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Showing posts from June, 2010

When Insults had Class

These very expressive insults are from an era, before the English language boiled down to four-letter and crude words.

The exchange between Churchill & Lady Astor:
She said, "If you were my husband I'd give you poison."
He said, "If you were my wife, I'd drink it."

A member of Parliament to Disraeli: "Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease."
"That depends, Sir," said Disraeli, "whether I embrace your policies or your mistress."

"He had delusions of adequacy."
- Walter Kerr

"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." 
- Winston Churchill

"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." 
- Clarence Darrow

"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary." 
- William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).

"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no …

Understanding Engineers (Humor)

This post deals with something very dear to me: engineering.  Yes, I know I demonstrate a lot of right brain (emotional, talkative, etc.), non-engineering traits, but deep down inside, I really am an engineer.  Scary ain’t it? Some of you might have seen this before, as I do have a great deal of engineering friends.  For all of you who have not seen it or who are not engineers, enjoy!  You now will understand what we are, maybe.

Understanding Engineers: One Two engineering students, one pushing a bike, were walking across a university campus when the other said, "Where did you get such a great bike?"The second engineer replied, "Well, I was walking along yesterday, minding my own business, when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike, threw it to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, "Take what you want."The first engineer nodded approvingly and said, "Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn't have fit you anyway."
Understanding Engineers:…

The Whole Star Spangled Banner Anthem!

Do you know the Star Spangled Banner? All of it?

Here it is, in its entirety.

First Verse
Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light, 
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight, 
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air 
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say, does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave 
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Second Verse
On the shore dimly seen, thro' the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes.
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep, 
As it fitfully blows half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam, 
In full glory reflected, now shines in the stream; 
'Tis the Star-Spangled Banner, Oh long may it wave 
O'er the land of the free a…

What Are You Worth?

Some time ago, Seth Godin (the father of the "Tribes" and "Ideavirus" concepts" wrote a great little piece about what are you worth (see: Hourly work vs. linchpin work)? In this article he goes on to suggest that what makes you worthwhile is not so much how rare your skills are, but if there are no ready substitutes, what are you really worth? Essentially, if you have the ability to bring in an additional $1 million dollars pretty easily for a company, or sell 20% more seats for a concert quickly, or save a company 25% of their operating budget?  What is that REALLY worth? $100K, $1MM or more? This is an excellent question.

This reminds me of the story of Admiral Nimitz and the mechanic that after WWII the aircraft carrier Enterprise was having a problem with its boilers. This mechanic had retired in the Philippines, and after exhausting every possible solution, the crew finally contacted this mechanic and flew him to the carrier. Once he got there he asked …