Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It starts tonight

The National Basketball Association finals start tonight in South Beach between the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks. Here is Jason Gay's teaser from the Wall Street Journal. Go Heat!

Monday, May 30, 2011

It's Monday

And we all know what that means. Time for another MOTW, Manager of the Week. It was just a matter of time before this next manager surfaced here on The Night Canopy. Every company has at least one, if not multiple embodiments of him/her and they are generally not well liked, much like their brethren in public office.

MOTW: Political Manager

Political Manager has made friends and cultivated relationships with all the right people. He/she regularly survives purges and layoffs, usually reappearing stronger than before. Is the subject of rumors that he/she must have naked pictures of the company CEO’s significant other stashed somewhere.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Weekend Haiku

That pretty girl-
munching and rustling
the wrapped up rice cake.

Issa (1763 - 1827)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Heat 4, Bulls 1

Miami is in the NBA finals. I am starting to get the feeling that these guys now know how to close out critical games. Last night's win was one for the ages as Miami downed Chicago in their own gym 83-80 in an impressive finish to the Eastern Conference finals. Chicago played well and was a worthy opponent, but in the end was no match for the talent on this Miami squad. It is on to the finals to face a very talented and scary opponent in the Dallas Mavericks. It should be a really fine series. Go Heat!


One can never have enough Red Hot Chili Peppers. Here is the video of their song Otherside. Enjoy and happy Friday.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

You might be a zombie

And other bad news. I just finished reading this book from the editors of Cracked.com and not only is it hilarious, but it is chock full of shocking but utterly true facts. Some examples:

Did you know that Barry Manilow did not write I write the songs? In fact he wasn't even the first person to cover it.

Did you know that Thomas Edison did not invent the light bulb? Hmmm.

Did you know that even though John F, Kennedy won a Pulitzer Prize for Profiles in Courage he didn't really write it?

Did you know that President Andrew Jackson spent a lot of time dueling? Depending on the sources consulted Jackson participated in anywhere from thirteen to hundreds of duels and was actually shot during one of them. The bullet remained in Jackson's body for nineteen more years.

This book is funny, informative and a light, entertaining read. Full title, You might be a zombie and other bad news.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Save your breath

A new twist to that old standby of go-getters, "the elevator speech."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Happy Birthday

Bob Dylan aka Robert Allen Zimmerman turns 70 today. What an epic career he has crafted for himself and we are all the beneficiaries of it.

"And your pleasure knows no limits
Your voice is like a meadowlark
But your heart is like an ocean
Mysterious and dark."

From the song One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below)


Silent snowflakes fall.
Skeletal trees tilt their branches,
pining for the changing seasons.

An old man smiles.
Reclines in wondrous contentment,
and surveys the expanding white blanket.

Hushed incantations of winter stragglers,
accompany him on his final journey,
as breath expires.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Heat 2, Bulls 1

Home cooking does it every time. The Miami Heat are a perfect 7 - 0 at home during these playoffs, including last night's 96 - 85 win over the Chicago Bulls. Chris Bosh was the man, scoring 34 points so that means that each of the big three has come up big in at least one playoff win. Also, it's nice to have Haslem back. Last night we got another view of what our roster was supposed to look like before injuries to Haslem and Miller limited this team from reaching its full potential all season. The next game is tomorrow in South Beach once again. Go Heat!

It's Monday

And we all know what that means. Time for another MOTW, Manager of the Week.With all the sports hype of the NBA playoffs going on we thought it would be a good idea to include this next manager. After all, team work gets it done right, or does it? As is the case of this next manager, anything can be taken to the extreme.

MOTW: Team Work Manager

Is of the opinion that nothing can be done by one individual and that everything should be handled by committees and/or work-groups. Is a distant third cousin, twice removed of Health-Nut Manager in the sense that he/she watches a lot of team sports and relies on the athletic/team spirit motif to issue directives and manage the office. On occasion behaves similar to Over-Praising Manager.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Weekend Haiku

Napping at midday
I hear the song of rice planters
and feel ashamed of myself.

Issa (1763-1827)

Friday, May 20, 2011

After All - Acoustic version

Here is an acoustic recording of Delerium's After All featuring Jael. I think it sounds a lot better than the electric version on the Chimera album. Enjoy and happy Friday.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Irony defined

Or not. You decide. Some candle sets are being recalled because, get this, they pose a potential fire hazard. Interesting.

Heat 1, Bulls 1

Thank goodness for Udonis Haslem. Oh Udonis, Udonit! And welcome back home court advantage. The Miami Heat beat the Chicago Bulls last night 85 - 75 to even up the Eastern Conference finals series at one apiece and now return to Miami for the next two games.

The big three scored 63 of Miami's 85 points and Udonis came off the bench to score 13, rebound, block a shot, get a steal and provide an overall spark which had been lacking since this series started in Chicago. It's good to have our blue collar worker back and he was back with a vengeance, including two monster dunks which set the tone in the third quarter.

Lebron shook off the flu to close out the game with some clutch scores at the end of the fourth quarter when neither team was allowing any kind of decent look at the basket and Wade was his usual excellent self. But last night the man was Udonis. Haslem is the embodiment of the Miami Heat and we have missed him all season long. It's good to have him back. Go Heat!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

U.S. Highways

This is kind of interesting. It is a 1.5 minute primer on the U.S. highway system and what all those numbers mean. Once you understand it you can tell a lot about a route just by knowing its number.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The NBA playoffs explained

Oh boy do I love Jason Gay of the WSJ. Here he explains the NBA playoff scenario in a way no other writer can. Tired of all those trite phrases used by "normal" sports writers to promote their supposedly well informed analysis. Head on over to Gay's article and laugh a little. After the Heat got torched in game one by the Bulls 103-82 I for one need all the comic relief I can get.

Staying Power

An article from the NYT about how The Drudge Report has managed to stay on top.

Monday, May 16, 2011

It's Monday

And we all know what that means. Time for another MOTW, Manager of the Week. Centuries from now this next manager's fossil will be uncovered and studied by subsequent generations to understand what went wrong in corporate America.

MOTW: Jurassic Manager

Usually untouchable due to seniority, Jurassic Manager is a much older combined version of Bitter Manager and Seasoned Manager, but who also brings the added bonus of senility to the table. Jurassic Manager’s comments, actions and decisions simply defy explanation, even to himself/herself. This manager is a veritable walking/talking corporate history book and if caught in a random moment of lucidity can be very entertaining and enlightening. These moments are few and far between though and mostly Jurassic Manager creates more chaos than anything of value.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Weekend Haiku

Its mother on guard,
the foal laps water
from the pond.

Issa (1763-1827)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Supermassive Black Hole

Here is Muse performing Supermassive Black Hole. This band is one of the few bands that sounds better live than in the studio. They are consummate performers and their audiences appreciate them for it as is obvious in this video. Enjoy and happy Friday.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Heat 4, Celtics 1

So long Celtics. The Miami Heat took care of business at home, beating the Boston Celtics 97-87 last night. The big 3 scored 81 of the 97 points Miami tallied. Lebron James was huge at the end to seal the game while Wade played up to his customary greatness. Miami advances to the Eastern Conference finals and awaits the winner of the Atlanta-Chicago series. Good sportsmanship all around in the video below. Go Heat!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The day reggae died

Okay, okay, reggae is still alive and well so the title of the post is a bit of hyperbole, but 30 years ago today the glowing firebrand of reggae passed away. I speak of course, of the great Bob Marley who succumbed to malignant melanoma on May 11th, 1981. A particularly good account of Marley's life is recounted in Timothy White's Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley.

"Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds."

From Redemption Song

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Heat 3, Celtics 1

The big 3 all showed up to play last night as the Miami Heat downed the aging Boston Celtics 98-90 in overtime. James, Wade and Bosch scored 83 out of the 98 points the team scored to take a 3-1 lead in the series. It is back to South Beach on Wednesday night to see if the Heat can close out the series and move on to the Eastern Conference finals. Go Heat!

Monday, May 9, 2011

It's Monday

And we all know what that means.Time for another MOTW, Manager of the Week. For this next manager a class on social etiquette might be a good thing. Either that or an ambulatory cone of silence.

MOTW: Bluetooth Manager

Have you ever been walking close to someone, minding your own business, when suddenly a loud voice that you could swear is talking to you says, “So, what do YOU think?” or some similar inanity? Because you are a polite person you turn around ready to respond, see this person talking to themselves and immediately think, “That person is talking to him/herself. They must be insane.” Then they turn and you see a small metal object which resembles an alien appendage protruding from their left ear hole. Congratulations! You have just spotted Bluetooth Manager in the wild.

With a furrowed brow and furiously pacing back and forth, Bluetooth Manager engages in one-sided, loud comments which probably should not be overheard by people who are not employed by his/her company. However, if it is at all possible, Bluetooth Manager looks even more ridiculous when wearing the gadget but not currently on a call. Finally, recent unconfirmed sightings indicate that Bluetooth Manager has been spotted talking loudly to nobody just to make himself/herself appear more important than he/she really is. In that case your original assessment of Bluetooth Manager being insane, while not clinically proven, is probably correct. Suffice it to say that as an obnoxious and inconsiderate species, Bluetooth Manager is convinced of his/her importance and subliminally wants you, a total stranger, to be convinced of it also.

Don’t be.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Weekend Haiku

the summer river,
sandals in my hand.

Buson (1716-1783)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Ain't No Stopping Us Now

From a few years back, here is Revelation's version of Ain't No Stopping Us Now, from the BBC show Last Choir Standing. In my opinion these guys were robbed. They should have won. Enjoy and happy Friday.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Birthday

British soul singer Adele turns 23 today. Happy birthday to an extremely talented singer and songwriter who sounds just as good live as she does in the studio. At her young age she has already won two Grammy awards. Here she is performing her hit Rolling in the Deep.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Heat 2, Celtics 0

Game 1 it was Wade's time, in game 2 it was Lebron James turn to put the team on his shoulders. James scored 35 points to lead the Miami Heat to a 102 - 91 win over the Boston Celtics. The Celtics looked tired, but now the series shifts to the hostile environment of Boston for game 3 and it is rumored that Shaq will be back. Go Heat!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dr. Seer's Chauffeur - A Short Story

Dr. Seer was a brilliant psychologist. He retained a position as a visiting professor at one of the nation's most prestigious universities, serving in the capacity of adviser to scholars preparing their doctoral theses. Several of his papers had been so groundbreaking at the time he published them that he had quickly established himself as a cause célèbre meriting international repute.

He had won every award imaginable and garnered support for his theories from the most remote and diverse corners of the globe. He was much sought after to give lectures, and between these speaking engagements and his practice disposed of very little time. His area of expertise was Dream Sequence Analysis.

Now many of his colleagues agreed that no matter how eminent the man was as a psychologist, he was in more dire need of psychotherapy than the patients he treated. He was an insufferable megalomaniac and had so many quirks in his personality that he was an impossible boor. It was only because he was so obviously a genius and had so much to contribute that he was tolerable to any extent.

Among the innumerable idiosyncrasies that plagued him one of the more innocuous ones was that he had, throughout his adult life, refused to learn how to drive. As a result of this he had in his employ a chauffeur who traveled everywhere with him, doubling as his valet in the process. Dr. Seer was a corpulent man, balding at the front and with piercing black eyes. He constantly wore a melancholy expression on his face and no one, not even members of his immediate family, could ever recall seeing him smile. He was reclusive and absolutely forbade any photographs to be taken of him.

He was not married and although he had no such qualms about his intellectual capacity the good doctor was quite insecure about his appearance. Since he was not a very attractive physical specimen and never one to be outdone in any manner, one of his prerequisites was that his chauffeur be at least as ugly or preferably even less pleasing to the eye than he was.

Thus Ferdinand, the man who occupied this station, bore an uncanny resemblance to his employer. He was also quite portly, balding at the front with black eyes and had through months of rigorous exercises, trained his muscles to imitate the doctor's facial expressions to the extent that he could prevent a grin in even the most humorous of circumstances. They dressed alike at Dr. Seer's instructions. It was due to this striking similarity between Dr. Seer and his chauffeur that one of the most disgraceful intellectual deceptions in the pristine world of academia transpired.

It happened in the following manner. During one of his lecture tours across the more important capitals of Europe the doctor hatched his unorthodox and fraudulent scheme. The pair was in London and Dr. Seer did not feel like giving his lecture. He suggested to his chauffeur that he, instead of the doctor, give the lecture. His argument was that since Ferdinand had seen the lecture more than fifty times he could effortlessly give the same lecture word for word, even down to the inane jokes sprinkled here and there. He backed up this idea with the further argument that the entire lecture was scripted and never varied as he was a very meticulous man. It was always the same from start to finish.

This Ferdinand could attest to as by now he knew the speech backwards and forwards. He had upon more than one occasion thought that should he have to sit through that same speech one more time he could quite cheerfully blow the good doctor's brains out without a twinge of remorse. In fact, he had once politely suggested that he stay behind at the hotel instead of attending the speech, but the doctor would have none of it, being quite recalcitrant to change anything in his routine.

Ferdinand was not a malevolent creature by nature, but he did have a latent criminal streak that ran through him dating back to his formative years when he had burned his sister's Barbie Doll at the stake and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Dr. Seer had since analyzed this unfortunate incident and theorized that Ferdinand's deep rooted psychological motivation for igniting the conflagration was an unexplainable insatiable need to incinerate an ersatz sister effigy, the Barbie at the time providing a handy substitute to the torching of his actual sibling.

Ferdinand was also pragmatic and while the thought of deceiving a large group of learned scholars appealed to his mischievous instincts, the added incentive of retaining his lucrative employ, ( a thinly veiled threat from Dr. Seer hinted that this might not be the case should he decline the proposal) prompted him to accept the idea with alacrity.

It was because of this pact that the following morning at Oxford began with Ferdinand at the podium in front of one of the largest groups of learned minds that the western world and this century together have produced. At the very same moment Dr. Seer sat in the back, relaxing and enjoying immensely his chauffeur's initial discomfort. Despite a trivial setback at the beginning, due mainly to nervousness, Ferdinand had delivered and the lecture was a resounding success. He had parroted Dr. Seer's words down to the last syllable and there was ten minutes of uninterrupted applause at the end of the two hour oration.

Then a horrible thing happened. As the applause died down and Ferdinand stood basking in the respectful adulation reserved for intellectual greatness in our culture, a noted historian and archaeologist asked a very complicated question. It called for an in depth analysis and comparison of Dr. Seer's theories of Dream Sequence Analysis vis-a-vis the drawings left behind by various ancient civilizations. The icy grip of fear enveloped Ferdinand.

Up until that moment the charade had worked perfectly. The machinations of his duplicity had taken everyone in, but now he was being called upon to interpret and formulate a response which even the real doctor would be hard pressed to deliver. He began to sweat profusely and the sweat rolled down his forehead and into his eyes. A knot balled up in his stomach and his whole body began to tremble. His throat constricted and time lost all meaning as his empty gaze traveled over the sea of faces staring back at him in eager anticipation. As his glassy-eyed stare continued to travel over the audience his vision became fuzzy and those same faces melted together into a mirage resembling an immense pack of wild dogs howling and tearing at his mutilated carcass. A deathly silence reigned over the auditorium.

Then, after what seemed an eternal pause, Ferdinand once again rose to the occasion and gave the ultimate Machiavellian response. It was a response which to this day, when he and Dr. Seer talk about it, is the only thing which causes them to break into a smile, a feat never duplicated by any other circumstance.

He answered in the following manner. "Since I am running late I will not hold a question and answer period. Nevertheless, one has been asked so I will answer it. I feel I must say however, in deference to the rest of my learned colleagues here, that that my dear sir, is such a basic, nay, such an asinine question that even my chauffeur can answer it. Chauffeur, please come up here and answer that inane question. Today you will answer the question and I will drive you back to the hotel."

Whereupon Dr. Seer, clearly outfoxed by Ferdinand, had obediently traded places with his chauffeur, answered the question satisfactorily and taken his leave from the university with Ferdinand stoically behind the wheel of the Rolls Royce, once again performing his rightful duty.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Heat 1 - Celtics 0

The Miami Heat beat the Boston Celtics yesterday 99 - 90 in game 1 of what promises to be a very scrappy series. Here is Jason Gay's article on the result of game 1 from the WSJ. The Heat played well, with James Jones pitching in with 25 points off the bench. Boston is upset, to put it mildly. Go Heat!

It's Monday

And we all know what that means. This next manager has next to no leadership or managerial skills, but is extremely efficient when it comes to checking up on staff. Dogged persistence and annoying stalking behaviors are this manager's calling card.

MOTW: Follow-Up Manager

Although related to all of them, Follow-Up Manager is much less versatile than Micro Manager, By the Book Manager or even Bureaucratic Manager. This character’s lone managerial trait consists of inspecting all of his/her staff’s work on a strict schedule whose checkpoints can be measured in nanoseconds. This approach consumes all of his/her time as well as the staff’s leaving no time for planning, design, production or innovation.

Eventually the follow up becomes an end in itself, plunging the entire unit into a downward spiral from which there is no escape. This trend continues for an unspecified period of time until one day without warning the office vaporizes, leaving only tickler files and checklists behind as trace evidence.