Monday, June 19, 2017

Summer Reading

It is time to set up the night stand and the pool/beach tote with our summer reading selections.

"Creative Confidence," by Tom and David Kelley - Too often, companies and individuals assume that creativity and innovation are the domain of the "creative types." Especially if you have more than nine letters after your name.  But two of the leading experts in innovation, design, and creativity on the planet show us that each and every one of us is creative.  In an incredibly entertaining and inspiring narrative that draws on countless stories from their work at IDEO, the Stanford, and with many of the world's top companies, David and Tom Kelley identify the principles and strategies that will allow us to tap into our creative potential in our work lives, and in our personal lives, and allow us to innovate in terms of how we approach and solve problems.

American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House," by Jon Meacham. - Andrew Jackson, his intimate circle of friends, and his tumultuous times are at the heart of this remarkable book about the man who rose from nothing to create the modern presidency. Beloved and hated, venerated and reviled, Andrew Jackson was an orphan who fought his way to the pinnacle of power, bending the nation to his will in the cause of democracy. Jackson’s election in 1828 ushered in a new and lasting era in which the people, not distant elites, were the guiding force in American politics. Democracy made its stand in the Jackson years, and he gave voice to the hopes and the fears of a restless, changing nation facing challenging times at home and threats abroad. To tell the saga of Jackson’s presidency, acclaimed author Jon Meacham goes inside the Jackson White House. Drawing on newly discovered family letters and papers, he details the human drama–the family, the women, and the inner circle of advisers– that shaped Jackson’s private world through years of storm and victory.

The Reporter Who Knew Too Much,” by Mark Shaw - Was What’s My Line TV Star, media icon, and crack investigative reporter and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen murdered for writing a tell-all book about the JFK assassination? If so, is the main suspect in her death still at large?

These questions and more are answered in former CNN, ESPN, and USA Today legal analyst Mark Shaw’s 25th book, The Reporter Who Knew Too Much. Through discovery of never-before-seen videotaped eyewitness interviews with those closest to Kilgallen and secret government documents, Shaw unfolds a “whodunit” murder mystery featuring suspects including Frank Sinatra, J. Edgar Hoover, Mafia Don Carlos Marcello and a "Mystery Man" who may have silenced Kilgallen. All while by presenting through Kilgallen's eyes the most compelling evidence about the JFK assassinations since the House Select Committee on Assassination’s investigation in the 1970s.

Casey Stengel: Baseball's Greatest Character,” by Marty Appel - As a player, Charles Dillon "Casey" Stengel's contemporaries included Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, and Christy Mathewson . . . and he was the only person in history to wear the uniforms of all four New York teams: the Dodgers, Giants, Yankees, and Mets. As a legendary manager, he formed indelible, complicated relationships with Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Billy Martin. For more than five glorious decades, Stengel was the undisputed, quirky, hilarious, and beloved face of baseball--and along the way he revolutionized the role of manager while winning a spectacular ten pennants and seven World Series Championships. 

But for a man who spent so much of his life in the limelight--an astounding fifty-five years in professional baseball--Stengel remains an enigma. Acclaimed New York Yankees' historian and bestselling author Marty Appel digs into Casey Stengel's quirks and foibles, unearthing a tremendous trove of baseball stories, perspective, and history. Weaving in never-before-published family documents, Appel creates an intimate portrait of a private man who was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966 and named "Baseball's Greatest Character" by MLB Network's Prime 9. Casey Stengel is a biography that will be treasured by fans of our national pastime.

Camino Island,” by John Grisham - A gang of thieves stage a daring heist from a secure vault deep below Princeton University’s Firestone Library. Their loot is priceless, but Princeton has insured it for twenty-five million dollars.

Bruce Cable owns a popular bookstore in the sleepy resort town of Santa Rosa on Camino Island in Florida. He makes his real money, though, as a prominent dealer in rare books. Very few people know that he occasionally dabbles in the black market of stolen books and manuscripts.

Mercer Mann is a young novelist with a severe case of writer’s block who has recently been laid off from her teaching position. She is approached by an elegant, mysterious woman working for an even more mysterious company. A generous offer of money convinces Mercer to go undercover and infiltrate Bruce Cable’s circle of literary friends, ideally getting close enough to him to learn his secrets. But eventually Mercer learns far too much, and there’s trouble in paradise.

Thousand-Miler: Adventures Hiking the Ice Age Trail,” by Melanie Radzicki McManus - In thirty-six thrilling days, Melanie Radzicki McManus hiked 1,100 miles around Wisconsin, landing her in the elite group of Ice Age Trail thru-hikers known as the Thousand-Milers. In prose that’s alternately harrowing and humorous, Thousand-Miler takes you with her through Wisconsin’s forests, prairies, wetlands, and farms, past the geologic wonders carved by long-ago glaciers, and into the neighborhood bars and gathering places of far-flung small towns. Follow along as she worries about wildlife encounters, wonders if her injured feet will ever recover, and searches for an elusive fellow hiker known as Papa Bear. Woven throughout her account are details of the history of the still-developing Ice Age Trail—one of just eleven National Scenic Trails—and helpful insight and strategies for undertaking a successful thru-hike.

The Sun Also Rises,” by Ernest Hemingway - Hemingway’s first novel is at the top of my list because it reflects his reliance on his traditional Midwestern values as he encountered new experiences and values in post-World War I Europe. Using friends and acquaintances that populated the cafes along Boulevard Montparnasse in Paris, he reveals his concern about the valueless life of these Lost Generation characters and begins his personal and literary search for meaning in what appears to be a godless world. In the midst of their heavy drinking and meaningless revelry during a fiesta in Spain, Pedro Romero, the matador, becomes a hero. He conducts himself with honor and courage, and it is here we see the beginnings of what will become the Hemingway Code.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES - Harvard's president to step down next year: Harvard University president Drew Gilpin Faust, who shepherded the school through the turbulence of the economic recession and expanded its diversity, will step down in June 2018 after 11 years leading the 380-year-old institution.

Faust announced her pending departure in an e-mail to students, faculty, and staff Wednesday afternoon, igniting an instant buzz on campus and among alumni and the wider world of higher education.

The Boston Globe is floating Barack Obama as a possible next president of Harvard University. Drew Faust, who has led Harvard for a decade, announced this week she'll step down after one more school year. The Globe points out that Obama is a former law school professor and was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review, in 1990. Among the other names floated by the Globe: Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, Rice University President David Leebron and Nitin Nohria, dean of the Harvard Business School since 2010.

Harvard had just 28 presidents in close to 400 years" ... There were 11 Harvard presidents before U.S. was a country.

MICHIGAN TO WAIVE TUITION FOR POOR STUDENTS: The University of Michigan will waive tuition for students from families making $65,000 or less, the school's president announced this week. Many elite universities, including some Ivy League schools, have similar policies aimed at boosting economic diversity on campus. "I've heard from far too many families throughout our state who don't pursue a UM education because they feel they can't afford it," Michigan President Mark Schlissel said at Thursday's Board of Regents meeting. "We now guarantee those with the most need can afford a University of Michigan education."

FORBES CELEBRITY 100 - Ranks the top-earning front-of-camera entertainers on the planet by pretax income from June 1, 2016 through June 1, 2017. Fees for agents, managers and lawyers are not deducted.

HELLO…HELLO - Next year, U.S. smartphone data use will surpass fixed broadband use for the first time according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers' latest Media and Entertainment outlook. By 2021, mobile data consumption is expected to eat up nearly 38% of all digital data consumption in the U.S., while fixed broadband will take up 27%, roughly 4 percentage points less than it does today.

GREAT READS - "A Sociology of the Smartphone," by Adam Greenfield in Longreads, in an excerpt of "Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life": "Smartphones have altered the texture of everyday life, digesting many longstanding spaces and rituals, and transforming others beyond recognition. ..

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Jim Belushi (62) Chicago, IL.; Jeff Dillon ….pride of Renfrew, Ontario; Queen Elizabeth (91) London England; Sir Paul McCartney (75) Sussex, England; Hannah Storm (55) Malibu, CA.; President Donald J. Trump (71) Washington D.C.

SEINFELD STUFF - Soupman, a Staten Island-based company that licenses the name and recipes of the real-life inspiration for Senfeld's Soup Nazi, filed for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday. Just hours later, New York AG Eric T. Schneiderman announced guilty pleas in a totally unrelated construction fraud case whose investigation code-name was Operation Vandelay Industries. Among the crooks? A purported architect whose last name was Newman.

POTUS WEEK -  MONDAY: Trump has Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela and his wife to the White House. He will participate in an American Technology Council roundtable at 5 p.m. WEDNESDAY: The president is going to Iowa. THURSDAY: The Congressional picnic.

BULLY BRANDING - Little Marco. Crooked Hillary. Crazy Bernie. Lyin' Ted. Low-energy Jeb. Goofy Elizabeth Warren. And now ... "The Witch Hunt."

Trump, forced into campaign mode by his own actions and indiscretions, has officially branded the investigation by his own Justice Department.

DAYS OF OUR LIVES – I  have never seen a Cabinet meeting like the one on Monday June 12. Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, taking his turn to genuflect for a beaming Trump, said: "On behalf of the entire senior staff around you, Mr. President, we thank you for the opportunity and the blessing that you've given us to serve your agenda and the American people." (N.Y. Times front-page headline: "Flatterers First, Then President Praises Himself'" ... CNN chyron: "TRUMP'S WEIRD CABINET MEETING.")

Going back to the Clintons, we have never seen a president and his family work so hard to promote or appear on a program like the Trumps' trumpet, "Fox & Friends." From yesterday's show: "Hey, look! It's Ivanka Trump." ... "I join you almost every morning, just not on the couch!" This came after Trump himself promoted the friendly show on Twitter, which he regularly does.

In 228 years of presidents, none has canned the FBI director, then allowed his own Justice Department to appoint a special counsel — who within weeks his friends and allies would openly muse about firing.

In modern presidential history, there is nothing comparable to the personal and public attacks on James Comey by the president and his eldest son. In the last few days alone, they have called Comey — a guy who most elected Republican officials in town like and trust — a liar, a coward, a criminal leaker, and "a dishonest man of bad character."

Remember that we're living through history that will be studied and debated until the end of time. Many Trump backers, both the eager and reluctant ones, enjoy the destruction of norms and bemoan the highly critical coverage of this presidency. But we should never lose sight that we are experiencing a daily display of unprecedented actions and behaviors.

FLIPPING THE SWITCH - General Electric Chief Executive Jeff Immelt will step aside this summer, ending a 16-year run atop a conglomerate that he significantly reshaped but whose shares have vastly underperformed the stock market during his tenure. GE said Monday that Mr. Immelt would be succeeded on Aug. 1 by John Flannery, the head of the company’s health-care business, and retire as chairman of the board on Dec. 31. Mr. Flannery, 55 years old, is a 30-year veteran of the company who spent much of his career in its once-sprawling financial business. The shuffle comes as GE has been under pressure by activist investor Trian Fund Management to slash costs and increase profit in the company’s core industrial business.


Pedagogy      \PED-uh-goh-jee, -goj-ee\
1. the function or work of a teacher; teaching.
2. the art or science of teaching; education; instructional methods.

Quotes: “It was the cold, pitiless glass heart of Professor March's approach to magical pedagogy. Every lecture, every exercise, every demonstration was concerned with how to manipulate and transform it using magic.”-- Lev Grossman, The Magicians, 2009

Flaco, adjective: thin, skinny

Flaco is one of those useful words you need to describe how people look.
“un hombre alto y flaco” - a tall, thin man
“piernas largas y flacas” - long, thin legs

In Latin America it’s often used as a nickname:
El Flaco Jiménez
Flaco Jiménez

People often use flaco in the phrase punto flaco, weak point.
“Pues cuida tu salud, es tu punto flaco estos días.” - So, look after your health, it’s your weak point these days.


MLB Game of the Week (June 24) – Colorado Rockies (46-26) at Los Angeles Dodgers (44-26). Time for the Dodgers to take control of the National League West, Dodgers win 5 – 4.

Season to Date (43 - 20)

RINK RATS NEWS QUIZ – the first to get this month’s quiz correct will receive a Rink Rats T-Shirt, please send entries to

Thanks in part to the rising popularity of cocktails, world-wide sales of hard alcohol rose 0.04% last year. Which of these, in contrast lost ground?

A.     Wine
B.     Beer
C.      Both
D.     Neither

MARKET WEEK - Brexit talks formally kicked off in Brussels on Monday nearly a year after Britons voted to pull their country out of the European Union. The negotiations, which are expected to last two years, started with British Prime Minister Theresa May under pressure to soften her position after early elections she called hoping to give her a stronger mandate resulted in the loss of her Conservative Party's majority in Parliament. U.K. Brexit Secretary David Davis called the debate over the terms of the country's withdrawal from the European trading bloc, and the new terms of its relationship with the EU, the "most complicated negotiation of all time." "We are starting this negotiation in a positive and constructive tone," Davis said. "There is more that unites us than divides us." EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said the first session would focus on trying to "identify priorities and the timetable" to show "a constructive opening of negotiations."

Cars 3 led the domestic box office in its debut weekend as expected, but its $53.5 million haul was the weakest opening in the series' history. Cars made $60.1 million in its opening weekend, and Cars 2 made $66.1 million. The movie was far behind other Pixar blockbusters — Finding Dory brought in $135.1 million in its first weekend. Still, Cars 3 managed to knock Wonder Woman down to No. 2 in its third weekend. Smaller films, including the Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me and the shark thriller 47 Meters Down also did well.

DRIVING THE WEEK – President Trump meets with tech CEOs at the White House on Monday ... Senate Finance has a hearing on the fiscal 2018 budget at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday ... American Bankers Assoc. holds a forum on payments on Thursday at 8:00 a.m. ... Senate Agriculture Committee holds a hearing at 9:30 a.m. Thursday on the nomination of J. Christopher Giancarlo to be chairman of the CFTC ... House Financial Services picks up the flood insurance debate on Wednesday ... Senate Banking Committee has a hearing at 10:00 a.m. Thursday on Economic Growth ... Chicago Fed President Charles Evans speaks at 7:00 p.m. in NYC on Monday ... Index of Leading Indicators on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. expected to rise 0.4 percent.

Next Blog: “C’s”

See you on June 26, Adios.

Claremont, California

June 19, 2017

CARTOON OF THE WEEK – Harry Bliss, The New Yorker

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