Ride MCowboy


Once I was a little squirt,
Silver buttons on my shirt,
I’d climb atop my wooden steed,
Be quickly off with lightening speed.

I’d ride the range from east to west,
A silver star pinned on my chest,
A holstered gun in easy reach,
Villains to catch and lessons to teach.

On winter days and summer nights,
Bar room brawls and wild gun fights,
My lawman life would twist and spin,
Nary a doubt about who would win.

The black hats fell; the white hats stood.
Justice prevailed; evil bested by good.
Rules were simple, no room for doubt.
Break the law, you get taken out.

There comes the wooden steed and another little squirt.
A star and silver buttons on his shirt.
Black hats and hooligans don’t tarry long round here.
He’s the law; the bad guys shake from fear.

I think about a world of only right or wrong,
A binomial reality where good and bad belong.
White hats and black, there’s nothing in between.
A little squirt as lawman, we all can play the scene.

No misunderstanding, all know what to say,
No honest disagreement, no mediating gray.
The good guys and bad, Detectable at a glance.
Everyone in step, familiar with the dance.

Nirvana? Perfection? The ultimate delight?
Utopia at last? We finally got it right?
Says android 1 to android 2, “Ho Do Mo do so.”
Says Android 2 to android 1, “So Do Mo do ho.”

Never a Good Excuse for Bad Manners

“It may be years before anyone knows if what you are doing is right. But if what you are doing is nice, it will be immediately evident.” — P.J. O’Rourke

The idea seems to be that good manners can and often do cover up the proverbial multitude of sins. As Arthur Schopenhauer put it, “Politeness is to human nature what warmth is to wax.” It may quickly distort or otherwise transform reality. What seems sincere may merely be the latest example of Abel Stevens’ observation, “Politeness is the art of choosing among one’s real thoughts.” The point is that in an effort to “be nice,” candor can easily take a backseat to what Emily Post described as “a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others.” The desire not to upset or offend takes priority over the responsibility to be honest and straightforward.

Of course, W. Somerset Maugham did say, “I don’t think you want too much sincerity in society. It would be like an iron girder in a house of cards.” And Lord Halifax said, “A man that should call everything by its right name would hardly pass the streets without being knocked down as a common enemy.” The conclusion follows that there is an appropriate, middle ground between total honesty and bad manners. One should find that balance between excessive rudeness and being unnecessarily impolite on the one hand and knavery or excessive dishonesty on the other.

Are you tempted to agree with this argument? If so, you are probably aligning with the polite majority of people who behave as if the choice is between candor and insensitive rudeness. When it comes time to choose, they generally lean toward avoiding being seen as rude or as having bad manners. The result is that they are often dishonest, at least somewhat. Personal integrity is partially sacrificed to the god of good manners. When you are thus tempted, Cesare Pavese’s observation is worth considering, “Perfect behavior is born of complete indifference.”

Perhaps the real issue isn’t your honesty, your integrity, or your manners. Rather, it is your discomfort with how you fear others will react to you if you actually say what you think, accurately express your feelings, and practice the candor you profess to value so highly. Often the issue is dealing with the bad manners of other people. As Gabirol put it, “The test of good manners is to be patient with bad ones.” the famous Anon. expressed the idea this way, “Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you – not because they are nice, but because you are;” and F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “It’s not a slam at you when people are rude – it’s a slam at the people they’ve met before.” The best conclusion is that there is never a good excuse for bad manners and that “situational integrity” isn’t integrity at all. Calmly and respectfully stand up, speak up, shut up, and sit down and then politely listen, making it immediately evident that you indeed are nice.

Now you know so there you go.

New Kid In Town

Hello and welcome to Audio Tidbits.

I am the newest member of the podcasting team and am excited to have this opportunity to talk with you today.

As the new guy on the team, it’s not easy to know exactly how to behave and what to share with you as my first chance at podcasting. I suspect you have been in the position of being the new kid in town. If you were like me today, you weren’t quite sure how things work at your new gig and are anxious to get off to a good start. To say the least, it’s a little awkward. Even so, I am taking a very big silent breath and hoping for the best. Here I go.

I thought I’d share with you as my first podcast some thoughts about being helpful and helping others. I know, maybe I’m just hoping that you are patient and help me get off to that good start we all hope for when starting something new.

Edward Everett Hale said, “Look up and not down. Look forward and not back. Look out and not in, and lend a hand.”

You are seldom too busy or stressed to lend a hand, pitch in, to help others succeed. This does not mean that you let others intrude on your personal space or time. Rather, it means that you are usually able and willing to assist, help when there is an immediate need, do what you can for others, deal with what needs dealt with.

I sure hope I got that one right and you really are someone who wants to be helpful when you can. At the same time, I trust that I haven’t intruded on your personal space or time. Well sure,I know that I intruded but hope that you’re pleased that you pressed play and shared a little of your valuable time with me. I sure appreciate getting to spend this time with you.

Thanks and I hope we get to share some time together again real soon.

Shut Up … Sit Down

Although it’s usually not the wrong choice to stand up, speek up, shut up and sitdown, it’s worth considering if this may be the time to just shut up and sit down. We’ve all heard about the benefits of being able to speek well, but just because you can speek well doesn’t mean you should. Let’s give some thought to the benefits of keeping our mouths shut.

For example, Will Rogers pointed out what seems obvious but is frequently ignored. He said, “Never miss a good chance to shut up.” Austin O’Malley knew the chief benefit of silence, “If you keep your mouth shut you will never put your foot in it.”

Press play to listen to the podcast where you get the full story.

Leave Foot Prints

“Stubbornness does have its helpful features. You always know what you are going to be thinking tomorrow.” — Glen Beaman

Stubbornness certainly has its up side. It’s like the famous Anon. said, “Most people are more comfortable with old problems than with new solutions.” While you are considering how relaxed you will be though, ponder Doug Floyd’s point, “You don’t get harmony when everybody sings the same note.” The truth of the matter is that it can quickly get down right boring.

There is another snag that can seriously temp you to stick to the same ol’, same ol’. J. K. Galbraith described it this way, “The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.” Sure, thinking can be painful; but more to the point, it’s frequently hard work. As Henry Ford said, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it. ” If you were born tired and haven’t rested up yet, thinking probably just isn’t for you; but…. – and there’s always a “but.” This particular “but” was slipped in by Bertrand Russell who said, “In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.”

If you are like many other folks, you may believe that you are doing fine and don’t need to bother hanging a question mark on anything. You may strongly feel that you are in good company and on the right road; but the famous Anon. had a bit of homespun wisdom worth a moment’s thought, “Don’t think you’re on the right road just because it’s a well-beaten path;” and while you are on a roll with the famous Anon., don’t forget that, “Before you can break out of prison, you must first realize you’re locked up.”

Are you ready to make a break for it? If so, Dr. Seuss suggested the perfect strategy for you, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

If the notion of having your own thoughts and ideas causes you discomfort and anxiety, Tolkien had a helpful insight, “Not all those who wander are lost.” At the same time, John Locke had a further insight to help you make it through the transition to thinking for yourself, “New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common.” People’s disagreeing does not mean you are wrong. It’s like the famous Anon. said, “One who walks in another’s tracks leaves no footprints;” and footprints of your own you will and should leave. As you leave your footprints along the road to thinking for yourself, Satchel Paige had what may be the only advice you need, “Ain’t no man can avoid being average, but there ain’t no man got to be common.”

Now you know so there you go.

Greatest Leadership Principles

ockell, Leslie and Adrienne Avila. The 100 Greatest Leadership Principles of all Time. New York: Warner Business Books, 2007.

Leadership is a matter of intelligence, trustworthiness, humaneness, courage, and discipline.

A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see, and who sees before others see. – Leroy Eimes

The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say “I.” And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say “I.” They don’t think “I.” They think “we”; they think “team.” They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don’ sidestep it, but “we” gets the credit … This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done. – Peter F. Drucker

A leader leads by example, whether he intends to or not. – Anonymous

Nobody rises to low expectations. – Calvin Lloyd

A community is like a ship: Everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm. – Henrik Ibsen.

6 Tips for Teams

1. Be cooperative.

This means you work well with others and are there to help as appropriate, when needed.

2. Be loyal.

This means you hang in there with the ups and downs and are supportive of and with others when there is internal or external conflict or criticism.

3. Be caring and concerned.

This means that you stay involved and interested in the successes stresses and challenges of others.

4. Be engaged and sharing.

This means that you regularly talk and interact with others.

5. Be respectful.

This means you listen patiently and carefully whenever others are talking, telling you about something, or trying to express their ideas or feelings.

6. Be trusting.

This means you do not get into blaming, accusing, or threatening others.

Now you know so there you go.

SignMyFirstPetition


I can say, with all candor, I have never been tempted to initiate or participate in a petition drive. Sure, there have been many situations and conditions I have disliked and some I have disliked intensely. Even so, the petition thing never popped into my conscious thought processes. Today is the day that all changed.

Why does the year start in January? I know; it’s when the bowl games are and it wouldn’t work having them other than at the end of the football season. That’s fine if you happen to live where January doesn’t bring ice and snow; but for the rest of us, football in January is silly. You’re right, there are domes and the like, but that only works for the handful of communities with their own domes. Since we don’t have one, football should be confined to September and maybe October but never after Halloween.

Ok, football is definitely not a good enough reason to have the year start in the middle of the winter. Then, what about parades? Need I say it? Parades in January are even sillier than football. Were it not for those bowl games, I doubt anyone would plan a parade when a blizzard is as likely as a sunny day. Yes, there is California and Florida is there too. Arizona and Hawaii are options as well. Good for them. They can have all the parades in January they please; but please stop acting like the rest of us should think majorettes in short skirts makes sense when the temp is nearing zero.

There’s also the calendar thing where, I suppose, this deal about the year starting in January began. There are other calendars but we are stuck with this year–starts–in–January nonsense. I just can’t believe we had choices and picked this one. Twelve choices and we chose the middle of the winter. Go figure, since I sure can’t.

That brings me to the point of my petition. It’s New Year’s Eve. NYE was made for partying. Is there a worse possible time for NYE than in the midst of the ice and snow? I think not. Barbecue is out, unless you are satisfied with someone else’s barbecue. Firing up the grill and throwing on some ribs is another one of those silly things when you have to wear a snow suit. Drinks around the pool are similarly out. No, I’m not going to explain. If you don’t get it, you may be one of those idiots who got us into this year–starting–in–January silliness to start with.

Just consider this. Let’s start the year in April. Instead of football, we would have baseball, a much more civil sport. Odds are we could have a parade without freezing, and barbecue and drinks around the pool would be doable, although even then, a dip in the pool would be out, except for the few who had already had too many drinks around the pool.

Everything is politics. I’ve heard that and maybe even knew it. My first petition and compromise is the only way to consensus. It boiled down to this. April is often too cold and it can snow then too. July and August are too hot; and no one would be around for NYE anyway, since most are on vacation.

It comes down to June 15. The weather is nearly perfect; school is out, Daylight Savings Time is there to improve the NYE party; it’s a good time for another holiday and a day off work. Barbecue is fine; drinks around the pool are refreshing; and the pool is there even for the non–liquor–challenged.

No, the year does not have to start on the first day of some month. It can start when we say it starts; and I say it starts on June 15. If you agree – and I am sure you do – please indicate your interest in joining my petition. I’m not clear about exactly how you do that but have confidence you will let me know. I also am not clear about who, if anyone, will be in a position to act on our petition but hope to figure that out next year, whenever that starts.

DonJohn/Mitch vs Joe/Bernie

I listen first to the Democrats and then to the Republicans, First to Joe and Bernie and then to DonJohn and Mitch. I think they are all talking about the USA and about our problems and issues, but it’s hard to know for sure. As best I can figure, the Dems think our most critical issues are healthcare and managing the people wanting to come in from Mexico. The Repubs are mostly concerned about the Dems and whether they will actually be able to displace DonJohn and Mitch in 2020.

It must be more thoughtful than it first seems, so I try to go a little past the surface. Joe and Bernie are focused on and fighting for the twenty percent of us who struggle to make ends meet while DonJon and Mitch are committed to preserving the status quo and the privileged position of the twenty percent of us who are getting along just fine.

I’ll take another pass at understanding what the fuss is all about. DonJohn and Mitch want to reduce controls and constraints on business and wealth expansion while Joe and Bernie want to regulate and contain business and wealth concentration to redistribute those benefits down the line to the workers among us and especially to the twenty percent least wealthy among us.

For the full story, press play and listen to the podcast.