Saturday, May 12, 2012

How we spent Friday night.......

Friend Mike invited a few friends over for house concert / fund raiser for the Foundation for Hospice of Central Ohio. The very warm, friendly, and talented Barbara Bailey Hutchinson performed for us. A great night.  Thanks Mike and Connie.


A view of London at night, provided your vantage point is
the International Space Station.  Full screen view here.

Los Angeles...............

The Moon, Venus, and Jupiter over LA, as seen from the
Mt. Wilson Observatory.  Full screen view is here.

N.Y., N. Y.

From the Astronomy Picture of the Day comes this shot of The
Big City.  Go here for a screen full of the picture and it becomes
clear that the airplane is actually carrying the space shuttle.

San Francisco...................

The City by the Bay, et. al., as seen by  Landsat 7.  Description
of the photograph and full screen view - here


The super moon and the Eiffel Tower.  Full screen here

Friday, May 11, 2012


The Marmalade...................................Reflections of My Life

The value of experiments............

"I learned this, at least, by my experiment:  that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.  He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.  In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be.  Now put a foundation under them."
-Henry David Thoreau

photo courtesy of

Wish I had said that.................

"It is not my purpose here to flense his critique point by point, only to 
note that his intellectual malnutrition is, of necessity, determined by
what he feeds his head."
-Gerard Vanderleun

I will confess to reaching for my Webster's New World College 
Dictionary to look up the word "flense."  I knew I knew it, but......
Flense (flens)  vt.  to cut blubber skin from (a whale, seal, etc.). 
Then it all came back to me.  Sophomore year.  English class.
Sitting with Patty and Susan,  where, under Dom Consolo's 
tutelage, we learned to hate Moby Dick.  But I digress.

The quote above comes from Vanderleun's well-worth-reading essay,
The American Argument.  Bonus quote is here:

"There are many ways of stating the American Argument with itself -- 
indeed, it is many arguments -- but one of the most straightforward 
is 'How shall men be free and how shall a society of free men then 
be structured?'"


On henbane and spinach............

     "Prosperity rests upon a moral foundation.  It is popularly supposed to rest upon an immoral foundation - that is, upon trickery, sharp practice, deception, and greed.  One commonly hears even an otherwise intelligent man declare that 'No man can be successful in business unless he is dishonest,' thus regarding business prosperity - a good thing - as the effect of dishonesty - a bad thing.  Such a statement is superficial and thoughtless, and reveals a total lack of knowledge of moral causation, as well as a very limited grasp of the facts of life.  It is as though one should sow henbane and reap spinach, or erect a brick house on a quagmire - things impossible in the natural order of causation, and therefore not to be attempted.  The spiritual or moral order of causation is not different in principle, but only in nature.  The same law obtains in things unseen - in thoughts and deeds - as in things seen - in natural phenomena.  Men sees the processes in natural objects, and acts in accordance with them, but not seeing the spiritual processes, he imagines that they do not obtain, and so he dos not act in harmony with them."
-James Allen, (1864-1912)  Eight Pillars of Prosperity


One of the many benefits of having the Mighty E.back, fulfilling his blogging destiny, is that he reminds me to check in on Fred Reed.  Fred's latest rant on education (full essay here) concludes with this beauty:

"In schooling, perhaps 'from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs' isn’t a bad idea. If a child has a substantial IQ, expect him to use it for the good of society, and give him schools to let him do it. If a child needs a vocation so as to live, give him the training he needs. But don’t subject either to enstupidated, unbearably tedious, pointless, one-size-fits-nobody pseudo-schools to hide the inescapable fact that we are not all equal.

On happiness...........

"It reminded my of John Stuart Mills' theory of happiness in his book Utilitarianism.  He said that those only are happy who do not seek happiness directly, but who spend their time helping others, who are engaged in some art or pursuit followed not as a means but as itself an ideal end.  Doing something else, they find happiness along the way."
-Earl Nightingale,  The Essence of Success

Speaking of genies.............

Thursday, May 10, 2012


All you need is
All you want is
All you need is love.

Dave Mathews Band....................................Everyday

if you liked this video, go see David and give him a hug

About gratitude...............

"Gratitude is not always instantaneous.  There are some things that take time to reveal what was gained, when there can be insight.   Many times a lack of gratitude can be a powerful blow back on course.  There have been many times that I have wandered too far from my heart and grown dissatisfied; these were signs that a change needed to be made, and that unhappy event became a turning point, a shift back in the direction of love and gratitude."
-Michele Gold, excerpted from her essay Gratitude Is a 
Sanctuary in Louise L. Hay's Gratitude: A Way of Life

photo courtesy of

A Thousand and One..............

"Grandpa told me all about the genie in the lamp...........The lamp is always hidden in plain sight he says.  Men go prospecting all over the landscape for the easy riches but they're generally lying right there on the ground for you to step over in your hurry and scurry to look for them."
-Sippican Cottage, The Devil's In The Cows

A silent movie about fracking..............

New technology has the potential to actually allow the dream of "energy independence" come true in America.  Looks from here that the only missing piece in the puzzle is how to dispose of - or clean - the water/sand/chemical mix that is used to frack the wells.  Hopefully smart people are working on it.  Below is a short video showing horizontal drilling.  Additional video, with more explanation, is found here.

thanks craig

On paying attention.............

"Be open to your own spirit and its directions (you might even consider asking it!)—then take the risk to move on your best guess, pay attention to the results, and course-correct as you keep moving along...."

full post about keeping track of priorities is here.
Thanks Kurt

On blind worship.................

"Reasonable - that it, human - men will always be capable of compromise, but men who have dehumanized themselves by becoming blind worshipers of an idea or an ideal are fanatics whose devotion to abstractions makes them enemies of life."
-Alan Watts, The Way of Zen

Letting go...............

"We must let go before we take hold.  Progress in any direction demands that in some sense we quit the place where we are.  If we put one foot forward, we must lift one foot from the ground.  If we wish to take a book in our hand, we must first let go of the book already in that hand.  Before taking hold of anything new, we must first let go of something old.
-John S. Bunting, The Secret of a Quiet Mind

art courtesy of gapingvoid

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

When words lose their meaning...............

Much like us Americans, the Europeans now apparently
consider "austerity" to be the slowing of the rate of growth
in spending.

The chart, and more commentary, comes from the
Marginal Revolution - here

Hope as an obstacle..............

"Hope is important, because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear.  If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.  But that is the most that hope can do for us - to make some hardship lighter.  When I think deeply about the nature of hope, I see something tragic.  Since we cling to our hope in the future, we do not focus our energies and capabilities on the present moment.  We use hope to believe something better will happen in the future, that we will arrive at peace, or the Kingdom of God.  Hope becomes a kind of obstacle.  If you can refrain from hoping, you can bring yourself entirely into the present moment and discover the joy that is already here."
-Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step:  The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

The interditch.........................?

Rob Firchau hangs a new moniker on this connectivity thing or place we all seem to enjoy.

Rational optimism.....................

Matt Ridley, the author of The Rational Optimist, posts 17 reasons to be cheerful - here.  Excerpt here:
12. We are the luckiest generation
This generation has experienced more peace, freedom, leisure time, education, medicine, and travel than any in history. Yet it laps up gloom at every opportunity. Consumers do not celebrate their wonderful field of choice and, according to psychologists, say they are "overwhelmed." When I go to my local superstore, I do not see people driven to misery by the impossibility of choice. I see people choosing.

Prior comments about Ridley's book here, here, here, here, and here.  There are more, but these should give you the general idea - I liked his book, a lot.

thanks craig

But, seriously folks...............

“The one serious conviction that a man should have is that nothing is to be taken too seriously.”
-Samuel Butler
thanks tina

But seriously folks...............

From the 1978 studio album of that name (with the Eagles mostly sitting in)

Joe Walsh.........................................................Life's Been Good

I have a mansion forget the price 
Ain't never been there they tell me it's nice 
I live in hotels tear out the walls 
I have accountants pay for it all 

They say I'm crazy but I have a good time 
I'm just looking for clues at the scene of the crime 
Life's been good to me so far 

My Maserati does 185 
I lost my license now I don't drive 
I have a limo ride in the back 
I lock the doors in case I'm attacked 

I'm making records my fans they can't wait 
They write me letters tell me I'm great 
So I got me an office, gold records on the wall 
Just leave a message maybe I'll call 

Lucky I'm sane after all I've been through 
Everybody says I'm cool (He's cool) 
I can't complain but sometimes I still do 
Life's been good to me so far 

I go to parties sometimes until four 
It's hard to leave when you can't find the door 
It's tough to handle this fortune and fame 
Everybody's so different I haven't changed 

They say I'm lazy but it takes all my time 
Everybody says Oh yeah (Oh yeah) 
I keep on going guess I'll never know why 
Life's been good to me so far

Dancing with uncertainty..................

    "Anything worth doing, whether a corporate initiative, a personal quest, or an entrepreneurial endeavor, will be filled with uncertainty.  Not knowing how it will end, whether you'll be able to pull it off, or what it will look or feel like when you do, is a mandatory part of the process, at least in the early phase.
    "Over time, leaps of faith will be replaced by information.  Fear and anxiety will cede to shape, form, certainty, and comfort.  But if you try to rush the process or shut it down because you can't handle the uncertainty, fear, and risk, you effectively shut down your genius creation engine.
     "So why not do the opposite?  Rather than trying to snuff out uncertainty and fear and taking down your endeavor along with them, honor their role as signposts of innovation, and find ways to embrace those seeming demons.
     "When you learn to dance with uncertainty, the doors to genius swing open."

-Jonathan Fields, excerpted from his essay Dancing with 
Uncertainty which is contained in End Malaria

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

As I walk through this world.............

Gene Chandler.....................................The Duke of Earl

The Rules...............

"The rules are simple. Take your work, but never yourself, 
seriously. Pour in the love and whatever skill you have, 
and it will come out."
-Chuck Jones

Calvin on creativity.............

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

To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman.  I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name.  In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex.  It was not that he felt any emotion akin to loverfor Irene Adler.  All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind.  He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen, but as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position.  He never spoke of the softer passions, save with a gibe and a sneer.  They were  admirable things for the observer - excellent for drawing the veil from men's motives and actions.  But for the trained reasoner to admit such intrusions into his own delicate and finely adjusted temperament was to introduce a distracting factor which might throw a doubt upon all his mental results.  Grit in a sensitive instrument, or a crack in one of his own high-power lenses, would not be more disturbing than a strong emotion in a nature such as his.  And yet there was but one woman to him, and that woman was the late Irene Adler, of dubious and questionable memory.
-Arthur Conan Doyle, A Scandal in Bohemia

A Scandal In Belgravia.............

I've been a faithful fan of Sherlock Holmes ever since a hand-me-down two volume set of The Complete Sherlock Holmes landed on my teenage book shelves.  Never really cared for Basil Rathbone's versions of the story, probably because the cinematic Dr. Watson became such a bumbler at the hands of Nigel Bruce.  I loved Jeremy Brett as Holmes partly because his TV version seemed so true to the original stories.  The combo of Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law was certainly the most fun and entertaining, making it easy to forgive some of the liberties taken with the character of Holmes. Ah, but the latest incarnation may be the finest of all. The local PBS station's Masterpiece Theatre featured A Scandal in Belgravia on Sunday.  Holmes has been updated to the 21st century and the story lines modified, but it was an hour and a half that makes having a television set worthwhile. Benedict Cumberbatch makes Holmes come to life and Martin Freeman is superb as Watson.  A great, great show. Looking forward to more.

Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce

Jeremy Brett and Edward Hartwicke

Jude Law and Robert Downey, Jr.
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman


"The tension between duty and desire - between obedience to
rules of conduct and unrestrained indulgence - is one of the
burdens which no other animal except man must bear."
-Mortimer J. Adler, excerpted from his essay Duty in
The Great Ideas

Shooting some serious skeet..............

from the fabulous  borderline sociopathic blog for boys

More random photos saved on my computer......