Looks like the new Joker movie has opened to some controversy:

But “Joker” is also causing deep unease. Some people, including a few rank-and-file employees on the Warner Bros. lot, worry that the violent, hyper-realistic movie is potentially dangerous — that rather than critiquing the societal failings that have given rise to America’s mass-shooter crisis, the film legitimizes such atrocities and could provoke more of them.

I haven’t seen it yet, so no spoilers here. What I’m finding fascinating is people’s reactions, one of empathy, toward the main character which I think is bound to happen when a villian is cast in the lead role. In story structure, we’re used to the main character being the hero of the story, especially in comic book movies.  But of course it gets crazy when people let the emotiveness of a movie spill over into real life. The FBI have sounded the alarm:

Amid the critical praise are scorching reviews that use words like “irresponsible.” The F.B.I. has warned about ugly online chatter surrounding “Joker,” prompting the police in cities including New York and Los Angeles to step up theater security and reigniting the debate over First Amendment rights versus Hollywood accountability. Relatives and friends of those killed during the 2012 movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo., sent a letter to Warner Bros. expressing disquiet over “Joker” and its empathetic depiction of the character.

Warner Bros says it was not their intention to hold Joker up as a hero. They just wanted to make a gritty film with edge:

It was very much the intention, however, to make an audacious, boundary-pushing movie — one that could cut through the deluge of Netflix-Amazon-YouTube streaming content and get people out to movie theaters to buy tickets. When in doubt, sharpen the edges

I like the Joker as a character when he’s philosophically contrasted against Batman, especially as Nolan’s portrayed as a pure agent of Chaos, above and beyond the concepts of good and evil.

I’m looking forward to seeing the Joker’s re-invented backstory developed in a modern context.

Link: ‘Joker’ Movie Is a Risk, but a Calculated One, for Warner Bros.


I’m prepping for an upcoming leadership symposium at Wright Hassall that I’m co-facilitating with the brilliant Andy Chandler. Rummaging through Steve Radcliffe’s book Leadership: Plain and Simple, I stumbled upon these two questions that Radcliffe says are essential to leadership:

What do you care about?


What do you want to lead for?

During my morning reflection time, I decided to tackle the first question: What do I care about and here’s what came out:

– I care about language and the power of words and images to move people
– I care about stories and the power of storytelling
– I care about freedom of choice
– I care about literature and music, books and knowledge and learning in 3D
– I care about wisdom and how we apply what we learn
– I care about creative self-expression
– I care about treating people with dignity and respect
– I care about influence

That’s me, now what do you care about?

“Space travel was once the communal dream and subsequent reality of 1960s. Fifty years ago, the Saturn V blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center and landed the first men on the moon.”

It was a dark day.

I was lying in bed recovering from emergency surgery from a cat bite.

Cat bite?!

Yeah I know, most people raise a quizzical eyebrow when I feed them that line. But it’s true, my cat was having a bad day and took it out on my hand by sinking his bacteria infested fangs into the back of my hand.

But that’s not the dark bit.

The dark bit came when I caught site of this:

American kids today dream of being vloggers, not astronauts

It happened during the week everybody was celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Some reporter was making the point that when we first put a man on the moon, a lot kids immediately wanted to be scientists and astronauts.

Having watched the anniversary celebrations, kids were polled to see if they felt inspired to be astronauts and carry on the work that Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins started all those years ago.

Shockingly, the kids collectively said hell no, they’d rather be YouTube stars. That’s where the fame and fortune are these days.

A recent survey of 3,000 kids showed that more kids aspire to be a YouTube star than an astronaut.

And if the kid lives in the U.S. or the U.K., then they are three times more likely to want to become a vlogger, than say, a kid in China.

Not surprisingly, kids in America are more clueless about space travel than their foreign peers.

So you wanne be a vlog star?

Well so did Michelle Phan. Check out what happened to her when she got what she wished for:

I have to confess, I struggled with this one.

Amber Guyger was justified in shooting black man, Dallas ex-police chief says.

I’d have to say this ex-police dude is totally wrong.

A woman, a police woman, wasn’t paying attention to what she was doing, walks into an apartment she thought was her own, shoots and kills the man who’s apartment it actually is, and she’s justified in doing so?

How can that be?

So an innocent dude pays for her stupidity with his life. One minute he’s in his living room eating a bowl of ice cream, the next minute he’s dead. She said she shot him with the intent to kill him because, as a police officer, that’s what she was trained to do.

She says she hates herself for doing it and that she has to live with what she’s done for the rest of her, but that doesn’t excuse her actions for which she must pay.

I’m not sure I’d call it murder, but I certainly wouldn’t call it justified.

When asked how could she not notice she was going into the wrong apartment, she said she had been distracted by a sexually explicit phone message from her police partner.

Crazy times man.

UPDATE: In the end, the Judge sentenced Amber Guyger to 10 years in prison for murder. But there’s hope:

In addition to taking Ruth and her Mum to Heathrow airport, I geeked out a bit.  I figured if I’m going to get back into the blogging game and re-define for myself through it, then I best clean-up the back end a bit. Basically backing up my site, which I did through Jetpack. I went for the Pro option. I also upgraded to the latest version of WordPress and deleted all my obsolete plugins and themes, before finally upgrading to the latest version of PHP (7.3). I started this process yesterday, it’s not all that quick of thing to do especially if it’s the first time you’ve backed your site up and if you have a lot of plugins then the PHP Compatibility checker takes a while.

If you have a Tumblr site, then you probably got an email today letting you know the the terms and conditions have changed now that Automattic have bought Tumblr. I’m pleased that they did. I’ve always liked Tumblr, but fell out of using it much because, as a social networked blogging platform, it kind of fell out of favour with the mainstream. It became a great place to find memes and porn. Then Tumblr cleaned the place up and banned porn from the site (to make themselves attractive to buy i’m sure).

I’m hoping under Automattic’s stewardship that Tumblr will be able to thrive again.

“The danger of overstimulation and external voices will erode one’s core and necessitate the natural desire to compare and copy, which leads to living life from an “outside-in” point of view. I believe your lifestyle can never reproduce the joy and satisfaction that is associated with the opposite.”

Dr. Flo Falayi dropped this on Forbes today the idea that we’re born to stand out, especially if you want to be a leader in any capacity. However, I’ve found that between all the noise and self-absorption,  it’s hard to stand out. Throw on top of that, the natural urge to blend in with everyone else, from the way you dress to the way you talk, and you have the perfect recipe for mediocrity. I agree with Dorie Clark:

…standing out is no longer optional, and for anyone to make a name for themselves, create true job security and make a difference in the world, they will have to share their unique perspective and inspire others to take action.

Inspiring people to action is key. Look at what Greta Thunberg has done. Whether you agree with her views or not, she’s moved folks to action on both sides of the argument, including the richest man in Europe and this guy:

Back to Dr. Falayi:

The first hurdle anyone has to overcome is the self-limiting beliefs that you are like everyone. This is untrue and damaging, as it renders one powerless to step out and stand out.

To stand out you have to tap into the desires, habits, and activities that make you happy, or what scientists, Todd Rose, and Ogi Ogas, call micro-motives. This is all a part of discovering the core values, stories, interpretations, and idea that make you uniquely you. Everyone can stand out because everyone has micro-motives.

Some clarifying questions to help you discover the you that is you:

  • Which influences shaped you early in life?
  • If you could change anything in your past, what would you change?
  • What types of issues get your attention?
  • Which issues energize you?
  • What would you do today if money or time weren’t an issue?

My big take-away from Dr. Falayi’s article is this:

You have to know who you are before you can stand out and lead others to do great things.

I want to go somewhere where I can see a billion stars in the sky at night. I was taking the trash out in the wee hours of the morning and noticed the stars. We don’t get to see them often in the UK because it always seems to be cloudy or partly cloudy (slight exaggeration, I know).

Anyway, I looked up, saw the stars, and was happy (because I don’t get to see them often ?).  However,  the light pollution being what it is near my crib,  all I could see was the usual suspects – the Big Dipper, Orion, Ursa Major, etc. I remember my time in the jungles of Malaysia and looking up at the night sky and being overwhelmed and in awe of the endless spread of stars which looked something like this:

I need to see this view in my life again.

I dipped into town to see my friend Sarah for coffee, conversation, and lunch. We didn’t record an episode today, just spent the time catching up. The school holidays and personal holidays created the gap between our last meeting. Like the newsletter, I need to get back into the groove with the podcast.

Life IS the adventure is my latest strapline. I’ve come full circle with the personal growth adventures idea that started me on this path 20 years ago (it feels weird to write that…’20 years ago’ but I’m of that age now, I guess…). Anyway, I was thinking about what ‘life is the adventure’ means to me, and it’s this:

…a mindset built around curiosity and creativity, exploration and discovery. It’s about trying something new, something that expands the boundary of your comfort zone. It’s about embracing all of life, the ups and the downs, the good and the bad. The goal is to have more good days than bad days and experience more ups than downs.  And in the end, being able to say: ‘I lived a good life.’

Life IS the adventure!

I’m sat in the corner of my hotel room at the Novotel at Stanstead working on the blog on this tiny desk. Doll Parts and airplanes taking off for destinations unknown are my soundtrack. In a few hours, I will be co-delivering a team-building workshop with my friend Nicola Jones.

If you’re one of my handful of readers, you’ll notice the blog is going through yet another transformation. Since coming back from my 10-day camping trip, I’ve felt the desire to blog properly again. Consistent with my past pattern, every time I come back to blogging, I inevitably change the design. I guess it makes me feel like I’m starting something new.

I’m a sucker for new and shiny things.

Hence why I now have an iPad Pro 11 along with the Apple Pencil 2. Oh and I’ve upgraded my Garmin Vivofit 3 to the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus! (which I’ll do a review of at some point). All in the span of a couple of weeks. Oh, and did I mention, I’ve started window shopping for a Mazda Bongo.

I’m manic like that. If I change one thing, I have to change everything.

fast forward to the end of day…

The workshop was ace! The delegates were in the game and on point. Definitely a number of future leaders in the group.

The long drive back from Stansted went by without a hitch and I was home in time to grab a decent workout.