Hear the dog that didn’t bark

Michelangelo said (though presumably in Italian), “It takes work to remove the traces of work.” What looks effortless, as any professional dancer will tell you, looks that way after hours of unremitting effort. Fred Astaire did not just walk on the set and do the routine impromptu. He worked for hours to make it seem effortless. All that backstage work goes unseen by the audience.

The same invisibility of effort occurs in many fields — public health, for example. …

What’s so bad about a union, from a management perspective?

Photo by Ant Rozetsky on Unsplash

What seems evident from the aggressive overreaction from Amazon management is that it truly does fear workers getting any power at all. The ideal, from a management perspective is that workers have no power at all.

And that is important because if workers have no power, then management can do what it wants with them. An Amazon warehouse employee spoke to a New York reporter. Just read this preface to the article (and then click the link to read what he says):

Every shift, Darryl Richardson clocks in to the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, at 7:15 in the morning…

Let the gods decide

Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Unsplash, modified by author

In a lecture course there’s no need to choose among the students: all students simply take notes, though from time to time one may ask a question for clarification. Some courses, however, require students to actively participate in class. Such classes use some form of the Socratic method, in which students do the talking or presentation, with the teacher acting as a coach or guide, asking occasional questions and keeping the discussion productive.

Choosing who will next participate

In discussions classes students talk more than the teacher. The teacher often calls upon students — to go to the board to demonstrate a theorem in geometry…

Withered good intentions can bloom again if you learn how to recover from failure

These crooked branches grow into an orderly top; a crooked path can still reach your goal. (photo by author)

Given that immediate and sustained success is extremely rare, we all experience multiple instances and kinds of failure. It follows that knowing how to handle failure—and, ideally, how to recover from it and set things aright — is an important skill to learn.

Some failures are easy to spot and have simple solutions — for example, a basketball player who can’t make a free throw can see the failure and remedy it through practice. Other failures are more invidious, developing gradually over time with the signs of developing failure obscured by the signal noise of daily life.

For example, anyone…

Patience is not a gift but a skill; skills require practice.

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Patience is important, but like any skill it must be learned, so impatience is common (and can have serious consequences).

Impatience differs from impulsiveness. In impulsive behavior, the issue of patience does not arise: a person who habitually acts on impulse does so not because they are impatient but because they have poor impulse control. Controlling impulses is important, and developing that skill may require patience, but the two things — impulsiveness and impatience — are different. Impatience is a feeling (a kind of frustration), and impulsiveness is a habit of action (one worth breaking).

You can be impatient with…

The unfamiliar makes us uneasy, so some pretend it’s like previous experience.

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I think we all like — or are at least comfortably reassured by — the familiar. In Patrick O’Brian’s (excellent) series of British naval novels in the Napoleonic era, Stephen Maturin quotes a Catalan benediction on parting: “May no new thing arise.”

New things make us uneasy because they are unfamiliar, so we don’t know what to expect nor how best to respond. I just moved into a new apartment, and I like it better as it becomes more familiar. …

Some say a disaster is looming, others believe it’s overblown — what’s your take?

FutureMe.org allows you to write an email that it will send to you at a date you specify. The World Health Organization has officially stated that we are now experiencing a pandemic of coronavirus.

Test your prognostic talent. Go to FutureMe and write yourself an email to be delivered to you on (say) 1 July 2020, setting out your expectations and predictions. For example, you may believe that it’s no big deal, just like the flu but with a lower mortality rate. …

But I finally figured out why I was repeatedly short of money

Photo by Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush from Pexels

Years ago I was mystified at how consistently I ran short of money each month. I understood why someone supporting a family on a low-paying job (or two) would face financial straits. But I was earning a decent salary and living on my own — and still I came up short. That made no sense.

Implicit spending

Then I discovered what I call “implicit spending.” Some possessions must eventually be replaced. I finally realized that, as I use one of those, I am implicitly spending money. For example, take a computer I bought for $2000. Now that I own it, I thought…

A simple meal schema based on the Daily Dozen

Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

Part 2 of Dr. Michael Greger’s book How Not to Die (a fascinating read on how diet affects chronic illnesses, for good or bad) consists of his guidelines for a whole-food plant-based diet. Those guidelines were a lifesaver for me when I switched overnight from the low-carb high-fat diet that I had followed in the mistaken belief that it would help my type 2 diabetes.

It was not helping — exactly the opposite. It’s true that on the LCHF diet, my blood glucose was low, but that was because I was eating virtually no carbs (including dietary fiber, a carb…

Your theories of action: Theory in Use vs. Espoused Theory

Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash, modified by author

Your “hidden personality” is hidden only from you — others get a clear understanding of it from your actions and words because behavior conveys personality. You’ve undoubtedly noticed that some people view themselves very differently from how others see them.

For example, assholes don’t view themselves as such, though from time to time, one will, with a shock of recognition, see that they have acted exactly as an asshole would. Sometimes that results in a positive change — they are, as it were, scared straight and take a more thoughtful and careful in future interactions.

Theory in Use vs. Espoused Theory

Our theory of action consists…

Michael Ham

Wrote “Leisureguy’s Guide to Gourmet Shaving the Double-Edge Way.” Blogs at leisureguy.wordpress.com. Enjoys cooking, reading, movies, and listening to jazz.

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