Humanity Too: A Continuing Global Journey by Jim Foster

September 3, 2020

If you have subscribed to National Geographic magazine–or glanced through it in a doctor’s office while waiting for an appointment–then you’ve seen pictures of the seemingly infinite variety of human beings around our planet:  from Masai herders on the plains of Kenya to dancers at the temples in Angkor Wat and from Russian peasants celebrating…

Pandemic Life by Robert Greenberg

April 27, 2020

Photographer Robert Greenberg, who lives outside Washington, D.C., has captured some haunting black and white shots of life during the Covid-19 pandemic.  We all seen the masks, the covered faces, the looks of resignation and wariness in the eyes, the slumped shoulders, and safe distance between people.  Bob’s photographs put a partially concealed human face…


Machete Donald Trump

March 20, 2021

“Machete Donald Trump” is a retrospective piece written by Nancy Piatt, a retired middle-school teacher who wondered what it would have been like to have a school-age Donald Trump in her Language Arts class.  At the end of the piece, she hopes that Trump receives a failing grade in the coming election.  Of course, that…

Drowning in Delusions

January 18, 2021

One of the more fantastical rumors circulating in the Pro-Trump crowd as they ransacked the Capitol on January 6 was that Vice President Mike Pence had been cloned.  Surely, the real Mike Pence would not be presiding over the certification of Joe Biden as the next President of the United States. 

The Spring of Our Discontent

June 7, 2020

The three most indelible images of the spring of 2020 will be shuttered stores, socially distanced Americans wearing masks, and a white cop murdering an unarmed, handcuffed black man by kneeling on his neck.  As I write this, protests over the death of George Floyd are continuing across the country and beyond.  Most of the…

Nationalism and Its Malcontents

March 24, 2020

The cold wind of intolerance, authoritarianism, and nationalism is blowing across America and Europe. The unexpected rise of Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee in the United States and the recent political stirrings in Europe are oddly built of the same cloth. Intolerance of non-citizens, the belief that present governments have subordinated their countries best…

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Life Blog

A Letter to the West Point Class of 2020

June 11, 2020

I am a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Class of 1969.  A group of my fellow graduates published the following letter on June 11, 2020.  It is intended for the 2020 graduating class at West Point, but the sentiments expressed are relevant to all Americans, particularly those who have been…

On the Inevitability of Social Liberalism

May 20, 2018

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.


The Timeless Beauty of Waves Washing Ashore

April 6, 2021

We are polluting our oceans with plastic at an unprecedented rate.  An already alarming situation is becoming worse every year. Click in for some facts about ocean plastic pollution and suggestions for what you can do about it. Failing to take action is not an option. At the rate we’re polluting the world’s oceans, our grandchildren will live with an unsustainable level of pollution and severe impacts on the world’s fisheries.


Durango PlayFest Presents the Actors’ Journal

September 15, 2020

Like every other arts organization with events scheduled during the summer of 2020, Durango PlayFest was forced to cancel its new play festival as the Covid-19 pandemic swept through the country.  Our friends in the theatre world shut their doors, too, and most actors had an unwelcome hiatus from their work as stage and screen…

POSTPONED: Taimane Gardner is Coming to Durango

March 15, 2020

NOTE TO READERS:  Since posting the following article about Taimane Gardner, Covid-19 has shut down our world.  Music in the Mountains has decided to postpone its 2020 summer festival, so Taimane will not be appearing this summer.  Hopefully, her concert will be delayed by no more than a year, but we don’t know yet when…


Can Science Be Trusted?

March 1, 2020

Marcus Aurelius was a Stoic philosopher and the last of Rome’s Five Good Emperors.  He reigned from 161 to 180 and is known for his Meditations, a philosophical treatise in which he wrote, “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact.  Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”  Science as we know…

Scientists Discover an Earth-like Planet

April 20, 2018

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. Here are ten photos of Great Horned Owls that she captured in southwestern Colorado. You can see more of her photography at or

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

Power and Influence

The Third Law of Influence

May 29, 2018

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

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

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

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

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 Report 79: What the Research Tells Us about Knowledge Power

April 22, 2018

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

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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