Tuesday, July 29, 2014

... the wind, the sun, or the rain...........

Blue Oyster Cult............................Don't Fear The Reaper

Dreams.......................................


Trying........................................

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” 
-Henry Ford

The Forge..............................
















All I know is a door into the dark.
Outside, old axles and iron hoops rusting;
Inside, the hammered anvil’s short-pitched ring,
The unpredictable fantail of sparks
Or hiss when a new shoe toughens in water.
The anvil must be somewhere in the centre,
Horned as a unicorn, at one end and square,
Set there immoveable: an altar
Where he expends himself in shape and music. 
Sometimes, leather-aproned, hairs in his nose,
He leans out on the jamb, recalls a clatter
Of hoofs where traffic is flashing in rows;
Then grunts and goes in, with a slam and flick
To beat real iron out, to work the bellows. 

-Seamus Heaney

artwork via

It's the unlearning part that's difficult.................

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. ”

-Alvin Toffler

Beware the unintended consequence..................

"Nobody in politics can foresee the consequences either of what he destroys, or of what he constructs."
-Don Colacho, aphorism 2,978

Fifty years ago......................................

The Beatles......................I'm Happy Just To Dance With You

The Execupundit.................................

.....................................................cuts to the chase.

Stray.....................................

“Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these.”
-Susan B. Anthony

The helping hand........................................

"Be ready to help people when they need it most. Get ready to yank them out of a hole. The glad hand is alright in sunshine, but it’s the helping hand on a dark day that folks remember to the end of time."
-A. P. Giannini

On impulses..........................

"The best life is the one in which the creative impulses play the largest part and the possessive impulses the smallest."

Winning.....................................



































This artwork was borrowed from this The Epicurean Dealmaker post about Higher Education, The Ivy League, and recent criticism of both from William Deriesiewicz.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Vintage...............................

Dean Martin........................Everybody Loves Somebody

Aging like a fine wine...........................

Eric Burdon and the Animals..............House of the Rising Sun




version from fifty years ago is here

Seriously, now..................................

“Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.” 
-G.K. Chesterton

Flat tax anyone..............................?


A miscalculation nonetheless..........................

"That is silly. World War I did not occur because the European powers miscalculated, but because they each believed rationally that their interests were best served by fighting."
-David Goldman, channeling Spengler, as excerpted from here

Escape..............................




























"The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from the old ones."
-John Maynard Keynes

On the proper use of time.........................
















“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.   Have you used one to say thank you?” 
-William Arthur Ward

Fifty years ago........................................

The Beatles.............................................Please Please Me



studio (mono) version is here

Ruckert's Law......................................

"There is nothing so small that it can't be blown out of proportion."

It's a puzzle........................................


















"There's something in the human personality which resents things that are clear, and conversely, something which is attracted to puzzles, enigmas, and allegories."
-Stanley Kubrick

art via     quote via

Who..........................................

"Who has deceiv'd thee so oft as thy self?"
-Benjamin Franklin

Noticing the difference................

...................Walter Russell Mead opines on "smart diplomacy" and the news media.

"But luckily for Team Obama, the mainstream press would rather die than subject liberal Democrats to the critiques it reserves for the GOP. So instead, as Libya writhes in agony, reputations and careers move on."

No wonder they get paid so much......................

"The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality."
-Max Depree

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Take along my love with you..................

Billy Joel channeling Brian Wilson.............Don't Worry Baby

Interesting paragraphs....................

      In recording his musings, Marcus sometimes speaks of God, sometimes of the gods.  Is there inconsistency here?  Not necessarily.  For him, as we have seen, the world was governed by a cosmic consciousness which was a single immanent spirit.  But that world was also a congeries of differing areas and elements and activities, and it was natural enough that the Greeks, whom the Romans followed in such matters, should think of these separate components as governed by specialized deities.  Poseidon, the Roman's Neptune, was lord of the waters;  Apollo was god of the sun and the realm of light;  Demeter, or her Roman equivalent, Ceres, was goddess of the earth and harvests and fertility.  Of these gods there was no fixed number, and as the empire expanded it took in, with a curious religious democracy, the gods of its new subjects.  In this respect, Marcus was a singularly catholic theologian.  Did he believe that all these motley figures, often beautifully embodied in Greek and Roman statuary, were real existences?  Officially he did, for he was not only Emperor but Pontifex Maximus, the head of the Roman religion, who presided at celebrations of these deities and sacrifices to them.  But one can only suspect that he did so with tongue in cheek.  To a mind as sophisticated as his, these lesser deities were probably symbols of the one divine activity, which manifested itself throughout all these domains.  If he insisted, as he did, on retaining old forms of Roman worship, it was probably because he saw that myth, besides being a powerful preservative of people's unity, may carry a truth in metaphorical form that the more correct philosophic formulae may fail to convey.
-Brand Blanshard, as excerpted from his essay on Marcus Aurelius in Four Reasonable Men:  Marcus Aurelius, John Stuart Mill, Ernest Renan, Henry Sidgwick

Remember................................




















via

Notions................................

The tiny particles which form the vast
universe are not tiny at all.
Neither is the vast universe vast.
These are notions of the mind,
which is like a knife, always
chipping away at the Tao, trying
to render it graspable 
and manageable.

But that which is beyond form is
ungraspable, and that which is
beyond knowing is unmanageable.
There is, however, this consolation:
She who lets go of the knife will find
the Tao at her fingertips.

-Hua Hu Ching:  The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu
Verse 13
Brian Browne Walker

Fifty years ago............................

The Kingsmen.....................................................Louie Louie



Faithful readers will remember that this song was also featured as one of 2013's Fifty Years Ago entries.  Released in May of 1963 by The Kingsmen, this Richard Berry written tune,  had enough staying power to close out 1964 at #99 on Billboards Hot 100 Singles.

On book reports...............................

     In junior high school, I  hated writing "book reports."  Now, I enjoy reading them.  Especially useful ones.  Among the reasons I follow David Merkel's The Aleph Blog is that he regularly offers useful reviews on books about investing and the "market."  His latest review, on Panic, Prosperity, and Progress:  Five Centuries of History and the Markets, is typical.  Two excerpts:

What Could Have Made the Book Better
"Financial crises don’t appear out of nowhere.  Leaving aside war on your home soil, plague, famine, communism, etc., there is usually a boom that gives way to a bust.  In some of his chapters, he could have spent more time describing the boom that led to the bust.  This is important, because readers need to learn intuitively that the boom-bust cycle is normal. NORMAL!
"Ignore the economists who think they can control the economy.  They can’t do it, and this book helps to say that.  Economists are always behind the curve.  Politicians are even further behind the curve.  Regulators are still further behind the curve, and usually do the wrong thing during crises as a result."
---------------
Quibbles
On pages 421-422, he shows that he doesn’t get securitization, and blames the rating agencies, who were forced to rate novel debt for which they did not have a good model because the regulators outsourced credit risk measurement to them.

Learned something new today.  Full book review is here.  

Oops......................................
















via

Opening paragraphs.....................

     By the summer of 2009 the line had a life of its own, and two thousand men were digging and boring the strange home it needed to survive.  Two hundred and five crews of eight men each, plus assorted advisors and inspectors, were now rising early to figure out how to blast a hole through some innocent mountain, or tunnel under some riverbed, or dig a trench beside a country road that lacked a roadside - all without ever answering the obvious question:  Why?  The line was just a one-and-a-half-inch-wide hard black plastic tube designed to shelter four hundred hair-thin strands of glass, but it already had the feeling of a living creature, a subterranean reptile, with its particular needs and wants.  It needed its burrow to be straight, maybe the most insistently straight path ever dug into the earth.  It needed to connect a data center on the South Side of Chicago to a stock exchange in northern New Jersey.  Above all, apparently, it needed to be a secret.
-Michael Lewis,  Flash Boys:  A Wall Street Revolt

Checking in with Aesop....................

   
                        The Oak and the Reeds

A very large oak was uprooted by the wind and thrown across a stream.  If fell among some Reeds, which were thus addressed:  "I wonder how you, who are so light and weak, are not entirely crushed by these strong winds."  They replied, "You fight and contend with the wind, and consequently you are destroyed;  while we on the contrary bend before the least breath of air, and therefore remain unbroken, and escape."

Moral:   Stoop to conquer.

Aesop's Fables as channeled by George Fyler Townsend

Friday, July 25, 2014

Mark Knopfler and friends...............................

The Notting Hillbillies........................Your Own Sweet Way

A lost art.....................................

EAT,  v.i.  To perform successively (and successfully) the functions of mastication, humectation, and deglutition.
     "I was in the drawing-room, enjoying my dinner," said Brillal-Savarin, beginning an anecdote.  "What!" interrupted Rochebriant;  "eating dinner in a drawing-room?"  "I must beg you to observe, monsieur," explained the great gastronome, "that I did not say I was eating my dinner, but enjoying it.  I had dined an hour before."

-Ambrose Bierce,  The Devil's Dictionary

Learned new words today.........................









via













via

...differing opinions make a market......................

     Extreme price swings are the norm in financial markets - not aberrations that can be ignored.  Price movements do not follow the well-mannered bell curve assumed by modern finance;  they follow a more violent curve that makes an investor's ride much bumpier.  A sound trading strategy or portfolio metric would build this cold, hard fact into its foundations.  Exactly how depends on the resources, talents and stomach for risk of the individual;  as ever, differing opinions make a market.  But already, the mere knowledge that markets vary wildly is useful.
-Benoit Mandelbrot and Richard Hudson, excerpted from The (Mis)Behavior of Markets:  A Fractal View of Risk, Ruin & Reward

Shouldn't most of the responsibility for..........

.........................................climate change be assigned here?
















much larger photo and back story are here.

Fifty years ago.......................................

The Four Tops.................................................Call On Me



The "B" side of Baby I Need Your Loving

This disposition......................................

     "This disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least, to neglect persons of poor and mean conditions, though necessary both to establish and to maintain the distinction of ranks and the order of society, is, at the same time, the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments.  That wealth and greatness are often regarded with the respect and admiration which are due only to wisdom and virtue;  and that the contempt, of which vice and folly are the only proper objects, is often most unjustly bestowed upon poverty and weakness, has been the complaint of moralists of all ages."
-Adam Smith,  as excerpted from The Theory of Moral Sentiments

On balance..................................

358.   Man is neither angel nor brute, and the unfortunate thing is that he who would act the angel acts the brute.

359.  We do not sustain ourselves in virtue by our own strength, but by the balancing of  two opposed vices, just as we remain upright amidst two contrary gales.  Remove one of the vices, and we fall into the other.

-Blaise Pascal,  Pensees

Uh-oh.........................................

"You can learn a great deal about people when you discover what they read for pleasure in high school."
-Michael Wade, as excerpted from his latest "Random Thoughts"

Mystery of the missing................

..........Courthouse clock hands has been solved.  Story here.