08/13/20

The Cloud of Darkness Versus Joie De Vivre

On the morning of my wedding in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on 1 December 1979, I heard a knock on my door at the Hilton Hotel in downtown.

Rising with the nervous energy one would expect on such a day, verifying it was just after six in the morning, I opened the door to find a courtly Southern gentleman (bride’s side of the family) standing there with a sweating six pack of beer. I wish I could recall the brand.

We shared a beer — meaning we each drank one. I believe he departed with the remaining four, but I cannot recall. I can only inform you that I did not drink them.

The man was wise and felt the need to arm me with his excess wisdom before I married his gorgeous niece.

Amongst the pearls he left behind was this:

“One cannot make oneself happy, but one can prevent oneself from being unhappy.”

The oddity 0f the circumstances under which it was delivered left a lasting impression more permanent than a tattoo.

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01/20/20

Persuasion

I read and listen to a lot of current events, news, sports, and I am interested in politics. There is a trend that I am concerned with — the total lack of persuasion in the message.

I see this in, of course, politics, but also such things as the climate debate and the discussion of world terrorism or Texas v North Carolina BBQ.

I found LSU’s thrashing of Clemson very persuasive.

Persuasion is that seductive, inveigling bit of cajoling that entices one to adopt a specific view of things, or a matter of policy, or an opinion. In its most pure form, it is the noble art of information. In is basest form it is a kissing cousin of propaganda.

I find persuasion to be a skill of smart people.

If you are a traditional Aristotelian devotee, you may be tempted to blurt out: ethos, logos, pathos. I am with you, brother and sister.

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11/22/19

The Fredo 2019

Big Red Car today announces a new award, The Fredo.

The Fredo is awarded annually to the individual who best exemplifies the character of Frederico “Fredo” Corleone in Mario Puzo’s novel The Godfather.

In case you have been overseas for a long time (maybe living in Ukraine working for Burisma) or residing in a cave, Fredo was the older brother of Michael Corleone (the smart one played against type by Robert De Niro). Fredo was played by John Cazale in the Francis Ford Coppola adaption of Puzo’s book.

In particular, Fredo appeared in Godfather Part II.

Fredo, Sonny (got whacked early), Pop, and Michael home from the Marines in WWII

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10/14/19

Survivors

Several years ago, I was at a funeral with a friend with whom I had served in the Army a million years ago. We had all been lieutenants — me, my friend, and the decedent — full of piss and vinegar, deployed overseas, sure of ourselves, though no logical reason why.

I had gotten a company command before the other two, but they would also get companies. Being a combat engineer company commander is as close to being a feudal Chinese warlord as a man can get in this life.

This was me at that time, just before I got the company. I was inspecting a road we were blasting onto the top of a mountain. That’s North Korea in the background.

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07/5/19

Sportsman’s Barber Shop — One Of My Safe Places

Every man requires a few safe places that bring them comfort and keep them connected to who they are and from whence they have come. Regardless of how high you climb, there will be a place that reminds you of you.

One of mine is Sportsman’s Barber Shop in Austin By God Texas.

I have been going there for forty years and have outlived a few of the barbers — an odd feeling indeed.

I started going to Sportsman’s before I had kids and when I just moved to Austin. It was old then and I was new.

Photo of Sportsman's Barber Shop - Austin, TX, United States

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04/9/19

Manliness Revisited

We are more desperately in need of this type of thinking than ever before. We need to produce MEN, not men.

We need guys like our fathers, who won World War II by kicking the crap out of the Nazis and the Japs and made the world safe. Guys like George (NMI) Washington, who founded the country, beat the Brits (most proficient army and navy of their times), and generally showed the world how the cow was going to eat the cabbage at this democracy stuff.

Maybe we’ve just forgotten what it means to be a man and need some remedial instruction.

So, here goes.

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01/3/19

Inspiration – Beginning a New Year

Big Red Car here on a brilliant, sunny Thursday in the New Year. 2019, YOUR year!

Every new year I look for inspiration and for inspiration for my clients. I always find inspiration in Churchill. Surprised?

No, the guy saved the Western World from the scourge of the Nazis at a time when the English had gotten their teeth kicked in by the Germans in France.

After he had overseen the cobbled together evacuation of the English army by pleasure boat across the Channel, he was faced with leading a scared nation whose army had left their heavy weapons in France.

Image result for images churchill

Look into those eyes. See what it looks like to stare down evil, to deliver a message to the Nazis of ultimate, complete, total, unconditional surrender.

Hitler was readying an airborne and seaborne invasion of England called Sea Lion.

So what did Churchill do?

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05/25/17

Courage — CEO Shoptalk

Courage is quiet. It is unassuming in its moment.

Big Red Car here in the ATX where it is that time of the year when it’s 65F at dawn and this afternoon it will be in the low 90s. Those first warm days are a blessing, but it’s almost June and it’s almost summer, so bring it, Mother Nature. Hit me with your best shot!

Today, we talk about courage. The dictionary would have you believe that courage is the ability to face danger or difficulty without fear; or, the ability to act in accordance with one’s beliefs or convictions in spite of criticism.

Not buying it, y’all. Courage is the ability to act despite the fact you are wracked with fear. It does not vanquish fear. It acts in spite of fear.

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