June 20th, 2002


Tribal Wisdom


Tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians (so legend has it), passed on from generation to generation, says that, "When you discover that you are
riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount."

However, in government, education and the corporate world, more advanced strategies are often employed, such as:

1.Buying a stronger whip.
2.Changing riders.
3.Giving horse and rider a good bollocking.
4.Re-structuring the dead horse's reward scale to contain a performance-related element.
5.Suspending the horse's access to the executive grassy meadow until performance targets are met.
6.Making the horse work late shifts and weekends.
7.Scrutising and clawing back a percentage of the horse's past 12 months expenses payments.
8.Appointing a committee to study the horse.
9.Arranging to visit other countries to see how other cultures ride horses.
10.Convening a dead horse productivity improvement workshop.
11.Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.
12.Reclassifying the dead horse as living-impaired.
13.Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.
14.Outsourcing the management of the dead horse.
15.Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.
16.Providing additional funding and/or training to increase dead horse's performance.
17.Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse's performance.
18.Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than do some other horses.
19.Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses. And the highly effective...
20.Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.

On True Education -- Felix Emmanuel Schelling


True education makes for inequality; the inequality of individuality, the inequality of success; the glorious inequality of talent, of genius; for inequality, not mediocrity, individual superiority, not standardization, is the measure of the progress of the world.
    -- Felix Emmanuel Schelling, American educator and scholar (1858-1945).
  • Current Mood

On True Happiness -- W. L. Shirer


Most true happiness comes from one's inner life, from the disposition of the mind and soul. Admittedly, a good inner life is hard to achieve, especially in these trying times. It takes reflection and contemplation and self-discipline.
    -- W. L. Shirer

I don't know. That sounds like an awful tough way to be happy. I seem to remember just sort of falling into it unexpectedly...

Much Needed Quote On Trials, Temptations, Disappointments -- James Buckham


Trials, temptations, disappointments -- all these are helps instead of hindrances, if one uses them rightly. They not only test the fibre of a character, but strengthen it. Every conquered temptation represents a new fund of moral energy. Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before.
    -- James Buckham

I guess I am hoping that strengthening is true tonight. What can I possibly say? How will I keep from crying while I do it?

The superintendent's wife just called me with the news that we would be holding an emergency teacher's meeting 15 minutes before the normal start of school.

We have to decide how to help the students deal with a tragedy that occurred over the weekend. One of my students and her father were killed in an automobile accident. Not in a busy intersection -- on a road crossing that is nearly always the kind where you can count one car, then the next, as they pass you in the other lane, maybe getting to five before you hit the crossroads where it joins a bigger road.

I was too stunned to ask anything about how it could have happened at such an untraveled spot. In truth, I don't think I am up to dealing with the details.

We have to deal with our own grief first. This young girl was a bright and talented freshman. She was good looking, upbeat, charming, and had just in the last few weeks moved her seat to be beside one of the nicer young men in the school. Each morning, she would tell me how the speech contest went, etc. and before others came in, I would inquire if her ploy was yielding results yet, Laughing with her as she gave me her enthusiastic version of events. He was now talking to her more, not oblivious to her as before... He's one of my special favorites, as was his father before him.

It is a small class. A close class. Now one fewer. I certainly hope they have a GOOD PLAN for us to follow, as I get to do it first. She was in my room first hour. I'm still numb. As we as a nation mourn our war dead, shuddering as the bombs drop, here is yet another vital young life senselessly wiped out. Whatever will we say to them?

On Truth -- Charles Silvester de Fort


"To me truth is precious...I should rather be right and stand alone than to run with a multitude and be wrong...I'm looked upon as being odd, strange, peculiar...BUT truth is truth and though all the world reject it and turn against me, I will (try) cling to the truth still!"
    -- Charles Silvester de Fort, 1931
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    If You Could Read My Mind - Gordon Lightfoot
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