Saturday, June 2, 2012

???????????

Question Mark and the Mysterians..................96 Tears

Lewis on books and readers....

Part the Third:
     "Thirdly, the first reading of some literary work is often, to the literary, an experience so momentous that only experiences of love, religion, or bereavement can furnish a standard of comparison.  Their whole consciousness is changed.  They have become what they were not before.  But there is no sign of anything like this among the other sort of readers.  When they have finished the story or the novel, nothing much, or nothing at all, seems to have happened to them."
-C. S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism

Really????

"Boards are showing more appetite for risk and less tolerance for failure."

That interesting sentence appears in the Schumpeter column in a recent The Economist magazine.  I suspect you can read the whole essay about "the latest crop of bossess" here.  Concluding paragraph is here:

"There will never be a shortage of people jostling to be the boss.  But the wheel of fortune is spinning more quickly than ever, and the knives and arrow are flying more thickly."

What if Pinto was right.....?

Extremely careful readers of this blog will realize this dialogue has appeared before, but, whatever.   Reading Craig Newmark's blog made me think of it again.  There is this scene in the movie Animal House (I wish someone would Youtubeize it) where Boon and Katy are in the bathtub singing.....

"Hey, Paula.
I wanna marry you
Hey, Paula.
Nobody else could ever do
I've waited so long
For school to be through
I can't wait no more for you"

while Pinto and Professor Jennings are getting high and discussing life's possibilities......

"Okay.
That means that...our whole solar system...
could be, like...one tiny atom in the
fingernail of some other giant being.
This is too much! That means...-one tiny
atom in my fingernail could be--
-Could be one little...tiny universe.
Could l buy some pot from you?
(Snorting loudly)"

This was copied from Newmark's Door:

An astonishing concept has entered mainstream cosmological thought: physical reality could be hugely more extensive than the patch of space and time traditionally called “the universe.” We’ve learnt that we live in a solar system that is just one planetary system among billions, in one galaxy among billions. But there are signs that a further Copernican demotion confronts us. The entire panorama that astronomers can observe could be a tiny part of the aftermath of our Big Bang, which is itself just one bang among a potentially infinite ensemble. In this grander perspective, what we’ve traditionally called the laws of nature may be no more than parochial bylaws—local manifestations of “bedrock” laws that must be sought at a still deeper level.

Pinto was on to something.  Who knew?

Amendments....................

                                      Amendment X
     The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Living..................


I would live all my life in nonchalance and insouciance
Were it not for making a living, which is rather a nouciance.
-Ogden Nash

Insouciance...................

















Actually, according to Mr. Websters New World College Dictionary it is a noun that means indifferent, calm and untroubled, carefree.

cartoon courtesy of

A lot has changed since 1973.....

















cartoon courtesy of

For those inclined to pessimism.............

"The experts had been expecting the growing Chinese middle class to pick up the buying slack if the export markets sagged. But if Chinese workers aren’t making as much or not working at all that may not happen. And the ordinary Chinese are becoming more and more aware of how the capitalist deck has been stacked against them by the government and military elites, who cream most of the gains. That results in more under currents of discontent.  And don’t forget the one child policy which is quickly disrupting the country’s demographics—China is ageing rapidly with too many frustrated Generation Y single men without enough Generation Y single women."


A full year's worth of global negativity is available right  here.  Might as well get it all out of your system at one time.  Makes it easier to move on.  I won't be revisiting Jonathan for a while. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

One beautiful song............

The Beach Boys...............................................Disney Girls (1957)



Clearing skies and drying eyes
Now I see your smile
Darkness goes and softness shows
A changing style

Just in time words that rhyme
Well bless your soul
Now I'll fill your hands
With kisses and a Tootsie Roll

Oh reality, it's not for me
And it makes me laugh
Oh, fantasy world and Disney girls
I'm coming back

Patti Page and summer days
On old Cape Cod
Happy times making wine
In my garage
Country shade and lemonade

Guess I'm slowing down
It's a turned back world
With a local girl
In a smaller town

Open cars and clearer stars
That's what I've lacked
But fantasy world and Disney girls
I'm coming back

Love...Hi Rick and Dave
Hi Pop...Well good morning mom
Love...get up guess what
I'm in love with a girl I found
She's really swell
Cause she likes
Church, bingo chances and old time dances

All my life I spent the night
With dreams of you
And the warmth I missed
And for the things I wished
They're all coming true

I've got my love to give
And a place to live
Guess I'm gonna stay
It'd be a peaceful life
With a forever wife
And a kid someday

It's earlier nights
And pillow fights
And your soft laugh
Fantasy world and Disney girls
I'm coming back


-Bruce Johnson

Tryin' one with Astronaut Jones.....

Reading Seth Godin's recent blog post...........
    "The best experiments are experiments on purpose. They 
     are done with rigor and intent. They are measured. They
     are designed to either fail or create an approach that can 
     be scaled."
.............for some reason brought to mind a story from Dan Jenkin's 1973 classic work, Semi-Tough.  His hero, Billy Clyde Puckett, is talking hoops with his sports-writing pal, Jim Tom Pinch, and a current student-athlete at their old high school becomes the topic of  the conversation (remember what year it is):


Then he said, "Listen, Paschal's got a good one now you'd really like, Astronaut Jones.  Is that a good name?  Last spring he won the hundred-yard dash in the city meet and when he crossed the finish line he released a small parachute from the back of his shorts. Funniest thing you ever saw."
   "Does he put the ball in the air?"  I asked.
   "Hey Stud," said Jim Tom, "Does a bear shit in the woods?"
    I chuckled.
   "He crosses midcourt," said Jim Tom, "and down at the press table you can hear him holler, 'Tryin' one.' Then he fires.  And he can hit.  Schoom. Two.  He say two."
   "Tryin' one," I mimicked.
   Jim Tom said, "He'll say, 'Tryin' one,' and when the ball's about halfway there and he knows it's in, he'll say, 'Yawl come on back now.'  Is he great?"
   "Tryin' one," I said.
   "Astronaut Jones," said Jim Tom.

Lewis on books and readers.....

Part the Second:
     "Secondly, the majority, though, they are sometimes frequent readers, do not set much store by reading.  They turn to it as a last resource.  They abandon it with alacrity as soon as any alternative pastime turns up.  It is kept for railway journeys, illnesses, odd moments of enforced solitude, or for the process called 'reading oneself to sleep'.  They sometimes combine it with desultory conversation; often with listening to the radio.  But literary people are always looking for leisure and silence in which to read and do so with their whole attention.  When they are denied such attention and undistrubed reading even for  a few days they feel impoverished."
-C. S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism

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






From the recent The Economist:

     "In any case, the euro zone's troubles run too deep.  Banks and their governments are propping each other up like Friday-night drunks."

Full essay is here.

The Furniture Guy is not only...........

uncommonly wise, but he writes well too.

"There is no quality time. There is no such thing as quality time. There is only time. Time is teflon and adjectives and adverbs just slide right off it. It cannot be condensed, or frozen, or hoarded, or distilled, or saved for later, or borrowed and paid back."


Try this, or this, or even this one.


I'm making my next Amazon purchase via his site.  Join me.

Lord Acton on majority v minority.....

"The President Madison wrote: 'When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of its citizens. If a majority be united by common interests, the rights of the minority will be insecure.'  Justice Story says that the people must be reminded of the fundamental truth in a republican government, 'that the minority have indisputable and inalienable rights; that the majority are not everything and the minority nothing; that the people may not do what they please.'"
-Lord Acton, as excerpted from his essay, The Civil War in America; Its Place in History, from The Collected Works of Lord Acton

my true vocation...........
















As I watched the night sky
from the wooden dock
I had painted gray earlier in the day

I saw an airplane fly,
its red port-light blinking all the while,
right through the Big Dipper

nearly clipping one of the stars
of that constellation,
which was tilted upside-down at the time

and seemed to be pouring whatever it held
into space one big dipperful at a time.

And that was when I discovered
poised right above me
a hitherto unknown constellation

composed of six stars,
two for the snout and the four behind
for the pig's trotters

though it would have taken some time
to make anyone see that.

But since there was no one there
lying next to me,
my constellation of the Pig
remained a secret

and a bright reminder,
after many jumbled days and nights,
of my true vocation -

keeping an eye on things
whether they existed or not,
recumbent under the random stars.

-Billy Collins,  Vocation


image courtesy of

Amendments............

                             Amendment IX
     The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Hey Maggie, Connor, and Dan.......

We love you, but........please be making other plans

thanks Glenn

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Live from the Horseshoe.......

Back in the college days, one of our favorite watering holes was the Horseshoe Bar.  As dives go, it was pretty divey.  The house band had its limits,  but they made up for it by playing loudly.  One song they knew, and played well, was G-L-O-R-I-A.  Of course they played it a couple of times nightly.  Yeow.  Enjoy the original.

Them.............................................................Gloria

Don't answer it........................


This is the time you'd like to stay.
Not a leaf stirs.  There is no sound.
The fireflies lift light from the ground.
You've shed the vanities of when
And how and why, for now.  And then
The phone rings.  You are called away.
-Wendell Berry


image courtesy of

From Todd Lohenry's mighty fine blog

Lewis on books and readers.....

Part the First:
     "In the first place, the majority never read anything twice. The sure mark of an unliterary man is that he considers 'I've read it already' to be a conclusive argument against reading a work.  We have all known women who remembered a novel so dimly that they had to stand for half an hour in the library skimming through it before they were certain they had once read it.  But the moment they became certain, they rejected it immediately.  It was for them dead, like a burned-out match, an old railway ticket, or yesterday's paper; they had already used it.  Those who read great works, on the other hand, will read the same work ten, twenty or thirty times during the course of their life."
-C. S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism

Amendments................

                              Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Lord Acton on governments...

"All governments in which one principle dominates, degenerate by its exaggeration.  The unity of monarchy gravitates towards the despotism of a single will.  Aristocracy which is governed by a minority, inclines to restrict that minority into an oligarchy.  In pure Democracies the same course is followed, and the dominion of majority asserts itself more and more extensively and irresistibly.  We understand liberty to consist in exemption from control.  In America it has come to mean the right to exercise control."
-Lord Acton, as excerpted from his essay, The Civil War in America; Its Place in History, from The Collected Works of Lord Acton

Reasons............

......to learn from our victories (and to read Cultural Offering every day) are here.  Excerpts here:


"I get learning from mistakes; I have been the beneficiary of more than my share of these fabulous and memorable learning opportunities.  But there is also important intelligence to be gathered in the crisis defused properly or avoided altogether.  We can pick up valuable information from a properly applied technique."


"We need to spend more time examining what went right.  It will improve and inspire us."

Response ability......

"Most of us live as complete slaves to reaction, absolute victims of the commands of the subconscious, and we seldom if ever even think it possible that we can overcome our feelings and react in an entirely different way than circumstances would have us do."
-U. S. Andersen, The Magic in Your Mind

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Right Stuff......................


Friend Jeff posted a clip, from the movie version of The Right Stuff, in which Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier for the first time......Inspired me to reach for my copy of Tom Wolfe's book.  Just happened to open it to this passage:
     "My God! - to be a part of Edwards in the late forties and early fifties! - even to be on the ground and hear one of those incredible explosions from 35,000 feet somewhere up there in the blue over the desert and know that some True Brother had commenced his rocket launch.......in the X-1, the X1A, the X-2, the D-558-1, the horrible XF-92A, the beautiful D-558-2....and to know that he would soon be at an altitude, in the thin air at the edge of space, where the stars and the moon came out at noon, in an atmosphere so thin that the ordinary laws of aerodynamics no longer applied and a plane could skid into a flat spin like a cereal bowl on a waxed Formica counter and then start tumbling, not spinning and not diving, but tumbling, end over end like a brick....In those planes, which were like chimneys with little razor-blade wings on them, you had to be 'afraid to panic,' and that phrase was no joke.  In the skids, the tumbles, the spins, there was, truly, as Saint-Exupery had said, only one thing you could let yourself think about:  What do I do next?  Sometimes at Edwards they used to play the tapes of pilots going into the final dive, the one that killed them, and the man would be tumbling, going end over end in a fifteen-ton length of pipe, with all aerodynamics gone, and not one prayer left, and he knew it, and he would be screaming into the microphone, but not for Mother or for God or the nameless spirit of Ahor, but for one last hopeless crumb of information about the loop:  'I've tried A!  I've tried B! I've tried C!  I've tried D!  Tell me what else I can try!'  And then that truly spooky click on the machine.  What do I do next?  (In this moment when the Halusian Gulp is opening?)  And everybody around the table would look at one another and nod ever so slightly, and the unspoken message was:  Too bad!  There was a man with the right stuff."

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

WRM vents on the green agenda:
"Let the futility and failure to which all this led be a reminder to us and to them: those who guide the world’s destiny aren’t nearly as discerning as they think they are. Between the American housing bubble, the European meltdown and the climate disaster, it almost begins to look as if the Establishment consists mostly of overpaid, egotistical blowhards."
Full post is here

Amendments..............

                            Amendment VII
     In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Shattering illusions.................


Tom Asaker suggests a change in focus:
"It’s a sign of detachment to find one’s business references in self-reflective concepts and content instead of the customer. It’s a delusion to believe that success is a few more tweets or one new management theory away.
"Business isn’t an arms length, abstract creation. Business is reality, it’s life. We’re here to see, to feel, and to create with, and for, others. We must immerse ourselves in our audience’s world, so that we have access to real-world information and insights. We must look with fresh eyes and feel with childlike wonder and compassion.
"Step away from the whiteboard, turn off Twitter, and reengage with life, with your curious senses and innocent heart. Rediscover your unbridled passion and idealistic hopes. Be daring and create new and preemptive benefits. Get back to reality and create brilliant and unique works of art."
Full post is here

About Culture...............


Culture matters................


Victor Davis Hanson, while leading a military history tour down the Rhine, sends these thoughts home:
".....But the noble lies of the EU — that technocrats could reinvent human nature and ensure a continental equality of result, as culture bowed to edicts from Brussels — destroyed the pretenses of the post-Cold War world. The scab is now off, the wound is still raw.
"What would be the salvation of Europe? Praise, rather than damnation, for Germany; requests for German advice coupled with thanks for bailouts and promises of reform. In other words, impossible admissions from proud broke peoples that the way they are living is not sustained by the way they are working and organizing their society. How tragic that when the Germans finally learned to channel their talents and energies into pure production and enriched themselves and those around them, it still earned them in the end suspicion and envy, and yes, growing dislike — disarmed, pacifist, and multilateral as they try to be. Reader, you tell me what follows.
"Culture is everything. That is a politically incorrect thought that can get you in trouble as much as we suspect it is true."
Full essay is here.

A recipe...................

From Tanmay Vora:
"In one of the sessions, our teacher asked us to recite the following words: “Eat half, Double the intake of water, exercise three times more, laugh four times more (remain happy), work five times more and pray ten times more”. It is a simple, yet very powerful advice for health and happiness."
Full post is here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Every night...............

Crazy Elephant.........................Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'

Amendments...................

                                     Amendment VI
     In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed; which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence.

On imbibing.................

During the Civil War, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton delivered this confidential report to the President:
     "Mr. President," intoned the bearded Stanton gravely, "I must tell you that witnesses have observed General Grant actually imbibing in his tent."
     "Is that so?" drawled Lincoln.  "Can you tell me what brand of whiskey he's drinking?"
     "I don't understand why that is necessary," replied his confused secretary of war.
     "Because," answered Lincoln, "I want to send a case of it to my other generals."
James C. Humes, The Wit & Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln

Irrational......................

"It is not irrational to listen to a crazy idea from a proven sane performer.  It is often irrational to listen to a seemingly good idea from a proven nonperformer.  He may sound good, but his record may prove otherwise."
-Henry Cloud, Necessary Endings:  The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward

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

The ungentle laws and customs touched upon in this tale are historical, and the episodes which are used to illustrate them are also historical. It is not pretended that these laws and customs existed in England in the sixth century; no, it is only pretended that inasmuch as they existed in English and other civilizations of far later times, it is safe to consider that it is no libel upon the sixth century to suppose them to have been in practice in that day also.  One is quite justified in inferring that whatever one of this laws or customs was lacking in that remote time, its place was competently filled by a worse one.

-Mark Twain, from the Preface to A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

Talking about us humans..............

"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."
-Charles MacKay,  Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

15,518,755 views.............................

And no wonder................Some pretty fair guitar work

 John Butler........................................Ocean
 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Things were simpler back then.........

Mungo Jerry...........................................In the Summertime

Happy Memorial Day...................

My Dad served for three years during the Second World War.  A sergeant with the 9th Infantry, he got to cross North Africa, see a considerable part of Sicily, land at Normandy (D-Day +3), and cross France and Belgium.  He would never talk about his experiences while I was growing up.  He was, however, a big fan of cartoonist Bill Mauldin and he gave me his copy of Mauldin's 1945 book, Up Front.  Sometimes pictures are easier than words.  Here is a sampling of Mauldin's work from the book:


"Go ahead, Joe.  If ya don't bust it ya'll worry
about it all night."

"That can't be no combat man.  He's looking
for a fight.'
"Fresh, spirited American troops, flushed with
victory,are bringing in thousands of hungry,
ragged, battle weary prisoners"

"Straighten those shoulders!  How long you been
in the army?"










































































































The Prince and the Pauper








Nothing at all........................


Amendments...............

                                      Amendment V
     No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb, nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

Fifty ways.............................

All-Swagga talks effectiveness- here:




11 of his 50 traits and habits of highly effective men:
Develop an attitude tough as nails and expect positive outcomes even when times can be uncompromising.
Initiate Action. When you see a problem jump right in anticipating that you’ll be part of the solution. 
Stay off your high horse. You can’t be effective or helpful with your own agenda in the way.  Focus on what’s in front of you.
Be a good listener. Stop talking about you. Listen!
Pay your bills. You can go more places with good credit than the dollar bills in your front pocket.
Slow down. Finish your thoughts and ideas before communicating them.
Fill your time with quality. Spend more time during the day completing things that are all-important. 
Never quit but give up being judgmental.
Make sacrifices. Do things you don’t enjoy in order carry out a broader objective.    
Practice what you preach. Enough said!
Never give up. Always finish what you started.

Advice for dealing with us introverts.......


What's bad for the goose...................

From the Privatization Blog:
Even from a conservative, free-market perspective, 
government subsidies for businesses distort markets, 
foster monopolies, undermine competition, and reduce 
efficiency.  The same complaints that business advocates 
make about the welfare system apply to government 
programs to help businesses - the vicious cycle of 
dependence, the lack of incentive to work hard or face 
difficult choices, the inevitable favoritism (some businesses 
get taxpayer subsidies, others miss out, and those that do 
have an unfair advantage over competitors who might 
otherwise win in a free marketplace).  It has a chilling 
effect on market-driven innovation, improvements in 
efficiency, or "creative destruction." 


thanks warren

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Go to the place that's the best........

Norman Greenbaum..................................Spirit in the Sky

The uncommonly wise..................

Michael Wade diagnoses societal ills on a regular basis.
Exhibit A for that claim is here:
















thanks bruce

Soapbox...............


WRM talks morality.  Full post here.  Excerpt here:
"Liberty depends upon virtue. Without strong personal ethics (which usually, though not invariably, are cultivated by faith in God) free markets crumble and free societies do not stay free. Unethical business puts companies at risk of collapse by legal means, if caught, and by the crushing weight of economic reality otherwise. It goads young businessmen into joining that culture if it remains widespread and unchecked.
"Education needs to reconnect with both religion and morality, and tolerance of unethical personal and business behavior among the rich and the powerful needs to be recognized for what it is: a deadly threat to all we hold most dear...."

Another reason to follow The Hammock Papers...












































Rob's blog is here

Amendments...................

                                     Amendment IV
     The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Sunday's verse..................


22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 

23   For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 

24  Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 

25  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?

26  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

27  “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 

28  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 

29  And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 

30  For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.

31  But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

32  “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 

33  Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 

34  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The Holy Bible
Luke 12:22-34
New International Version

From the Ragamuffin............



"In order to be free to be faithful to this sacred man and his dream, to others and ourselves, we must be liberated from the damnable imprisonment of self-hatred, freed from the shackled of projectionism, perfectionism, moralism/legalism, and unhealthy guilt. Freedom for fidelity demands freedom from enslavement."


Ragamuffin Ramblings here