The thoughts of a writer.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Our Leaders Aren’t Usually That Smart

Throughout my various careers and work places, I’ve noticed something that has permeated nearly every organization. I’ve seen it in government, educational institutions, profit and nonprofit. The leadership often doesn’t seem to be, or need to be, very smart. This doesn’t mean that they are mentally challenged; it more likely means that they don’t see “the big picture.”

So how do these people get to be leaders? Some of them even have advanced degrees in whatever discipline that is related to the organization’s primary function. There seems to be a difference, however, in a person’s ability to “regurgitate” information taken from a textbook, and their true ability to react to real-life situations. Some people “test” well, and some don’t. Some people can function at a high level in daily challenges, and others don’t.

In addition to this observation, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is often much more important how things appear, than the true reality of the situation; i.e. what it looks like we are doing, is more important than what we are doing.

So the question might be how do we secure better leaders in our top level positions? The answer might lie in the selection criteria. Is a doctor, always the best administrator of a hospital? Is a teacher always the best person to be a principal? Is a military officer the best person to be a president?

Some American Indian tribes drew a distinction between who should lead them in domestic policy, and who should lead them during war. The thought here is that the war chief may make good decisions regarding the use of violence, but this knowledge would not make him more capable in peaceful negotiations. In fact, the war chief might be the last person who should create domestic policy. Yet, in the USA, the President is the leader of domestic policy as well as the Commander-in-Chief.

Perhaps more important, is the fact that leaders are often appointed to power, based on a narrow set of criteria. For instance, an individual voter may use one issue, such as abortion, as the sole criteria to cast his/her vote for President. An administrator might choose someone for a subordinate position, based on the individual’s likelihood to cooperate with his/her “superiors.” These criteria are based on people’s personal biases and desires, rather than on someone’s true ability to be a creative, effective and fair leader.

So in the end, unless we change the “status quo,” many leaders are likely to continue to be lacking in ability, creativity and knowledge. Unfortunately, this often leads to bad decisions with personnel and resources—as these leaders lookout for their own interests instead of the common good.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Raptor Release

We attended a raptor release on Saturday at Carpenter Nature Center. The University of Minnesota Raptor Center released six, rehabilitated birds. It was a great event.

Ambassador: Screech Owl

Ambassador: Turkey Vulture


I Wait

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Graffiti on bin Laden Cave Attributed to Cutris

Graffiti on bin Laden Cave Attributed to Cutris
UnAssociated Press
September 24, 2009

This picture, thought to be of Osama bin Laden's cave, shows graffiti that has been attributed to Cutris. If you look at the left, middle section of the picture, it clearly says, "Cutris Rules."

Click on picture to make image larger.

As Cutris has been seen flying around the Mideast in an F-15, it is thought that he may be responsible. The cave (located in an unpublished location), was abandoned when U.S. Army Rangers arrived late this morning. Airborne rangers reported that the top of the mountain cave, had similar graffiti that read, "bomb here." It is thought that while the graffiti prompted the rangers as to bin Laden's whereabouts, it also caused the terrorist leader to flee.

No information about Cutris' whereabouts were known when this story went to press.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cutris Seen Flying F-15

Cutris Seen Flying F-15
UnAssociated Press
September 23, 2009

This picture has surfaced, of Cutris flying an F15 Strike Eagle.

Click on picture to enlarge and see Curtis

Cutris' whereabouts are currently unknown, though he is thought to be somewhere in the Mideast.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cutris is Back in the News!

Cutris is Back in the News!
UnAssociated Press
September 21, 2009

Is it another of his continued scandals, or is Cutris on a mission? This picture has surfaced of Cutris walking into a room that says, "do not enter!"

Shortly after, this other picture also surfaced, showing Cutris in the cockpit of a military fighter plane. Could Cutris be involved in another air combat mission against al Qaeda?

At the time of this report, we (UAP) still think he's "causing trouble..."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kanye West is a "jackass"

After being asked about Kanye West's (latest) outburst at the Video Music Awards, President Barack Obama referred to Kanye West as a "jackass." In a single word, the president summed up the rapper, but now some people are upset about that!

Speaking your mind is okay! Especially if it is the truth.
Grabbing the microphone from someone who won an award and spewing out your distorted opinions is being a "jackass," at the very least.

The Fog in Black Dog

As he drove across the Mississippi on 35E, Cutris noticed the fog. Whenever he saw the fog on these early morning drives, he wanted to go hiking. The fog made the woods and waters look magical, and he was more likely to spot a nighttime dwelling animal--staying up late.

"I've got time," he said aloud to himself. He decided to take a quick side-trip to the Black Dog Preserve. The hurried 30-minute hike in the bottom-lands near the Minnesota River was well worth the effort.

The images would stay with him long after this fleeting morning was gone. It would remain with him long after the strong, late summer sun burned through the foggy shroud.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What Can You Do on a Submarine?

Submarines must be kind of small inside. That made me wonder what you could do inside of a submarine? I decided that you could keep busy with various routine tasks. These would probably be called, subroutines. I would think it would be hard to cook in a submarine. I mean... how could you vent out the food odors? I'm guessing you would have to eat a lot of sandwiches. These would probably be submarine sandwiches. After contemplating this, I decided that living in a submarine would be substandard.

Fischer's Croix Farm Orchard

We visited Fischer's Croix Farm Orchard while in Hastings on Saturday. Here is a picture of some of the apples and one of my wife picking raspberries!

Vermillion Falls

We visited Vermillion Falls in Hastings on Saturday. The surrounding trails afforded some great sights. Here's a sampling of them.

Friday, September 11, 2009

9-1-1, Eight Years Later

I can hardly believe that eight years has passed since the 9-11-01 tragedy. But then, it was early in the George W. Bush presidency. I remember I spent the first anniversary at Camp Coldwater with the American Indians. It was in my opinion, the most appropriate place to be.

Now, eight years later, I still think Osama bin Laden is a puss. For more about this, visit Robogoat.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cutris Reveals Tips on Flux Destabilizer

Cutris Reveals Tips on Flux Destabilizer
UnAssociated Press
September 10, 2009

Due to Cutris’ super secret job working at an undisclosed location in k-12 technology, it is difficult to get him to talk about his work. Unfortunately, this means that the innate wisdom of Cutris is almost never shared with the rest of the world.
Recently, a Dash-Cam video surfaced, of Cutris telling the finer points of working with a Flux Destabilizer. Apparently on one of his many consulting trips for NASA, this footage was captured from the dashboard camera of a rental car Cutris used—while he was in the middle of a phone conference.

This footage was leaked to Al Jazeera, presumably for profit. The UnAssociated Press does not condone such actions, yet we are going to show the video to keep up with our competition.

Cutris Reveals Tips on Flux Destabilizer - Video

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Labor Day

My wife's family is originally from Laos. I've been kidding her that they need to learn more about holidays in the U.S.A. Case-in-point was yesterday. On Labor Day, people generally don't work. They picnic and enjoy the "last day of summer," before school starts.

We (on the other hand) spent the day moving furniture, ripping up carpet, cleaning and prepping the (under) floor, and installing a new floor in my in-laws living room. I began to think we were taking Labor Day a bit too literally!

Regardless, for those who would like to see a picture of my wife (Note* she prefers not to be shown on my blog), I have a special treat. I snapped this photo of her while she was working!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Tamarack Nature Center

We hiked at the Tamarack Nature Center in White Bear Township yesterday. Here are a few images...

Friday, September 04, 2009

Sun and Moon

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Drivers Licence Renewal

I just renewed my drivers licence the other day. The entire process took ten minutes. It made me remember the horrors of the Rhode Island Department of Motor Vehicles. The same renewal in that state would take hours or even days. After a six hour wait, you might get up to the counter to be turned away because you need to go somewhere else to take care of some ridiculous piece of "red tape" before you could return for another six (if you're lucky) hour wait.

Thankfully, I live in Minnesota again!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Partial Eclipse

Though this isn't the only time I've seen this phenomena, It is always a thrill to see an eclipse! I witnessed this "partial eclipse" the other night...