Disney exemplifies the lessons I learned from two other great companies: Vlasik and Toyota. The first built its success on the rock solid foundation of market domination much like Disney dominates the market for family entertainment. The second built its success by empowering its employees. Disney clearly demonstrated its mastery of this facility when my family and I embarked on a Caribbean Cruise on the Disney Fantasy during this past Thanksgiving Week
In the interests of full disclosure, I can't compare my experience with other cruises. I've never taken another. My fifty years of sailing doesn't compare. You don't have someone tending to your every need when you're piloting your own pleasure craft or working as a topmast sailor on a tall ship. No, this was an entirely different sort of experience. I suppose that others may do it as well as Disney Cruise Lines (DCL), but I can't image how they could do it better.
Like everyone else, Fidel was many things, many different things. What he was and what he became were vastly different images of the man. What he appeared to be depended on your point of view and the age at which you viewed him.
Let's talk. It's better than fighting or rioting. The election of 2016 has raised an issue and given us a perfect example to compare the Electoral College system of selecting a President vs a popular vote. Neither candidate this year, Hillary nor Donald, is popular, so we needn't be distracted by personalities. No one can predict how either might perform as President or what challenges they will face, so let's not allow ourselves to be distracted by hysterical premonitions. Also, don't be distracted by the fact that one camp is celebrating and the other rioting. There are always winners and losers in Presidential elections. We can't simply give both sides participation trophies and call it a draw. Let's just focus on the voting system.
Clearly, one candidate won a simple majority of the popular vote and the other won a vast majority of the majorities in the separate voting districts. However, because of the uneven distribution of the American population, the resulting Electoral vote count resulted in a simple majority for one over the other. Those are the facts bearing on the issue.
I'm writing this a the ballots are being cast. I have no clue as to whom will be the victor: Hillary or Donald. However, I know with great certainty, regardless of who wins, who will be the loser: We the People. In fact, we've already lost. Can you argue? Look at the choices.
I know. You're ready to stop reading. You're tired of this election. Well, so am I. Really tired. I voted already and I don't want to hear any more about it. However, if we look away and lose ourselves in other problems, we're going to face another election just like it, maybe worse, four years from now.
Come hide with me down under. I've discovered a slice of it in New Zealand, on Acorn TV. There's room for you too.
Look, life sucks, especially during a presidential election year. Especially during this presidential election year. We're struggling to cobble together some rational basis to vote for one or the other of the two worst candidates in history. Forget about the fringe candidates. Their quixotic runs are doomed. Like me, I bet you've made up your mind and it's time to get away from the fanatics who actually believe that either candidate is God's answers to our problems.
Politicians of every stripe are so focused on becoming and remaining incumbents, that they have little time to worry over the consequences of their actions and decisions. It's easy to see that the economic abyss into which we are descending is the unintended consequence of allowing them to extend their sphere of influence into every aspect of our lives
It can be argued that the ten plagues visited upon the Egyptians were the unintended consequences of Pharaoh's refusal to let Moses' people go. Even so, unintended consequences didn't receive serious study until Adam Smith introduced consequentialism during the Scottish Enlightenment, then languished in obscurity. The study of unintended consequences returned to public attention in the 20th Century with the publication of “The Unanticipated Consequences of Purposive Social Action”, a paper written by sociologist Robert Merton in 1936. Even so, awareness has brought scant relief.
I bet you trust a lot more people than you've ever thought about.
Do you drive? You wouldn't unless you trusted other drivers to obey the law and handle their vehicles somewhat competently. You couldn't unless you trusted the people who designed and built the roads and bridges to have built them well.
Do you ride in elevators? Attend public events? Eat out? There are countless activities that require trust.
Whom do your trust for advice? There are professionals who dispense advice on health, finance, relationships, and countless other subjects. Have you ever availed yourself of their services?
In many cases you carefully consider whom you're going to trust. In others, you throw caution to the wind and trust anonymously.
Then we come to politics. Whom do you trust? Who will influence your voting decisions and who won't? Family and friends? Some yes. Some no. Generally, I trust those whom I respect, but not always because sometimes the people we trust disagree with us.
Let me tell you a story...
Metaphorically speaking, a contest in which no one wins is a “tie”, “draw”, “dead heat”, “wash”, “standoff”, “Mexican standoff”. However, a contest in which everyone loses is a different matter.
Once upon a time, a contest in which everyone loses was known as a “train wreck”. Sadly, few alive today remember that metaphor unless they're really old or are model railroad hobbyists. For most, a train wreck is just another day of operations at Amtrac.
Train wrecks were spectacular. Carney men even staged train wrecks as public entertainment. Two engineers set their beasts in motion and jumped clear. The crowd held its breath in anticipation as the two locomotives gathered way and then unleashed a roar of appreciation at witnessing their mutual destruction. There seems to have been something cathartic at witnessing a staged “accident”, an opportunity to see an event recreated in which many had died. It was a precursor to “rubber necking” motorists passing an accident scene on the highway.
Sadly, we are not mere witnesses to this year's train wreck. We are passengers and yet we all have had a hand on the throttle. We the People selected the candidates and now stand aside helplessly as one of them becomes the next President.
No matter who enters the White House, neither will win. They won't have the support of their political party or Congress. They won't have the support of a majority of the constituency. They will only have an empty title. And what will We the People win? We are fighting among ourselves as though either of these candidates actually represent US. Neither is Right nor Left, Conservative nor Liberal, Progressive nor Constitutionalist.
No rational person expects either to be a good leader or even a satisfactory leader. At a time when the tempest is upon the nation, we will be a ship without a rudder. If we are to survive, We the People will have to step up and save ourselves. Maybe that's not such a bad thing, is it?
Imagine offering a child a dish of ice cream but allowing them to only take it out of the freezer once a day and each just one spoonful at a time. That's what it was like for my wife and I trying to limit ourselves to just one episode of Stranger Things per day. We failed
Stranger Things is an eight-part SciFi thriller produced by Netflix and it's well worth the price of subscribing if only to watch his one program. Starring Winona Ryder and Matthew Modine, it is the tale of a weapons development program that accidentally opens a portal to another dimension, a dimension occupied by an unspeakably vicious predator. And that's all I'm going to tell you about the plot. Just imagine ET written by Stephen King.
I once read that science fiction tends to reflect the temper of the people in the time it is written. During the Cold War, space aliens were threatening. In the peace that followed they were warm and cuddly. Stranger Things is definitely a product of our time when Stone Age terrorists are lurking in the shadows and authority figures are distrusted and cops are being ambushed in the streets. If you are living in 2016, you'll feel right at home.
If you watch, I'm sure you'll be joining us, waiting for that next dish of ice cream.
Imagine my surprise when, early in my sixth decade, I discovered that I had an aunt and twelve cousins of whom I had never even heard. A few years later I was speaking with an aged aunt, my father's sister. “Speaking with” does not quite describe it. Conversations with Anna were more like being spoken to. Sometime during the telephone call she mentioned that she had been talking to her sister's daughter. It took me about fifteen minutes to stop her and guide her back to that point.
“Your sister's daughter? I didn't know you had a sister.”
“Of course,” she explained, obviously perplexed that I didn't know. “Your Aunt Mary.”
I had never heard of Mary.
Have you ever discovered that your family had a skeleton in the closet? A black sheep? How would you feel to learn that the "black sheep" may have had a golden fleece? This is the story that I had to tell.
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