Monday, December 31, 2012

We were all a lot younger then..............

Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians welcome in 1958

Longer than always...................

Frank Sinatra/Count Bassie.........................More

The 100 best lists of all time...............

........................is right here.  A wee sampling right here:



The link will take you to Gary Belsky's post at the New Yorker.  Each list on his list is linked to the actual list.  You can spend fun-filled hours reading all this stuff.  Just in case you're curious, names are actually named on Nixon's "enemies list" and there are over one hundred two letter Scrabble words (including Qi) on Hasbro's list.


Liberty..........................

"Liberty means responsibility.  That is why most men dread it."
-George Bernard Shaw

Imagination........................









courtesy of

Truth....................















thanks Jessica

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






















via

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

Though the stranger did not know it, two disparate series of events were by that night already conspiring to lure him back onto the field of battle.  One was being played out behind the locked doors of the world's secret intelligence services while the other was the subject of a global media frenzy.  The newspapers had dubbed it "the summer of theft,"  the worst epidemic of art heists to sweep Europe in a generation.  Across the Continent, priceless paintings were disappearing like postcards plucked from the rack of a sidewalk kiosk.  The anguished masters of the art universe had professed shock over the rash of robberies, though the true professionals inside law enforcement admitted it was small wonder there were any paintings left to steal.  "If you nail a hundred million dollars to a poorly guarded wall," said one beleaguered official from Interpol, "it's only a matter of time before a determined thief will try to walk away with it."
-Daniel Silva, The Rembrandt Affair

Hmmmmm............























"Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them."
-Karl Popper

Sunday, December 30, 2012

1970......We were all a lot younger back then........

Bobby Sherman........................Easy Come, Easy Go

An ode to trees.........................

The View From the Ledge offers a prayer for the trees.  Having just recently cleaned up some magnificent old oak trees from the truly significant damage wrought by our summer wind storm, it struck a chord.  Jeff also pointed to some "tree poems", and having just shoveled the driveway amid snow-draped evergreens, this one resonated:

Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars... and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful. Everything is simply happy. Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance...... 
-Osho

Probably true......................























via

America...............................

    "He walked slowly toward the dark grove.  He had a complicated brain and there were things going on back there from time to time that he only dimly understood, so he relied on his instincts, but he was learning all the time.  The faith itself was simple:  he believed in the dignity of man.  His ancestors were Huguenots, refugees of a chained and bloody Europe.  He had learned their stories from the cradle.  He had grown up believing in America and the individual and it was a stronger faith than his faith in God.  This was the land where no man had to bow.  In this place at last a man could stand up free of the past, free of tradition and blood ties and the curse of royalty and become what he wished to become.  This was the first place on earth where the man mattered more than the state.  True freedom had begun here and it would spread eventually over all the earth.  But it had begun here.  The fact of slavery upon this incredibly beautiful clean earth was appalling, but even more than that was the horror of old Europe, the curse of nobility, which the South was transplanting to the new soil.  They were forming a new aristocracy, a new breed of glittering men, and Chamberlain had come to crush it.  But he was fighting for the dignity of man and in that way he was fighting for himself.   If men were equal in America, all these former Poles and English and Czechs and blacks, then they were equal everywhere, and there was really no such thing as a foreigner; there were only free men and slaves.  And so it was not even patriotism but a new faith.  The Frenchman fights for France, but the American fights for mankind, for freedom;  for the people, not the land."
-attributed to the mind of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain by Michael Shaara in Killer Angels

A bit more from De Montesquieu.........























"Republics are brought to their ends by luxury; monarchies by poverty."

"The tyranny of a prince does not bring a state into greater danger than indifference to the public good places a republic."

"Useless laws weaken the necessary laws."

"It is not chance that rules the world. Ask the Romans, who had a continuous sequence of successes when they were guided by a certain plan, and an uninterrupted sequence of reverses when they followed another."

"The deterioration of a government begins almost always by the decay of its principles."

"People here argue about religion interminably, but it appears that they are competing at the same time to see who can be the least devout."

"I have never known any distress that an hour's reading did not relieve."

For more about Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, aka Montesquieu, go here.

Hide and seek..................

Mother Nature advises camouflage, or so this collection of wildlife photos would appear to suggest.  Full gallery here.  Two samples here:

see the Great Gray Owl

Find the giraffe

Now, if I could just figure out which was which......























thanks Todd

Thought maybe I ought to......................

...............read up on this blogging business.  Closer inspection
revealed a $7.99 price tag.  I shall remain clueless.


Trust me on this one....................

Ten best ping-pong table tennis shots of 2012.  The joys of skill, quickness, instinct, hand-eye coordination, the never-give-up attitude, and slow-mo.  Enjoy.



thanks craig

Bequests......................






















via

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Rock....................

Greg Mankiw points the way to this little ditty.  Only 328 views on YouTube at this moment.  I suspect that number will be exponentially greater in due course.  Enjoy...........or not.

Fusion...............................

Sea Level...........................................Grand Larceny

Why...........................
























"We don't know the why of anything. On that matter we are no further advanced than was the cave dweller. The scientist is contented if he can contribute something toward the knowledge of what is and how it is."
-Charles Proteus Steinmetz

photo via APOD

Time...........................
















via

Perspective...................

“Technology is anything that was invented after you were born.”
-Alan Kay

Switching gears..................


















via

A haunting tune from Windham Hill......circa 1984

Shadowfax......................................Dreams of Children

Aristocracy........................

Walter Russell Mead opines on (Connecticut resident) Ted Kennedy Jr.'s recent announcement that he would not seek the Massachusetts's Senate seat being vacated by John Kerry:

"We at Via Meadia think this is good news, not because of any animosity toward Mr. Kennedy or the Kennedy family, but because the trend toward dynasticism and a hereditary political class is something every red blooded American needs to fight. An elite always wants to convert political power to family power, and one job that lovers of freedom need to take on at all times is to resist the ambitions of pretender royal families. From George Washington’s refusal of a kingship to the Presidential term limits enacted after FDR’s long reign, Americans have a noble tradition of resisting the creation of political aristocracies.
That doesn’t mean we favor knee jerk opposition to every candidate with a famous last name. But if a famous name was a hurdle to be overcome rather than a springboard to power, American society would be a healthier place, and American democracy would be more secure."

Reading Mead's post (in full here) brought to mind a monologue delivered by Sgt. Buster Kilrain to Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain in Michael Shaara's fabulous book, Killer Angels:
"Colonel, you're a lovely man.  I see at last a great difference between us, and yet, I admire ye, lad.  You're an idealist, praise be.  The truth is, Colonel, that there's no divine spark, bless you.  There's many a man alive no more value than a dead dog.  Believe me, when you've seen them hang each other....Equality?  Christ in Heaven.  What I'm fighting for is the right to prove I'm a better man than many.  Where have you seen this divine spark in operation, Colonel?  Where have you noted this magnificent equality?  The Great White Joker in the Sky dooms us all to stupidity or poverty from birth.  No two things on earth are equal or have an equal chance, not a leaf nor a tree.  There's many a man worse than me, and some better, but I don't think race or country matters a damn.  What matters is justice.  'Tis why I'm here.  I'll be treated as I deserve, not as my father deserved.  I'm Kilrain, and I God damn all gentlemen.  I don't know who my father was and I don't give a damn.  There's only one aristocracy, and that's right here (Kilrain says while tapping his head with his finger)...............The point is that we have a country here where the past cannot keep a good man in chains, and that's the nature of the war.  It's the aristocracy I'm after.  All that lovely, plumed, stinking chivalry.  The people who look at you life a piece of filth, a cockroach, ah.......I tell you, Colonel, we got to win this war."
Or, for those who favor video, try this version:

Republics.....................

"Republics in which high birth gives no right to the government of the state are in that respect the most happy; for the people have less reason to envy an authority which they confer on whom they will, and which they can again take away when the choose."
-De Montesquieu

Human nature.....................









for a larger image, please vist here

Friday, December 28, 2012

Hurry....................

The Chairmen of the Board.........Give Me Just A Little More Time

Semicolons.............................

Being intimidated by never having figured out the proper use the semicolon is on the list of things that turned a potential English major into a History major.  In the spirit of life-time learning, your assignment is to join me in reading up on them - here.  There will not be a test.  












Measure........................

"Money is a stupid measure of achievement, but unfortunately it is the only universal measure we have."
-Charles Proteus Steinmetz (attributed)

Simple resolutions..................

How to be happier in ten easy steps - here.   A sample here:


9) Touch someone:
Touching can reduce stress, improve team performance, and help you be persuasive. Hugs make you happier. Sex may help prevent heart attacks and cancer, improve your immune system and extend your life.

Science....................again

"The extraordinary development of modern science may be her undoing.  Specialism, now a necessity, has fragmented the specialties themselves in a way that makes the outlook hazardous.  The workers lose all sense of proportion in a maze of minutiae."
-William Osler  (1919)

Evolution.........................


Compromise.........................
















via

The more things change...............

"In the present state of the world it is difficult not to write satire."
-Juvenal

Careful what you wish for...............

"Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him had better take a closer look at the American Indian." 
-Henry Ford

thanks to Maggie's Farm

Help...............


















via

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thinking 2013.......................

Unfortunately there is nothing magical about January 1.  While the demarcation from one year to the next makes a nice focal point for resolutions and promises of being different, it is really just another day.  If I want a better tomorrow, I need to be better today.  Ah, but how?  Fortunately, Mathew Ferrara, one of my favorite real estate gurus, has offered thirteen ideas for creating a better tomorrow - and you can start today.  His full post is here.  The briefest of summaries is here:


  1. Write down four goals. 
  2. Do a time study. 
  3. Talk to one influencer a day..
  4. Measure something.
  5. Try four new things. 
  6. Take time off. 
  7. Be yourself. 
  8. Systematize. 
  9. Practice focus.
  10. Mentor someone.
  11. Team up. 
  12. Plug in.
  13. Create

Urban Daydreams...........................

David Benoit.................................Sailing Through the City

We've had a weather event..........








































                                                     

pictures courtesy of mme scherzo and bits and pieces

Re-po...................................



























via

Questions...................

"There are no foolish questions and no man becomes a fool until he has stopped asking questions."
-Charles Proteus Steinmetz

Shamans.....................................

















"It is beyond belief that we know so little about how people get rich or poor, about how it is they come to dwell in comfort and health or die in penury and disease. Financial markets are the machines in which much of human welfare is decided; yet we know more about how our car engines work than about how our global financial system functions. We lurch from crisis to crisis. In a networked world, mayhem in one market spreads instantaneously to all others—and we have only the vaguest of notions how this happens, or how to regulate it. So limited is our knowledge that we resort, not to science, but to shamans. We place control of the world's largest economy in the hands of a few elderly men, the central bankers."
-Benoit Mandelbrot

Science..........................

"What is called science today consists of a haphazard heap of information, united by nothing, often utterly unnecessary, and not only failing to present one unquestionable truth, but as often as not containing the grossest errors, today put forward as  truths, and tomorrow overthrown."
-Lyof N. Tolstoy  (c. 1902)

Because you always wanted to know..........

........................................the difference between the Dutch, Holland, and the Netherlands (in four short minutes).



thanks gerard

Integrity......................























From Michael, at the Journal of a Nobody, who has certainly passed the test.

The old human element..................

I have probably never thanked Michael Wade thoroughly enough for all the priceless insights and wisdom he offers up for free on a regular basis.  Anyway, thanks again Michael.  

I suspect that those that follow this blog also follow the Execupundit.  If you don't, do.  A pretty good sample of his work is here.  An excerpt here:

"We are dealing with human beings out there, not boxes in a decision chart or walking job descriptions."

More re-cap.....................


















via

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Call.......................

James Taylor..............................You've Got a Friend

Buoy..................................





















"All religions, on their dogmatic side, are attempts of this kind to interpret a universe that produces men in profusion and carelessly destroys them.  These attempts are partly to explain, partly to buoy up man's feeble spirit in facing a universe before which he is helpless."
-Brand Blanshard, Four Reasonable Men


apod image via

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

















via

Relax..............................


Today's history lesson...........

Grant and Eisenhower

"In the end Ike did what he had always planned to do, and just what Grant would have done - he used his superiority in numbers to advance on a broad front, from the Swiss border to Holland, day by day, with not showy tactics or sideshows, inexorably pressing the Germans back and inflicting on them losses they could not afford.  It was the Wilderness and the advance on Richmond on a larger scale, and it worked, just as it had for Grant.  The German army was better trained, better led, vastly more experienced, and equipped with better weapons, particularly in tanks, but none of it mattered;  Ike had his men, and he could replace his weapons thanks to America's industrial might - all he had to do to win the war was to keep moving forward, never retreat, and kill Germans in numbers they could not replace, and eventually they would collapse.  And so they did.
     "Grant would have approved.  He would have approved of the fact too that as president Ike was notably unwilling to fight another war.  He had seen one, and that was enough for him."
-Michael Korda, Ulysses S. Grant:  The Unlikely Hero

The question...................





















The question before me, now that I
am old, is not how to be dead,
which I know from enough practice,
but how to be alive, as these worn
hills still tell, and some paintings
of Paul Cezanne, and this mere
singing wren, who thinks he's alive
forever, this instant, and may be.
-Wendell Berry


photo copyrighted by Judy Semroc

The natural way of things.......................

















via

Gifting.............................
















“Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.” 
-Ruth Ann Schabacker

Todd Lohenry points to a Tiny Buddha post on five gifts to give and five gifts to receive.  Gifts that keep on giving.  Do go visit.

Re-cap....................


via

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

So......................................

John Lennon...............................Happy Christmas




Not right now...................

















via

Always the last to know...................

















via

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


















via

A sign...................


8   And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  

9   An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 

10   But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 

11   Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 

12   This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13   Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
  14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
 and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15   When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16   So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 

17   When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 

18     and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 

19   But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 

20   The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

The Holy Bible
Luke 2: 8-20
King James Version

Merry Christmas..............


Monday, December 24, 2012

Holy night...................

Olivia Newton John......................Silent Night

Magi..........................


















Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

2   Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

3   When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

4   And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

5   And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,

6   And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

7   Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.

8   And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

9   When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

10   When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

11   And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

12  And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

Mathew 2: 1-12
The Holy Bible
King James Version

Keep a weather eye..............

James Taylor................Home by Another Way

All clear...........................

















via

Done......................