The Jackdaw Journal
A Publication of M2 Communications

jack-daw [JAK-dah], n. 1. a glossy, black, European bird, corvus monedula, of the crow family, that nests in towers, ruins, etc.; has a proclivity to collect bright objects that attract its attention; can include bits of ice, things round or square, twigs, filaments of light bulbs; specialist on the lookout of what fits the construction of its nest.

jackdaw journal [JAK-dah JERN-al], n. 1. a repository of bright objects — wit, wisdom and whimsey — collected and/or created by Michael McKinney.   2. a web log or blog


May 2007 Archives
* * *


The Dangerous Book for Boys

May 4, 2007

I came across a great book for my son (and me). The fully revised American edition of the British bestseller, The Dangerous Book for Boys by brothers Conn and Hal Iggulden is full of useful information and activities that fathers and sons can do together.
The authors say, “I think we've become aware that the whole "health and safety" overprotective culture isn't doing our sons any favors. Boys need to learn about risk. They need to fall off things occasionally, or--and this is the important bit--they'll take worse risks on their own. If we do away with challenging playgrounds and cancel school trips for fear of being sued, we don't end up with safer boys--we end up with them walking on train tracks. In the long run, it's not safe at all to keep our boys in the house with a Playstation. It's not good for their health or their safety.

“You only have to push a boy on a swing to see how much enjoys the thrill of danger. It's hard-wired. Remove any opportunity to test his courage and they'll find ways to test themselves that will be seriously dangerous for everyone around them. I think of it like playing the lottery--someone has to say "Look, you won't win--and your children won't be hurt. Relax. It won't be you."

“I think that's the core of the book's success. It isn't just a collection of things to do. The heroic stories alone are something we haven't had for too long. It isn't about climbing Everest, but it is an attitude, a philosophy for fathers and sons. Our institutions are too wrapped up in terror over being sued--so we have to do things with them ourselves.”

They have created a web site at

* * *

Effective Communication

May 10, 2007

The New York Times last week quotes Rupert Murdoch on the Wall Street Journal, “I’m sometimes frustrated by the long stories,” adding that he rarely gets around to finishing some articles. Seth Godin put it best, “How to write for a millionaire.” When it comes to effectiveness, length and content go hand-in-hand. I hear far too many speeches where people are just filling time. They often lose me.

99.9% Quality

May 12, 2007

If everyone achieved 99.9% quality, according to Insight Syncrude Canada Ltd., this is what could happen:
  • Two plane landings daily at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago would be unsafe.
  • The IRS would lose two million documents this year.
  • 22,000 checks would be deducted from the wrong bank accounts in the next 60 minutes.
  • 1,314 phone calls would be misplaced every minute.
  • 12 babies would be given to the wrong parents each day.
  • 268,500 defective tires would be shipped this year.
  • 103,208 income tax returns would be processed incorrectly this year.
  • 2,488,200 books with the wrong cover would be shipped in the next 12 months.
  • 5,517,200 cases of soft drinks produced in the next 12 months would be flatter than a bad tire.
  • 3,056 copies of tomorrow's Wall Street Journal would be missing one of the three sections.
  • 18,322 pieces of mail would be mishandled in the next hour.
  • 880,000 credit cards in circulation would turn out to have incorrect cardholder information on their magnetic strips.
  • 20,000 incorrect drug prescriptions would be written in the next 12 months.
  • 114,500 mismatched pairs of shoes would be shipped this year.
  • 107 incorrect medical procedures would be performed by the end of the day today.

* * *

Powered by
Movable Type 3.34


Copyright © M2 Communications 2012 • All Rights Reserved