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Jun 27, 2007

Bill of Rights

Stop.  Before reading further, see how many you can remember (if you're an American, anyway.  If not, skip ahead.) In particular, see if you can remember all six different rights provided under the First Amendment (you might have them clumped into two pairs and two singles, but there are six.)

OK, here you go:

The Bill of Rights

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

01:05 AM in Misc.Blog 2007, Quotables | Permalink | Comments (1)

Jun 26, 2007

The Durham Excellence in Whatever-Phil-Likes Awards

With a few more dollars and not much more sense, I think I'd like to create an annual award for excellence in whatever category or categories strike me at the moment.  What would I want to recognize?  Who knows, but here are some things I notice and appreciate:

  • yummy agedashi tofu,
  • intelligent and hard-working non-profit boards,
  • really good retail service (wait staff or clerks),
  • deft and caring mediators who bring harmony to people in conflict,
  • typography,
  • xeriscaped lawns,
  • people who do great job of integrating their professional work with other parts of their lives,
  • great ad campaigns, and
  • polite kids.

Wouldn't it be cool to send out letters like this?

Dear ______________:

Thank you for being the kind of person you are.  In recognition of your ______________________, you have been selected as one of this year's winners of the Durham  Excellence in Whatever-Phil-Likes Award.

In a perfect world, the only award you would need is the self-knowledge that you've done something great, plus a nice "good job, you" letter sent via registered mail so you wouldn't miss it.  But this imperfect world needs outside signs and cash, so you're going to get (1) a nice little medal and (2) a check for $2,507.99.

We would like to honor you at our annual awards banquet on Saturday, July X, for a 10 a.m. brunch at Fishmonger's.  Vegetarian entrees will be available.  Please give us a call so we can confirm your availability and obtain a list of guests you would like us to invite to your tables.

Don't you go changin'

Phil Marsosudiro
for the Awards Committee

What would you recognize?


images by Botticelli (the one on the left) and my clever friend T with photo by G.

12:28 AM in Ideas and Yens | Permalink | Comments (3)

Jun 25, 2007

Memories for Kids

Sometimes I think about enabling special moments for kids: moments that aren't necessarily hard to create, but that are special because they're rare, fun, and somehow magical or at least distinctively symbolic to a young mind.

On my short list, so far:

  • building a real igloo and maybe even camping in it.

See here for photos of grownups having done just that.

Do you have memories from kidhood that have always stuck with you?  For me, I remember raking for clams -- an astonishing thing to this six-year-old from the mountains.*

What do you remember?  What special memories would you like to give a kid?


Photo: BBC,

*I wish I had spent some time on a farm. It would have been good to learn where meat comes from, and maybe to have helped make it happen. 

12:49 AM in Ideas and Yens | Permalink | Comments (4)

Jun 22, 2007

El Perro Interplanetario Va A La Taqueria

Now and then you get an authentic Mexican restaurant -- like Taqueria Lopez -- that also has an English language menu.  Most of the time, though, you're stuck unless you know Spanish.  Or unless you've got your handy dandy "Gringo's Guide to Mexican Food Terms", or "Everything You Need to Read a Taqueria Menu", by Dave at DogsInSpace.

Excerpt below.  En todo aquí:

  •      Cemita = sandwich on a fluffy, seeded egg roll  
  •      Chalupa - fried soft corn tortilla, stuffed with various  
  •      Chicharrones - deep fried pork rinds  
  •      Chilaquiles - Fried tortillas, topped with salsa or mole and cheese; typically a breakfast item  
  •      Chilorio - tender pork fried for a long time in chile sauce.


Related:  Calvin Trillin -- who loves Chinese food -- is reputed to carry a small card in his wallet that says, in Chinese, "I'll have what the gentleman at that table is having."

02:37 AM in Misc.Blog 2007, Recipes | Permalink | Comments (1)

Jun 21, 2007

Money, Judgement, and God


"Yes, Your Honor."  My words last week to the friendly judge who asked, "are you pleading to 'improper equipment'?"*

If I'm lucky, that'll be the last time I ever have to say "Your Honor" to anyone.

But how about "Bless you?"

The friendly clerk who took my money (and issued my receipt) had decorated her office most Christianly -- with two angel statuettes and a big honkin' copy of the Prayer of Jabez.

Anyone have an opinion on this in plain view at the County Courthouse?

As for me, my only concern is that the courthouse do its work fairly and be perceived as doing its work fairly.  If the first is done well enough, the second usually takes care of itself, and I don't have an issue with personalized office space.  Others may surely differ.


*earlier, related post here.  The "improper equipment" charge was a the lesser offense that I qualified for after reading the book Disciplined Attention, which I've blogged about over here at the ADDexecutive.com.

12:01 AM in Misc.Blog 2007 | Permalink | Comments (8)

Jun 20, 2007

Durham Greenhouse Gas Action Plan -- Public Meeting, This Thursday

*** THURSDAY -- JUNE 21 ****

This just in, via the Triangle Green Builders listserv.

Greetings on behalf of the Durham City-County Environmental Affairs Board (EAB).

The EAB would like to remind you and the members of your organization to attend the public forum on Durham's proposed Greenhouse Gas Action Plan. 

The forum is the public’s opportunity to share their thoughts about and ideas on how to improve the proposed plan.  It is being held on Thursday, June 21, 2007, at 6 p.m. in City Council Chambers, located on the first floor of Durham City Hall. 

The draft plan can be found at www.durhamnc.gov/ghg and at local libraries.  Please share this with your members as well as with anyone else and encourage them to come to the forum.  Citizen input is vital for the draft plan to be effective.  Thank you and we look forward to seeing you at the forum.

Kathleen Snyder Durham City - County Planning Department

01:54 PM in Destination Durham, News | Permalink | Comments (3)

Jun 18, 2007

Phil in the John at Dain's for Joe

Per Joe's request after yesterday's shining post, another pic of me in a men's room.

You have to look carefully for me (see the reflection in the detailed pic), but I'll vouch for the me-ness (and that my pants were zipped).

Dain's Place is on Ninth Street in Durham.  They do trivia night on Wednesdays at 8.  And if you're smarter than my team, you'll get all of these:

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
  1.  The Pyramids at Giza
  2.  ??
  3.  ??
  4.  ??
  5.  ??
  6.  ??
  7.  ??

The Seven Deadly Sins
  1.  Sloth
  7.  ??

The Seven Brides and the Seven Brothers

  1.  Just kidding.  Actually, the question was The Seven Dwarves.  Start with Sneezy...
  7.  ??

By the way, are you thinking about the Brady Bunch right now?

12:15 AM in Destination Durham | Permalink | Comments (5)

Jun 15, 2007



Me in the men's room at Jujube.

Yellow lamp, red walls, phone came gets exactly this image without adulteration.

Speaking of "redrum" have you seen the Angry Alien's The Shining in 30 Seconds (and re-enacted by bunnies)?

Oh you should, you should. WARNING - opens with a sound.

02:41 PM in Misc.Blog 2007 | Permalink | Comments (8)

Jun 07, 2007

Growing Up -- John Gardner

John_gardner The more I see of human lives, the more I believe the business of growing up is much longer drawn out than we pretend.  If we achieve it in our 30s, even our 40s, we're doing well.  To those of you who are parents of teenagers, I can only say "Sorry about that."

-- John Gardner, Personal Renewal, in the McKinsey Quarterly, 1991 Number 2

John Gardner was the founder of Common Cause, and the leader of many uncommonly important American institutions.  I should mention that Gardner doesn't mean that you're "all done growing" by your 30s or 40s -- in fact, the whole essay on personal renewal is about how we can and should continue to grow for as long as we're around.  What he's referring to (I believe) is more like "becoming a grownup", or "becoming an adult", or maybe even "becoming mature."  While not all would agree with me, I think that "becoming an adult" is something I'd like to do -- and it's comforting to see that I'm not necessarily behind the curve to feel not quite there at age 39.

I heard the entirety of this essay in the spring of '95, on the last day of my B-school class on Leadership.  The teacher was out sick but he asked his wife to stand in for him and to read this essay aloud as our final lecture.  Adapted from a 1990 address to all McKinsey partners, the essay was written for folks with a median age of (I'm guessing) ~40 -- consultants who I eventually reckoned to be role models.  I was only 27 when I heard it, which was in many ways too soon.  But I asked for a copy which I've kept ever since, and I'm happy to be reading it again. 

Full text of Personal Renewal here at PBS.  I'd point you to my favorite parts, but there are too many.


image: John Gardner Fellowship Association

06:42 PM in Quotables | Permalink | Comments (6)

Jun 06, 2007

Hispanic Haha, Latino Laughs.

This week's Indy put the Flicker film festival on it's Best Bets list, and I started wondering what I'd do with a 50-ft. reel of 8mm film. 

The first thing that occurred to me: a highlight reel of migrant farm workers who do a good standup routine.

07:14 PM in Things I'd Like to See or Do | Permalink | Comments (4)

Jun 05, 2007

Taylor's Fine Wine and Live Bait, Raleigh NC


"Larry's Beans Organic Coffee:  Wine Tasting"

You don't see that too often on the BP gas station marquee, so I stopped in.  Sure enough, they've got it all.  Above, a $55 bottle of wine across the aisle from some Chef Boyardee.  Canadian Live Worms by the box around the corner in the refrigerators, right next to a bit of fishing tackle.

Taylor's BP
Six Forks Rd.
Raleigh NC
~0.1 mile north of I-540


01:29 AM in Triangulations | Permalink | Comments (4)

Jun 01, 2007

How High the Moon?

For some reason, I keep forgetting how little I know about the relative size of things that might seem more knowable.

Today, a quizlet in three multi-part parts (answers in the Comment section):

1.a  Let's say you have a globe the size of a basketball (or maybe you just buy one) and you want a matching-scale model of the moon.  Which of these objects is close to the right size?

(a) a pea
(b) a grape
(c) a baseball

1.b  And if you wanted to show the moon in its proper orbit, more or less how far away would you put the pea, grape, or baseball from your globe?

(a) arm's length
(b) opposite corners of the your living room
(c) opposite corners of a basketball court

2.a  According to a recent article in The Economist, approximately how many Jewish people are there in the world?

(a) less than 1 million
(b) ~13 million
(c) ~54 million

2.b  How do the Jewish populations in Israel and the US compare?

(a) far more Jews in Israel than the US
(b) far more Jews in the US in Israel
(c) about the same number in both countries.

3.a   Imagine taking everyone in the world and stacking them into a cube.  How big would that cube be? For the "stacking", assume that the people are racked up shoulder to shoulder, heel to toe, and standing on each other's heads.  What does your intuition tell you?  How about your calculator and some estimating?

(a) ~ 3/4 mile on each side
(b) ~4 miles on a side
(c) ~8 miles on a side

3.b  Pretend you have a model of the Earth that's the size of a pool ball, with the cube of people (at the appropriate scale) glued somewhere on the surface of the pool ball.  Would you be able to feel the bump?

(a) yes
(b) no
(c) yes if you were blind and could read Braille.

01:01 AM in Misc.Blog 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3)