Video: Fire at Mitchell School in Racine, Wisconsin

Mitchell School fire, Racine Wisconsin

My wife Amy was already up at 2 a.m. when the fire truck horns started blasting down our street. Mitchell School was on fire. Mitchell Middle School and Mitchell Elementary School are co-located. The entrance to Mitchell Middle School is on Drexel Ave. at Webster St. Just south of that entrance, huge plumes of flame … [Read more →]

Barney’s Version (Paul Giamatti movie, 2010)

Paul Giamatti and Rosamund Pike in Barney's Version (2010)

Barney’s Version is a 2010 movie based on a 1997 novel by Mordecai Richler. It stars Paul Giamatti as Barney, a Jewish TV producer from Montreal who goes through a series of marriages. We didn’t read the book nor hear much about the movie, but we like Paul Giamatti and the trailer looked good, so … [Read more →]

Joseph Conrad books, short stories for Kindle

Joseph Conrad: Complete Works

Heart of Darkness was the basis for Francis Ford Coppola’s legendary movie Apocalypse Now, and a major influence on Anthony Bourdain. Victory resounded through Bob Dylan’s song “Black Diamond Bay.” Two separate film adaptations of Almayer’s Folly have been released in the last five years. Clearly, the chord struck by Polish author Joseph Conrad is … [Read more →]

My earliest Beatles memories were counterfeit

Album cover: Beatle Mania! by The Liverpools

With all the nostalgia this past week over the 50th anniversary of the Beatles landing in America and appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show, I tried to reminisce about my own reaction to those first Beatles songs, only to recall that it was all a fraud. At age 3 and a half when the Beatles … [Read more →]

‘The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer’

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukherjee

I haven’t blogged in months. I’ve been mostly absent from Twitter and Facebook as well. Initially, I wanted to spend less time in these scattered and distracted modes of thought, and more time on focused and linear avenues like reading books. But then my wife Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer. It turns out that … [Read more →]

Woody Allen: ‘Midnight in Paris’ (Owen Wilson, movie 2011)

Once upon a time, Woody Allen made films like Annie Hall, which featured his angst-ridden but lovable persona, was brilliant yet accessible, and won four Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay (Diane Keaton also won for Best Actress). The world loved Woody Allen. Then commenced a long period of growth, during … [Read more →]

Tort reform, arbitration, damages caps, and McDonald’s ‘Hot Coffee’

Hot Coffee DVD"

Hot Coffee is a 2011 documentary film directed by Susan Saladoff which reveals that corporate interests have systematically muscled the American people out of their own legal system, and that the ability of ordinary citizens to seek fair compensation for harm done to them has been greatly diminished. “Frivolous lawsuits” The movie’s title refers to … [Read more →]

Website conversion rate strategy: ‘Convert!’ by Ben Hunt

Convert! Designing Web Sites to Increase Traffic and Conversion, by Ben Hunt

As a web developer for the past 17 years, I have had a range of success in helping small business owners understand conversion rate strategy — how a website can work like a machine to attract people who are searching for your offerings, and then guide them into becoming your customer. Sometimes, business owners already … [Read more →]

‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg: Bad habits, good habits

The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg

Power of habit in paperback Update: A paperback edition of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg, was published on January 7, 2014. Although we may not be aware of it, we spend most of our lives doing routine things that have been programmed into … [Read more →]

Chris Rock: ‘Good Hair’ (African-American hairstyles movie, 2009)

Often, a documentary movie can reveal a whole world you never knew existed. Sometimes, that unknown world may even be occurring right alongside your own. Good Hair, comedian Chris Rock’s documentary about African-American hairstyles, was like this for me. Growing up, I saw black people wearing their natural hair all the time. There was Roberta … [Read more →]