More questions. More help. Introducing Mastering Table Topics Second Edition.

“Do work that satisfies you…”

"Do work that satisfies you..." except from a 1990 journal

I always find the most interesting things when I clean the garage. The image above is from a fragment of a June 1990 journal I wrote for my soon-to-be wife Elizabeth. She was frustrated by the job she had at the time and asked for my advice on how to deal with it. I was seven years into my career at that point and had been promoted to supervisor at AST. I gave her what I thought was my best advice, but does it still hold up after 25 years? Here’s what I wrote.

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We need more cute villains!

Tsum Tsum plush toy of the Prospector in Toy Story 2Warning: This post contains spoilers.

My wife bought one of those Disney Tsum Tsum plush toys at the Disney Store. These are Disney characters compressed into a pill shape for maximum cuteness. The Prospector from Toy Story 2 caught her eye. When she bought it, the sales clerk said, “You know, he’s the villain.” My wife replied, “I know, but this toy looks so cute.”

This got me thinking: Why don’t we have more cute villains, or at least more good looking ones?

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Why I’m not buying an Apple Watch…right now

What if that guy in Glengarry Glen Ross wore an Apple Watch?

“You see this watch…That watch costs more than your car.”

I consider myself a tech savvy guy, but I’m not an early adopter. The first personal computers came out in 1977, but I didn’t buy my Commodore 64 until 1983 — after the price dropped to USD 299. The Motorola DynaTAC was introduced in 1984, but I didn’t get my first cell phone until 1999, 15 years later. I got my first smartphone in 2012, 5 years after the first iPhone.

The first of any new technology is expensive, limited, and often impractical. The first automobiles were dangerous playthings for the rich. Early televisions were barely useful as furniture with tiny screens and limited programming.

All of this brings me to the Apple Watch.

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Spock: The outsider as hero

TV Guide cover from 1967 shows Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner from Star Trek, The Original Series

TV Guide cover for March 4, 1967 (image from Memory Alpha, the Star Trek wiki)

Tributes have been pouring in for Leonard Nimoy, who died on February 27. Nimoy was more than just Mr. Spock. He was a poet, playwright, photographer, and humanitarian. He was an artist of uncompromising integrity, and he stood up for his fellow actors.

However, Spock will always remain Nimoy’s most enduring legacy. In creating this iconic character, Nimoy gave the world a powerful gift: the image of the outsider as hero.

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Je Suis Charlie…and many more

A man holds a placard which reads "I am Charlie" to pay tribute during a gathering at the Place de la Republique in Paris

I join in the voices condemning the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris. We must also realize that this is not an isolated incident.

In 2014, 61 journalists were killedMarcos de Barros Leopoldo Guerra was a blogger who called out local officials in Brazil for corruption. He was killed by unidentified assailants on a motorcycle. Rubylita Garcia had a reputation among the local press for being a hard-hitting journalist who exposed wrongdoing in the Cavite, Philippines police force. Two gunmen shot her multiple times as she entered her home. Steven Sotloff was an American-Israeli journalist who wrote for Time and Foreign Policy. In Syria, he was kidnapped by Islamic State and beheaded.

Freedom of the press is not respected in many countries. Even in countries where freedom of the press is law, reporters still face pressure from interest groups and even threats of physical violence from those who want to silence their criticism. It takes courageous journalists who are willing to risk their lives to uncover the truth and defend our right to know.

Let us honor these brave men and women and remember that we can only have freedom if we are willing to fight for it.