Superman

"You will believe a man can fly."

This past week we heard the sad news that film director Richard Donner passed away at the age of 91. Donner was known for many films: The OmenSupermanSuperman 2 (uncredited, but there is a Donner cut), The Goonies, and Lethal Weapon to name a few.

Many feel that his work on Superman (which had one of the best taglines - 'You'll believe a man can fly'), eventually carved the way for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. According to the article:

One word was said to be Donner’s favorite: “verisimilitude.” This word hung in Donner’s office throughout production on Superman: The Movie, via a photo of the character holding a sash emblazoned with the word. Essentially, it means “plausibility,” a word Jon Favreau (likely emulating Donner) hung up while directing Iron Man.

But more importantly, Donner was known through the industry as a director who made work fun. This can be seen and felt in his movies; Gene Hackman retells an amazing story of the first day on Superman: 

“I showed up for the first day of makeup tests for Superman with a fine Lex Luthor mustache I’d grown for the role,” he began. “Dick, wearing his own handsome mustache, told me mine had to go. He bargained to lose his if I did mine. True to his word, he celebrated my last razor stroke by gleefully pulling off the fake whiskers he’d acquired for the occasion.”

And actor Sean Austin writes:

Richard Donner had the biggest, boomiest voice you could imagine. He commanded attention and he laughed like no man has ever laughed before. Dick was so much fun. What I perceived in him, as a 12-year-old kid, is that he cared. I love how much he cared. - Goonies Never Say Die

I'm saddened as a film fan by his passing but have always admired his leadership skills and his humility. His wife recounted how important it was to "have fun when the chips are down and lift everybody up. He also taught me not to sweat the little things. He gave me the gift of realizing it’s fine to relax and focus on what’s important."

Sound advice worth taking.

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Forward Thinking

After taking a break last week, I can't remember what drove me to save several links discussing "The Prisoner's Dilemma" (maybe I will remember it as I write this). Perhaps it was an episode of Loki

The Prisoner's Dilemma is defined in game theory as:

A situation where individual decision-makers always have an incentive to choose in a way that creates a less than optimal outcome for the individuals as a group.

It provides a methodology for understanding how to strike a balance between cooperation and competition and can be used for strategic decision-making. For teams, it represents many of the real-world scenarios they face when members of the team compete against each other, instead of collaborating.

Here's a great video describing the theory.

Latest obsession

One of my personal goals that I had set for myself during the pandemic was to become more knowledgeable about Whiskey. I know it sounds silly or emotional, but there is an allure to the entire experience of Whiskey:

It soothes the mind, relaxes the body, and warms even the coldest, most curmudgeonly heart.

An interesting fact is that Whiskey has high levels of polyphenols (plant-based antioxidants linked with lowering your risk of heart disease) — maybe it could be considered being good for you. :)

Fast-forward to a few weeks back, my neighbor generously gave me a fantastic bottle of Angel’s Envy Kentucky Bourbon (it's finished in Port Barrels), and the entire process is a true labor of love:

We guide each batch’s conditioning, blending our handcrafted bourbon in small batches of 8 to 12 barrels at a time. It’s typically aged for up to 6 years.

While we lose about 5% of the spirit each year to evaporation, or “the Angel’s Share,” what’s left behind after we’re done is truly worthy of envy.

Once it’s deemed ready, we finish our bourbon in ruby port wine casks, which adds subtly distinct flavor nuances that enhance the whiskey without challenging it.

Our port finishing process lasts between three to six months, depending on taste.

Highly recommended for drinking straight on the rocks or perhaps the key to your next Manhattan (and don’t get me started on Luxardo Maraschino Cherries).

This weeks "Deep Links"

Here's a few of the articles and videos that resonated with me over the last week:

  • 🧠 In what has got to be one of the best use-cases for AI, check out Brickit; the app scans a pile of loose bricks, and recognizes the brick types you have, and tells you what you can build. Amazing! More

  • 📚 "Long overdue books returned to Massachusetts library" is an understatement. On July 1, the library stopped charging late fees, so Bob Alvarez returned several books checked out in the 1920s and 1930s he found in a box in the basement - More

  • 👀 Take it for what it's worth, but "10 things you're doing now that you'll seriously regret in 10 years time" explores some obvious, but not often curbed, behaviors that will have long term consequences - More

  • 🎟 I love this idea of the "Lucky Lotto, chaos engineering but for teams". It goes like this - every Monday, a random person wins the 'lotto', and the winner gets to work on some side project and is completely unavailable to colleagues and the rest of the team to focus on the project. Brilliant.- More

  • 📷 A fascinating look at "Developing 120-Year-Old Photos Found in a Time Capsule". Mathieu Stern found a box of glass plate negative images of pets hidden away 120 years ago. Using the cyanotype technique, he documented the development of the film - More

  • 🚀 The challenge of remote work isn't technological, they are managerial. "Why Remote Work Is So Hard — and How It Can Be Fixed" looks at the challenges and potential solutions as we all head into the future of work - More

  • 🌋 "Why Failure Is More Important Than You Think" explores 'your success is often explained by the failures in your past'. It's how we each embrace and learn from those failures is the important part - More

  • 💸 Speaking of failures, Seth Godin has a great piece on "How much does a mistake cost?" and the investment needed in preventing them. 'Spend the time and spend the money and the errors can be avoided.'; Amen! - More

  • 💻 I've mentioned Steen Sinofsky's Hardcore Software in previous weeks, but "Accelerated Cookie Licking" was a kicker. The concept of cookie licking - when one group would lay claim to an area by pre-emptively announcing (via slides in some deck at some meeting) ownership of an initiative - is crazy - but it happens! - More

  • 🦠 "How memes spread through society like a 'mind virus'" explores how information 'are ideas that are not just readily spread but can also induce new behaviors in their carriers' - More

Fin

The 1984 game Karateka was an early martial arts side-scroller that was a #1 bestseller and a major influence to generations of gamers. If you are interested, there is a publication of designer Jordan Mechner's private journals called "The Making of Karateka" which I would recommend if you want to understand the incredible journey of this game. 

But this one was new to me. Did you know about the Easter egg where you could boot the disk upside down?????