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15 November 2016
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From The Cheshire Press ... Here's our newest publication-Old Dame Dancing, Essays From the Eighth Decade, by Nancy Parsons.

In her eighth decade, and feeling compelled to commentOld Dame Dancing on what “she got out of it all,” Nancy Parsons offers this collection of casual essays. It’s a mixed dish of memoir, social comment, and rant, loosely organized around the subject of aging, and seasoned with a healthy helping of humor. With the right attitude, growing older is an adventure. It would be a shame to miss it.

From My Body Has An Age, I Don’t
I worked with a videographer once—this was years ago—who had filmed Raquel Welch.
“Stunning woman,” he told me. “Drop-dead gorgeous, except for her feet. She had old feet.”
You are filming Raquel Welch, I thought, and you are looking at her feet?

A great book with lots of laughs. Look for it on the cheshire press website today!

This is the 67th issue of The Better Mousetrap. We have archived the last few issues on our web site. It is easy to review them. Just click here for the list or go to the Cheshire Group web site and click on the link that says "Newsletter Archive."


Most of us have read Frost's 1916 poem in high school. And it has often been loved and quoted for the wrong reasons, at least according to David Orr in his recent book —"The Road Not Taken: Finding America in the Poem Everyone Loves and Almost Everyone Gets Wrong.."

The Road Not Taken.

Here is the poem:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth:

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads onto way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

Generations of commencement speakers have quoted this poem because of its perceived message. Avoid the common route. Go your own way. Be a maverick, a nonconformist in the great American tradition of Emerson and Thoreau.
     But go now back to the second stanza. As far as the traffic on them, the two roads are "really," Frost acknowledges "about the same." Two questions immediately occur. If there is little to distinguish the two roads, what do we make of the last stanza? And if the poem is not a straightforward assertion of nonconformism, what is it about?
     One thing it is about is the inevitability of regret. You can not "be one traveler" and take both paths. At any crossroads you must choose and though you may keep alive the hope you'll return someday, you know deep down you will never get a second chance. "I doubted if I should ever come back."
     What about the proud boast in the last stanza? The key line, easy to overlook is "I shall be telling this with a sigh." The sigh communicates regret even as it paves the way for a stirring declaration of independence. But this declaration may just be a case of a proud man praising his own past.
     So subtle is this seemingly plain-spoken poet that he can have it both ways. He can appeal to readers who look for adages, nuggets of wisdom. and he can reward those who value subtlety and complexity. Frost's economy is exemplary: the "yellow" wood in line one suffices to place us in autumn. And the vagueness of "Somewhere ages and ages hence" establishes that the speaker is an older gentleman given to recollecting the past with a distant look in his eyes.
     What is the sneakiest word in the poem? Hint. It's in the title.The word is "not," a powerful word because it gives presence to absence, summoning up what is not there. The poem is about the road the speaker takes, not about the one disdained. The road not taken is the road we will never know except perhaps in alternative versions of history.

By David Lehman
Wall Street Journal
15 October 2016



Anyone who passes regularly through busy public spaces knows that one casualty of our obsession with digital devices has been small talk. With our eyes glued to our smartphones, fewer of us engage anymore with people whom we don't know well. But are we missing something in this loss of idle chitchat?
     A growing body of research suggests that small talk has surprising benefits. In a recent study researchers found that daily interactions with casual acquaintances, like chatting with your regular barista at the coffee shop can contribute to day-to-day well-being,
     In a series of studies, participants were asked to track their daily interactions with people connected to them by "strong ties" (family and friends) and "weak ties" (acquaintances). On days when participants had more "weak tie" interactions than usual, they reportedSmall talk a greater sense of belonging and happiness. Like having a diverse financial portfolio, possessing a "diverse social portfolio might make people less vulnerable to fluctuations in their social network."
     Chitchat is also an important social lubricant, helping to build empathy and a sense of community. It is much harder to snap at a taxi driver for going the wrong way if you have just exchanged pleasantries. Small talk can humanize others across the usual divides; like saying hello to the mail carrier or being appreciative of the server in a restaurant.
     At parties or events consider the 10/5 rule taught to many hotel and hospitality employees: When you're 10 feet away, make eye contact; at 5 feet away, say hello. Pay people a compliment like "I like your bow tie!" Don't over-estimate the social risks involved in small talk, Most people not only want to talk to you, they'll wind up confiding things they may not even tell a spouse.
     A few tips for successful small talk:
     Find common ground. Ask "How do you know the host? or "Have you been going to a lot of these events?"
     Go deep: Instead of going from topic to topic, find one subject and dig deeper. Sports, family and travel are often good topics for sustained conversation.
      Embrace ignorance. Small talk is an opportunity to learn something new. For example if the person sitting next to you says that he works in renewable energy, admit that you have no idea how wind power actually works. People appreciate candor and will respond in kind.
     Ask interesting questions. If someone says "It sure is cold." reply, "What's the coldest you've ever been?"
     End gracefully. Instead of ending abruptly with "Well, nice to talk with you," subtle verbal cues like "Before we take off" or "Since I only have a few minutes left" send a gentler signal that you'd like the small talk to end.

Jennifer Wallace
Wall Street Journal
1 October 2016



My esteem in this country has gone up substantially , It is very
nice now that when people wave at me, they use all their fingers

Jimmy Carter

Mothers all want their sons to be president but they
don't want them to be become politicians in the process

John F. Kennedy

No matter how much cats fight
there always seem to be plenty of kittens

Abraham Lincoln


Readers Digest
Sept 2016

A Modern Glossary for Workplace Survival

Neatness in nonfascist institutions doesn't count, so long as you don't harbor rotten fruit in your drawers, allow dead animals on your desk or lose too many crucial things. Alot of very competent people need clutter to keep their myriad projects before their eyes. To them, chaos means vitality. This insouciance is all very well and good until you toss out your paycheck with your lunch.

Networking occurs when people get together to try to get something from each other, which makes it very anxiety-producing and boring if you don't want anything from anybody.

No is a serious profanity in business. You seldom want to say it. Better to just say "Yes" or "Maybe"and do nothing about the matter until it goes away.

to be continued

Stanley Bing
in the Wall Street Journal

Click here to visit the NFIB websiteWe are a proud member of the National Federation of Independent Business. For more information click on the logo.

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The Road Not Taken - Robert Frost.

The Big Benefits of a Little Small Talk.
The ABC's of Business, Part VII.






"Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now. "

Bob Dylan









"Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing."

Vince Lombardi










"I've arranged with my executor to be buried in Chicago. Because when I die I want to still remain active politically."

Mort Sahl






















































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Ralph Waldo Emerson

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