Ends and Odds

My favorite road sign from someone who didn't understand whatever elementary physics he took back in his school days.

What's wrong with the picture of the truck hitting the overhang?

Personal Principles 

A manager that I admired (not one of mine, unfortunately) once had himself and his charges write up succinct principles by which they conducted themselves. I thought this to be a great idea, and composed my own set. That was in August 1994, but I'm pleased that they still hold. 


  • The golden rule: Put yourself in the other person's place.
  • Respect, trust and loyalty have to be earned.
  • Listen; you can't hear what the other person is saying when you talk. Or: you have one mouth and two ears - use them in that proportion. 
  • Pride in workmanship: Sometimes you have to sweep floors, but then do it as well as anything else.
  • Know who you are, and be comfortable with yourself.
  • Anything can be improved; it may be small changes, and over a long time (you can't pick up all the acorns at once).
  • If you're going to lead, lead by example. And it's OK to follow.
  • You can learn something from anyone (at worst, what not to do).
  • It's OK to be a cynic, if you're also an optimist.
  • A sense of humor is social grease.
  • Always do your share.
  • Motivation comes from inside; you can provide the environment, but you can't force it on anyone.
  • The family comes first; I haven't seen the workplace yet that can replace it.
  • A day without music is like a day without wine is like a day without sunshine is like ...
  • Keep your senses open - there's beauty everywhere: in small things, in graceful motion, in color, in sound, ...
  • The human body is a wonderfully complex mechanism: be aware of it, enjoy it, treat it well, ...

Favorite Quotes

  • "Lead, follow, or get out of the way"The management dictum that too many managers don't follow. They don't lead, can't follow, and instead get in the way.
  • "But I tried, didn't I!"From "One flew over the Cuckoo's Nest", Randle McMurphy to his fellow inmates as he tries to tear out the what looks like a drinking fountain.
  • "Humor ist, wenn man trotzdem lacht".  Translation: "Humor is when you laugh despite it all"
  • "Keene Antwort is' ooch 'ne Antwort".  In Berlin dialect: "No answer is also an answer", for those situations where someone should respond but doesn't, with a tone of dry wit and a bite. After all, information theory says that a zero is also information. Over time I've found it more and more useful when people tend not to respond in a timely and considerate way. 

Updated Sept. 2, 2017