargain for entertainment value – even if only viewed once – $.25 per hour or $.20 per episode.  One note of caution:  there is the occasional swear word used at least once per season and there are repeated scenes of victims injuries (almost one per episode), so this is not appropriate for viewers under 12 years of age.
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Hubris itself will not let you be an artist.
    —    Larry Wall
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We’ve read management treatises that specify exactly how many people should report to any one executive, but they make little sense to us.  When you have able managers of high character running businesses about which they are passionate, you can have a dozen or more reporting to you and still have time for an afternoon nap.  Conversely, if you have even one person reporting to you who is deceitful, inept or uninterested, you will find yourself with more than you can handle.
    —     Warren Buffett
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Leadership is not about power.  It’s not about control;  it’s about helping people live according to the vision.
    —     Ken Blanchard & Phil Hodges
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On This Day In:
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2016 Life Unlimited
2015 Still Trying
2014 Destiny, n.
2013 No Apologies
2012 Utterly Convinced
2011 A Key To Effectiveness

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Image of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Arlington National Cemetery
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

As we gather around our dinner and picnic tables
enjoying the freedom you sacrificed your lives to provide for us,
a grateful nation
remembers
and prays for you and your families…
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Home of the Brave?

May 27, 2022 By Gabe Kapler
The day 19 children and 2 teachers were murdered, we held a moment of silence at sporting events around the country, then we played the national anthem, and we went on with our lives.
Players, staff and fans stood for the moment of silence, grieving the lives lost, and then we (myself included) continued to stand, proudly proclaiming ourselves the land of the free and the home of the brave.  We didn’t stop to reflect on whether we are actually free and brave after this horrific event, we just stood at attention.
When I was the same age as the children in Uvalde, my father taught me to stand for the pledge of allegiance when I believed my country was representing its people well or to protest and stay seated when it wasn’t.  I don’t believe it is representing us well right now.
This particular time, an 18 year old walked into a store, bought multiple assault rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, walked into a school with an armed resource officer and its own police district and was able to murder children for nearly an hour.  Parents begged and pleaded with police officers to do something, police officers who had weapons and who receive nearly 40% of the city’s funding, as their children were being murdered.
We elect our politicians to represent our interests.  Immediately following this shooting, we were told we needed locked doors and armed teachers.  We were given thoughts and prayers.  We were told it could have been worse, and we just need love.
But we weren’t given bravery, and we aren’t free.  The police on the scene put a mother in handcuffs as she begged them to go in and save her children.  They blocked parents trying to organize to charge in to stop the shooter, including a father who learned his daughter was murdered while he argued with the cops.  We aren’t free when politicians decide that the lobbyist and gun industries are more important than our children’s freedom to go to school without needing bulletproof backpacks and active shooter drills.
I’m often struck before our games by the lack of delivery of the promise of what our national anthem represents.  We stand in honor of a country where we elect representatives to serve us, to thoughtfully consider and enact legislation that protects the interests of all the people in this country and to move this country forward towards the vision of the “shining city on the hill.”  But instead, we thoughtlessly link our moment of silence and grief with the equally thoughtless display of celebration for a country that refuses to take up the concept of controlling the sale of weapons used nearly exclusively for the mass slaughter of human beings.  We have our moment (over and over), and then we move on without demanding real change from the people we empower to make these changes.  We stand, we bow our heads, and the people in power leave on recess, celebrating their own patriotism at every turn.
Every time I place my hand over my heart and remove my hat, I’m participating in a self congratulatory glorification of the ONLY country where these mass shootings take place.  On Wednesday, I walked out onto the field, I listened to the announcement as we honored the victims in Uvalde.  I bowed my head.  I stood for the national anthem.  Metallica riffed on City Connect guitars.
My brain said drop to a knee;  my body didn’t listen.  I wanted to walk back inside;  instead I froze.  I felt like a coward.  I didn’t want to call attention to myself.  I didn’t want to take away from the victims or their families.  There was a baseball game, a rock band, the lights, the pageantry.  I knew that thousands of people were using this game to escape the horrors of the world for just a little bit.  I knew that thousands more wouldn’t understand the gesture and would take it as an offense to the military, to veterans, to themselves.
But I am not okay with the state of this country.  I wish I hadn’t let my discomfort compromise my integrity.  I wish that I could have demonstrated what I learned from my dad, that when you’re dissatisfied with your country, you let it be known through protest.  The home of the brave should encourage this.
    —    Gabe Kapler
Manager, San Francisco Giants (baseball team)
Mr. Kapler’s personal blog can be found at:  Kaplifestyle – A Lifestyle and Fitness site by Gabe Kapler
The specific post can be found at:  Home of the Brave? (kaplifestyle.com)
[Disclaimer:  The above post has been copied from the original site without permission or prior approval.  I make no claim of ownership – implied or actual.  I read the original blog post multiple times to try to extract the hi-lights for a “fair-use” review / quote.  I lacked the skill (or heart) to do this, so I am reprinting the author’s post in its entirety.  If Mr. Kapler feels I have misused his intellectual property and asks me to remove or modify this post, I will do so.    —    KMAB]
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Management by objective works – if you know the objectives.  Ninety percent of the time you don’t.
 
    —     Peter Drucker
 
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2017 A Prayer For London
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2015 Her Pilgrim Soul
2014 Three Observations
2013 Robbed Again
2012 Good Hearts
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It’s important that people should know what you stand for.  It’s equally important that they know what you won’t stand for.
    —     Mary H. Waldrip
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If according to times and needs you should be obliged to make fresh rules and change certain things, do it with prudence and good advice.
    —    St. Angela Merici
[It would be “nice” if politicians (both side) could just vote on issues.  The problem is:  if you vote, you can be held accountable by your constituents.  If you don’t / never vote, you can’t.  The Senate is “supposed” to be a deliberative body.  It is supposed to slow the blood-rush from the House.  It may even deny what the “people” want because it feels the House is acting from exuberance.  This was the initial purpose of the filibuster.  Then, when it started to be used to prevent all activity, it was modified to allow the “paper” (i.e., non-talking) filibuster.  This effectively killed a bill with no explanation, debate or vote – on cloture or on the actual bill.  Perfect non-accountability!  Reverting to the “must talk” prior rule, would be a good start, but the bottom line is we must end the filibuster completely.  It is not in the Constitution and is merely an agreed convention within the particular chamber (the Senate).  At the moment, we allow our political “leaders” to avoid debating the merits of a bill, voting to vote on a bill (cloture), and voting on the actual bill.  And then they say (claim):  “It wasn’t me!  It never came up for a vote!)    —    kmab]
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2017 Watched The Inauguration
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The high-minded man must care more for what is right than for what people think.
    —    Aristotle
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2016 Or A Pot Of Gold After The Storm
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2014 Lend Your Hand
2013 Amnesty, n.
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Follow effective action with quiet reflection.  From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.
    —     Peter Drucker
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Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.
    —     Mark Twain
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Human history can be viewed as a slowly dawning awareness that we are members of a larger group.  Initially our loyalties were to ourselves and our immediate family, next, to bands of wandering hunter-gatherers, then to tribes, small settlements, city-states, nations.  We have broadened the circle of those we love.  We have now organized what are modestly described as super-powers, which include groups of people from divergent ethnic and cultural backgrounds working in some sense together — surely a humanizing and character building experience.  If we are to survive, our loyalties must be broadened further, to include the whole human community, the entire planet Earth.  Many of those who run the nations will find this idea unpleasant.  They will fear the loss of power.  We will hear much about treason and disloyalty.  Rich nation-states will have to share their wealth with poor ones.  But the choice, as H. G. Wells once said in a different context, is clearly the universe or nothing.
    —    Carl Sagan
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Enthusiasm finds the opportunities, and energy makes the most of them.
    —    Henry S. Haskins
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Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.
    —    Nelson Mandela
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