Saturday, May 5, 2012

My girl.......................Prom night


On cooking and/or making music......


Ian Anderson speaks.  Money quotes, courtesy of  The 
Hammock Papers, are here.  Full interview is here.

"It's all done with good will,but I just get carried away"


Go here to see a 2001 version of Jethro Tull's Thick As A Brick
Embedding disabled?  WUWT?  Flute solo starts around 5:30.   
What a talent!

Allowances.......................

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


"Culture also matters. Although it is important to shine the spotlight on egregious unearned salaries, clubbing all high earners into an undifferentiated mass - as the “one percent” label does - could denigrate the wealth creation that has served the country so well. The debate on inequality should focus on how the United States can level up rather than on how it should level down."


So says Raghuram Rajan in his essay, The True Lessons of the Recession:  The West Can't Borrow and Spend Its Way to Recovery

Cartoons..............

Jeff brings us fifteen cartoons from the New Yorker - here.  The boy is into public service.  A wee sampling here:




Happiness is not being the leader......

Tom Asacker suggests being the market leader comes with problems of its own - like figuring out which paradigm to shift.  Full post here.  Excerpt here:


Why? Because market leaders are wedded to an existing paradigm, to caution and convention. And so, they focus on incremental changes in their served markets to stay a step ahead of the competition. They don't innovate for customers. They tweak their offering to try to beat the other guy.

Mark Twain once wrote:
    "The best swordsman in the world doesn't need to fear the  
     second best swordsman in the world; no, the person for him 
     to be afraid of is some ignorant antagonist who has never 
     had a sword in his hand before; he doesn’t do the thing he 
     ought to do, and so the expert isn't prepared for him; he 
     does the thing he ought not to do and often it catches the
     expert out and ends him on the spot."

Real success.........................






















Thanks Hugh

Can't help it..........................................every so often, this song demands a replay...........

Janis Joplin.............................................Summertime



Friday, May 4, 2012

Question of the day.........................

What do................
     Bob Dylan
     Aldous Huxley
     Oliver Hardy
     Shirley Temple
     Marlon Brando
     Stephen Crane
     Albert Einstein
     Marilyn Monroe
     Karl Marx
     Sonny Liston
     H. G. Wells
     and
     T.E. Lawrence
all have in common....................?

Answer of the day..............

They were all in one of the most famous group pictures ever made.


Speaking of which.............

The Beatles.......................With A Little Help From My Friends

 

Secondary..................

     "Our country is to be a land of colleges," Reverend Absalom Peters, a friend of colleges including Williams and Amherst, remarked in 1851.  Toward the end of the nineteenth century, Frederick Rudolph writes in The American College and University: A History (1962), England had four colleges for a population of 23 million, while the State of Ohio alone had thirty-seven colleges for a population of 3 million.  Unlike countries around the world that quickly put all their universities under centralized state control, the United States evolved a unique diversity of large and small, public and private institutions.  At first, colleges multiplied because each Protestant denomination in each colony wanted its own.  Reformers founded separate colleges for women, blacks, even Indians.  Founding or growing a college was always useful to someone, somewhere, whether local political leaders, philanthropists, subcultures, sects, or ethnic groups.  Colleges were built to further these interests - student demand was always secondary.
-Anya Kamenetz, as excerpted from DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education

The assumption of rationality........


"This is the dreaded winner's curse.  In an auction with many bidders, the winning bidder is often a loser."

"These statements about the winner's curse suggest that bidders make systematic errors.  Economic theory precludes such errors.  Therefore, the statements must be wrong."  The logic of this position is questionable.  It is important to remember that rationality is an assumption in economics, not a demonstrated fact.

-Richard H. Thaler, as excerpted from The Winner's Curse: Paradoxes and Anomalies of Economic Life

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

Before the City, there was the land.  Go back just over a century and a half to the place that became Chicago, and our familiar distinction between city and country vanishes.  At the mouth of the river where the city would one day stand, small human settlements came and went, but their inhabitants would no more have used the word "urban" to describe the place than the word "rural."  Without those words, there could be no city here, not until people came who could dream city dreams in the midst of a cityless landscape.  Chicago remained a gathering place like so many other gathering places scattered between the Great Lakes and the Rocky Mountains.  What most distinguished it were the wild garlic plants that grew amid the grasses and sedges of its low-lying prairie.  From them, it gained its name:  Chigagou, "the wild-garlic place."
-William Cronon, Nature's Metropolis:  Chicago and the Great West

Ahhhh...............but it feels SOOOOO good



thanks jonco

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Happy Birthday to............


Bing Crosby...........................................1903





Sugar Ray Robinson..............................1921




Robert Osborn.......................................1932




James Brown...........................................1933




Englebert Humperdinck............................1936




Frankie Valli.............................................1937

Addiction.................

"...The nurses laughed along with him; people always laughed and smiled with Dick Beardsley.  Then the doctors came, and they cut away his clothes and saw the extent of his injuries.  The nurses stopped laughing.  They wouldn't look him in the eye.  Dick felt a stab of fear.  And on the heels of the fear, from a place that didn't seem like his leg but a place beyond his leg, he felt the first cold touch of pain.
     Things moved very quickly then.  They took him to a room and hooked him up with an IV-drip as the pain spread like black floodwater and panic rose in Dick's chest.  He knew how to handle pain; he was a marathoner, after all, which is another way of saying he was a pain wizard.  But this was something different.  This was black and cold and overwhelming.  The nurses had him hooked up to a bag of clear liquid that looked like his dad's gin.  What could that watery stuff do against the black pain massing up from his mangled let, punctured lung, fractured wrist, broken ribs, severe concussion, and cracked vertebrae?
     But just as the black tide was about to swallow him whole, the Demerol molecules washed over his brain's opioid receptors. Dick rocketed into a new and wonderful world.  A world of float and dazzle and laughter and light and peace and no strain, no worry, nor corn to get in, no seconds to save, no falling-down Swedish farm with 9-foot-long timber wolves prowling the woods to tear you limb from limb and PTOs spinning in the yard to do the same.  Nothing nothing nothing but pure joy.  Never in his days had Dick experienced anything remotely like this.  Mindful of his parents' example, he had never touched alcohol and never considered recreational drugs, not even marijuana.
     The Demerol hit him harder than the packed, frozen earth of the barnyard.  Here was truth and light, something so infinitely more pleasing than farming or fishing or running as to be laughable.  This was home.  It was so wonderful that is some higher power told him he could go back, avoid the accident, but never take Demerol, Dick wouldn't hesitate - he would turn the offer down flat.
-John Brant, as excerpted from Duel In The Sun

The Broccoli Party?

The Mugwumps return, and WRM is not impressed:

"The trouble is that at least in the US system, a mix of civic-minded, balanced, and thoughtful upper middle class good government types is about as politically formidable as a basket of bunnies. They often know policy, budgets, management and “the issues;” the only things they don’t understand are politics and the American people.
"The trick in American politics isn’t to persuade voters to shun ice cream and pie in favor of broccoli. The trick is to find ways to incorporate the necessary nutrition into the pies and the ice cream. You can get a lot of fiber into a pie crust if you are creative."
Full essay is here

On Pruning.................


"Rosebushes and other plants produce more buds than the plant can sustain.  The plant has enough life and resources to feed and nurture only so many buds to their full potential; it can't bring all of them to full bloom.  In order for the best to thrive, a certain number of buds have to go.  The caretaker constantly examines the bush to see which buds are worthy of the plant's limited fuel and support and cuts the others away.  He prunes them.  Takes them away, never to return.  He ends their role in the life of the bush and puts an end to the bush's having to divert resources to them.
    "In doing so, the gardener frees those needed resources so the plant can direct them to the buds with the greatest potential to become mature roses.  Those buds get the best that the bush has to offer, and they thrive and grow to fullness.  But the rosebush could not do this without pruning.  It is a necessity of life for rosebushes.  Without endings, you don't get the best roses."
-Henry Cloud, as excerpted from Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward 


photo courtesy of

Just thought you should know........

I'll take Phobias for $400, Alex...........................

keraunorthnetophobia..........................fear of falling satellites

chionophobia.......................................fear of snow
.
atelophobia..........................................fear of imperfection

trichoparhophobia................................fear of hair

didaskaleinophobia..............................fear of going to school

scorodophobia....................................fear of garlic
.
kakorrhiaphobia..................................fear of failure or defeat

ranidaphobia.......................................fear of frogs

philematophobia..................................fear of kissing

Awaken.............................

Would you like to liberate yourself from
the lower realms of life?
Would you like to save the world from
the degradation and destruction
it seems destined for?
Then step away from the shallow
mass movements and quietly go to
work on your own self-awareness.

If you want to awaken all of humanity,
then awaken all of yourself.
If you want to eliminate the suffering in
the world, than eliminate all that is
dark and negative in yourself.
Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is
that of your own self-transformation.

So find a teacher who is an integral being,
a beacon who extends his light and
virtue with equal ease to those who
appreciate him and those who don't.
Shape yourself in his mold, bathe in his
nourishing radiance, and reflect
it out to the rest of the world.
You will come to understand an eternal
truth:  there is always a peaceful
home for a virtuous being.

-Verse 75
Hua Hu Ching:  The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu
Brian Browne Walker

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A take-your-breath-away moment.........

Susan Boyle meets the World.........................

Treading water.............















thanks Bill

Orwell in Spain.................


Eric Arthur Blair briefly participated in the fighting of the Spanish Civil War - on the Republican side, although things were pretty complicated in 1937 Spain and he was attached to Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (POUM — Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista).  He was wounded by a sniper's bullet to the throat, suspected of actually being a fascist, and returned (escaped) to England.  A year later, under the pen name of George Orwell, he penned his classic, Homage to Catalonia.

    "Meanwhile nothing happened, nothing ever happened.  The English has got into the habit of saying that this wasn't a war, it was a bloody pantomime.  We were hardly under direct fire from the Fascists.  The only danger was from stray bullets, which, as the lines curved forward on either side, came from several directions.  All the casualties at this time were from strays.  Arthur Clinton got a mysterious bullet that smashed his left shoulder and disabled his arm, permanently, I am afraid.  There was little shell-fire, but it was extraordinarily ineffectual.  The scream and crash of shells was actually looked upon as a mild diversion.  The Fascists never dropped their shells on our parapet.  A few hundred yards behind us there was a country house, called La Granja, with big farm-buildings, which was used as a store, headquarters, and cook-house for this sector of the line.  It was this that the Fascist gunners were trying for, but they were five or six kilometres away and they never aimed well enough to more than smash the windows and chip the walls.  You were only in danger if you happened to be coming up the road when the firing started, and the shells plunged into the field on either side of you.  One learned immediately the mysterious art of knowing by the sound of a shell how close it will fall.  The shells the Fascists were firing at this period were wretchedly bad.  Although they were 150 mm. they only made a crater about six feet wide by four deep, and at least one in four failed to explode.  There were the usual romantic tales of sabotage in the Fascist factories and unexploded shells in which, instead of a charge, there was found a scrap of paper saying 'Red Front,' but I never saw one.  The truth was that the shells were hopelessly old; someone picked up a brass fuse-cap stamped with the date, and it was 1917.  The Fascist guns were of the same make and calibre as our own, and the unexploded shells were often reconditioned and fired back.  There was said to be one old shell with a nickname of its own which travelled daily to and fro, never exploding."
-George Orwell, as excerpted from Homage to Catalonia

photo courtesy of

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

"......early Americans revered action and were suspicious of intellect, associating the life of the mind with the lanquid, ineffectual European aristocracy they had left behind.   The 1828 presidential campaign pitted a former Harvard professor, John Quincy Adams, against Andrew Jackson, a forceful military hero.  A Jackson campaign slogan tellingly distinguished the two:  'John Quincy Adams, who can write/And Andrew Jackson who can fight.'
     The victor of that campaign?  The fighter beat the writer......"
-Susan Cain, as excerpted from Quiet: The Power of Introverts
In a World That Can't Stop Talking

Eating....................

Had a really pleasant dining experience at one of our local Arby's restaurants a month or so ago.  As a result, I've been on kind of an Arby's kick lately.   Took my Sweetie to lunch there yesterday to share the love and found this quote from Pavarotti.  Devoted attention indeed.


Touching all my bases........

Cultural Offering cleanses our rhetorical palettes:
"One conclusion is that more generous unemployment benefits give rise to higher unemployment and longer search times." 


Execupundit has fun in the meeting:
"Creativity is not anarchy and a major virtue of those who are consistently creative is self-discipline."


The Hammock Papers on the virtue of getting lost:
"But fold it up so we don't find
Our way back soon nobody knows we're here"



David Kannigan on those pesky commencement speakers:
"there is absolutely nothing wrong with being solid."


Nicholas Bate on spending time with the best:
"Hang out with the best. Listen to the best. Read the best."


Seth Godin on making our dent:
"hiding out is surely not going to work at all."


The Furniture Guy on tools, homemade or not:
"but duct tape is more a symptom that you have no idea what to do than an indication you do, and are all manly and so forth."


The Mighty E. was AWOL here of late, but has now returned:
five days in the Big Easy with no report?  What's up with that?

Sark.....................................

"Invent your world.  Surround yourself with people, color, sounds, and work that nourish you."
-Sark

California dreaming..............

Joel Kotkin, writing at the City Journal, laments the damage being done in The Golden State to the economy of the 99%, all in the name of all that is green and progressive.  Full essay is here.  Conclusion here:


"The lesson, which progressives once understood, is that upward mobility is best served by a growing economy. If they fail to remember that all-important fact, the greens and their progressive allies may soon have to place the California dream on their list of endangered species."

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Jefferson and Adams....................


Much has said about these two giants, co-creators of much of the great American experiment.  Their ferocious campaign for the Presidency in 1800 marked one of the truly significant historical occurrences in the history of government.  For the first time, power transitioned in an orderly and peaceful manner from one political philosophy to an opposing political philosophy.  Adams, the Federalist, left the Presidency after one term, defeated by Jefferson, the republican.  These two political enemies, who in 1796 were elected President and Vice-President respectively, could not have disagreed more thoroughly about the nature of government.

They had not always been enemies and had worked quite well together in the quest for Independence.  Not long after Jefferson retired from the White House in 1808, a mutual friend, Dr. Benjamin Rush, began his campaign to reconcile the once-friends.  With patience, he accomplished his goal.  In 1812, Adams and Jefferson began to correspond.  They kept writing to each other until 1826, the year both died.

My bookcase is now happily graced with a copy of their complete correspondence.  As time permits, a few of these letters may be transcribed.  As time permitted last eve, please see the following post.

Reading lists...............................

A letter from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson.  July 18, 1813

Dear Sir:
   I have more to say, on Religion.  For more than sixty Years I have been attentive to this great Subject.  Controversies, between Calvinists and Arminiams, Trinitarians and Uniterians, Deists and Christians, Atheists and both, have attracted my Attention, whenever the singular Life I have lead would admit, to these questions.  The History of this little Village of Quincy, if it were worth recording would explain to you, how this happened. I think, I can now say I have read away Bigotry, if not Enthusiasm.
   What does Priestly mean, by an Unbeliever?  When he applies it to you?  How much did he "unbelieve," himself?  Gibbon had him right, when he denominated his Creed, "Scanty."  We are to understand, no doubt, that he believed in the Resurrection of Jesus, some of his miracles, His Inspiration, but in what degree?  He did not believe in the Inspiration of the Writings that contain his History.  Yet he believed in the Apocalyptic Beast, and he believed as much as he pleased in the writings of Daniel and John.  This great, excellent and extraordinary Man, whom I sincerely loved esteemed and respected, was really a Phenomenon; a Comet in the System, like Voltaire Bolingbroke and Hume.  Had Bolingbroke or Voltaire taken him in hand, what would they have made of him and his Creed?
   I do not believe you have read much of Priestleys "Corruption of Christianity."  His History of early Opinions of Jesus Christ.  His Predestination, his No Soul System or his Controversy with Horseley.
   I have been a diligent Student for may Years in Books whose Titles you have never seen.  In Priestleys and Lindsay Writings; in Farmer, Cappe, in Tuckers or Edward Searches, Light of Nature pursued; in Edwards and Hopkins, and lately in Ezra Styles Ely; his reverend and learned Panegyrists and his elegant and spirited Opponents.  I am not wholly uniformed of the Controversies in Germany and the learned Researches of Universities and Professors; in which the Sanctity of the Bible and the Inspiration of its Authors are taken for granted or waived; or admitted, or not denied.  I have also read Condorcets Progress of the human mind.
   I blame you not for reading Euclid and Newton, Thucidides and Theocritus: for I believe you will find as much entertainment and Instruction in them as I have found, in my Theological and Ecclesiastical Instructors; Or even as I have found in a profound Investigation of the Life Writings and Doctrines of Erastus, whose Disciples were Milton, Harrington, Seldon, St. John, the Chief Justice, Father of Bolingbroke, and others the choicest Spirits of their Age: or in La Harpes History of the Philosophy of the 18th Century, or in Van der Kemps vast Map of the Causes of the Revolutionary Spirit, in the same and preceeding Centuries.  These Things are to me, at present, the Marbles and Nine Pins of old Age: I will not say the Beads and Prayer Books.
   I Agree with you, as far as you go.  Most cordially and I think solidly.  How much farther I go, how much more I believe than You, I may explain in a future Letter.
   This much I will say at present, I have found so many difficulties, that I am not astonished at your stopping where you are.  And so far from sentencing you to Perdition, I hope soon to meet you in another Country.
                                                              John Adams

Pushing that rock.................

Sean Carpenter is talking commitment:


"It’s called #EveryDayInMay and it’s about committing to something…anything…that you feel, if you could do it daily for the next month, would make you better than when you started."


Full post is here

Great years indeed.......................



The Beatles  1961..............................from Hamburg Germany
The pictures are from Hamburg; the music, while on their play list,
 is probably from a recording a few years later.





The Beatles..................................................Let It Be



Flow.........................



"Wonderful how completely everything in wild nature fits into us, as if truly part and parent of us. The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us, thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing. The trees wave and the flowers bloom in our bodies as well as our souls, and every bird song, wind song, and; tremendous storm song of the rocks in the heart of the mountains is our song, our very own, and sings our love."
-John Muir, as excerpted from Mountain Thoughts

Sun Tzu........................


There has never been a protracted war that has brought benefits to the state.

Therefore, in war it is advantageous to go for swift victory and not prolonged campaigns.

When victory is long delayed, the ardor and morale of the army will be depressed.  When the siege of a city is prolonged, the army will be exhausted.  When the army engages in protracted campaigns, the resources of the state will be impoverished.

-Sun Tzu:  War & Management
Chow-Hou Wee, et. al.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Happy Birthday, Willie................

Willie Nelson.....................................Always On My Mind

Yogi..................



Yogi Berra, the iconic catcher of New York Yankee fame, known for his Yogi-isms, is also the winningest man in baseball.  He appeared in 21 World Series as a player, coach, and manager.  In his 17 years as a player, his team reached the World Series 14 times and won 10 times.  He was also an ironman.  Over a seven year period during his prime years, Berra played in 100 more games than any other catcher in baseball.   In that stretch he payed both games of a double header 117 times, seven times on back-to-back days.  Makes my knees hurt just thinking about it.


The following story comes from a story by Joe Posnanski in Sports Illustrated  from last summer:

"One time in Boston it was so hot that Berra decided to get thrown out of the game.  The umpire that day was Cal Hubbard, a former football player who did not listen to much talk before throwing players out of the game. Berra figured it would be easy.  So he made a few cracks. Hubbard didn't say a thing.  Then, Berra started openly arguing balls and strikes.  Again, Hubbard didn't say a thing.  Finally, Berra turned and tried to show up Hubbard, the surest way to get thrown out of a game.  Hubbard calmly said, 'Berra, if I have to be out here in this heat, so do you.'"


Love: The hypothesis...................


Scott Adams takes a stab at explaining the feeling of love - here.  Brief excerpts here:

Religion also supports my hypothesis. The pious don't simply prefer God, or find it convenient to obey God. They literally love God. This is consistent with my hypothesis because the opportunity for an afterlife is the ultimate safety net. Even if things go pear shaped during life, believers still feel safe in the long run, and therefore they feel love.

Your dog appears to love you above all others, but it's no accident that you are your dog's main protector. You feed it, shield it from bigger dogs, shelter it, and let it sleep near you at night for group protection. In return, you know your dog will make you feel less lonely. We're a species that relies on group size to keep us safe. The more creatures we have on our side, the less likely we will be attacked. 



A cat is harder to explain by my hypothesis. A cat makes you feel less lonely, but it has little or no protective qualities beyond sensing approaching danger faster than you can. I think that explains why an unusual number of men dislike cats: Cats don't have your back when the trouble comes down. 

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

     To the red country and part of the gray country of Oklahoma, the last rains came gently, and they did not cut the scarred earth.  The plows crossed and recrossed the rivulet marks.  The last rains lifted the corn quickly and scattered weed colonies and grass along the sides of the roads so that the gray country and the dark red country began to disappear under a green cover.  In the last part of May the sky grew pale and the clouds that had hung in high puffs for so long in the spring were dissipated.  The sun flared down on  the growing corn day after day until a line of brown spread along the edge of each green bayonet.  The clouds appeared, and went away, and in a while they did not try any more.  The weeds grew darker green to protect themselves, and they did not spread any more.  The surface of the earth crusted, a thin hard crust, and as the sky became pale, so the earth became pale, pink in the red country and white in the gray country.
-John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

From the Hubble Space Telescope.........


What intrigues me most about these photos are the explanations,
like here.  Do they really know, or are they guessing?  And exactly
how do you make an " intriguing composite of ground based and 
Hubble Space Telescope images"?  Regardless, it's fun.

The Great Dissenter...........again


In Abrams v The United States, the Supreme Court voted 7-2 that the "1918 Amendment to the Espionage Act of 1917, which made it a criminal offense to urge curtailment of production of the materials necessary to the war against Germany with intent to hinder the progress of the war," was constitutional and did not violate the free speech rights granted under the First Amendment.  The defendants in the case were actually supporters of the Russian Revolution and not of Germany.  No matter.


Justice Holmes dissented.  Full dissent is here.  Excerpts here:

"In this case, sentences of twenty years' imprisonment have been imposed for the publishing of two leaflets that I believe the defendants had as much right to publish as the Government has to publish the Constitution of the United States now vainly invoked by them."

 "But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas -- that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out. That, at any rate, is the theory of our Constitution."

It is an experiment, as all life is an experiment. Every year, if not every day, we have to wager our salvation upon some prophecy based upon imperfect knowledge. While that experiment is part of our system, I think that we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death, unless they so imminently threaten immediate interference with the lawful and pressing purposes of the law that an immediate check is required to save the country. 

"I had conceived that the United States, through many years, had shown its repentance for the Sedition Act of 1798, by repaying fines that it imposed. Only the emergency that makes it immediately dangerous to leave the correction of evil counsels to time warrants making any exception to the sweeping command, "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech."  Of course, I am speaking only of expressions of opinion and exhortations, which were all that were uttered here, but I regret that I cannot put into more impressive words my belief that, in their conviction upon this indictment, the defendants were deprived of their rights under the Constitution of the United States."