Saturday, October 25, 2014

Everybody knows.....................................

Syndicate of Sound.............................................Little Girl

Top o' the mornin' to ya.....................


On libraries.......................













-Ashleigh Brilliant

On knowledge and wisdom.....................























"Never mistake knowledge for wisdom.  One helps you make a living, the other helps you make a life."
-Eleanor Roosevelt

Love After Love.................................

The time will come 
When, with elation,
You will greet yourself arriving 
At your own door, in your own mirror, 
And each will smile at the other's welcome, 

And say, sit here. Eat. 
You will love again the stranger who was your self. 
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart 
To itself, to the stranger who has loved you 

All your life, whom you ignored 
For another, who knows you by heart. 
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, 

The photographs, the desperate notes, 
Peel your own image from the mirror. 
Sit.   Feast on your life.


-Derek Walcott

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

At the movies.........................................................My Fair Lady

 

On diversity...............................................

"People worry about losing species diversity in the rain forest. But what about intellectual diversity - our most necessary resource? That’s disappearing faster than trees. "
-Michael Crichton, as excerpted from The Lost World
via Ka-Ching!

Good to know.........................................














via

Expand..........................................


















"Small is the number of people who see with their eyes and think with their minds."
-
Albert Einstein

Well............................................














.................not sure there is a correlation between smarts and success.  Always thought it was more having a growth plan, working the plan with discipline, making adjustments as necessary, and accepting  responsibility for the outcome.  Just saying

Friday, October 24, 2014

Got what it takes....................................

The Blues Magoos.............................(We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet

Have an amazing day..............................


En garde...............................................
















From the 50th Annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest.  Back story, the winner, and other photos here.

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

     Beginning in Summer 1717 there arrived upon American shores a new breed of immigrant from the British Isles, far different from the Puritans, Quakers, and Cavaliers who had already settled in their chosen locales.  The new arrivals came from the borderlands of northern England, northern Ireland, and the Scottish Highlands, and they emerged in undulating waves that deposited a quarter-million souls in the New World over nearly sixty years.  The borderland migrants were a rustic folk, largely Presbyterian in religious provenance.  The men were lanky and fit, with faces leathered through outdoor toil.  They displayed distinctive habits of dress - hats made of felt, loose-fitting shirts made of sackcloth, wood shoes.  The young women displayed a frolicsome sensuousness that seemed shocking to many of the earlier arrivals.  They wore tight-fitting dresses with short skirts.  Men and women alike showed a notable casualness and openness toward sex and nudity, and social sanctions against wayward personal behavior were mild compared to those earlier migrants.  The menfolk displayed a liberal attitude toward spirituous liquors and a fighting spirit more intense than their work ethic.  There was a strain of cultural conservatism among these people;  they were strongly attached to their ancestral ways.
     The borderland migrants arrived not seeking religious freedom, as their predecessors had done, but rather to escape economic travail.  Hence they came largely from a lower socioeconomic station than the folks who had settled earlier in Massachusetts, Delaware, and Virginia.  The vast majority were small farmers, farm laborers, and mechanics.  But they displayed a defiant pride that would have far-reaching political impact in the New World, particularly in the lush western regions beyond the Alleghenies that would become their favored frontier destination.   As one historian would later put it, "Extreme inequalities of material condition were joined to an intense concern of equality of esteem."  They demanded respect, often with a social insolence that surprised and irritated those who considered themselves of higher rank..  Ultimately this trait would manifest itself in a powerful strain of political populism - a suspicion of entrenched elites, hostility toward wealth and power, a conviction that the new American democracy should be guided by the virtue and wisdom of ordinary folk.  This was the heritage, outlook, and politics of Andrew Jackson - and also of his protege, James K. Polk, twenty-eight years younger than his mentor.

Robert W. Merry,  A Country of Vast Designs:  James K. Polk, The Mexican War, and the Conquest of the American Continent

James K. Polk....................................





















James K. Polk (1795-1849), a lawyer by trade, was the eleventh president of the United States, serving one term from 1845-1849.  Other government service included a captaincy in the Tennessee militia, membership in the Tennessee state legislature,  the Speakership of the U. S. House of Representatives and the governorship of Tennessee.  He was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, but spent much of his life living in, or serving, Tennessee.  Wiki is here.  More stuff here.  A few quotes attributed to Polk here:

"By the theory of our Government majorities rule, but this right is not an arbitrary or unlimited one. It is a right to be exercised in subordination to the Constitution and in conformity to it. One great object of the Constitution was to restrain majorities from oppressing minorities or encroaching upon their just rights.   Minorities have a right to appeal to the Constitution as a shield against such oppression."

"Well may the boldest fear and the wisest tremble when incurring responsibilities on which may depend our country's peace and prosperity, and in some degree the hopes and happiness of the whole human family."

It becomes us, in humility, to make our devout acknowledgments to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, for the inestimable civil and religious blessings with which we are favored.

"Thank God, under our Constitution there was no connection between church and state."

"There is more selfishness and less principle among members of Congress...than I had any conception of, before I became President of the U.S."
"In executing this power by levying a tariff of duties for the support of Government, the raising of revenue should be the object and protection the incident. To reverse this principle and make protection the object and revenue the incident would be to inflict manifest injustice upon all other than the protected interests."

"No president who performs his duties faithfully and conscientiously can have any leisure. If he entrusts the details and smaller matters to subordinates constant errors will occur. I prefer to supervise the whole operations of the government myself rather than entrust the public business to subordinates, and this makes my duties very great."

"The world has nothing to fear from military ambition in our Government. While the Chief Magistrate and the popular branch of Congress are elected for short terms by the suffrages of those millions who must in their own persons bear all the burdens and miseries of war, our Government can not be otherwise than pacific."
(Ed. Note:  Not bad for a guy who lead the USA to war against Mexico in 1846.)

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

The Zombies................................You Make Me Feel Good

Everyone Ought To Be Rich.....................

John J. Raskob penned an essay by that title in the summer of 1929.  While his first paragraph (the first excerpt below) may raise some hackles, most of his essay is spot on.  A person with an investment plan and the discipline to follow it over a longish period of time can become, and ought to be, financially independent.  Of course, the historians amongst us will note that two months after Raskob's essay was published the stock market crashed and the Great Depression ensued.  Neither fact erases the importance, or timelessness, of Raskob's message.  Perhaps the only addition I would suggest would be don't follow the herd, think for yourself.   Full essay is here.  Four excerpts here:

"Being rich is, of course, a comparative status. A man with a million dollars used to be considered rich, but so many people have at least that much in these days,or are earning incomes in excess of a normal return from a million dollars, that a millionaire does not cause any comment."

"Suppose a man marries at the age of twenty-three and begins a regular saving of fifteen dollars a month - and almost anyone who is employed can do that if he tries. If he invests in good common stocks and allows the dividends and rights to accumulate, he will at the end of twenty years have at least eighty thousand dollars and an income from investments of around four hundred dollars a month. He will be rich. And because anyone can do that I am firm in my belief that anyone not only can be rich but ought to be rich."

"Debt may be a burden, but it is more likely to be an incentive."

"The personal fortunes of this country have been made not by saving but by producing."

thanks david

On Relativity.....................................

David Merkel, whose excellent The Aleph Blog is on my regular reading list, led me to the Raskob essay in the preceding post via this part of  this post:

Don’t you know that “Everybody ought to be rich?”  [DM:  then who will deliver the pizza?  Are you really rich if you can't get a pizza delivered?] 

So I read this...................................

"Abstaining from voting is a kind of vote.... It's notable that the nonvoters are generally presumed to represent votes that would be cast for the Democratic Party's candidate, but that presumption shows how the abstention means something. The nonvoter doesn't want to give affirmation to the Democratic Party's candidate... I say all the votes — cast and uncast — count and have meaning."
-Ann Althouse

.............and thought:  I should go vote early.  So I did.

















A few observations:

-Ohio's early voting is a really good thing.  The Board of Elections office is easily accessible; the staff is professional and friendly; there is no waiting; using the heavy black pencil to fill in the ovals on the ballot gives me the feeling that there will be no mistaking my choices.

-If all Ohio counties follow the protocols of Licking County, it is difficult to see the opportunity for "voter fraud."

-There were four property tax levy issues on the ballot, three renewals and a new city "streets" levy.  Voted for all four.  Feel free to make your own choices, but I hope you will support the Library levy renewal.  Thank thee kindly.





And so it goes..................................


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sounds like some relationship issues.......

The Seeds.......................................................Pushin' Too Hard

Beware of the passionate idealist..........

Isaiah Berlin pens an essay for the 21st Century, essentially pointing out that  us humans are messy, and serious attempts to change that are fraught with danger.   Among any assemblage of people trade-offs become necessary and moderation becomes a virtue, except to the passionate idealist.  This essay is worthy of your attention.  A few wee excerpts:

"If you are truly convinced that there is some solution to all human problems, that one can conceive an ideal society which men can reach if only they do what is necessary to attain it, then you and your followers must believe that no price can be too high to pay in order to open the gates of such a paradise. Only the stupid and malevolent will resist once certain simple truths are put to them. Those who resist must be persuaded; if they cannot be persuaded, laws must be passed to restrain them; if that does not work, then coercion, if need be violence, will inevitably have to be used—if necessary, terror, slaughter. Lenin believed this after reading Das Kapital, and consistently taught that if a just, peaceful, happy, free, virtuous society could be created by the means he advocated, then the end justified any methods that needed to be used, literally any."

"Men have always craved for liberty, security, equality, happiness, justice, knowledge, and so on. But complete liberty is not compatible with complete equality—if men were wholly free, the wolves would be free to eat the sheep. Perfect equality means that human liberties must be restrained so that the ablest and the most gifted are not permitted to advance beyond those who would inevitably lose if there were competition. Security, and indeed freedoms, cannot be preserved if freedom to subvert them is permitted. Indeed, not everyone seeks security or peace, otherwise some would not have sought glory in battle or in dangerous sports."

"So we must weigh and measure, bargain, compromise, and prevent the crushing of one form of life by its rivals. I know only too well that this is not a flag under which idealistic and enthusiastic young men and women may wish to march—it seems too tame, too reasonable, too bourgeois, it does not engage the generous emotions. But you must believe me, one cannot have everything one wants—not only in practice, but even in theory. The denial of this, the search for a single, overarching ideal because it is the one and only true one for humanity, invariably leads to coercion. And then to destruction, blood—eggs are broken, but the omelette is not in sight, there is only an infinite number of eggs, human lives, ready for the breaking. And in the end the passionate idealists forget the omelette, and just go on breaking eggs."

thanks stuart

Lies investors tell themselves................................

Ben Carlson, at A Wealth of Common Sense, offers his list.  Here are a few of my cherry-picked favorites:

I’m not wrong, the market is. You’ll see.

Investing is easy.

I’ll be greedy when others are fearful.
I’ll invest when there’s more certainty in the economy.
I never make emotional decisions.
I’ll buy hand over fist the next time the market crashes.
If I just try harder, my performance will improve.
I know where interest rates are going.
I have a fool-proof system.
Don’t worry, I can ignore the noise.
I have a good handle on my tolerance for risk.
I’ll start saving more money for retirement in the future.

Can I get an Amen.......................................?

"The erosion of constitutional proprieties in favour of populist slogans is a danger to which all democracies are vulnerable. More vigilance than ever is needed to guard against it."

-John Kay, as excerpted from here

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

On the TV.......some song and dance on The Judy Garland Show

The Unofficial..................................

..............Goldman Sachs Guide To Being A Man can be found here.    A few from the list here:

You don’t have to like baseball, but you should understand the concept of what a pitcher’s ERA means.  Approach life similarly.


There’s always another level. Just be content knowing that you are still better off than most who have ever lived.


Remember, “rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men.” 

On taking your eye off the ball......................

Megan McArdle weighs in on the public health infrastructure and the Center for Disease Control:  

"Public health experts were, in a way, too successful; they beat back our infectious disease load to the point where most of us have never had anything more serious than Human papillomavirus or a bad case of the flu. This left them without that much to do. So they reinvented themselves as the overseers of everything that might make us unhealthy, from French Fries to work stress."

"Don't get me wrong: Fighting infection is still one of the things that the public health infrastructure does, and though I hope it doesn’t come to that, I expect that our system will do a much better job next time. But the CDC did not botch the job because there’s something wrong with Barack Obama, or government, or the state of Texas, or private hospitals. They dropped the ball because the public health system no longer needs to work so many miracles, and consequently hasn’t had much practice."

Full essay here.

Never looked at it that way before........

From my favorite optimist:

The oil price peaked at almost $150 a barrel in 2008, just before the financial crisis. That is probably no coincidence. Although the crisis was fuelled by a credit bubble, rocketing oil prices helped  trigger the bust. All over the world, but especially in America, people were saddling themselves with longer and longer commutes to find houses they could almost afford, a phenomenon known among American mortgage brokers as “drive till you qualify”. The doubling of fuel prices in the US between 2005 and 2008 killed that strategy and began the collapse of the housing market.

The full post on the absolutely good news of falling oil prices is here.

Ah, the good old days................................

San Francisco in 1920. "Oldsmobile touring car." Its dapper driver signaling
 either "hello" or a right turn. 5x7 glass negative by Christopher Helin.





















via Shorpy

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A few of my favorite things........................

From The Strategic Learner:   An ode to Autumn.

From The Astronomy Picture of the Day:  Take your pick, but this one is pretty cool.

From Greg Mankiw:   Pointing to Charles Murray on Ayn Rand.

From Seth Godin:  The virtue of wading.

From Nicholas Bate:  Jagged Thoughts, 1 through 119.

A way with words: Carving deep blue ripples......

Cream....................................................Tales of Brave Ulysses




You thought the leaden winter would bring you down forever,
But you rode upon a steamer to the violence of the sun.

And the colours of the sea bind your eyes with trembling mermaids,
And you touch the distant beaches with tales of brave Ulysses,
How his naked ears were tortured by the sirens sweetly singing,
For the sparkling waves are calling you to kiss their white laced lips.

And you see a girl's brown body dancing through the turquoise,
And her footprints make you follow where the sky loves the sea.
And when your fingers find her, she drowns you in her body,
Carving deep blue ripples in the tissues of your mind.

The tiny purple fishes run laughing through your fingers,
And you want to take her with you to the hard land of the winter.

Her name is Aphrodite and she rides a crimson shell,
And you know you cannot leave her for you touched the distant sands
With tales of brave Ulysses, how his naked ears were tortured
By the sirens sweetly singing.


The tiny purple fishes run laughing through your fingers,
And you want to take her with you to the hard land of the winter.


thanks kurt

Like bloggers..............................................

"The great men of culture are those who have had a passion for diffusing, for making prevail, for carrying from one end of society to the other, the best knowledge, the best ideas of their time;  who have laboured to divest knowledge of all that was harsh, uncouth, difficult, abstract, professional, exclusive;  to humanize it, to make it efficient outside the clique of the civilized and the learned, yet still remaining the best knowledge and thought of the time, and a true source, therefore, of sweetness and light."
-Matthew Arnold,  Culture and Anarchy

And you were thinking.......tall, dark, handsome

















via

Mr. Market has his say............................

Yesterday's posts included a chart of falling oil and gas prices (Yippee!).  It appears that those rocket scientists who trade in the futures of such things were expecting prices to move upward, due to all the turmoil you may have read about in the Middle East and Russia, and they recently got creamed.  Good news compounded?  Beyond my ken, but this makes for an interesting story.  Somehow it feels comforting to realize that nobody really KNOWS much of anything.  As the man said, "we pays our money and takes our chances."

thanks

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

The Larks..................................................................The Jerk

Astonishing............................................



















384. - We should only be astonished at still being able to be astonished.

-Francois duc de La Rochefoucauld,  Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims

photo via APOD

A good start......................................



































courtesy of

On the need for baking a bigger pie................

"Abundance is an all-inclusive idea.  It means everyone.  It means the individual must matter, and matter like never before."
-Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler,  Abundance:  The Future Is Better Than You Think

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

One of the truly fine things from 1962..............

Dee Dee Sharp................................................Mashed Potato Time

On wise men..........................................

The Epicurean Dealmaker is re-running some of his favorite essays.  You should read all of this one.  Knowing however, that you won't, here are some excerpts:

"For one thing, age is no guarantee of wisdom. If there is one thing we should have learned from witnessing the maturation of an entire generation of Baby Boomers into full-fledged, self-absorbed, self-indulgent, materialistic emotional and intellectual teenagers with age spots and dentures, it is that.2 For another, the common association of age and experience with wisdom and good judgment is and always has been weak at best, if not downright misleading. I know plenty of old people whose judgment I would not trust to order an ice cream cone. (And I’m not talking about dementia.)"

"The size of a man’s bank account, and the number of hits of his name on Google, are no measure of his intelligence, much less an indication of the quality of his wisdom."

"It is an old saying, but true nonetheless, that the wise person is certain of little but his or her ignorance. A wise man is wise enough to know what he does not know. He believes the world is too multifarious, changeable, and miraculous a place to put much trust in feeble humanity’s ability to comprehend and control it as we would wish. Therefore, a wise man counsels caution, and encourages us to pay attention to our ignorance—what we do not and cannot know—as we make our way through life."

"Never forget: every wise man started out a simple fool like you or me. He learned wisdom by questioning, by learning, and by doing. There is no secret stash of wise men waiting at Wal-Mart for us to purchase."

"It is time we manned up and learned to become our own wise men."

Life its ownself........................................
















thanks jess

Acceptance...........................................

























"Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy."
-Albert Einstein

The optimist in me...................................

..................thinks this chart showing recent oil and gas prices is not only the best news  in years,  but also that its cause is the massive expansion of supply due to newly developed horizontal drilling techniques.  The cynic in me worries that this is an important election year and market manipulation is occurring.  In the meantime, all of me is enjoying the lower gas prices.












source and back story here

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

Bobby Sherman.......................................................I'm Crying

Yep...................................................























via

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



































The Lord Justice-Clerk was a stranger in that part of the country; but his lady wife was known there from a child, as her race had been before her.  The old 'riding Rutherfords of Hermiston,' of whom she was the last descendant, had been famous men of yore, ill neighbours, ill subjects, and ill husbands to their wives though not their properties.  Tales of them were rife for twenty miles about; and their name was even printed in the page of our Scots histories, not always to their credit.  One bit the dust at Flodden, one was hanged at his peel door by James the Fifth; another fell dead in a carouse with Tom Dalyell;  while a fourth (and that was Jean's own father) died presiding at a Hell-Fire Club, of which he was the founder.  There were many heads shaken in Crossmichael at that judgment;  the more so as the man had a villainous reputation among the high and low, and both with the godly and the worldly.  At that very hour of his demise, he had ten going pleas before the Session, eight of them oppressive.  And the same doom extended ever to his agents; his grieve, that had been his right hand in many a left-handed business, being cast from his horse one night and drowned in a peat-hag on the Kye-skairs; and his very doer (although lawyers have long spoons) surviving him not long, and dying on a sudden in a bloody flux.
-Robert Louis Stevenson,  Weir of Hermiston

art via

About Mr. Market......................................

While Paul Krugman has his loyalists, I am not among them.  However, as someone who is more concerned about deflation than inflation,  I'm liking this essay.   Three excerpts for your reading pleasure:

"All in all, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that people like Mr. Greenspan knew as much about what the market wanted as medieval crusaders knew about God’s plan — that is, nothing."

"I’m not mainly talking about plunging stock prices, although that’s surely telling us something (but as the late Paul Samuelson famously pointed out, stocks are not a reliable indicator of economic prospects: “Wall Street indexes predicted nine out of the last five recessions!”) Instead, I’m talking about interest rates, which are flashing warnings, not of fiscal crisis and inflation, but of depression and deflation."

"In any case, the next time you hear some talking head opining on what we must do to satisfy the markets, ask yourself, “How does he know?” For the truth is that when people talk about what markets demand, what they’re really doing is trying to bully us into doing what they themselves want."

thanks

Let me count the ways you're wrong...........

A novel idea.  Massive debt default.  I like how the author, while targeting student debt, includes mortgage debt.  I also love how the author equates the willing borrowing of money with oppression.  Who forced anybody to borrow?  Perhaps part of the future core curriculum for high school seniors will include the intelligent use of borrowed money, and the consequence to borrower, lender, and community when the money is not repaid.  How about, while we are at it,  we also teach accepting responsibility for the consequences of our own actions?

A few excerpts:
"Nothing could send a stronger message than 40 million indebted graduates standing together in a boycott of student loan payments."

"America has the resources to instate healthcare, education and a home as inalienable human rights. It’s a paradisiacal potential we run the risk of squandering every day we voluntarily admit our bondage to debt. There is no realistic way for Americans to climb out of this hole other than by standing together and refusing to allow the oppression to continue."

thanks