A Takeaway from the “Fire and the Fury:” To Plan or Not to Plan. That is the Question.

Of course, the book that’s really dominating the news and social media isn’t Brotopia (at least, not yet), but the equally salacious Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff.

Wolff’s book is based on what he heard, saw, and surmised about the shenanigans taking place inside the Trump White House. Thanks to his (purportedly) being granted carte blanche access leading to his enviable position of  being ” the Fly (on the wall.”

The Fly with a (potentially) best-selling book. Movie to follow?

jeff goldblum the fly

I haven’t bought or read The Fire and Fury myself.

Based on news reports, it’s unlikely that I could my hands on a copy this point even if I wanted it.

Thanks to Trump taking his rage to Twitter (cheeseburger in hand, three television screens blazing?) AGAIN…fueling the fire with (supposed) “cease and detest letters” sent by his attorney to 1) the publisher, Henry Holt and 2) Steve Bannon, who supposedly has a “no blathering” clause as part of his “resignation”terms, the book’s sales are on fire.

  • Did Steve Bannon really call Don Jr treasonous (and Traitor) for meeting with the Russians, only to plan on changing traitor “Patriot,” but change his mind again after Trump did his Mark Antony move first throwing Bannon under the bus in his Twitter hissy fit?
  • Would Trump eat McDonald’s 24-7 like Tiffany Trump infers because it’s kinda like his insurance policy against being poisoned.  The purported rationale being that no one at McDonald’s ever knows when he’s coming…and unlike feudal kings of old, he cannot ask any of the staff to taste his meal” first on account of being a germaphobe).
  • Are Jarvanka still thinking of a 2010 White House run now that they’ve been exposed?

It’s the kind of baubles usually reserved for the front cover of the National Enquirer. And the New York Post (which also dutifully reported on them).

But these amusing conjectures neither weigh on nor stick in my mind.

Rather it is something else I read. And part of the reason that Trump has so much time to play golf? And watch Fox News?

And that is how Trump likes to leave the whole of his day unstructured. Unplanned. His rationale being that, this way, he can innovate and to attend to whatever interesting matters come up.

I wonder, is this “pleasure or poison?”









Breaking into the Good Ol’ Boys Network. Silicon Valley Style.

I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon lunching and enjoying thought-provoking conversation.

One of my favorite things, of course.

Our conversation included a bit of political discourse. I can’t help it. My interest in politics goes way back to elementary school. And the current times make me very, very uneasy.

But also because one of the women had a PhD in business administration as well as having spent the better part of her career teaching, studying and conducting economic research, first in academia and later for state government. Economics–both macro and micro–is another one of my big, long-time interests. And important stuff…though to most people it seems obtuse and far removed from everyday life.

Unfortunately, she is in the process of “transitioning,” as her friend (and my friend as well as work colleague) put it, as cutbacks in the state budget meant she was now out of a job.

She’s not alone. Of course.

Things at AT&T, Comcast, and the like might be bad, but that’s not the case in Silicon Valley.  On the one hand, high tech simply hasn’t created much in the way of new jobs. But it has created more than its fair share of very wealthy people. Mostly men.

Okay…and opportunity.

During lunch, I talked about the “old days” when women networked (through lunches like the one we were having) as well as went conferences and joined associations and groups where we found allies and mentors who schooled us in the stuff they didn’t teach you in business school…like office politics and the ole boys network.

How back in the day, women were told we better “learn golf” and wangle invites to dine at old boys clubs (the literal kind like the Union League Club in Chicago) in order to get ahead.

And while Trump apologists have been making the case for golf and business still going hand-in-hand, Silicon Valley and high tech bros are turning to a different venue for doing business.

Hint: It’s not Ready Player One.

No as told by Emily Chang in her new book, Brotopia, that honor goes to a practice as old as Bacchus and the Eleusinian Mysteries.

ancient roman sex parties
Breaking into Good Ol’ Boys Network. Silicon Valley adapts an ancient practice for a new age.


I’m no prud, so the idea of sex parties and open relationships doesn’t bother me much. Nor am I so young or naive as to not understand that the partnership between doing business and sex goes way, way back.


What blew my mind more is that these sex parties are being “positioned,” read, rationalized (well in Silicon Valley anyway)  like this is just another “disruption” in  business. Sex parties are “being sold” to young women looking for access to the good ol’ boys network, venture capital funding, with the promise of getting ahead.

While blackballing women who do. That’s not disruption. Or progressive thinking.  It’s a con.

Chang interviewed a couple dozen or so women for her book. Not hundreds.

So to my thinking, this probably isn’t a wide spread practice for breaking into the good old boys club. Plus…on the positive flip side, maybe Chang’s book (along with stories like what happened at Uber or Vice) will have a strong enough impact that any company thinking about joining their sex-minded counterparts, will think. And stop.

#MeToo. Time’s Up (in the business world too).




















The Medium vs the Message (how to take charge of your career direction in 2018)

Defining your career in terms of some arbitrary medium, like being a professional blogger, is like a garage band saying, “Yeah, man, it’s all about the CDs.”

There are two significant risks that come from defining your career in terms of your primary medium (i.e. “I’m an attorney” or “I’m a programmer”). The first risk is that you’ll unnecessarily limit yourself. You will only recognize opportunities that present themselves in the form of a nail because you’ve defined yourself as a hammer and nothing more. You’ll fall into the trap of thinking, “Dammit, Jim! I’m a doctor, not a bricklayer!”

Read more of this thought-provoking post @ perpetually dissatisfied.   Your career will thank you for it.

I’m at work. I should be hard at work on a “Dare to Compare” to get college instructors to drop their current textbook for one my company publishes.

But I’m only working at it half-hardheartedly.

I am having a crisis of faith. In my job.

Wondering whether I am as good at it as I thought. Is this as good as it gets? Just a couple of months ago, I couldn’t wait to get to work each day. My projects engaging. Believing I was conquering the world.

After losing my ma and putting my dog down, however, I am spending much more of each day in a different mindset. I had already planned to think deeply about my career direction in 2018, but with those major life events, I am on a tear thinking of “how do I break out of this rut and make that  “sh*t or get off the pot” decision as to whether I want to keep doing this, or try something different.”

I’m not alone in asking such a question (of course).

It’s a New Year.  That kinda goes hand-in-hand with the inherent proposition of whether “this is the year I’m gonna change things up. Not a bit. But a major shake-up.

Like in lose weight, start eating healthier, stop spending so much time bashing the Orange tyrant on various social media outlets, build up the bank account a bit-stop living from paycheck-to-paycheck (especially given it’s the Age of Trump and the economy could tank at any given moment.

All at the same time.

[Okay I digress. Not to mention taken a dystopian turn.]

So this essay @perpetually dissatisfied couldn’t have come at a better time. Yes, because I am more than a bit perpetually dissatisfied myself . And when it comes to my career, guilty of confusing the medium (marketing specialist) with the message (the value I offer).

I still haven’t figured the latter (read: value I offer) out quite yet. Which is okay. That’s what a “thinkcubator” is for.


P.s. I get down with garage bands. And I think I could put my hands on an old boom box with a CD player. So if you have some listening suggestions, send them my way. I am trying to change up my playlist in 2018 as well…;





Should I Ditch Calling Myself “Bluestocking”

I came across the word “bluestocking” years ago along with my fascination with early 18th century French literary salons run by “learned women.” These btw, were often “courtesans” as they weren’t not bound by the rigid female mores and roles of the times. In the 20th century, it was a label worn proudly by feminist thinkers and attached to radical bookstores.

No being a long time advocate of sex workers rights, the association with prostitution would never motivate me to consider ditching the “bluestocking” label.



Turns out though, that I (perhaps along with many of those radical and feminist booksellers), didn’t realize the full nature of those bluestocking societies. In Keats, Modesty, and Masturbation, Rachel Shulkins talks about the bluestockings “doctrine of rational morality” being essentially a doctrine of “female chastity.”

Having achieved self respect and independence through suppressing their sexuality, they prized emotional control as an essential virtue….the Bluestockings were celebrated as a conservative and religious group of female thinkers who exemplified Anglican piety and virtue.


Not the libertines and radicals I envisioned. Well, in early 18th century England, anyway.

No matter.

Vive la France!




Putting My Dog Down (a life heart break)

Scratch that.

As I put it on my FB page, he was “more than a pet, he was family” Devoted. Fiercely loyal. Companion. Partner. Beloved.

Cody was my “best friend.”

He developed cancer over the summer during another stressful, horrible time: my mother was dying.

At the time, I didn’t realize my mother was dying.

Nor that the bleeding stool and teeny, tiny “tag” protruding from my dog’s back end would be something–a BIG thing–that would eventually bring an end to his life.  A life that spanned 16 years and four months.

A long life for a dog, for sure (though Bichon Frises live 15 years on average, so I guess I got 1 year and 4 months as a bonus).  Despite that, I have wrestled with my decision to “put my dog down” these past couple of days. Even though I have long been an advocate of “assisted death” for people.

When it became apparent that my dog was terminal, I vowed to “keep watch” and “do the right thing” when the time came.

I didn’t want my dog to suffer. Just like I believe that people shouldn’t have to unreasonably suffer. People, unlike dogs, have direct agency over their lives. They can decide when they have suffered greatly and the benefits of still being here no longer outweigh the pain and suffering they feel.

With dogs we have to infer. Or intuit.

Cody had a horrific weekend. But a glorious Christmas Day. It snowed here and he asked to go out several times. He sniffed and sniffed (there is a wooded area behind us so birds and all manner of wildlife are always getting into the yard).

He bounced and played. Ran up and down the large expanse of back yard.

And ate snow.

Cody got a gift from the Universe that day. But not a Christmas miracle.

So we went to the vet. And I put my dog down.

My beloved canine companion. My best friend.

I will miss him beyond belief.

I was so busy enjoying him frolicking in the snow that I didn’t think to take photos. However this is one of my favorites (from summer four years ago).