Archive for the ‘The Rambling Series’ Category

R.I.P. – Dr Norman K Powell, ex-MBS

I’ve had several people ask about the passing of my friend and dissertation tutor Dr Norman Powell.

Norman passed on September 7th, at the end a short Hospice Stay in Carlisle, Cumbria.

Please contact me directly for details, information on passing condolences to Hilda, or to remember Norman.

Meeting nearly 30 years ago at the Manchester Business School when I earned my MBA in Production Management, Norman was always interest in my pursuits as we worked on projects over the years.

May he rest in peace.


Change in Focus – Life Tools and Best of What I’ve Found

I have been considering erasing Randomhold, as many types of discussions can end up in bad place – a polarizing squabble – which is not where I would like to take sharing & learning by blog.

Instead Randomhold will pick up on the Life Tools Series and add similar series for other areas where I have learned something worth sharing, found a solution worth making known, or simply want to cheer on my fellows in their efforts.

More when we hit the winter months…

Echo Chamber

Doing opinion pieces is like setting off firecrackers in an Echo Chamber – chances are your ears will end up hurting.

In respect of the wide range of varying opinions I’ve drafted and left unpublished several dozen posts, and am current deciding if they will ever publish.



Planning a Quiet November as it is NaNoWriMo Time

NaNoWriMo Logo

NaNoWriMo Logo

Random Hold is planning a quiet November. I have some posts prepared and will use this time to repost updated versions of some of the most popular posts.

Taking a second year stab at doing some larger scale writing, by doing the NaNoWriMo project (National Novel Writing Month)

From their website:

What is NaNoWriMo?

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.

In 2007, we had over 100,000 participants. More than 15,000 of them crossed the 50k finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.

So, to recap:

What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month’s time.

Who: You! We can’t do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let’s write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.

Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era’s most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.

When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at midnight. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.

Still confused? Just visit the How NaNoWriMo Works page!

The project URL is at:

My NaNoWriMo name is “StevenW” and you should be able to follow my progress at:

If you want to have a go yourself, please add me as one of your writing buddies!


Book Recommendation – Hard Thinking

“Hard Thinking – The Fusion of Politics and Science” by Herbert Meyer

“Herbert E. Meyer argues that as we move into the twenty-first century our survival requires that we fuse the two cultures; that we transform politics itself from the struggle for power to the quest for knowledge about how we can best organize and manage our public affairs.”

— from the Author’s Website

Every scientist interested in public affairs should read this book. So should every politician.”

— Dr. Jonas Salk, developer of the polio vaccine and
Founding Director of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies

“Delightful! To infuse the spirit, the methods, and the fundamental good will of science into politics would indeed be a giant stop forward.”

— Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University

This Small Book is huge in its implications and the challenge it issues. Setting aside emotional thinking in favor of the rigors of a scientist is clearly explained my Mr Meyer in clear & easy to understand language.



Our Madness Today Foretold

American Author Garet Garrett was commenting on the Bi-Metal US Treasury debacle of the late 19th Century in his 1922 novel “The Driver.”

His words were a scorn for political ideas and ideals which somehow imagined to replace reality with their newly defined declaration of substance.

It was a systemic insanity to his eyes & mind, a madness which we find griping ourselves now, as we imagine some populistic declaration of redistribution of wealth and re-segmentation of the measure of wealth, that being currency, will somehow positively affect our economy.

“You may define a mass delusion you cannot explain it really. It is a malady of the imagination incurable by reason that apparently must run its course.”

“They had not the notion why or how they were mad because they unable to realize that they were mad at all. “

“I have recently turned over the pages of the newspapers and periodicals of that time to verify recollection that events as they occurred were with no awareness of their significance. And it so Intelligence was in suspense. The faculty judgment slept as in a dream the imagination loose inventing fears and phantasies.”

Yes, he recognized that economic policy not based in cold hard fact and sound understanding of the functions were faire tales of the worst sort – much like our presently fantasies of “Green Shoots” and “[self]-stimulus money.”

Profoundly he rings forth with several truisms:

“Money is not a thing either true or untrue. It is merely a token of other things which are useful and enjoyable.”

“Naive trust in the power of words to command reality is found in all mass delusions.”

And goes on to mock the inane notion that government can simply “say it is so, and it will be so” as if in a children’s story:

“[Adherents of the Popular Socialism of the Day] were laughed at for thinking that prosperity could be created by phrases written in the form of law. Congress thought the same thing.”

We are caught in a madness. A madness being defended by a government willing to work to suppress the open statement of knowledge that it is “all made up.” It would be as if every person watching the naked emperor in the children’s story had their mouths taped up, or preferably to the machinery in action now, that they would never had even had a voice.

Garrett also notes that the populist “Madness” must simply run its course. Perhaps a solution can be found, maybe even in accidental “unintended consequences” of otherwise unsound actions, but more likely by the population slowly coming to – regaining awareness – of the folly trying to steal from yourself is.

Recommended book, “The Driver” (the reprint is said to be the best of the lot) and an unavoidable future as the “great experiment” runs it course.

Annual Ride To Work Day is Monday!

Media Release: For immediate use
Date: 06/11/09
Subject: Annual Ride To Work Day is Monday!

Ride to Work Day is Monday, June 15th. We hope you will ride to work, …or ride just for fun, …or for your daily errands. And we hope you will tell your riding and non-riding friends about the event (please forward this message). Riding from A to B is important, especially on Ride to Work Day, when all riders can help increase awareness about the benefits of riding. Your support and participation will help make a positive difference for everyone.

You can also increase local PR about Ride to Work Day by contacting the media in your area (call, email or forward this message), and letting them know about the event. Or by inviting friends to meet for a Ride to Work Day breakfast, on the way to work, Monday morning. More information about the annual Ride to Work Day event is here.

At work, you can tell your associates that you rode with these stickers, designed to be printed on adhesive paper. They’re a great way to create a buzz around your workplace. On Monday, enjoy a great Ride to Work Day, and have fun!

Contact Ride to Work Day, a 501 c4 nonprofit organization, at:
POB 1072, Proctor, Minnesota, 55810 USA
218 722 9806
Mission Statement:
Advocating and supporting the use of motorcycles and scooters for transportation, and providing information about everyday riding to the public.
Some Affiliated Countries:
Canada, Germany, Philippines, England, Germany, France, Israel, Turkey, Ecuador, United States, and many others.
Sample issues of ‘The Daily Rider’ newsletter are available for download at:
A brief history of Ride to Work Day is available for viewing at:
Fact Sheet:
A transportation motorcycling fact sheet is available at:
Photos and Artwork:
Motorcycle and scooter commuting photos, ads, posters, banners, photos, illustrations and other artwork is available at:

Economist Thorstein Veblen’s Washington Island Study Cabin Project

INFORMATION JUST IN:  The Veblen study cabin was successfully  moved to the Jacobsen Museum property about a third of a mile from the cabin’s original location on Monday June 15th 2009.   Local Washington Island contractor Tom Jordan and his crew accomplished the move in one day.   More information will follow on the Washington Island Heritage Conservancy website (linked below).

[Update June 17th, 2009 ]

Economist Thorstein Veblen’s Weashington Island study cabin is being moved from Door County Land Trust holdings between Little Lake and Green Bay, to the Jacobsen Museum property on the south shore of Little Lake.

Veblen’s theoretical works on industrial economics is to economics as Frank Lloyd Wright designs are to architecture. Both were roughly contemporary and equally influential in their respective areas. Veblen was born in Cato, and raised in Manitowoc before moving to Minnesota and then attending Carlton College, as his childhood home is a National Heritage site in Manitowoc County.

“Veblen was a leading economist and sociologist of the early twentieth century. His views on consumption, technology, and the interactions of “Wall Street and Main Street” are widely cited and still influential. Scores of books have been written about him, and his critical writings about the economy and society continue to be in the news.

Veblen’s connections to the Island were deep. He began visiting the Island around the turn of the century, staying at the Gislason boarding house in Detroit Harbor, with the avowed purpose of learning Icelandic. At the time he was an economics professor at the University of Chicago. He continued to return to the Island during many summers, despite living in California, Missouri, Washington DC, and New York City. He purchased his Little Lake property in 1915, building both a living cabin and a study cabin on the property.

Recently the property owned by Veblen was acquired the Land Trust of Door County. Veblen’s original study cabin is being relocated and restored to the Little Lake Museum, where it will be on display. Exhibits will document the ideas and times of one of the most fascinating and influential Islanders ever.”

If you do a search of “Veblen on Washington Island” for Ward Hanson’s project website.   Jerry Maiers [corrected last name 17 June 09] and John Moore are hoping will have Veblen’s study cabin moved June 15th. Then there will be the issue of restoring the building to its 1915 condition, or at least as close as possible.

Tim Jessen, Chairman of the Town of Washington board has had the town crew ready the foundation for the anticipated cabin move. The group have enough money in the Island Heritage Conservancy account at Baylake Bank, but know that the move is just the beginning of the project. They are currently are looking for input on proper restoration of the study cabin.


A Second Pot of TEA

The Anti-Tax Tea Parties have been a great success. Now the follow up must happen.

The Main Stream Media has fallen all over itself either mocking the Tea Parties or Ignoring them all together.

Matters not, as the MSM is in the dazed stupor of a mortally wounded dying beast failing to notice its time had already passed.

The claims from the administration that they have already cut taxes is a bold of a misstatement that the President didn’t bow to the Arab King.

They can talk what they will, but our senses (and lightened pocketbooks) belie the hollowness of their claims.

I don’t know what everyone will do, but it sure seems like time for a Second Pot of TEA, followed by a Third, Fourth, Fifth and endless Tea Parties until the Government rolls back their theft by taxation.

Subsidies, Stimulus and People You Know

Do you know anyone who has “seen” the stimulus or more accurately the government subsidies?

There are those nose-in-trough trying for access to these funds, but other than the poisoned TARP monies forced on Healthy Banks, where are the dollars?

Perhaps it is the natural delay of processing?

Or perhaps the ink isn’t dry on the additional fiat currency to be distributed?

Could it be smoke & mirrors – that there is little actual stimulus money?

Wouldn’t that be called lying?

Or is that just “Politics?”