Saturday, May 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.......

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Scottish physician turned
writer. Wrote science fiction
and historical novels. A
seeker of justice and
Spiritualism, he is best
known as the creator
of Sherlock Holmes.

The epitaph on his
"Steel true. Blade Straight.
Knight, Patriot, Physician &
Man of Letters."

Reading Sherlock Holmes brought me untold hours of

"Quick Watson, the game is

Jeremy Brett as Holmes.
Brett starred in 41 episodes
of Sherlock Holmes that played
on the Mystery Channel in the
mid 1990's. The writers
stayed true to Conan Doyle and
the acting was superb.

Here are a few Conan Doyle quotes, via Holmes:

"I have no data yet. It is a capital mistake to theorize before
one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit
theories, instead of theories to facts."
A Scandal in Bohemia

"My mind", he said, "rebels at stagnation. Give me problems,
give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram or the
most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper
atmosphere. I can then dispense with artificial stimulants.
But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave mental
The Sign of the Four

"He raised his eyes languidly from the old black-letter volume
which he had opened. It is cocaine," he said, --" a seven-
percent solution. Would you care to try it?"
The Sign of the Four

"I am an omnivorous reader with a strangely retentive
memory for trifles."
The Adventure of the Lion's Mane

"Education never ends, Watson. It is a series of lessons with
the greatest saved for the last."
The Adventure of the Red Circle

"Excellent!", I cried.
"Elementary", he said.
The Adventure of the Crooked Man

"I am bound to say that in all the accounts which you have
been so good as to give of my own small achievements you
have habitually underrated your own abilities. It may be
that you are not yourself luminous, but you are a conductor
of light. Some people without possessing genius have a
remarkable power of stimulating it."
Holmes to Watson, The Hound of the Baskervilles

"Come at once if convenient-if inconvenient come all the
The Adventures of the Creeping Man

"One's ideas must be as broad as Nature if they are to
interpret Nature."
A Study in Scarlet

"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated
the impossible whatever remains, however improbable, must
be the truth."
The Sign of Four

The Wal-Mart paradox

Wal-Mart same store sales were down in the first quarter.
Why? Let the guessing game begin, here

What a great country we live in...........

The TIM (Time is Money) Clock. Calculates the true cost of
meetings. Time x number of attendees x the average wage
of attendees = Cost of meeting. More here.

Almost makes me wish we had office meetings.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Painting pictures for the ears........

"And if I haven't fought for my country at least I'll paint for her"

Eugene Delacroix created this oil painting near the
end of 1830 to honor the revolution that toppled
France's Charles X.

Titled Liberty Leading the People, it hangs in the Louvre.
I spent four hours (one could take four weeks) in the
Louvre one fine summer day a long time ago. This was
the work of art that affected me the most.

Essay on Civil Disobedience... Part 3....

Here is a third excerpt from Thoreau's Essay on Civil

"Action from principle, - the perception and performance of
right, - changes things and relations; it is essentially
revolutionary, and does not consist wholly with any thing
that was. It not only divides states and churches, it divides
families, aye, it divides the individual, separating the diabolical
in him from the divine.

Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall
we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have
succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men
generally, under such government as this, think that they
ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter
them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be
worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself
that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. Why
is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why
does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist
before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to be
on the alert to point out its faults, and do better that it would
have them? Why does it always crucify Christ, and ex-
communicate Copernicus and Luther, and pronounce
Washington and Franklin rebels?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Our own little stimulus and economic well-being package....

More positive news from the Port Authority.....

Ground breaking ceremony for the new 43,400 square foot building.

Port Authority President and CEO, Rick Platt introducing the new
building. Also shown in the picture are three community focused
individuals who have had a large role in the historic success of the
Port Authority: Lew Mollica, Dan Dupps, and Dan DeLawder.

Architect's rendering of the new building.

The Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority held both
a ground breaking ceremony and a recognition of its 15th year
of existence on Tuesday. Faithful readers will remember
earlier posts (here ) about the Port Authority. There will be

The ground breaking was for a new 43,400 square foot office
building. Upon completion, the first floor of this two story brick
office will be leased to Goodrich. Goodrich is the successor to
AIS, one of the existing long term tenants at the Base. All are
hopeful that the efficiencies gained by their new location will
allow Goodrich to continue on its growth trajectory. The second
floor of the building is available for lease.

Several other really good things are coming from this project:

For the short term, a local company, Robertson Construction,
was the low bidder for this "prevailing wage" job, with a bid
of a bit over $3,400,000. This should be a shot in the arm
for the local construction industry. Good news for all of us.

For the long haul, this project includes the development of
an 8,500 square foot space dedicated for "clean rooms".
Clean rooms are used in the development and production
processes for high tech type things that require a higher
standard of air quality and cleanliness than is normally
available. Much of the important work now being completed
at the Boeing facility on the Base is done in clean rooms. This
new building will have space for five separate clean room
modules. The hope is that these speculative clean room
spaces will attract specialized high tech start-up businesses,
and the higher wage jobs and potential for growth that go
with them.

(photos courtesy of Mighty Mann Media, thanks Greg)

The death of responsiblity........?

"Too many members of my (baby boomer) generation learned
to believe that they could work within the law to evade basic
responsibilities, cloaking their actions in idealism."

So opines Larry Pressler, the former Senator from South
Dakota, here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Essay on Civil Disobedience..... Part 2....

A second excerpt from Thoreau's essay On the Duty
of Civil Disobedience:

"But a government in which the majority rule in all cases
cannot be based on justice, even as far as men understand it.
Can there not be a government in which the majorities do not
virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience? - in which
majorities decide only those questions to which the rule of
expediency is applicable? Must the citizen ever for a moment,
or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator?
Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we
should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not
desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for
the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume,
is to do at any time what I think is right. It is truly enough
said, that a corporation has no conscience; but a corporation
of conscientious men is a corporation with a conscience. Law
never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their
respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the
agents of injustice."

Still powerful......

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

In praise of crawdad hunting......

Kurt recently posted about a "No one
permitted in water" sign, the fact that
the neighborhood kids ignored it, and
the underlying problem of people trying
to mandate that life be risk free.

We lived at the other end of the diversion channel that
provides much of the water to the creek that flows by Kurt's
house. Much like his kids are now, my kids- and their friends-
waded, overturned (and threw a few) rocks, and generally
played in the shallow water. There was a stretch of time when
crawdad hunting was their favorite activity. They would take
a butterfly net and a pail and head off to catch some crayfish.

For ten year olds (plus or minus), they learned some
interesting lessons. They learned that crayfish are very quick,
but predictable- so easy to catch. They learned that wild
things do better in the wild than they do in captivity. In the
ten gallon aquarium the crayfish were dead in 24 hours and
smelly in 48. They learned that dad's preaching about catch
and release was maybe better than catch, keep, and throw
away. (Eating was never considered an option). They
learned about working together, sharing, and the joys of just
splashing around in the water.

One late summer afternoon, Dan's friends caught sight of a
snake among the rocks in the channel. They were determined
to catch it. Not wanting to participate myself, and not being
willing to tell them to get out of the water, I found a
comfortable seat on the concrete headwall and settled in to
watch and listen.

About ten minutes into the exercise I hear my son say to
himself, "I am so scared. But Dad says that courage is being
scared and doing it anyway, so I'm going to be brave."

Took my breath away.

After another ten minutes, and no further snake sightings,
the kids abandoned their search and decided to ride bikes.

Life is very good.


I happened to be looking through a shoe box full of pocket-
sized books that my Mom gave me. I found a treasure.

Strength for Service: To God and County: Daily Devotional
Messages for Men in the Services. Printed in 1942, my
grandmother bought this pocket book for my father and sent
it to him while he was overseas. It would have caught up with
him while he was in North Africa, probably Algeria. On the
frontispiece she wrote:

"My precious Soldier boy- I hope this little book will refresh
you and bring you courage and peace in your days of
Service to your Country and be a constant reminder of my
love devotion and appreciation for one I love dearly-
Mother Jan. 11th 1943."

I suspect Dad carried the book around with him for the next
two years, through Sicily, France, Belgium, and Germany.
Among others, the corner of the March 4th page is bent
down and part of the following paragraph is underlined;

"In the dizzy shifting of the daily scene and the changing
panorama of life, there is something eternal and changeless-
the refuge of God's overshadowing love. And in that heart-
less world of sudden death and bloodshed in which war has
involved you there still remains the everlasting tenderness
of God, as close and warm as a mother's encircling arms."

I never knew my grandmother. I do know that my father
learned his faith from her. For that- I am thankful.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Essay on Civil Disobedience.....Part 1....

In the concluding chapter of Walden, Henry David Thoreau

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it
is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the
music which he hears, however measured or far away."

Soon after spending a night in the Concord jail for his refusal
to pay the poll tax, Thoreau wrote On the Duty of Civil
Disobedience. He refused to pay the tax because of his
opposition to both the "Mexican war" and to slavery. He
was released from the jail after one night because "for
someone interfered and paid that tax."

Here is the first excerpt from the essay:

"Government is at best but an expedient; but most
governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes,
inexpedient. The objections which have been brought against
a standing army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve
to prevail, may also be brought against a standing government.
The standing army is only an arm of the standing government.
The government itself, which is only the mode which the
people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be
abused and perverted before the people can act through it.
Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively
a few individuals using the standing government as their tool;
for, in the outset, the people would not have consented to this

On a lighter note..........

Monday's Poem..........


There's just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune away.

And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.

No, happiness is the uncle you never
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
onto the grassy land strip, hitchhikes
into town, and inquires at every door
until he finds you asleep midafternoon
as you so often are during the unmerciful
hours of your despair.

It comes to the monk in his cell.
It comes to the woman sweeping the street
with a birch broom, to the child
whose mother has passed out from drink.
It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing
a sock, to the pusher, to the basket maker,
and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots
in the night.

It even comes to the boulder
in the perpetual shade of the pine barrens,
to rain falling on the open sea,
to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.

-Jane Kenyon

Sunday, May 16, 2010

'Living in the moment' may just be a nice cliche....

....that is difficult to actually do without practice. Nan offers
a practice here.

Why we should be making things............

The man is a genius- here.

A verse for Sunday................

Since you accept me
And do not question,
Now I shall tell you
That innermost secret:
Knowledge of God
Which is nearer than knowing,
Open vision
Direct and instant.
Understand this
And be free for ever
From birth and dying
With all their evil.

This is the knowledge
Above all other:
And king of secrets,
Only made plain
To the eye of the mystic.
Great is its virtue,
Its practice easy:
This man is brought
To truth eternal.

Those without faith
In this, my knowledge,
Shall fail to find me:
Back they must turn
To the mortal pathway,
Subject still
To birth and to dying.

Chapter IX, The Yoga of Mysticism

What to drink........?

Thanks Jessica

Fries are next. Cheeseburgers- never.

Naples Girl posted a picture of a bowl containing the
amount of sugar one Coca-Cola has in it. As wake-up calls
go, that one was fairly effective. I'm not going to say that
I will never drink Coke again, but I've gone from having at
least 40 oz of coke per day to not having any since I saw the
picture- and I'm not going to have one today.

Actually their label says 'high fructose corn syrup' not sugar,
so I am avoiding drinks made with 'high fructose corn syrup'.
This is a fairly ubiquitous product, so some effort is required.
Further, suspecting that the "diet" soft drinks aren't so
healthy either (not liking the taste makes this easier), I've
avoided those as well.

So drink options now include water, milk, hot tea (with a
teaspoon or so of real sugar), iced tea (with Splenda), home
made lemonade (with real sugar), orange juice, V-8, beer,
scotch, and red wine. Water is gaining.

Changing habits is hard work.