28 February 2006

What I'm Reading

OK, time for a quick look at some of the stuff I'm filling my brain with:

GK Chesterton's Collected Works, Vol XX - This one contains a travelogue of his trips to the US and Rome. It's fascinating to see a British journalist (from early 1900's) give his impressions of this country. Quite insightful into our national character, and strikingly still relevant & accurate...

The Man Who Knew Too Much, by G.K. Chesterton. A collection of short detective stories - quite good!

Military Mavericks, by David Rooney. Thanks to Kevin for passing this one my way. Short historical vignettes about military men who think & act & fight a bit differently than the rest (think Lawrence of Arabia).

Rough Riders, by Theodore Roosevelt. This guy was absolutely the best president ever, in my opinion. His first-hand account of his adventures with the Rough Riders is brilliant & moving.

And I just finished At The Back Of The North Wind, by George MacDonald. Pretty amazing Victorian fairytale novel about a kid who meets the incarnation of the North Wind... I won't spoil the ending by telling you what her other name is.

And as always there's an assortment of blogs, websites, WIRED magazine...

How about you? What's on your reading list these days?

23 February 2006

Getting Artistic

Want to foster creativity, artistic sensibilities and a sense of design passion? (I hope the answer is yes!)... Then spend some time with the artistic output of creative types you admire.

Personally, I'm a fan of ee cummings, Walt Whitman, Jackson Pollock, Renoir and the afore mentioned Polly Paulusma... Steve Martin and Robin Williams are high on that list too.

Art & creativity take many different forms (and yes, comedy is an art), and time spend exposing oneself to it counts as personal development time... just like the time we spend in the gym.

When was the last time you read a poem? Admired a painting (I mean really admired it and let it sink in to your gut)? Listened - really, really listened - to good music?

To neglect that dimension of our personal & professional development is even worse than skipping PT...

Win free books!

Go to the In Bubble Wrap site to sign up for a chance to win free books every day. I've been on their mailing list for a month or so, and have already won three times... but then again, I'm remarkably lucky...


I admit it, I'm a sucker for poetic, melancholoy tunes with clever lyrics and a slightly askance point of view. My latest infatuation is with British singer / songwriter Polly Paulusma. Her single Dark Side is fantastic, She Moves In Secret Ways is amazing, and for that matter, so is the whole Scissors In My Pocket album (which was "recorded largely in Polly's garden shed during the glorious summer of 2003 on a shoe-string budget").

One of the things I love about Ms Paulusma, in addition to her striking musical abilities, is the back story (recording in her garden shed!). She started recording without having a record deal in place - it was just for the love of the music, and that passion really comes through.

And the title of the Scissors album? Let's hear her explain it (from her website):

The origin of the album's title "Scissors in My Pocket" relates to an incident that happened when Polly was just 8, and "obsessed with sailing," (a theme that's still showing up in her lyrics). "I wanted a boat, so I decided to build a raft in our back garden on a piece of old, flat fencing. My parents could see it wouldn't float, but I didn't believe them.

After decorating it with a cabin and putting on lights, I somehow persuaded my mom to take me to the river to launch it. She was great, I was adamant. I tied a piece of rope to the raft and gave her the other end to hold, ostensibly so she could pull me back when I got to the middle of the river, to calm her nerves. But I didn't tell her I'd put scissors in my pocket. I was going to cut the rope and run away to London. But of course, the boat sank instantly as soon as I pushed it into the water.

"When I started making this record, I felt a similar kind of condescension," Polly added. "A lot of people saying 'That's very nice dear, but you can't really make your own record.' You have to stick fingers up to people like that. 'I know this will float, so up yours.' And luckily, this time it worked."

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. She's a very talented Rogue - listen to her music, believe her stories, and let her get inside your head. Then go create what you're supposed to create, record deal or no...

22 February 2006

Cathedral & Bazaar redux

If you haven't yet read The Cathedral and the Bazaar, by Eric Raymond... please do so asap! It's a brilliant look at open source, collaborative software development practices, and is a must-read for anyone who is involved with software development of any kind.

It is also the foundation for a little booklet I wrote, titled The Fortress and the Firefight, available as a free download at my RoguePress page. AND... (and here's why I' m writing about it today)... it is the subject of an article in the latest issue of Defense Acquisition Review... which I did not write (for a change)...

The article these two guys wrote is titled "The Fortress and the Bazaar" (not nearly as cool a title as mine, imho), and I couldn't be happier! I'm so glad to see Eric Raymond's concepts being advocated in as serious and academically-oriented a journal as AR (not to be confused with Defense AT&L, where I usually publish my stuff). Definitely worth a peek, tho of course Raymond's work is the best of the 3...

09 February 2006

Robert Coram interview!

Robert Coram, the author of Boyd, is interviewed on Tom Peter's blog. Great interview, and he even mentions Chet Richards, who some of you met when he came up here to present Boyd's Patterns Of Conflict briefing. Check it out!

08 February 2006

The Religious Policeman

Wow, when you get a chance, visit a blog titled The Religious Policeman, written by a Saudi man who lives in the UK. It's fascinating & funny - scroll down to an entry from 1 Feb, titled "A Memo," which sheds some really interesting light on the whole issue of those Danish cartoons which have light off such a firestorm.

It seems to me that one thing often missing from the official pronouncements about these cartoons is any comment on the Muslim world's response. President Clinton said the cartoons were "appalling" - but I didn't hear him say the rioting and destruction was bad...

From France, Chirac "condemned acts of violence aimed at Danes and Danish representatives overseas." That's more like it.

The cartoons may have been offensive and inappropriate, but the reaction some people choose to have was the real crime. We shouldn't excuse their violent behavior, just because some dude made a few disrespectful drawings.

01 February 2006

Crazy January

Yikes, January was crazy! The trip to Disney was planned long ago (and was fantastic)... but the pair of TDY's that bookended the week at Disney were not expected... nor were the several days of leave I ended up taking so my wife could go to Plattsburgh to take care of her dad & grandmother as he had surgery and she (grandma) went to the hospital.

Her dad is doing fine, but her grandmother passed away Monday morning...

The point - life is uncertain. If you're expecting to be able to predict and plan everything, get used to disappointment. Flexibility - it's not just the key to airpower. It's the key to being able to respond effectively to the crazy things life throws at ya...