Picture Pages

Of all the great principles that foster fruitful communication, this one is paramount:

You Improvise, You Overcome, You Adapt

I adapt to you and you adapt to me . . .

And somewhere in the middle or on the way to it, maybe we come to a meeting of the minds.

Even after all that, you still have the option to totally disagree with your interlocutor, but at least you’ve heard them out with some sincerity.

All I do is sell sincerity and I’ve been selling the hell out of that since I started

On The Yellow Brick Road:

The best way to serve your interests is to first and foremost — hold your own accountable.

If you wanna make the opposition look bad, try looking good. If you wanna have the moral high ground, try earning it:

The moral high ground, in ethical or political parlance, refers to the status of being respected for remaining moral, and adhering to and upholding a universally recognized standard of justice or goodness.

In John Wayne: The Life and Legend, the author relays a story about The Duke growing up as Marion Robert Morrison — and how every day he rode eight miles to elementary school on a horse named Jenny.

No matter how much he fed his horse, Jenny was still too thin.

Some ladies in town took notice of what they perceived as malnutrition and reported his family to the Humane Society. After a vet examined the horse it was diagnosed to have a disease and eventually they had to put her down.

On top of losing his beloved horse, Marion was understandably unhappy with how he was treated:

[A] sense of outrage over being falsely accused never left him. “I learned you can’t always judge a person or a situation by the way it appears on the surface,” he remembered. “You have to look deeply into things before you’re in a position to make a proper decision.”

In the book: DUKE, We’re Glad We Knew You: John Wayne’s Friends and Colleagues Remember His Remarkable Life — in the forward is a 1979 article that includes the following:

To him a handshake was a binding contract. When he was in the hospital for the last time and sold his yacht, The Wild Goose, for an amount far below its market value, he learned the engines needed minor repairs.

He ordered those engines overhauled at a cost to him of $40,000 because he had told the new owner the boat was in good shape.

— The Unforgettable John Wayne by Ronald Reagan

This 60-second scene from The Searchers squares with the quote above, and it’s at the bedrock of my beliefs.

“I Told Ya, Didn’t I!”

“It is widely recognized that racist symbols produce lasting physical and psychological stress and trauma particularly to Black communities, people of color and other oppressed groups,” the resolution says, adding that Orange County is more diverse than it was when the airport was christened under Wayne’s name in 1979.

Lemme tell you what else is “widely recognized” — you’re being played.

You’re all being played

I’m not defending The Duke, I’m Defending sanity

There’s a lot to be said for the totality of one’s life — and liberals have lost their way in abandoning that idea right along with their intellect.

Whatever gains you get by aimless protests, removing monuments, renaming airports, and other concocted outrage you come up with — those gains will be offset untold times over.

And they already have been . . .

My Cousin Vinny is maybe the most hilariously educational movie ever, and this scene is at the core of our culture’s communication divide.

Don’t shake your head. I’m not done yet. Wait till you hear the whole thing so you can . . . understand this now . . .

You shake your head the second you sense something that requires you to reconsider your calcified convictions.

If your beliefs are so well-founded — shouldn’t they be able to withstand scrutiny?

You can dig into anything I have to say and I welcome it.

The operative words are “dig into” — talking points don’t count.

He’s gonna show you the bricks. He’ll show you they got straight sides. He’ll show you how they got the right shape. He’ll show them to you in a very special way, so that they appear to have everything a brick should have . . .

But there’s one thing he’s not gonna show you.

When you look at the bricks from the right angle, they’re as thin as this playing card. His whole case is an illusion, a magic trick.

You nod your end perpetually for people show you the bricks — and shake your head at those who try to show you that they’re are as thin as this playing card.

Now you start using your head.  That’s that lump that’s three feet above your ass!

Never ceases to amaze me how people can bitch about behavior that mirrors their own — and do it with ease.

It’s all about political propaganda. . . . It’s all about trashing people who don’t agree with you. It’s all about supporting people that would rather burn cities to the ground — instead of simply getting a job. That is the current NBA under Lebron James’ leadership.

I’ve been trashed for nearly 20 years for telling the truth on a matter of world-altering magnitude.

Centrifuge physics don’t care who’s president.

But we live in two different worlds.

This Land Is Your Land

This Land Is My Land

If you knew the whole story on Iraq WMD, you’d know that the guy in the White House right now — knew damn well and good that the tubes weren’t for rotors.

But Biden did what Democrats do . . .

Glenn Greenwald’s gold-standard

Here we have a perfect expression of the most self-destructive Democratic disease which they seem unable to cure. More than anything — they fear looking weak. To avoid this, they cave, surrender, capitulate — and stand for nothing.

If it were up to me, he’d be in prison for dereliction of duty and taking the country to war on manufactured lies.

He’d be sitting right next to Kerry, Clinton, Bush, Cheney, the bulk of Congress, the cabal around Bush . .

And Rumsfeld would have died there.

Thanks to the Left’s woke ways and institutionalizing weakness, this nation endlessly debates race-related issues (whether they’re actually race-related or not).

We solve nothing and make matters worse while we’re at it.

Clearly, I’m one of people in all of America who’s willing to say . . .

Now — let’s analyze what’s been working for us”

on the Right

If you had the courage for reflection, you’d know that arguments with a history of hypocrisy behind him — is pretty problematic . . .

However sound they may be.

We agree that propaganda is bad. Trashing people who don’t agree with you is bad. Burning cities to the ground is bad.

But going batshit crazy after 9/11: Setting the world ablaze — and browbeating anybody out of line in your March of Folly . . .

No problem

So what you really mean is

If it’s your propaganda, it’s good. If you’re trashing people, it’s fine. And as long as it’s destroying cities outside America, who cares.

That the reaction is not to think it through, not to question, not to assemble facts, not to make arguments — but instead to wave banners and spout slogans such that you could hardly distinguish what they were doing from a manifesto that would come out of Black Lives Matter

— Glenn Loury

So Glenn Loury can go on Tucker Carlson Today and say something spot-on about the aftermath of George Floyd — and the Right welcomes it with open arms.

But say the same thing about Republicans’ systematic self-delusion and asinine behavior in the aftermath of 9/11 and ever since . . .

And this is their reaction

So we can talk about race and responsibility till the end of time – but heaven forbid we have a single conversation about war and responsibility.

And since you seem utterly oblivious to the reciprocal relationship between the Left and the Right, you can’t seem to comprehend how you help create the very problems you’re fighting against.

Same goes for the Left

Had the Right held its own accountable on Iraq (along with holding Democrats accountable) — there’d be no Obama presidency . . .

Which means no Black Lives Matter

To be sure, Democrats would still have manipulated these events with Hillary in the White House — but that’s just run-of-the-mill race card.

By Obama even half-heartedly endorsing this horseshit — it was like taking a flamethrower to race relations.

He pissed away his presidency the moment he said, “If I had a son” . . .

Setting off a chain of events that’s been doing damage on a daily basis ever since.

And while I can’t prove it . . .

Given the tight margins — there’s not a doubt in my mind that these ploys put Trump in the White House.

It’s quite possible that Comey’s cover-his-ass actions in the 11th hour tipped the scales. Given the possibility that a single event like that could alter the atmosphere of an election — what do you think pouring fuel on the fire for years did?

And the Right treating Bush like the Second Coming of Christ, set the stage for the rise of the Rock Star they spent the next 8 years railing against.

I don’t understand the math in your methods:

You pay untold millions to political strategists — don’t these people do any cost-benefit analysis on the long-term impact of endless lying and ineptitude?

You gleefully mocked anyone who questioned your beloved Bush — and when ya came up empty on WMD, you just bought more bullshit from the same people who sold you the first batch.


As I argued in 2004, the smart move was for you “take stock” and hold your own accountable.

Ya didn’t. So lying about sex was the end of the world — but blowing it up gets a pass (as long it’s your boy in office).

I actually changed my mind about Clinton’s impeachment. The me of today would have supported it for lying under oath alone — regardless of what it was about.

I was the same way about principle back then as I am now — it’s just that I couldn’t see clearly through the underhanded motives of those trying to bring him down.

The me of today would cut right through that crap.

And weigh his actions purely on the merits of the president doing the right thing — regardless of any wrongdoing done to him.

He put protecting his reputation over the good of the nation (not to mention breaking the law). I’m of the Dave doctrine when it comes to the presidency:

See, there are certain things you should expect from a President. I ought to care more about you than I do about me. I ought to care more about what’s right than I do about what’s popular. I ought to be willing to give this whole thing up for something I believe in.

But that’s me

And “squabbling for the scraps” is you:

You’re so concerned with squabbling for the scraps from Longshank’s table . . . that you’ve missed your God-given right to something better.

And about that manifesto on the Right

Lemme get this straight

You want the Left and the black community to get its act together on matters deeply woven into the fabric of America’s long history of brutality and disgrace . . .

Slavery, Jim Crow, lynchings, murder, decades of civil rights violations, questionable shootings, and so on . . .

While you won’t even look at the material properties of a tube: 

The manipulation of which f$@*#% up the future of the entire world.

What’s wrong with that picture — and this one?

Percentage of people peddling “everybody believed Iraq had WMD” — who couldn’t write a sound argument on the subject to save their lives:

The Right’s record is full of abominable behavior, world-altering recklessness, systematic lying, and hypocrisy that knows no bounds.

And yet all you do is pounce on people who behave as you do.

If you think you can dispute one word I’ve written — I invite you to try.

All the whataboutism bullshit in the world can’t change your record. I have no such problem — as mine is impeccable for going after the truth:

No matter what

In that September 24th, 2002 Senate foreign relations committee meeting, Tenet’s testimony revealed the reality of the intel — along with the on-tap acquiescence of the Democrats. . . .

It was Senator Biden who invited the witnesses from DOE and INR to testify on the tubes — so he well aware of the dissenting arguments.  Couple that with the fact that the CIA had to be compelled to produce the NIE — and that the White House was peddling WMD with certitude. And yet the Director of the CIA was sitting there saying they had NO irrefutable evidence.

Afflicted with Greenwald’s well-defined disease, Biden voted for the war resolution anyway.

Bush loyalists love to seize on meaningless quotes by Democrats to bolster their beliefs — never mind that they are clinging to the word of people who spend their lives immersed in ulterior motives.

Some circles call that evidence. I call it cowardice.

Richard W. Memmer (Act IV)

Sometime in the days before the U.N. speech — Senator Joe Biden called Powell. Referring to Powell’s U.N. presentation — Biden cautioned him, “Don’t speak to anything you don’t know about.” That is, don’t overstate the evidence. There was silence on the other end. Then Powell replied,

“Someday when we’re both out of office, we’ll have a cup of coffee and I’ll tell you why.” — Why what? . . . Powell didn’t explain, but Biden took the remark to mean that Powell was going to present a case about which he had his doubts.

As Insincere As It Gets

Seduced by the Secretary

When I took that class at Purdue, we didn’t do rote memorization — we did in-depth analysis. The professor was boring but the TA was life-altering.

We had to write how events and people correlated with one another.

It was demanding — and I loved it.

Nothing was seen in isolation

Exactly the opposite of how you do things here:

You deal on the moment — I deal on the dots

And because you deal on the moment and see all things in isolation — you can march in the Follow the Facts Parade . . .

Flagrantly ignoring that the only facts you follow are those that go in any direction but yours.

It’s a meaningless mantra if you don’t have a record for consistently going after the truth whether it’s in your interests or not.

I don’t need a slogan — my record speaks for itself.

But that doesn’t matter one bit to people who have no desire to see anything beyond what they wish.

The Left lumps me in with the Right — the Right lumps me with the Left . . .

Delighting in The Safety Dance of Self-Delusion

Say, we can go where we want to
A place where they will never find
And we can act like we come from out of this world
Leave the real one far behind . . .

We can go when we want to
The night is young and so am I
And we can dress real neat from our hats to our feet
And surprise ’em with the victory cry

Say, we can act if we want to
If we don’t, nobody will
And you can act real rude and totally removed
And I can act like an imbecile . . .

Principle and I go way back

The names of my nemeses are nowhere to be found on this site. I believe in having a sense of proportionality in my purpose, and broadcasting their identities on the internet seems over-the-top to me.

They’re exposed on a sidewalk outside Gateway Village because it’s the scene of the crime, and it’s my only conduit to communicate with them.

For that same reason, virtually all names are blurred out on this site. I’m not concerned with the individuals, I’m concerned about the countrywide behavior they represent.

10 times at BofA

That might be a record — and it’s one of quality and unwavering commitment to the customer.

After all, that’s the reason people in IT have jobs — to do our part to help the business do theirs.

If you’re in the way of that, we’re gonna have words — eventually.

Sailing Scot-Free on the Sea of Chaos — didn’t originate from Two Sides of the Same Counterfeit Coin.

It came from writing about my malignantly narcissistic manager Rollo Tomassi. That story can be found in Letter of the LawPart 9, and elsewhere throughout this site.

Rollo was enraged by my letter that exposed him for who he really is.

I set out to keep my cool on our call that followed, but my on-tap disgust from decades of dealing with this bullshit just boiled over.

With the ease of one without conscience, Rollo rolled out one ludicrous excuse after another — absolving himself as though his record had disappeared off the face of the Earth.

To be sure, he tossed me a token or two about how he needs to work on this and that — as if his turbocharged hypersensitivity is just some fine-tuning knob to turn.

The gloves were off

This scene is the only way I can capture the disgust I felt that day — and still do.

You don’t know when to shut up — You don’t know how to shut up . . . You are a coward son of a bitch!

Rollo Tomassi was manager at Elara — and after nearly 2 years of walking on eggshells with this guy, I’d just had it.

Trying to reach him was like playing dodgeball — for all the “Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive, and Dodge” goin’ on. A younger version of me would never have put up with it as long as I did.

It was bound to blow

If Rollo had been the worst of the culprits who came before him — I could live with that.

He was worse than all of them — combined!

My aim was always to find a home where I could settle in for an ever-evolving future — a quest for belonging in the right company, with a crew that continually hones its craft.

I wanted one tiny space in the world where people do right by one another — and rise to the occasion when they don’t.

It was just a dream, so I’ve had to repeatedly lower my expectations if I wanted to continue in this career. All I ask for now is that people be in the ballpark of their beliefs, but even that seems too much to ask.

My concessions could never keep up with the pace of pampering that plagues our society — as I’ve always clashed with a culture that increasingly values bullshit as currency.

Rollo’s behavior has become normalized that way.

I never got on board — and I never will

Stung like hell so I jerked my leg and mama said it would give me guts

It happened on one of them Zip-a-dee-doo-dah days

Good ol’ Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah — a Rollo with a twist that came to mind while describing her erratic behavior.

I was really just thinking about how she zips through every discussion. I didn’t know at the time just how true to form the moniker would become.

The kids skipping to the tune of “Everything is ‘satisfactch’ll’” attitude of contentment syncs with the self-absorbed culture we’ve created.

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay
My, oh, my, what a wonderful day
Plenty of sunshine headin’ my way
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay!
Mister Bluebird’s on my shoulder
It’s the truth, it’s “actch’ll”
Everything is “satisfactch’ll”

Putting the angelic nature of it aside, the song is simply a caricature of how I see America being butchered to death by bullshit:

An unyielding faith in baseless beliefs that’s beyond anything I could have imagined in my youth.

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah is a rare story in the mix — because it all started with me backing up a Project Manager who went ballistic about this Business Analyst.

I had my own frustrations with this lady — but didn’t wanna get involved.

If they wanted to run their shop that way, let ’em. I’d have enough of getting railroaded for caring, so I was just gonna put my time in and enjoy walking along the ocean every day in Fort Lauderdale.

But in a moment of truth, I couldn’t just sit there in silence — I’d never live it down.

Adorning a wall on AutoNation’s floor called Intersection, are the words “Excellence” and “Performance” (along with a wall of history that adds character to the room).

I wonder, would the following be found in your formula for excellence and performance?

Long story short: I asked Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah if we could have a coffee — as I thought a casual setting would ease the tension of what I had to say.

I politely asked her if she could be more patient (which is what the PM was upset about).

Keep in mind — while I was annoyed with her antics, I was never upset about it. So there was no reason for me to come across harshly, because I didn’t care that much in the first place.

The manager knew that this BA had issues, but he just shrugged it off when the PM went ballistic about her. So nobody was gonna do a damn thing about the problem.

As usual — it’s up to me

Right smack in the middle of #MeToo — she went crazy crying over my criticism (no matter how constructive I tried to be).

She stormed off and cried all the way back to her desk.

I was fired that afternoon — without one word of my side of the story.

And as with The Fraudulent 5 that came before her — and those that followed, she f*#%@d the wrong guy:

I cannot overstress — I LOVED Sally Beauty

Wonderful place, wonderful job, and wonderful people . . .

Except for their resident Rollo . . .

And I loved almost all of my jobs at Bank of America and Wells Fargo. Those banks built my career and I’m eternally grateful to them.

I have much more to say about the magnificent management and incredible colleagues I’ve worked with over the years — than I do about these isolated stories of absurdity.

I’ve seen what What Real Leadership Looks Like — and it damn sure doesn’t look like the bullshit behind those signs.

I don’t need the whole wall:

Pick one — that’ll do

How he could walk by this wall of ideals every day and fail to recognize that his ways are not remotely in line with those lovely words — is a blankness that defies description.

I had some wonderful colleagues at Sally and I loved the environment there. But bad apples and inept managers have a knack for ruining everything.

A huge problem in IT is that you have a ton of technical people who have no business being managers.

They end up in these slots because they gotta get promoted somehow, there’s a void to fill, or they’re connected to the person who put them there . . .

The good ol’ boy network of white-collar chaos

It’s bad enough that they don’t have the goods — what’s worse is that are utterly oblivious to the depths of their deficiencies. So they feel no sense of need to fill what they don’t believe to be missing.

It is hard to fill a cup which is already full

If you’re gonna have a Vision & Values handbook — I shouldn’t have to convince you to abide by some semblance of it.

We don’t want to pressure them, as it might backfire

You mean the “pressure” that’s defined in your handbook that spells out the very expectations I espouse?

I could have cranked out the crappiest code imaginable, and as long as long as it “worked” and I met my monthly quota, I’d be on track for a full bonus.

I wasn’t about to waste my time repeatedly trying to convince these people of what they claimed in the interviews.

3 months into the job, I grabbed my goods and walked by the big-shot’s office — took that book above, tossed it on his desk and said:

This book is a fraud!

Tossed my badge in the same place and walked out the door.

These people and their sales pitch, I swear. They seem to think that simply by virtue of speaking the language that their set of standards will magically come true.

You’d think I’d know better by now, but I just can’t let go of that sliver of hope I hang onto.

To put company credos in comical terms, there’s that vintage My Cousin Vinny scene where he says, “You were serious about dat?” — in response to the judge reprimanding him once again for not looking lawyerly in his courtroom.

It’s not so funny when companies have that same look on their face when I hold them accountable to their claims:

What? You thought we actually meant all that stuff about higher standards, accountability, integrity, and iron sharpens iron?

I was promised something and Elara didn’t deliver — not even remotely close. It’s a great company packed with outstanding people — and I’m eternally grateful for my time there.

But I was after something bigger than my immediate sphere of influence — and I made that pretty clear when I interviewed with Rollo and Head Honcho.

I wasn’t aiming for monetary gain in those goals, a feather in my cap, accolades of any kind, or some avenue of promotion.

As June Carter Cash was fond of saying

And I sure as hell can’t do that when I gotta deal with this goddamn drama.

You cannot be, I know, nor do I wish to see you an inactive Spectator, but if the Sword be drawn I bid adieu to all domestick felicity, and look forward to that Country where there is neither wars nor rumors of War in a firm belief that thro the mercy of its King we shall both rejoice there together.

I greatly fear that the arm of treachery and violence is lifted over us as a Scourge and heavy punishment from heaven for our numerous offences, and for the misimprovement of our great advantages.

If we expect to inherit the blessings of our Fathers, we should return a little more to their primitive Simplicity of Manners, and not sink into inglorious ease.

We have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them.

— Abigail Adams, 16 October 1774

Over the Moon is the synopsis of the story.

Head Honcho twice ignored my request to share my concerns. Rather than address the root of the problem — this was his solution:

I purposely chose “Flexible Fabric” — only to be delighted further when I saw “Memory-Weave.” But I howled when I saw these (especially the 3rd one):

  • Stretchable
  • Comfortable
  • Moves with you

And the reality-bending of the body capped it all off.

As with the other examples: Elara’s “management” style is completely in line with the times — sanctioned as if time-honored traditions of leadership did not exist for reference.

The decline of our country is captured in that Band-Aid box alone.

Fun fact: Elara is one of Jupiter’s moons.

For all those who ignore the elephant in the room while having no shortage of scrutiny for those who dare to ask:

Wouldn’t we be able to move around more freely without this elephant in the way?

There’s a name for your kind — and it’s called “The Critic”

Here’s lookin’ at you, Head Honcho:

Just how blind and inept do you have to be to let egregious delays, mediocrity, and mounting frustration persist on multiple fronts — all revolving around one Rollo?

Head Honcho — here’s what I think of your “Here’s what I think and here’s why . . .

I had his ego pegged on day one — as I have a knack for spotting Rollos right out of the gate:

And here we have another Wells Fargo fantasy of going far  — dragging dead weight all the way.

In one of my all-time-favorite monuments to mediocrity, we have what I call:

The “Patrick’s Patrick” Policy

(named for the resident clown in my 2012 contract)

Is there some kind of government mandate on employing these people (perhaps as an experiment to see just how much we can take)?

But what’s worse than hiring them is never firing them. There’s not even a hint of “shape up or ship out” anymore.

I was telling a friend about the Skeletoes this guy would wear, and while they have their place, taken in totality of the garb of this guy — I found him buffoonish at best.

So I’m talkin’ chapter titles for my book, and as much as I love my “policy” bit above, I just about died when I heard this:

The Skeletoes Situation

You’d never guess that a guy so incurious in the face of inquiry would be a member of Mensa — “the largest and oldest high IQ society in the world.” It’s all the more absurd when you consider that curiosity is at the core of Mensa’s mandate (smack-dab at the center of their universe):

That someone could so easily abandon the aptitude it took to qualify for that club exemplifies the power of pride.

It soon became obvious how he flagrantly gets away with his asinine antics.

A guy like that becomes a company mascot, as everybody eventually buys into the belief that “he can’t help it — Patrick’s Patrick.” Such collective enabling reinforces his childlike view that anything goes because “I’m jolly ol’ Patrick.”

Head on over to You Are a Liar for the rest of the story, but for one point below that captures a key connection. When I raised some concerns within the first week on the job in The Skeletoes Situation, the manager said the following:

I was impressed with you in the interview — but now I’m tremendously impressed. I’m amazed that you figured all this out in 3 days.

The fact that the manager didn’t like this guy any more than I did was extremely telling . We agreed to give it some time but he made it clear that “Patrick’s not going anywhere.”

What I really wanted to say was:

Fine — then do your job so this bozo doesn’t reflect so poorly on you, your team, and the company.

We gave it a go but the writing was on the wall.

After a little spat that hurt Patrick’s precious feelings a few weeks later — he cried foul and that afternoon I was kicked to the curb. This is what my manager said when he called the contract agency:

Rick’s a rock star and I really like him — but I gotta let him go

I’m not a “rock star” in IT or anything else — but the point of the quote is that it shows just how ludicrous it all is:

That you keep the person you don’t want  — and fire the person you do.

He was an employee — I wasn’t.

Companies will boot their best contractors out the door on a whim, but put up with endless crap from poor-performing employees with piss-poor attitudes.

That I was terminated is a technicality — because the truth is that the manager and I had an understanding after that earlier meeting. In his mind, he was doing me a favor (and he was probably right). 

I don’t have any ill feelings toward him, because he’s not some machine in the way he saw things. I didn’t agree with his decision, but I understood it.

That aside — while I liked the guy, he’s a weak-minded manager. He allowed this bum to poison the atmosphere of possibility, and let legal restrictions become a crutch.

That goes on — a lot

At the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got the automatons — the Head Honchos who have no regard for what’s right.

Ages ago, I was watching James Woods on Piers Morgan Tonight, and he was talking about playing the CEO of Lehman Brothers in the movie Too Big To Fail, and said the following:

Here’s the problem with what’s happened to our culture: You’re not required to be ethical — as long as you’re legal.

I was floored that somebody could so perfectly capture the essence of both that story and mine in so few words.

I adapt to you and you adapt to me . . .

There’s no finer example of “I adapt to you and you adapt to me” than these classic scenes from the all-time “Everyman” master.

The coach is coming from a different place — and his attitude from the start was:

I don’t have ballplayers, I’ve got girls!

But little by little, he came around — and once he saw them as ballplayers, he treated them as such.

And that’s what this first scene is all about.

But in the second scene, as much as he’d like to treat them the same as any player, he adapts to find some way of communicating his concerns without being too harsh.

You’re still missing the cutoff man. Now that’s . . . . that’s something I’d like you to work on . . . before next season.

And whad’ya know, she responds in kind!

She recognizes that he’s trying really hard to get something important through to her, and that he’s adjusting his approach from last time — and she appreciates that.

Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah would have cried foul with:

The look on his face, his eyes, his hands shaking in my space  I felt attacked!

“In my space” and “I felt attacked” sounds so silly and cliché that I hated to even use ’em — but it’s true.

It’s bad enough that an insecure colleague would pull that stunt, but it’s on a whole other level of ludicrous that a company bought that bullshit hook, line, and sinker.

Or did you?

Given all the frivolous lawsuits that dominate the day, our culture created the backlash of companies behaving stupidly to protect themselves.

All the more so in the #MeToo movement.

America does nothing in moderation. We just hack away at issues in a wholesale manner and think that will work . . .

No matter how many times it doesn’t.

Now you can’t even pleasantly say, “This is something I’d like you to work on,” as you can’t count on a colleague acting like an adult.

America’s culture of coddling flies in the face of the entire history of human achievement.

Every day during lunch down in Florida — I’d walk back to my apartment for a bite and some midday MONK.

After so many years of not seeing it, it was so fresh again. And while I’ll eventually came around to accepting Natalie way back when, nobody could beat Bitty Schram’s Sharona.

Bitty is Evelyn above — in case you didn’t make the connection.

THIS is banter at its best . . .

It’s the little things

I must admit — there’s an element of prejudice in how I wouldn’t allow Natalie to operate in her own space (as opposed to just be compared to Sharona).

Once I let that go — I was able to appreciate the uniqueness of Natalie and what she brought to the table. Instead of fixating on who’s better, I allowed them to co-exist — which enhanced my enjoyment of the show.

You think that’s nothing over a TV show — but you’re missing the point:

It’s practice

Honest in the little things, honest in the big things

— Kit Crawford (co-owner of Clif Bar)

You would not believe what we could accomplish . . .

If we could just learn to co-exist

At times, the Right is justifiably infuriated by the Left, and vice versa. Until you recognize that reality and adjust accordingly — we’re going nowhere, fast!

I adjusted to Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah but she did nothing of the kind in return. Nowhere in her mind did she remotely consider the possibility that what I had to say was in her interests — and AutoNation’s as well.

From a lifetime of personal experience, I can tell you that even the tiniest moments can completely change your course.

How many people do you know who have had a life-altering experience from the inflection of a single word?

You’ve really gotta be listening to pick up on something that subtle (all the more so because “interesting” can be perceived as a positive — especially by those who hear what they wanna hear).

There’s never been a time in my life when I wouldn’t take inconvenient information into account.

That’s gold to be unearthed.

You’ll never know how many times you pissed away golden opportunities to grow and get it right. That’s what I’m game is all about — the desire to rise to the occasion and demand something more of yourself.

But if you’re not on Saint Jerome’s journey of “Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ‘Til your good is better and your better is best.” . . .

Fine — but must you reach for the bottom of the barrel?

In 11 seconds this clip encapsulates what America has become.

Can you just act your age?

Can you just STFU from time to time and listen before you unleash your rapid-fire ridicule?

Can you find the courage to read and digest, rather than scan and dismiss — frantically seeking any fragment you can frame in your favor?

Do you have to win every goddamn discussion? Just for kicks, perhaps you could show the same courtesy that you’d like in return.

Can you just remember what it means to be human and have decency?

They are not aware when life asks them a question . . .

Just like Rollo, Zip-a-dee-doo-dah was not aware that life was asking her a question. Without such wonder and reflection, they further hardened what they’ve spent a lifetime calcifying.

The Rollos of the world would rather cement their self-image for the rest of their lives than wake up and realize that they’ve been lying to themselves all along.

Their attitude is exactly in line with what America has become.

These comfort-seeking types confine their convictions to the narrowest scope possible — as victory lies in the vacuum of how they see themselves.

They fabricate reasons to outright reject what’s really being said — warping reality to manufacture their own.

A lot of that goin’ around

So apparently, even as a contractor, I’m part of “the team” when it comes to getting a Starbucks $5 gift card (wrapped in “We Love You Working Here” imagery).

But I’m nothing when it matters most — ya know, like doing your job by understanding a situation before you jump to conclusions.

Far more effort was put into that card than the ice-cold indifference in your slapdash decision-making

That aside, I appreciated the card very much — evidenced by the fact that I took a picture from each side of the thoughtful offering:

Somebody went to the trouble to couple the card with some fine features, and nobody loves the little things more than me.

On that note, let’s give it up for some Sonny James (and whoever it was that added so much beauty to this bliss):

I love the little things — and the little things within the big things.

When I arrived in the Dallas area for the Sally Beauty job — at first I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be working at the corporate office.

From the outside, this building looks boring — like a distribution center or something.

It’s a whole other world inside.

For the first few weeks on the job, I worked day and night to ramp on on a skill set I’d been wanting to get into for years. I would arrive at work with my eyes shot and come alive the moment I walked in the door.

And how could you not? Look at this place — is that groovy or what?

And there’s much more: Bright and cheery conference rooms with frosted-glass, ping-pong table, perfect temperature, comfortable cubes, and most people seemed happy to be there.

But I doubt anyone was happier than me . . . I had found some peace, I was fired up for my future, and opportunities at Sally were paving the way.

Principle comes at a price

In multiple ways.

I’m always gonna feel bad about the people who did right by me and deserved better — but I acted on my principles before I factored for higher ones.

That I owed them something more.

Like Melissa & Jason (the lovely people who hired me). They took a chance on someone who already had a mounting number of short stints since I moved to California.

But we hit it on off from the first minute on the phone — and the moment I met them in person, it was seamless.

Jason’s quick wit and that sly smile (the clever kind who effortlessly make you laugh — even when they’re making fun of you).

And Melissa — just a beaming presence of enthusiasm and jocular joy.

On a weekly basis she’d write a quote on her cube wall for how she was feeling at the time.

I gave her that one

Look at the artistic elements in the penmanship and color — the style is so Mel (which I saw from the start in her “Let’s make it happen! ” when she gave the green light to bring me on board).

Keep ’em or share ’em!

One morning I walked in to find this treat on my desk. I’m happy enough just being there, I don’t need any extras  —  but boy it’s sure nice to be appreciated!

Pure class

I added the bottle for effect.

I don’t regret grilling my manager at Elara. He had it comin’ — and then some.

But in hindsight on Sally Beauty: I would have let my manager’s occasional ineptitude slide — not to save my job, but rather to do right by those who hired me.

I’ve continually had to lower my expectations of people over the years — and they had reached rock-bottom

Or so I thought, as that last day at Sally Beauty was a whole new low. My manager presented his plan in a meeting and I had no intention of saying one word in objection.

I was just sitting there going along for the ride — and then out of nowhere the Project Manager says:

Rick, you look like you’ve got something to say . . .

I don’t know how she saw it on my face, because I sure as hell wasn’t trying project anything.

Long story short: I shared some concerns — to which my manager whitewashed his role in in response.

To which I replied (in a small conference full of people) . . .

“That’s BS!”

That didn’t get me fired — but it was the catalyst for what followed.

I could have let it go and wish I would have. But at that time — my past of getting railroaded was still raw, and I was just so sick of the bullshit and lowering the bar.

You do your part, I do mine — and we’ll fine.

But they don’t seem to even understand the inherent responsibilities in a leadership role.

I love Bill Belichick’s attitude on teamwork:

The main point to me is that [the players] have to be coordinated, and the 10 people have to support what that 11th guy is doing, and vice versa. . . .

The only way that can happen is for there to be discipline, for everyone to be disciplined enough to do their job, knowing the guy beside him is doing his, too, so that you can count on him and he can count on you, and go right down the line.

Unlike the Rollos of the world, I feel a deep sense of duty to my customers.

My job is to help make their jobs smoother and more efficient — providing information in useful ways so that they can build the business and keep it running while they’re at it.

Any obstacle impeding that progress should be dealt with decisively.

I don’t wanna create conflict by questioning leadership — I just want to go to work and do my thing.

But if these jokers can’t even deliver on the most basic fundamentals of management — and show at least a modicum of common sense and courage . . . now you’re in my way (and everyone else’s too).

MGMT 101 — Anyone? Anyone?

Over and over again, I’ve had to adjust to the reality of the times — by repeatedly lowering my expectations.

My latest low: Sanity

What I witnessed at Elara was self-delusion so far off the charts that I longed for the good ol’ days of the garden-variety resident jackass.

Putting up with the “Patrick’s Patrick Policy” in the The Skeletoes Situation — would be a piece of cake compared to Rollo’s off-the-rails ego and the damage it did.

That guy’s got an excuse for everything — I’ve never seen anything like it in my entire career. 

And I’ve been around!

Speaking of Skeletoes, I’ll never forget this as long as I live. This colleague I call RightOn — was as delightful as can be. Knowledgeable, open-minded, eager to learn — I’d take 1 of her over 10 Patricks any day.

RightOn’s kind message below still hits me in the gut. I would have loved to remain on that contract just for the joy of working with her.

Keep in mind, I didn’t quit that job — I just had some words with that jackass, and instead of sucking it up — he was a crybaby over it.

While I went right back to work and didn’t think much of it.

This entire nation needs to learn how to

Cowboy the f@*% up

You may be physically tough — and maybe mentally tough in some ways.

But being mentally tough in taking in information you don’t wanna hear — is a whole other kind of cowboy.

I just imagined it all, didn’t I

Curiosity devoid absent of reason
Trouncing thy neighbor always in season

It’s not anti-war — It’s pro-thinking

The only way someone can maintain with a straight face that George W. Bush lied into the Iraq War is to immerse himself in ignorance, refuse to listen to clear, obvious facts and/or retain a pathological hatred of George W. Bush because is provides psychological satisfaction.

They need a shrink.

I’m sorry — what does that have to do with whether or not a rotor with a 3mm wall could maintain 90,000 RPM to make highly enriched uranium?

If I got a shrink — would you address the goddamn question for once?

How about that?

I’ll get a shrink, if you’ll consider the evidence you’ve been dodging for nearly 20 years — all the while touting your full-of-shit follow-the-facts mantra.

And you get away with it — with ease

All because you’re better at framing the narrative — and the Left walks right into it every time.

The Left institutionalizes weakness — and the Democratic Party is notorious for lacking backbone.

In our culture of instant offense, we ban before we think. However, banning isn’t a sign of strength or resolve, but an admission of defeat, of showing how little we have engaged with whatever the bigger issue that belies the ban.

Instead of asking or addressing the roots of violent racism in the South in 2015 — far too difficult, far too intimidating — we focus on symbols. If we take a flag down, if we remove a TV show from the schedules, it shows we are doing something. It shows our hearts are in the right places.

All this ludicrous lingo and ever-expanding acronyms . . .

You are utterly oblivious to the fact that you are weakening the very people you’re trying to strengthen.

branding weakness to boot

And right on cue, the Right kicks the shit out of you for it. I don’t blame ’em — except for the part about them being weak while branding strength.

And Loury, McWhorter, and Hughes unwittingly help you do it.

They’re too busy talking and pretending to be part of the solution — to realize that they’re part of the problem.

When it comes to protecting their interests — they won’t listen any more than those they’re trying to convince.

For the most part, people don’t cheer for weasels in the movies and on TV. Breaking Bad’s Walter Walt was a weasel, but his character arc supersedes that — so we let it slide from time to time.

And of course, we love mafia and other kinds of criminals for good fun.

Came across this gem the other day from The Godfather book.

But on the whole, we root for the upright on film — characters who go against the grain at great cost. In the real world, you treat people like shit for doing that.

And I would know

As I’ve spent my entire life going against the grain.

I was watching this video below and Band of Brothers came to mind. Commentary around that series revolves around leadership (just as commentary on John Wayne is about longing for an America long gone).

And all the while — we live in a nation that worships unscrupulous people who are the opposite of the leadership, courage, and values you revere.

I really believe in those virtues — and my record reflects my commitment to them.

How about yours?

From Runnin’ Down a Dream

Runnin’ Down a Dream is a 4-hour documentary for the ages — spanning Tom Petty’s pursuit of greatness that was fulfilled many times over. I’ve heard him tell of the time he got a birthday card from Johnny Cash, and in it the Man in Black wrote:

You’re a good man to ride the river with

Coming from Cash . . .

Is it even possible to have a higher compliment?

When Petty passed away, I was thinking about all the bonding that came from his music. We had some good softball games back in the day, and there was this one friend who’d come racing in with his Rabbit blaring Rebels from Pack of the Plantation.

Several years ago I was catching up with him and he invited me up for a visit. In our next conversation he relayed what he told his wife about me:

Rick’s the most honest guy you’ll ever meet

He said it with such enthusiasm — and it brought a smile to my face to be remembered as such. 

How quickly they forget when their interests are at stake.

The sky is pristine blue on my 50th, but I’d feel fantastic even if it were pouring down rain. I walk out to a wall of windows every morning to be engulfed by light.

It’s especially easy to appreciate considering that I was sleeping on a friend’s floor just a few years ago.

But even in that tiny space, I was grateful, as I was going somewhere.

After 18 years, I left my comfort zone in Charlotte for a job in California in 2015. When that didn’t pan out, I bounced around the country for a while — building on a series of setbacks along the way.

I look back on those times with fondness — so much beauty in the pursuit of possibility. This time last year, I was buried in debt and unfilled in my job (which was becoming a recurring theme).

Now I’m debt-free — with a job I love, money in the bank, passport renewed, and the flexibility to live anywhere.

And my other Passport’s still running strong after 20 years. It’s treated me well.

While crisscrossing the country, my mom operated out of CENTCOM as my co-pilot — providing intel on hotels down the road, and what apartment might be best at the end of it.

With equal enthusiasm, I could tell you about Motel 6 and my delightfully modern apartments (and the joy of collaboration in the hunt). Turns out that there are a lot of nice motels to be found — and I never would have known that without my journey.

Even in the Houston heat, I left one of the sliding-glass doors open a couple inches open all summer — as the sound of 610 moves me. I loved my peace & quiet all those years in Charlotte, but the streets of San Francisco changed all that.

Now I thrive in the atmosphere of activity — surrounded by light, ever-flowing fresh air, and the hum of the traffic.

All the more fitting because I’m still going somewhere.

I’ve been told that I should to do something special for my 50th.

I did

I wrote this for everyone who played a part in my past. Large or small, you made a difference — and I wanted to thank you for that.

While my persistence has always been central to my story, there wouldn’t be much to tell without the influence from those who shaped it.

When you see your ship go sailing
When you feel your heart is breaking
Hold on tight to your dream

It’s a long time to be gone
Time just rolls on and on
When you need a shoulder to cry on
When you get so sick of trying
Hold on tight to your dream

When you get so down that you can’t get up
And you want so much but you’re all out of luck
When you’re so downhearted and misunderstood
Just over and over and over you could . . .

When you see the shadows falling
When you hear that cold wind calling
Hold on tight to your dream . . .

I lost that job trying to do what’s right . . .

still holding on tight

That somewhere down the track anything would be possible

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