The following has stuck with me for years as an example of excessive and misguided “leadership:”

Debbie, a middle manager at a dot-com, was running a significant project to develop a new line of business. Since the project had a limited budget, Debbie set the tone in management meetings with a metaphor: “We’re not building a Cadillac, we’re building a Chevy Malibu.” …


Here was my car’s fabric headliner before I repaired it:

After more than a decade, the original adhesive that holds the fabric to the backer that lines the roof of the car was failing. The headliner was detaching from the backer almost to the middle.

This is a common problem in aging cars. What’s going on?

This photo of the edges by the windows show how the fabric was originally attached to the backer with a thin layer of foam adhesive. The adhesive bond with the fabric breaks down. …


I recently drove from Pennsylvania to Idaho and found it interesting to see how mask-wearing rules and behavior varied.

In Pennsylvania tolerance for non-compliance in commercial establishments was low. Not wearing a “face covering” in indoor public areas is literally frowned upon.

Nobody has found practical ways to eat, drink, or smoke while wearing masks, so it is understood that one won’t be wearing a mask while engaging in those activities in even the most strict areas. Yet … I stopped at a restaurant in Indiana and entered without a mask. The waitress said that I needed to wear a…


Diligently Principled people fall into two categories: The deliberately principled who are willing to subject their principles to scrutiny, and the blindly principled who are unwilling or unable to scrutinize their principles.

(The blindly principled can be more dangerous than the unprincipled. Rather than resorting to trite examples of fascists or terrorists, I will just acknowledge that there are bad principles and move along.)

Principled people apply their principles in practice by creating or adopting rules of behavior that are consistent with their principles. Nobody can afford to stop before every decision point to reason from their principles down to…


In my last post I mentioned that on a violin just being able to hit an arbitrary note in tune is an unending challenge. One reader asked for elaboration of that point.

There are many variables working against a violinist trying to play in tune. Holding all else constant: Just to match the frequency of a single note repeatedly requires pressing the string in exactly the same place. If the point at which the string is pressed (or “stopped”) on the fingerboard is varied by a millimeter it will sound a different note.

The spacing of stops for each note…


I actively trained for classical violin from age four until high school. I brought my violin to college, but the frequency with which I played decreased. I did not learn any new music. “Practice” consisted of playing through a repertoire that only shrank with time. Playing the violin was not something I did casually. It feels like a commitment to setup a music stand, open my violin’s case, tighten and rosin my bow, attach the violin’s shoulder rest, tune it up, and play. And then follow the ritual in reverse to secure it away.

I had also studied classical piano…


Flying commercial? If you’re selected for a “pat-down” the TSA wants you to be ready for some intimate touching.

I just realized what’s going on here: The only way out of the TSA tyranny is through it. Why? For 15 years the TSA has terrorized the flying public, but nothing it has done has been sufficiently outrageous for The People or Their Representatives to demand it stop. So how might one succeed in eliminating such an entrenched government activity? Make it so oppressive and burdensome that The People are finally motivated to revolt.

I was astonished to find a comment…

David Bookstaber

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