Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group: “Ten Pretty Good Rules”

Model Airplane Over Map with Shadow

A list of “Ten Pretty Good Rules” from the Fellows of the Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group.

  1. Never argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference!
  2. Observe everything; admire nothing!
  3. It’s easier to obtain forgiveness than it is permission!
  4. Rarely resist the opportunity to keep your mouth shut!
  5. Don’t ask the question if you cannot live with the answer!
  6. If you want a new idea, read an old book!
  7. If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there!
  8. Never have a philosophy which supports a lack of courage!
  9. Never look back unless you intend to go that way!
  10. Never wrestle with a pig; you both get dirty and the pig likes it!

(Compiled by Fellows of the Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group, 1982-1983 Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island)

When Change Doesn’t Make Sense and Why it Should


Nearly everyone experiences the frustration of unexpected change. Patterns of life and work flow are often interrupted by innovations that don’t make sense. Everything from software and TV remotes to roadways and voting locations. Change typically comes without much explanation and while the reasons are evident to engineers and developers, others are often outside that bubble.

Users are typically told what is new, but seldom are they told the why behind it. In some cases the explanation given is so broad it’s almost worthless. “To improve traffic safety” or ” to enhance the customer experience.”

Leaving out the why happens in part because it isn’t needed to sell products. Sales is driven by short term what and who. Why is only needed if it helps complete the transaction. Technical support, customer service, trainers, and elected officials are left to sort through questions of why things changed, often without solid answers.

The result of the non-answers they provide is often frustration. Yet with a little explaining on the front end, those who are interested in the why can become strong advocates for “What’s New.” They’ll be less resistant when they get a glimpse of the reasoning behind the changes. Assuming those reasons make sense.

Converting what into why can give advocates more reason to support the change. If it can be explained well, others will share the story. If not, people will make efforts to point out a speculative why, and chances are that speculation with be negative. “They changed it because they’re idiots.” Don’t give them the opportunity.

Take what the engineers, planners, and developers know and put it in terms those impacted by the change can easily understand. Building the right story around the boring details can go along towards increasing confidence in your organization.

Ready to Turn Around?

CountrysideTrue story. A couple living in Georgia drives to Utah to visit family. While in Colorado they see a sign that says ‘Shortest route to Salt Lake City’ and they decide to follow the sign and take the road. The highway changes from four lanes to two, and eventually becomes a dirt road. They know they’ve gone down the wrong road but they keep driving for a while before turning around and finding a highway that takes them to their intended destination.

What is the point of this story? Often we know we’ve gone down the wrong path long before we’re ready to turn around. Sometimes we’re hoping to find another way out. Other times it may simply be the stubbornness of the commitment.

Whatever the reason, it’s helpful to remember that recognition of error doesn’t always equal instant correction. Not in ourselves or in others.

It takes courage to accept a mistake when an individual, couple, or group is committed to a process. Especially when most others will never know how far things have veered off course. They may never know, and what they do know doesn’t matter.

What matters is that individuals make the choice to accept where they are, turn around, and make the journey back even if it requires covering some of the same ground.

Principles Set in Stone: What LaVista Hills Can’t See


There was just one thing the House sub-committee said was “set in stone” and Senator Fran Millar of Dunwoody decided to show them it didn’t matter by pushing that stone further into Tucker and all the way down Livsey Road. He didn’t express a drop of concern for the House agreement. It was as if it didn’t apply.

It was the same with Representative Tom Taylor also of Dunwoody and the sponsor of the bill in the House. Taylor sat next to Senator Millar, in front of the Senate Committee, and agreed to the amendment expanding into even more of Tucker.

Did Representative Taylor forget that between sessions he and Representative Mike Jacobs designed and implemented the plan for a fixed border solution between two independent bills? A plan whose staying power was pinned on trust, between all parties, that neither group would endorse crossing the agreed upon boundary in the legislative process.

Yet sitting before the State and Local Governmental Operations committee (SLOGO) in the Senate there was little hint of internal conflict in Representative Taylor’s smiling endorsement ignoring the no trespassing signs he helped put up. Was this the real plan all along?

It will be interesting to see what Representative Scott Holcomb, the co-sponsor of the LaVista Hills bill, says about the amendment passing. He was not at the meeting.

Despite nuanced language implying otherwise, it appears the LaVista Hills leadership was not the least bit ignorant of the coming changes revealed in the meeting. Key leaders knew. One, a political consultant by profession, was called in front of the Committee to answer questions about changes to the map. Another knew enough in advance to have a prepared written statement to read in favor of the changes.

When asked by the SLOGO Committee Chairman, Senator John Albers, how many LaVista Hills supporters in the room supported the changes breaking the agreement made in the House, without hesitation the hand of every LaVista Hills leader in the room went up.

Some in the LaVista Hills leadership may be able to say truthfully that they had not seen the map until the day of but seeing the finalized map and knowing that your bill sponsor, acting in your behalf, is going to ignore the agreement you accepted are two different things.

An agreement that was essential to move the LaVista Hills bill forward in the House.

Attempting to distance one’s self from that decision by saying you hadn’t seen the map, while at the same raising your hand in favor of it, rings a little hollow. If anything it reveals that those who made ‘good faith’ statements of not knowing, formally to the committee and to others, knew that what happened was wrong.

It would have been better to speak out against the change than to hide behind a claim of ignorance. And why not speak against the new map if you’re just learning of it for the first time? Especially if you think it may harm your bill just as House leadership said it would.

The bill would have still passed and integrity would have been maintained. Perhaps the encroachment into Tucker would have passed too. That’s politics.

But now if the LaVista Hills bill passes in the Legislature there is yet another wound in the armor for potential voters to question. Do those at the helm have the ability not to yield to the temptation of short term power and gain? The same temptation that has enticed more than a few in DeKalb County government? Basically the entire reason for the LaVista Hills platform?

Can they not see that they just took another bite from the same apple they are claiming has corrupted the County? The answer appears to be an unqualified and bitter tasting “No.”

This should be the biggest concern for those in the LaVista Hills map. If the same kind of decisions are being made in the process of creating a city that the hopeful city creators are complaining about with the County, what hope is there for that city? It may not be an exchange of money but it is an exchange of power and dominance over trust and good will.

It may weigh on their conscience differently but until we hear otherwise what tastes sweet to Lakeside leaders now appears to taste just as sweet to what remains of the Briarcliff team. Will they admit to error? Time will tell. Right now the hunger for a city appears to be blinding.

Whatever the reasoning it’s clear that LaVista Hills leaders and at least two of the legislative sponsors knew what was coming and while there is nothing wrong with wanting a bigger map, how one goes about it really does matter. Some principles are worth setting in stone.

Yard Sale (Part 6): Vintage mostly unopened Records

IMG_2779Looking for just the right gift for your hipster child or grandchild? Maybe you need something for that “special” someone in your life during in the post St. Patrick’s Day lull? You’re not alone.

Nothing says I understand you like a vintage vinyl record. The more obscure the music, the better.

Sooth their need for popular obscurity with vintage vinyl. Do they have a record player? Does it matter? Of course not. They’ll enjoy the irony either way. Like an unused fire extinguisher, just having one on the shelf is comfort enough.

They’ll have hours of fun feeling the texture of the grooves, googling the names of song writers and terms like “monaural phonographs.” Yes, all as an expression of your love and deep insight into their complex world.

Not available in stores, these near one-of-a-kind pieces of black plastic surrounded in mid-century cardboard can be yours for the incredible low price of $3.99 each.

That’s right! For nearly a third the cost of minimum wage in Washington DC, give your child, grandchild, or that special someone the gift that keeps on giving. The gift they’ll treasure too much to ever use, the gift of music on vinyl.

That’s $3.99 each or act now and get the entire collection for $24.99! You heard that right, buy all 9 albums and save over $10.00! Unbelievable!

Get them all today!

$3.99 each
$24.99 for the set

Russ Columbo on Air, the “Romeo of Radio” – unopened
Uncle Dave’s 78rpm Nostalgia Party #3 – opened
Al Jolson on the Silver Screen – unopened
Songs of our Times 1922 – unopened
Songs of our Times 1924 – unopened
Songs of our Times 1934 – opened
Songs of our Times 1935 – unopened
Songs of our Times 1940 – opened
Lawrence Welk Memories – opened

Yard Sale (Part 5): Blue 1964/65 New York World’s Fair Stein

IMG_2811Remember that time your family went to the 1964/65 World’s Fair in New York and they didn’t bring you anything? You’re not alone.

Fortunately your day has come. A recently uncovered stock pile of just one New York World’s Fair ceramic stein was undiscovered and the entire inventory must go! Yes this beautiful, near one-of-a-kind blue and white ceramic piece of history and home décor can be yours. The perfect gift for someone wanting this sort of thing.

You won’t find similar steins priced this low on Ebay and you won’t see this on Antiques Road Show. Just $9.95.

(Warning: Not microwave safe.)

Yard Sale (Part 4): Refrigerator Magnet Collection – But wait! There’s More!

35 United States Magnet Collection

35 United States Magnet Collection

Is the front of your refrigerator door bare? Tired of family shaking their heads every time they walk through the kitchen? Tired of regretting that you didn’t buy magnets at the airport gift shop? You’re not alone.

Let go of “shoulda, coulda, woulda, if only” and take hold of your very own refrigerator magnet collection!

This recently discovered collection of 35 United States refrigerator magnets can turn a plain refrigerator door into the door of an experienced traveler!

The collection includes Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana. Maryland, Delaware, Arkansas, Indiana, Maine, and Wisconsin. California, Washington, Nevada, three of the four corners states and much, much, more!

That’s not all! Act now and you’ll get the Coopers Town Collection, the Hunter Collection, the Boat Collection, the Guitar Collection, and the Precious Moments Girl magnet all at no additional cost!

That’s right, you get the 35 United States magnets plus three other collections, and the collectible Precious Moments Girl magnet, all for one low price!

But wait there’s more!

With Valentine’s Day long gone, and Easter not yet here couldn’t you use some chocolate? For all you chocolate lovers you get not just one, but THREE Hershey Chocolate magnets. That’s right you’ll get the entire Hershey Chocolate Collection free!

Think that’s all? Think again. Have a gambler in your life? Now you can share in his or her excitement with the Gambler Collection! You’ll be the winner on this deal!

What about the star gazer who frequents the ice box? Now they can enjoy the NASA Space Shuttle Collection including both the Columbia and the Challenger.

Speaking of the ice box, you’ll need some magnets for the frozen treats you keep north of the border, so this offer now includes the Random Canadian Provinces Collection!

Think we’re finished? Not yet.

Not only will you get everything just mentioned you’ll also get the Mexico magnet, a second Alaska magnet, two Washington DC magnets, and last but not least the Yellow Snowman magnet. That’s right, the Yellow Snowman magnet.

It would cost you thousands of dollars and years of travel to build this collection on your own. How much would you expect to pay? $50.00? $100.00? $500.00? Not even close.

Swallow whatever you’re drinking and put down the baby!

Every magnet in all eight collections plus the Precious Moments Girl, extra Alaska, two Washington DC magnets, and the Yellow Snowman magnet – a total of 65 magnets, can be yours for just $9.95. That’s right pick yourself up off the floor, just $9.95!

Don’t have a refrigerator? Don’t need the whole collection? Not sure what to do with 65 magnets? Don’t let that stop you. The possibilities are almost endless.

Every time you visit a friend’s house, leave a magnet. Need to give a hint to your spouse for your next vacation? Leave a magnet. Have a spouse who hates magnets? Leave a magnet. Refrigerator at work? Be the mystery magnet person.

They’re not just for refrigerators. They also stick on metal cars and trucks.

Keep them for yourself or share them with others, for just $9.95 the choice is yours! Remember, nothing says “cool” like a collection of magnets. Buy them all today!

Coopesrtown Collection

Coopesrtown Collection

Hunter Collection

Hunter Collection

Boat Collection

Boat Collection

Guitar Collection

Guitar Collection

Precious Moments Girl

Precious Moments Girl

Hershey Chocolate Collection

Hershey Chocolate Collection

Gambler Collection

Gambler Collection

NASA Space Shuttle Collection

NASA Space Shuttle Collection

Random Canadian Provinces Collection

Random Canadian Provinces Collection

Yellow Snowman

Yellow Snowman

Yard Sale (Part 3): Wall Mounted Wooden Display Cabinet

IMG_2790Ever pay too much for something then realized you didn’t need it? You’re not alone.

This time I’ve saved you the trouble by doing it for you! Yes, that’s right I paid way too much for this beautiful late 1970s style wood cabinet with a mirrored back and glass shelves, and I didn’t need it! It can be yours for less than half the price and none of the regret!

Comes with three removable glass shelves for easy cleaning and removable metallic golden edge on each shelve to suit your home décor needs. The one-way mirror gives the needed illusion of having more room inside. Makes seeing both sides of your well-displayed treasures or medicine bottles effortless.

Perfectly designed for a bathroom, man cave, or anyplace you can drive a nail. It’s yours for just $19.95! That’s right just $19.95 no shipping and handling. Find a space for it on your wall today!

Height: 28 1/4″
Width: 15 3/8”
Depth: 6 1/4″

Shelf depth: 4 3/4″
Shelf length: 4 7/8″

Hanging mechanism: Wire.

Yard Sale (Part 2): A Grammar of Akkadian

IMG_2777Are you tired of reading Egyptian? Has ancient Greek become too blasé? Are you ready for something more? You’re not alone.

Join dozens of elite scholars around the world and master your understanding of Akkadian with “A Grammar of Akkadian” by John Huehnergard (Harvard Semitic Studies 45).

Yes, it’s the written language of the Kish Dynasty, the Mesopotamian monarchy from the 3rd millennium BCE. The language you’ve heard so much about and longed to understand.

With a mastery of Akkadian you’ll never struggle with calculating tips on clay tablets again! Make your own translation of the Epic of Gilgamesh, send text messages in cuneiform, and never be embarrassed by saying “lam ma-a-a il-li-kam-ma” when you really meant “ma a-la-ki-su-nu” at a royal function again.

Your mother will be glowing with pride as you impress her friends from Old Babylonia with your understanding of prepositions and subordinate clauses.

How much would you pay for this Harvard text book $40.00? $50.00? Not even close.

Through a special one-time Facebook offer, this attractive book and talking piece can be yours for the amazing price of just $19.95. That’s right, for a little more than the cost of a U2 concert ticket in 1987, this stunning collection of scholarship can be yours! A life time of enjoyment just by looking at the spine.

But wait, there’s more! Act now and you’ll get a copy of “Key to a Grammar of Akkadian” (Harvard Semitic Studies 46) absolutely free! That’s right, over thirty additional lessons in Akkadian absolutely free! You won’t find this offer anywhere else online and it won’t last forever. Get it today!


Yard Sale (Part 1): Russian Nesting Doll


Didn’t make it to the USSR before it went back to being just plain old Russia? You’re not alone.

But now you can own a piece of rare Soviet era memorability!

Bearing the stamp “Made in USSR” this 1989 Russian nesting doll or Matryoshka doll, hand selected and purchased on the streets of Leningrad (the City formerly known as “Saint Petersburg,” currently known as “Saint Petersburg”) can now be part of your collection.

Five space saving gender neutral dolls in one offer!

Now you can tell your children and grandchildren the story of Soviet conquest and collapse with smaller nations swallowed up in the belly of Mother Russia with this stunning visual aid!

Yes, this doll and all the Cold War symbolism you can muster can be yours and yours alone for the unbelievably American price of only $9.95! That’s right, $9.95! Give me a ten and I’ll give you a back nickel.

(Note: Quarter not included in sale. Used for size reference only.)