Herewith, an excerpt from Look Before You Lean: How a Lean Transformation Goes Bad…A Cautionary Tale

Let it not be said that WTF came to the grand party WE insisted on throwing for it empty-handed. Its bag was chock full of beans that, if not exactly magic, would create for our executives at least the illusion that one day a giant beanstalk would sprout in our parking lot and rise upward into the sky where a pot of corporate gold would be waiting — ours for the taking.

Speaking of that parking lot, the first visible sign to staff that…

My original intention was simply to recommend a book I had just finished reading (listening to!), American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. In advance of writing the post, I went looking for a graphic to accompany it and in so doing was surprised to learn that American Dirt had been at the center of a roiling controversy between the publishing world and Latinx activists. Wow! Literate man that I am, how had I missed that?

Well, blame it on too many goddamned controversies to keep up with maybe. I read a lot…an awful lot, but I don’t pretend to know everything…

O Con Man! Our Con Man! Your fucked-up trip is done.

This ship has weather’d every rack, the prize you’ve sought is gone,

Election’s near, the bells I hear, the voters all exulting,

With hollow eyes your reckless rule, your judgment grim and stupid;

But O heart! heart! heart!

O your grasping gasps of breath,

All the cost of your Con Man’s lies,

Saved from jail by death.

O Con Man! Our Con Man! Rise up and read the polls;

Rise up — for now your brand is shit — for now your bungle tolls,

For you court dates and…

When I went to bed after Tom Brady, aged 24, had taken the New England Patriots on a 53-yard drive to win Super Bowl XXVI, I was 55-years old. When I woke up the next morning I was 12.

It was 5 a.m., PST. My transistor radio was by the side of my bed. I reached over, picked it up, put the headphones over my ears and dialed in ESPN on the East Coast where I knew everyone would already be up and rubbing their eyes in wonder at what a miracle had happened the night before.

The radio voices…

Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales,

and he received his sight at once…

— Acts 9:18

My first experience with having scales fall from my eyes came at the teaching of my early mentor, Robert Campbell. It was Bob who introduced me to the work of philosopher Bertrand Russell, whose scathing attacks on the hero of my political youth John F. Kennedy included Russell’s assessment that JFK was “more dangerous than Hitler”. I had written an essay for Mr. Campbell’s journalism class that was laudatory of JFK’s handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis. …

At the beginning of this thing, I posted a listing of what I thought were good viewing options for those looking for something different to watch during the pandemic. Since posting that list, I’ve come upon a Must-See new option. It’s called The Black Death, the World’s Most Devastating Plague. It’s unlikely we ever would have watched it had the current crisis not so immersed us in the pathology of disease…nor likely Amazon Prime* would have recommended it for us. …

Like all fathers, mine occasionally embarrassed me. One of the sources of that embarrassment was his pronunciation of the letter “h,” which he always pronounced as “haitch” rather than “aitch” as his more learned son was taught in school. Long after I had made my peace with that embarrassment, I came upon the PBS production of The Story of English, and this excerpt pricked up my ears:

“It is said that Protestants and Catholics still use language against each other, and that pronunciation of the letter h (“aitch” for Protestants; “haitch” for Roman Catholics) has been used by both the…

I’ve been following Bob Dylan religiously since he shattered my ears with the opening organ salvo of Like a Rolling Stone and my brain with the question: How does it feel to be out on your own. Despite occasional rays of light…the promise of an answer blowin’ in the wind, a wish to stay forever young…Bob’s lyrics lean into the dark. He was under the spell of Biblical prophets long before he chose to make a show of his religious beliefs. As a result he has provided us with some of the best apocalyptic literature this side of the Book…

I see Ben Carson and I want him painted black

No whiteness anymore, I want his soul turned black

I see Diamond and Silk dressed in fancy clothes

I have to turn my head until their darkness glows

I see Clarence Thomas and he ain’t painted black

Voting rights, racial justice never to come back

I see Tim Scott turn his head and quickly look away

Like a newborn baby, he’s distracted every day

I look inside myself and see my base is black

I see my basement door, and want it painted black

Maybe then I’ll pick Harris and…

In times of my despair for the state of the union, I often find myself turning to the past for historical perspective. It’s always comforting to know that people before me…before us…went through trying times and survived. And thus it was a month or so ago when I got on my bike and rode it for days buried under my headphones listening to the entire 24 hours of Walter Isaacson’s biography of Benjamin Franklin…an American Life.

My schoolboy education in Franklin’s life and works was typically superficial — the kite…the glasses…the Declaration of Independence…and we’re done. …

Dan Riley

From the obit desk at the Hartford Courant to the copy desk at Larry Flynt publications to the stage at Long Beach Playhouse to books, blogs & beyond.

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