Featured Posts

Our Man in Hong Kong

June 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

Our Man in Hong Kong is Tim Wiseman, an American, a professional man who works for a multinational company.  Two years ago, after happily living and working in Colorado Springs for years, he accepted an overseas assignment with his firm in Asia.  A self-described Bumpkin, he began writing an email journal of his experiences, exploits, trials, and triumphs (surely there were some) as a stranger in a strange land.  This is one of his humorous and informative Bumpkin Reports, presented in complete and unadulterated form. Caution:  The subject matter has been known to cause gustatory and olfactory distress.  You’ve been warned.

Hitler and Trump

June 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Jon Blake May 3, 2019 As I was packing three weeks ago for what has become my annual trip back to Oxford for the International Media Law Moot Court Championships in the second week of April, I scanned the overflowing bookshelves beside my bed to look for a book I could read in the […]

Seals of South Georgia: A Photo Journey by Michael Wooters

June 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

I recently published a gallery from photographer Michael Wooters on penguins in Antarctica and South Georgia Island.  In this follow-up article, I’m presenting sixteen of Michael’s photos of seals on South Georgia Island, which is a remote island in the South Atlantic, hundreds of miles from other land masses in that cold and forbidding part of our planet. 

Durango PlayFest Returns This August

July 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

Experience the creative process as professional playwrights, actors and directors from New York, Los Angeles, and regional theatres spend one week rehearsing exciting new plays, culminating in performances for a ticketed audience.  It’s the Durango PlayFest, which is returning in 2019 after a very successful inaugural in the summer of 2018. During last year’s festival, […]

Antarctic Journal November 2018

November 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

In November 2018 we undertook an expedition to Antarctica that began in Chile, proceeded to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island, and Antarctic. This article is a running journal of that expedition.

Photography

Seals of South Georgia: A Photo Journey by Michael Wooters

June 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

I recently published a gallery from photographer Michael Wooters on penguins in Antarctica and South Georgia Island.  In this follow-up article, I’m presenting sixteen of Michael’s photos of seals on South Georgia Island, which is a remote island in the South Atlantic, hundreds of miles from other land masses in that cold and forbidding part of our planet. 

Empire of Ice: A Photo Journey by Colby Munger

February 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

During our recent exploration of Antarctica, we met Colby Munger, a talented photographer who took these breathtaking photographs of icebergs and glaciers.  No photograph can capture the epic scale and magnificent beauty of Antarctica that one sees in person, but these photos come close.  You only have to imagine these images as a 360-degree panorama and feel the biting cold on your cheeks as dark clouds, floating across the sky, bring subtle changes in light and shadow across the snowfields and mountains, and as the sea rocks you gently or not-so-gently in its vast expense of deep blue water.  Antarctica is an empire of ice like no other. 

Antarctic Penguins: A Photo Journey from Michael Wooters

February 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

Photographer Michael Wooters, whom I met during a three-week excursion to Antarctica aboard the National Geographic Explorer, is a full-time financial advisor with Edward Jones and an avid photographer and world traveler during his “off-hours.”  Wooters took thousands of photos during the trip, capturing sea birds, seals, whales, and a variety of penguins, as well […]

Antarctic Odyssey by Debra Parmenter

January 24, 2019 | 0 Comments

Photographer Debra Parmenter shot nearly five thousand images while on a three-week excursion in the South Atlantic and Antarctica. This photo odyssey presents an eclectic mix of some of her favorite images.  For Debra, photography is more than an avocation; it is a compulsion.  The camera is an extension of her soul, of the beauty […]

Antarctic Journal November 2018

November 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

In November 2018 we undertook an expedition to Antarctica that began in Chile, proceeded to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island, and Antarctic. This article is a running journal of that expedition.

Politics

Seven Ways to Spot a Bully

September 7, 2018 | 0 Comments

Bullies have always been around.  From schoolyard brutes to world leaders, they are unfortunately a fact of life.  However, there is an increasing amount of research available to detect and deal with these dominant, self-focused types.  In his new book, Negotiating with a Bully:  Take Charge and Turn the Tables on People Trying to Push You Around, Greg Williams provides some thoughtful counsel on understanding and dealing with this aggressive, anti-social breed. 

Our Fake President, Part II: The Minister of Propaganda

October 25, 2018 | 0 Comments

Donald Trump is less a president than he is a master of marketing and propaganda.  In style, temperament, and character, he is reminiscent of Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Party member who became Adolf Hitler’s Propaganda Minister in 1933 and served in that role until May 1945. The purpose of propaganda is to manipulate the populace by creating a false narrative that causes people to believe what the propagandist wants them to believe, and Donald Trump is an extraordinary practitioner of this dark art.

Senator Ben Sasse on Government Reform

September 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

As I write this, the contentious hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court are taking place.  In his opening statement, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, a member of that committee, argued that the hearings are contentious because the role of the judiciary has changed in the […]

John McCain: The President We Should Have Had

August 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

John McCain died on August 25, 2018 of the brain cancer he’s been battling for a year.  The tributes are pouring in, as they should, for a towering figure in American politics:  a war hero from a line of Navy admirals, graduate of the Naval Academy, a Navy pilot during the Vietnam War who was shot down and held prisoner for five years, a six-term United States Senator from Arizona, and a presidential candidate twice.  McCain described himself first and foremost as a servant to the country he loved, and we’ve rarely had so honorable and courageous a public servant.

How Donald Trump Wins

June 14, 2018 | 2 Comments

He is a deeply flawed leader–a vain, narcissistic self-promoter; an exemplar of moral turpitude; an absurdly uninformed, undisciplined and inarticulate thinker; a grandiose misfit who can’t tolerate criticism and lashes out at every slight, deriding opponents with schoolyard taunts and blatant misrepresentations.  He is scandalously hostile or indifferent to our closest allies but embraces dictators and tyrants like new-found best friends.  And he lies, so shamelessly and so often that truth is obscured in the chaos of the noise and confusion he creates. He is our president. How he wins is a case study in the art and practice of manipulation.

The Signs of Protest: March for Our Lives

April 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

On March 24, 2018, one of the largest protests in American history talso in Toronto, ook place in Washington, D.C. and more than eight hundred other locations, not only in the U.S. but around the world. Two million people joined a mass global protest against school violence.  This remarkable global occurrence is unmatched in recent history and is exceeded only by the worldwide celebrations that occurred when World War II ended in Europe.

Senator Jeff Flake’s Speech on Trump and Truth

April 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

On January 17, 2018, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake gave a landmark speech on President Trump’s abuse of the truth and attacks on the press.  He is one of the few Republican lawmakers with the courage to speak out against this president’s mangling of the truth and corrosive effects on American values and culture.  Flake’s message is too important to forget.

Trump as the Walls Close in

May 6, 2018 | 1 Comment

Ty Cobb, Trump’s White House attorney, has resigned.  He’d been preaching cooperation with Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.  But as the walls close in, Trump is more worried about Mueller and has hired more aggressive attorneys. A game of tit-for-tat once played with tennis balls is now being played with cannonballs.

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Life Blog

Our Man in Hong Kong

June 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

Our Man in Hong Kong is Tim Wiseman, an American, a professional man who works for a multinational company.  Two years ago, after happily living and working in Colorado Springs for years, he accepted an overseas assignment with his firm in Asia.  A self-described Bumpkin, he began writing an email journal of his experiences, exploits, trials, and triumphs (surely there were some) as a stranger in a strange land.  This is one of his humorous and informative Bumpkin Reports, presented in complete and unadulterated form. Caution:  The subject matter has been known to cause gustatory and olfactory distress.  You’ve been warned.

Children’s Thoughts on Dating and Marriage

February 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

Here is a list of questions someone asked of children about dating and marriage.  This has been on the Internet, but it crossed my desk decades ago.  I can’t be certain of its providence, but it was attributed to one Curtis Singmaster of The Salisbury School in Salisbury, Connecticut.  If that’s true, then thanks to Curtis for the hilarious responses children gave to these questions.

On the Inevitability of Social Liberalism

May 20, 2018 | 3 Comments

The progress toward social liberalism may have been impeded since Trump took office, but it is inevitable, despite those who oppose it.  Had Rush Limbaugh had been on the radio in 1918, we can imagine him loudly denouncing the women’s suffrage movement.  “Women should not be allowed to vote,” he might have argued, “because their role is in the home.  The fairer sex is concerned with children and local issues.  They don’t understand the loftier matters of state, government, war, or politics, nor should we ask them to.”  He would have been joined in his opposition by Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Steve Bannon, Laura Ingraham, and other firebrand conservatives who would use their media platforms to impede social progress.

ISIS and the Zombie Apocalypse

April 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

In the opening of George Romero’s cult classic Night of the Living Dead (1968), a young man and woman are driving through a desolate countryside to a visit a cemetery.  As Barbara and her brother Johnny are laying a cross wreath on their father’s grave, they are stalked by an old man who lurches awkwardly […]

How I Learned to Shoot

April 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

When I was a boy not much older than Ralphie in A Christmas Story, one of my prized possessions was a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun.  My father came from a rural family where guns were commonplace for hunting, and it was assumed I would follow in that tradition.  The BB gun was my apprenticeship for the shotgun I was to inherit from my grandfather when I got old enough. 

Freedom of Speech

April 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

In 1978, a neo-Nazi group led by white supremacist Frank Collin planned a march through Skokie, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago in which more than sixteen percent of the population were Jewish Holocaust survivors.  Their plan met with widespread condemnation and the City of Skokie tried to prevent the Nazis from marching.  The neo-Nazis claimed their 1st Amendment rights were being violated. What does Freedom of Speech entail?

Visions

Protest Crowds in Hong Kong, June 2019

June 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

In June 2019 the Chinese government in Beijing tried to impose its will on the people of Hong Kong through the passage of a law that would allow them to extradite anyone in Hong Kong to Beijing, presumably for activities they thought were anti-government or opposed to one-party Communist rule.  People in Hong Kong, who have enjoyed special status since the U.K. turned Hong Kong over to China, were understandably upset over this new law and millions of them took to the streets. This time-lapse video shows hundreds of thousands of protesters racing through the streets from the vantage point of a high-rise office building. 

Art

Music in the Mountains: A Season of Change

June 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

Summer is a season for embracing all that is beautiful in the world, and Music in the Mountains, Southwest Colorado’s longest running classical music festival, embodies that perfectly. For three weeks each summer, musicians of the highest caliber come from across the nation to celebrate their art and share their truly impressive talents with the Durango community.Music in the Mountains has been bringing the richness and beauty of classical music to Southwestern Colorado for over 30 years, entertaining and delighting audiences while raising money for the organization’s year-round music education program, Music in the Mountains Goes to School.

At the Lake with Victoria Vox

August 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

Victoria Vox?  I’d never heard of her until Denise Leslie, director of the annual Rocky Mountain Uke Fest, asked if I would host a small party at Electra Lake where Victoria would perform.  On that evening at the lake, our small audience sat for hours in the twilight as Victoria Vox made girl-next-door magic with her voice and fingers.  Moonlight shimmered on the lake, the tall trees stood silent above us, and the mountains lay in lumbering repose across the water.  The night couldn’t have been more perfect.

Durango PlayFest Returns This August

July 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

Experience the creative process as professional playwrights, actors and directors from New York, Los Angeles, and regional theatres spend one week rehearsing exciting new plays, culminating in performances for a ticketed audience.  It’s the Durango PlayFest, which is returning in 2019 after a very successful inaugural in the summer of 2018. During last year’s festival, […]

Science

Scientists Discover an Earth-like Planet

April 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

I have always been a science geek and lover of science fiction.  In my teenage years, I traveled to many faraway planets in my imagination and was convinced that we are not alone in the universe.  I’m still convinced.  The universe is too vast and Earth is not special enough for this to be the […]

Debra Parmenter Photography

Debra Parmenter is a professional photographer residing in Colorado and Hawaii. A Colorado native, she has spent much of her life surrounded by nature’s beauty. She uses a Canon 5D, a macro lens, and natural light to capture the patterns, textures, and hues of her subjects. Her floral photography highlights the elegance and majesty of nature’s most beautiful creations. Her wildlife and landscape photos—from places as diverse as Scotland, Bhutan, the Serengeti in Tanzania, and the Virunga Mountains in Rwanda—captures the natural beauty of our planet and the fierce beauty of creatures native to it. You can see more of her photography at www.debra.photos or www.debra.photography.

The Power Plant

The Power Plant is about power and influence, a subject I’ve been studying for more than thirty years.   Influence is the art of getting others to take your lead—to believe something you want them to believe, think in a way you want them to think, or do something you want them to do.  And you cannot influence others without a source of power like knowledge or reputation.  Power is the battery, and influence is the engine.  Despots coerce, managers control, but leaders—true leaders—influence.  My books on this subject are showcased below, followed by blogs with articles on power and influence and research reports with interesting highlights.  For more, see www.theelementsofpower.com.

Power and Influence

The Third Law of Influence

May 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

You may not be able to influence people the first time and in the first way you approach them.  Influence is often a process rather than an event. 

The Second Law of Influence

April 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

The Second Law of Influence is that influence is contextual. People will not say yes or be influenced unless the situation and environment are conducive to them saying yes.  Agreement is built on the foundations of latitude, interests, and disposition.  By this, I mean that the person you want to influence must have the latitude to say yes, that your request or direction should not be contrary to the person’s interests and values, and that the person must be disposed to say yes to you.

The First Law of Influence

April 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

The First Law of Influence is that influence attempts may fail for many legitimate reasons. Some books claim that if you follow their principles you can influence anyone to do anything.  According to these authors, you can get anyone to like you, love you, and find you irresistibly attractive.  They assert that you can take control of any situation, win at every competition, and gain the upper hand every time, but this is nonsense.

If You Want to be More Influential, Improve Your Social Skills

April 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

Dale Carnegie got it right when he said that to win more friends and influence more people you need to improve your interpersonal skills.  My thirty years of research on power and influence shows that people with superior social skills are substantially more influential than people with average social skills.  These findings make sense when you realize that influence is not something you have; it’s something other people give you. 

The Power of Networking

April 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

Networking has long been recognized as a powerful tool for business people and professionals.  Knowing more people gives you greater access, facilitates the sharing of information, and makes it easier to influence others for the simple reason that influencing people you know is easier than influencing strangers.  The creators of LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter have built their platforms on the presumption that their social networking tools help people build their networks and remain better connected than ever. 

Research

Research Report 79: What the Research Tells Us about Knowledge Power

April 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

People have long recognized that knowledge is power.  In his Meditationes Sacrae (1597), Sir Francis Bacon, inventor of the scientific method, wrote, “ipsa scientia potestas est,” which means “knowledge itself is power.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson, writing in 1870, said, “There is no knowledge that is not power.”  What you know and what you can do—what skills you have—are extraordinary sources of power and enable you to exert considerable influence if your knowledge power is high. 

Research Report 224: Influence Effectiveness and the Strength of Power Sources

April 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

How effectively a person can influence others depends partly on their sources of power.  We compared the scores for overall influence effectiveness with the strength of ten power sources and determined which sources correlate most strongly with influence effectiveness.

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