Rendered Fat Content

The Palouse Insight

Drive north toward Spokane from Walla Walla and you’ll find yourself passing through unique terrain. Some of it, conventionally beautiful. Some of it, the scrub lands, takes a squint and an understanding of geologic history to really appreciate. This drive will take you through The Palouse country.

For centuries, tribes who’s territories bordered this region of endless rolling, silty loess hills, considered The Palouse to be neutral territory, common grazing land, a place where horses would not be stolen and war would not be waged. War had not been waged until US Army Colonel Edward Steptoe blundered into armed conflict near the present day Steptoe Butte, a jutting rock the natives called “power mountain.” Steptoe got his butt kicked and retreated back to Fort Walla Walla. Slip over here for more ...


Poison Apples

I'm following with great interest the meltdown of the financial markets, and the curious response by investors, brokers, and regulators alike, noticing how much energy is being focused into restoring the old status quo. Who knows what the markets should be like now? We've nibbled the poison apple and the best response we seem to be able to produce is how to guarantee the future supply of poison apples. Yum! Slip over here for more ...

The Price Of Gas ... ...

The real looting started back in the Reagan years, when installment credit interest was suddenly disallowed as a tax deduction. Then, age-old usury laws fell out of fashion, and states went into the business of chasing each other to the bottom, promising “pay NO taxes, penalties, or fees, and charge your poorest customers whatever-the-heck you please.” There just had to be a prosperous underbelly down there somewhere. Slip over here for more ...

You Suck@Projects

This happens so rarely, but last week an editor—an old, reliable, fan-of-mine editor—rejected two pieces for publication in his fine journal. Too angry. Too controversial.

Well, in a week when Wall Street evaporated, when the Feds decided to take on the bad debt burden of the world, a week when the biggest losers managed to slop their mustard all over the rest of us, I was perhaps justified in feeling just a little bit testy.

I dedicate this bit of slam poetry to every executive who never actually worked on projects before deciding they knew just how to direct them: Slip over here for more ...


The Last Day of Summer

The Last Day of Summer smelled like Fall
Rain had slipped in overnight, soaking the half-scraped wall
But I still tacked the tarpaulins over the coldframe and
climbed that clammy scaffolding to stand and scrape and sand.

It was Easter when we'd moved the poles and bracing down the wall
and all through May I watched each day usher in the fall.
For I was working some other walls while this one stood half-scraped
Though I hoped I could get back to here before this summer escaped Slip over here for more ...


S-L-O-W W-O--R---K

A few years ago, I got the bright idea to start a Google Discussion Group entitled Slow Work. Complete with manifesto, which sounds now suspiciously familiar to my last posting about Taylorism:

Festina Lente- Hasten Slowly

The numbing numbers don't add up! The Industrial Revolution was a great way to revolutionize production. It has become a lousy way to live. ...

Fast Work undermines our effectiveness, forcing us into living Fast Lives. ... A firm respect for our most human capabilities can co-opt the folly of Fast Work. Slip over here for more ...


Fighting The Global War Against Taylorism

Let this be a gentle engagement, inexorable. Fought not with the machines of war, but with the hearts and minds of thoughtful and caring people. One fueled by insight rather than hard rules of engagement. One informed by ethical responsibilities rather than by marching orders. Our goal cannot be to vanquish an enemy, but to encourage and nurture our own humanity. To appreciate differing gifts and build robust communities of otherwise individually inadequate individuals. To sustain rather than contain. To imagine rather than enforce. To build rather then destroy. To see science as something more than a metaphor for predictability, but as a method of genuine inquiry, one intended to generate more questions than answers, more insights than injunctions, and more sustainable humanity than mechanical precision.

Slip over here for more ...


Almost Down To Sturm and Back

I delivered this eulogy for my father today:

My father was a gentleman,

A gentle man.

A Republican.

He didn’t have a mean bone in his body.

He was a soft touch;

He loaned much but borrowed little.

My father was a noble man,

A nobleman,

An able man.

He wasn’t handy, but he was persistent!

He persevered much

And gave so freely, he seemed rich.

Slip over here for more ...



True Story:

The evening before my dad died, a praying Mantis landed on the front screen door. Mother recalled that a mantis takes up temporary residence on that porch this time every year.

Slip over here for more ...


Life Intruding On My Plans

Robert C. (Bob) Schmaltz, of 1015 Pleasant Street, died peacefully at home on Wednesday, September 3, 2008, aged 85 years. We celebrate his life at Central Christian Church on Monday, September 8 at 10 a.m.

Bob was born January 15, 1923 in Mt. Angel, Oregon, to Nicholas D. Schmaltz and Caroline P. Bounds. He was raised in Mt. Angel, Scotts Mills, Yachats and Waldport, Oregon, attending Waldport High School. He married Bonnie M. Wallace on October 28, 1945 in Condon, Oregon, where he served with the volunteer fire department, played on the town baseball team, worked with the county road crew, and began his long career with the US Postal Service. Bob moved his family to Walla Walla in 1952, continuing his Postal Service career, retiring in 1978 after 30 years service. Bob and Bonnie raised five children in their Pleasant Street home. After retirement, Bob and Bonnie traveled the country in their motor home, visiting family and friends until ill health intervened.

Bob was an avid reader, enthusiastic baseball fan, resonant singer, and quiet-spoken storyteller. Bob was a member of the Central Christian Church and the local Parkinson's Support Group. He was the primary caregiver for Bonnie for the last fifteen years. Slip over here for more ...


Back To Off The Grid Again

This is the next in the ever lengthening series on Management-ism.

Jerry Weinberg used to tell a story about one of his daughters who managed to get five Fs and a D one quarter in junior high school. Jerry's ex-wife asked him to speak with his daughter, so he did, asking her how come she didn't get straight Fs. Well, she explained, the D was in Arts and Crafts, and in that class, she gets a D no matter what she does. Well, apply yourself next quarter, he counseled, go for straight Fs. Slip over here for more ...


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