I like to think that never tell you what a great coffee I had in the Algarve…

But apparently people do. They call it journalling. It’s a way of inflicting your interesting thoughts about coffee or your new t-shirt.


“If journaling is on your 2021 goals list, then Day One needs to live on your macOS dock. It’s the best tool for journaling on the Appel (sic) platform with built-in sync from Mac to iPhone/iPad. Day One makes it easy to document the funny things your kids say, great school projects, or the best cup of coffee you had on an overseas trip.”

Kill me now.


This beauteous latinic tintinambulationing reminds me that I have never understood American racism. Maybe it’s jealousy; that might make some kind of sense. But I’m not jealous; instead I’m awestruck. Of course it helps if you know the tune: start with Doris Day’s ‘straight’ version (nothing straighter is available!), then check out Cannonball and Mileses version on Somethin’ Else, then this. Jazz is play, bitches: if they aren’t having fun, and crucially, if WE aren’t having fun, then why the fuck would anyone bother? Watch the video closely to see the magnificent fun being had! Btw, Ahmad turned 90 in July. “We don’t stop playing when we get old, we get old when we stop playing…”

LostWorkshops1: why lying to children is a parental dutyand lying to consultancy clients is a crime

This workshop, drawing on the work of Lakoff and Johnson, Postman and Weingartner, Dunbar, Tsoukas, Miyami, Minkoff, Vespuigi, Cohen and Stewart, Maturana and Hegel explores the complex relationship between truth, solidarity, tribal bonding, decision-making, leadership and socialisation, and the limitations of consultation and evaluation.

In today’s complex world of true lies and false facts, where the internet is blah blah.

To book this workshop contact Plexity. For more information, please reread.

Scarfolk Books have asked me to point out that they are not sponsoring this workshop and apologise for the misleading flyers.

#mumtoodadtoo school girls against boyswillbeboys


“Yasmin Behbehani had just walked into her third-period health class when her friend asked her if she had seen the list.

““There’s a list of the girls’ names,” her friend Nicky Schmidt, a fellow senior at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in Maryland, said. “And we’re ranked.” 

“Behbehani didn’t want to see the list, or know whether she was on it. She had spent the past four years recovering from an eating disorder, working hard to avoid comparing herself with others, she said. But by her sixth-period class on that Monday earlier this month, a text message appeared on her phone with a screenshot of the list, typed out on the iPhone Notes app.

“It included the names of 18 girls in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School’s International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, ranked and rated on the basis of their looks, from 5.5 to 9.4, with decimal points to the hundredth place. There, with a number beside it, was Behbehani’s name.

“A group of male students in their program created the list more than a year ago, but it resurfaced earlier this month, through text messages and whispers during class. One male classmate, seeing the name of his good friend Nicky Schmidt on the list, told her about it, and within 24 hours, dozens of girls had heard about the list.

“Lists like this one had silently circulated among teen boys for generations, and it has happened in more recent years at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, too, the students said. But it was happening now, in the era of the #MeToo movement. Women had been standing up to harassment in workplaces and on college campuses and the high school girls, who had been witnessing this empowerment, decided they weren’t going to let the issue slide.”


Superb fight back.

I’m increasingly of the belief that all presidents should be replaced by three 8 year old girls.

If anyone’s interested, I can say why in some detail.

Childrensaving and Ship Building (NB: it’s Shipbuilding, all one word)

Currently, Wallsend is having its children saved. Hurrah.

Childrensaving is happening, thanks to a government-funded programme, delivered by a national children’s charity, saviours of  children, heroes in their own lunchtime {a lunch of rocket, kale and organic polenta, to be precise}.

This is part of the ongoing long-term —some things are long-term, aren’t they— the ongoing long-term deracination and outsourcing of the role of local government in the public realm.

Successive governments, red and blue and yellow, have decided that local government can’t be trusted. Central government prefers to impose 3rd sector agencies from London on communities, because local government is infested with a ‘can’t-do’ mentality and is bogged down in local politics and can’t make the thrusting managerialist interventions, on absurdly short timescales [ie. before the next election], that politicians command but can’t control.

If you wanted to talk about shipbuilding to people in Wallsend, which is the topic today, BTW, you might start by learning that shipbuilding is all one word, it’s not Ship Building. A ship building would be the hut in which you keep your little rowing boat, by a river bank. Or is it riverbank? A river bank would be a bank in which you keep rivers, or something.

So anyway, here is The Theory Which Will Transform Wallsend, starting from the ‘Past Context’ of “Ship Buildings (Lost)”…Wallsend Children_s Community Initial Overarching Theory of Change

And here is another Theory of Change…


You’re all busy people who don’t have time to listen to some bloody lefty pop song from 1982, so here’s the lyrics for all you busy managers who need it one side of A4 by 9 o’clock tomorrow morning…

Is it worth it?
A new winter coat and shoes for the wife
And a bicycle on the boy’s birthday
It’s just a rumour that was spread around town
By the women and children
Soon we’ll be shipbuilding
Well, I ask you
The boy said, Dad, they’re going to take me to Task
But I’ll be back by Christmas?
It’s just a rumour that was spread around town
Somebody said that someone got filled in
For saying that people get killed in
The result of  The shipbuilding
With all the will in the world
Diving for dear life
When we could be diving for pearls
It’s just a rumour that was spread around town
A telegram or a picture postcard
Within weeks, they’ll be re-opening the shipyards
And notifying the next of kin, once again
It’s all we’re skilled in
We will be shipbuilding
With all the will in the world
Diving for dear life
When we could be diving for pearls
It’s all we’re skilled in
We will be shipbuilding
With all the will in the world
Diving for dear life
When we could be diving for pearls
When we could be diving for pearls
When we could be diving for pearls


Thinking in Systems

 Donella H. Meadows
“So, what is a system? A system is a set of things—people, cells, molecules, or whatever—interconnected in such a way that they produce their own pattern of behavior over time. 

A system is an interconnected set of elements that is coherently organized in a way that achieves something. We can’t impose our will on a system. We can listen to what the system tells us, and discover how its properties and our values can work together to bring forth something much better than could ever be produced by our will alone.

There are no separate systems. The world is a continuum. Where to draw a boundary around a system depends on the purpose of the discussion.

We know a tremendous amount about how the world works, but not nearly enough. Our knowledge is amazing; our ignorance even more so… 

You can drive a system crazy by muddying its information streams. Purposes are deduced from behavior, not from rhetoric or stated goals.

Missing information flows is one of the most common causes of system malfunction. Adding or restoring information can be a powerful intervention, usually much easier and cheaper than rebuilding physical infrastructure. 

Remember, always, that everything you know, and everything everyone knows, is only a model. Get your model out there where it can be viewed. Invite others to challenge your assumptions and add their own.

Thou shalt not distort, delay, or withhold information.”

― Donella H. Meadows, 

Thinking in Systems: A Primer
Donella H. Meadows (March 13, 1941 – February 20, 2001) was a pioneering American environmental scientist, teacher, and writer. She is best known as lead author of the influential book “The Limits to Growth” and “Thinking in Systems: a Primer”

( from the excellent: https://creativesystemsthinking.wordpress.com )

Why do birds suddenly* appear…

…to flock?


Google ‘why do starlings flock’.

Actually, I’m being a little unfair, as I haven’t provided you with any ‘starter’ reading. Try these: 



And here is the famous Boids simulation developed by Craig Reynolds: 



Then we can have a discussion about what constitutes an explanation. For you. For scientists. For others…


*Regrettably, it isn’t because, 

“They want to be

Close to you.”

Why I love my possessions as a mirror and a gallery of me | Aeon Essays

“Were I to live without my stuff, I’d have the same intellect, the same memories, values and beliefs that I hold now; but, without objects anchoring me and providing pleasure, I fear I’d fly off the face of the Earth. I know I’d be a miserable version of that self, endlessly muttering: ‘I used to have one of those.’ As Belk reminds us, people entering the military, religious orders, concentration camps, prisons and other institutions have their personal possessions removed immediately, to eliminate their uniqueness.

Shorn of my possessions, I would still be me. But, I suspect, not for long.”

Go read it.


The Evolution of Cooperation

​The Evolution of Cooperation, is, if I recall correctly a book by Robert Axelrod, or his brother. It uses game theory to explain how a strategy called ‘forgiving tit for tat’ conquers all others.

And here it is, in a cat video.


A&E for Mail

What happens at A&E?  Triage. Can we do triage on email? Yes. What would it consist of? Let’s see.

OK, two scenarios, which together remind me of Richard Pryor’s awesome and charming ‘Black people and snakes’ routine

(some details, but no video, shame at http://triblive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/columns/seate/s_630933.html)


Scenario A : an office, somewhere

Somebody in your office, in a meeting with some other people cuts their hand really badly with the blunt disposable craft knife (that has been kicking around in an a plastic toolbox known as ‘The Box Of Meeting Stuff’), as they are trimming some flipchart paper down to quarter size for an activity. Lots of blood. Scenes of mild panic as the movie classification people say. OMG, OMG! Hold on don’t panic! Where’s the first aid box. I don’t know, do we have one? YES, its a legal requirement! Well, I don’t know, where’s Dave (the boss) He’s in a meeting. Ask Gladys! She’s on her lunch break.. Meanwhile Gary is bleeding out, you wouldn’t mind so much but it’s all over YOUR laptop keyboard…

Scenario B: your local hospital, A&E

What’s this? Yes that looks quite naughty, hold it over your head. To slow down the bleeding. Put this round it (hands wad of tissue to victim), hold it tight.

Things to remember…

…when you’re really really really busy and up against a deadline and let’s face it in a bit of a flap, way behind and there’s a thing you cannot delay or change at all and its really really important, and an email arrives…

  1. Pause
  2. Deep breath in, holddd, exhale slo w w l y and repeat
  3. Now actually read it slo w w l y
  4. Then think, think for a few moments
  5. Then respond.

Thank you, I’m here all week.

File under: we wouldn’t have to teach grandad to suck eggs if he didn’t keep doing it wrong





Jeff, Who Lives In Our Apartment Stairwell — Medium

via Jeff, Who Lives In Our Apartment Stairwell — Medium

New York City is expensive.

As part of the affordable housing requirements in our apartment building, the management has set aside certain areas for individuals with low incomesand/or who are formerly homeless.

On the third floor stairwell lives one recipient of those initiatives: a man named Jeffrey who has lived in New York City for forty-five years. I spoke to him one Saturday afternoon.

How’s it going?

Today’s a good day.

What makes it a good day?

There’s a little sliver of light that comes in through the hole in the wall on certain days. Sometimes the sun isn’t at the right angle but today it did come through and that made me happy.


How long have you lived in this building?

I’m going on three years now. My case worker came to me one day and said, Jeff, Who Lives in the Apartment Stairwell — that’s my name since I’ve been living in stairwells for a while — we have the perfect place for you.

And she brought me here. It didn’t look as good as it does now, I’ve really fixed the place up. I could tell it had good bones and it would turn out okay once I cleared out all the mice feces.

Where were you living before?

I’ve been in a few different stairwells before. I was over in Manhattan for a while in the Lower East Side but then came to Fort Greene and Clinton Hill but got priced out of those stairwells. My landlord turned off all the services to my rent-stabilized stairwell and locked me out and I wasn’t as familiar then as I am now with New York City regulations and rules so I just left.

How did you become homeless initially?

I lost my job. That was the start of it. Then I couldn’t keep paying my rent, I didn’t have enough saved up, that’s my own fault, I admit that, but I didn’t have enough to cover the rent and I was evicted. I didn’t know where to go so I slept in my car.

But then my car got towed and I didn’t have enough money to get it out of impound and I slept in Prospect Park. I’ve used some of the city services but I don’t like the shelters. People get stabbed, your stuff gets stolen, it’s just a nasty place to be. Worse than sleeping on the streets, I think.

How well do you get along with the neighbors here?

Well, most of them are fine. I have a lease, I’m legally allowed to be here. I know there’s no door but this is my area. And so when people put bikes here or trash, that really pisses me off.

Or they call management to complain about me. I’ve had a bunch of people call the management and are shocked that someone is living legally in the stairwell.

Now read on… Jeff, Who Lives In Our Apartment Stairwell — Medium