Saturday, February 9, 2013

Good...................

Jimi Hendrix..........................Johnny B. Goode

On writing.....................

I'm pretty certain that what I do here at this blog will never be confused with "writing," but it does allow me to scratch an itch.  McSweeney's offers ten tips for getting the "writing" done.  The fourth tip is here:

Mark Twain once said, “Show, don’t tell.” This is an incredibly important lesson for writers to remember; never get such a giant head that you feel entitled to throw around obscure phrases like “Show, don’t tell.” Thanks for nothing, Mr. Cryptic.

The Coyote Blog.....................

........thinks the prediction business is pretty easy.  Story here.

Fifty years ago......................

Little Peggy March.......................I Will Follow Him



and for the Japanese speakers amongst us........................

My spice rack is.........................

..........better than your spice rack.  Well, maybe not.  While our new house (built in +/- 1957) does have a kitchen, the spices are currently being held in a drawer as we sort out the logistics of day-to-day living.  Still, the photo (from here) gives us something to aspire to.


Speaking of the future...................
























Truthiness...................

































via

Don't sit for that......................

The Premise of the Problem.........................
Sitting is so prevalent and so pervasive that we don't even question how much we're doing it. And, everyone else is doing it also, so it doesn't even occur to us that it's not okay. In that way, I've come to see that sitting is the smoking of our generation.

My favorite part of the Solution....................
I've learned that if you want to get out of the box thinking, you need to literally get out of the box. When you step outside, you give yourself over to nature, respecting its cycles and unpredictability. It keeps me more awake to what is happening around me by experiencing the extreme heats of summer, or the frigid power of winter. It makes me present to the world around me instead of being insulated from it.

The whole essay.......................................

Two kings......................

James Brown............................A few dance moves




Elvis........................................Jailhouse Rock

Friday, February 8, 2013

Pay the rent..................

Stray Cats..........................................Stray Cat Strut

Sure hope so......................

Ate at a Chinese restaurant with friend Rick yesterday.  Here is my fortune cookie.  Good news!






Predictions from the 1890's about the 1990's.....

The background: 

"In the early 1890s, the American Press Association put together a feature series of writings in preparation for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. They commissioned 74 notable Americans to make predictions about American life in the 1990s, in the process producing an interesting commentary on life in the 1890s. The variety of essays reflected the diversity of the contributors, including a senator (John J. Ingalls), an electrical engineer (John J. Carty), a poet (Elizabeth Akers Allen), and a minister (Thomas De Witt Talmage). The segments ran in newspapers across the country from March through May 1893, in time for the World's Fair opening."   (Quote taken from here.)

A partial answering of the questions from Thomas De Witt Talmage:


In medicine? Well, cancer and consumption will be as easily cured as influenza or a "run round" [diarrhea].
Theology? Far more religion than now the technicalities nothing; the spirit of religion dominant. The minister's war hatchet will be buried beside Modoc's tomahawk.
Condition of capital and labor? At peace, by the prevalence of the Golden Rule, which enjoins us to do to others as we would have them do to us.
Treatment of criminals? Prisons will have ventilation, and sunlight, and bathrooms, and libraries, and Christian influences that will be reformatory instead of damnatory.
Education methods? The stuffing machine that we call the school system, which is making the rising generation a race of invalids, will be substituted by something more reasonable. No more school girls with spectacles at 14, their eyes having been extinguished by overstudy, with overwrought brain. And no more boys in their dying dream trying to recite something in higher mathematics.
What American now living will be the most honored by 1993? By that time longevity will be so improved that 150 years will be no unusual age to reach. So I answer this question by saying that that American now sleeps in the cradle on the banks of the Hudson, or the Alabama, or the Oregon, or the Ohio - a rattle in hand, gum-swollen with a new tooth, and he will soon undertake a course of measles and mumps.

Predictions is a tough business.  Care to take a stab at 2113?

Ed. Note:  Everything in italics came from here.

It has been a while since I last indulged my strange fascination with signage..............




















Fifty years ago.....................

Roy Orbison..............................Blue Bayou

The dangers of propaganda, or, just one more thing I missed while getting my History degree.........

     The march of Sherman's army from Atlanta to the sea and north to Goldsboro, while not accompanied with the danger that was anticipated, yet was magnificent in its results, and equally magnificent in the way it was conducted.  It had an important bearing, in various ways, upon the great object we had in view, that of closing the war.  All the States east of the Mississippi River up to the State of Georgia, had felt the hardships of the war.  Georgia, and South Carolina, and almost all of North Carolina, up to this time, had been exempt from invasion by the Northern armies, except upon their immediate sea coasts.  Their newspapers had given such an account of Confederate success, that the people who remained at home had been convinced that the Yankees had been whipped from first to last, and driven from pillar to post, and that now they could hardly be holding out for any other purpose than to find a way out of the war with honor to themselves.
     Even during this march of Sherman's the newspapers in his front were proclaiming daily that his army was nothing better than a mob of men who were frightened out of their wits and hastening, panic-stricken, to try to get under the cover of our navy for protection against the Southern people.  As the army was seen marching on triumphantly, however the minds of the people became disabused and they saw the true state of affairs.  In turn they became disheartened, and would have been glad to submit without compromise.
-The Civil War Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant

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

They were on that particular street at that specific T-intersection at that crazy hour because Scott James was hungry.  Stephanie shut off their patrol car to please him.  They could have been anywhere else, but he led her there, that  night, to that silent intersection.  It was so quiet that night, they spoke of it.
-Robert Crais,  Suspect

Not worrying so much in the Heartland............

What, me worry?























The Strategic Learner suggests we invest our time and energy in more productive ways -here.

A duel...........................?

Having fun with a banjo and a guitar.............

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Hunting for scorpions...............

Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger of Doors fame find their way to Daryl's temporary house for a little rendition of People Are Strange.   Music starts at 3:30.

Just napping..............?

Here is an interesting post from Michael J. Totten about France being war-like in Mali, while the good old USof A watches.  Excerpt here:

"The American superpower is an original. It's reluctant and self-doubting. Most Americans just aren't that into it. Policing the world is deadly, expensive, exhausting and thankless."

Words matter..................

George Orwell "famously wrote about how proper language is always the first victim of tyranny."  The following quotes were taken from his 1946 essay,  Politics and the English Language.  Orwell recommended clear thinking, plain speaking, and saw the fight against bad English as "a necessary first step toward political regeneration."  So regenerate yourself.  Full instructions here.  Selected excerpts here:

A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. 

This mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence is the most marked characteristic of modern English prose, and especially of any kind of political writing. As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated hen-house. 

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics’. All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia. When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer.

Many political words are similarly abused. The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable’. The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. 


Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, ‘I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so’. Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:
‘While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement.’

 Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

thanks hugh

A bit more than pointing and clicking...............

Mme Scherzo leads us to Sony's 2013 World Photography Awards - here.  Do visit.  A wee sampling here:




Fifty years ago.......................

Lenny Welch..........................Since I Fell for You

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

I want a hero: an uncommon want,
   When every year and month sends forth a new one,
Till, after cloying the gazettes with cant,
    The age discovers he is not the true one;
Of such as these I should not care to vaunt,
    I'll therefore take our ancient friend Don Juan -
We all have seen him, in the pantomime,
Sent to the devil somewhat ere his time.
-Lord Byron, Don Juan:  A Satiric Epic of Modern Life

Say what.............................?
















via

Getting the metrics right............

From David Bodamer's recent post in the National Real Estate Investor:

"The most problematic part of the market was the CMBS sector.  That business essentially evaporated overnight going from originating about $230 billion in loans in its peak year of 2007 to less than $3 billion two years later.  Things finally picked up a little in 2011, and last year marked a post-recession high of about $50 billion.

For those of you who don't care about this sort of thing, CMBS stands for Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities.  The selling, packaging and re-selling of commercial loans was a huge deal in the mid-2000's, both for Wall Street and major real estate players everywhere.  The CMBS market added a tremendous boost to the commercial real estate world by providing financing and liquidity, the life-blood of development.




















My question is - which is worse (or better) for the economy in general and real estate specifically:  too much money chasing ill-advised deals and financings, ala 2007; or fewer loans available only for those deals conservatively underwritten, ala 2011?

Setting our eyes on "recovery" looking like 2005-2007, would seem like a big mistake from here.  $50 Billion actually sounds about right.

Who knows anymore.................

















"There is nothing more frightening than ignorance in action."
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Ed. Note:  Glenn Reynolds' Ham Sandwich Nation: Due Process When Everything Is a Crime was percolating in the back of my mind when I came across this quote and cartoon.  (Reynolds blogs as Instapundit)  His full essay can be downloaded here.   Key excerpt here:












image via

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Saddened by the news...................

.........of the death of Reg Presley, lead singer for The Troggs

The Troggs...............................Wild Thing



The Troggs................................Love Is All Around




The Troggs.............................I Can't Control Myself




thanks J

Happy Anniversary, Ray................

The Not So Simple Village Undertaker turns three today.  It is everyday reading at our household.


Nice costume..............

Todd Rundgren..............Hello It's Me

Survive..................























The woods is white with snow.
The shy birds come and go
Between feeder and trees.
Titmice and chickadees
By right of flight survive,
I by the heavy stove.

-Wendell Berry


image via

On rent seeking...................

From the pages of Kids Prefer Cheese.........

50 years ago.....................

The Tams.................................What Kind of Fool

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

On an exceptionally hot evening early in July a young man came out of the garret in which he lodged in S. Place and walked slowly, as though in hesitation, towards K. Bridge.
-Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime & Punishment

Uncapturable..............


















"Art is the great and universal refreshment. For Art is never dogmatic; holds no brief for itself; you may take it, or you may leave it. It does not force itself rudely where it is not wanted. It is reverent to all tempers, to all points of view. But it is willful — the very wind in the comings and goings of its influence, an uncapturable fugitive, visiting our hearts at vagrant, sweet moments; since we often stand even before the greatest works of Art without being able quite to lose ourselves!"
-John Galsworthy

image via

What, and get my hands dirty...........?















"Idealism increases in direct proportion to one's distance from the problem."
-John Galsworthy

image via

Narrow..............................

















"He is but a poor philosopher who holds a view so narrow as to exclude forms not to his personal taste."
-John Galsworthy

It's a John Galsworthy kind of day..........


















"When Man evolved Pity, he did a queer thing — deprived himself of the power of living life as it is without wishing it to become something different."
-John Galsworthy

image via

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Re-visiting Daryl's house.........

Todd Rundgren and Daryl Hall.........I Saw the Light

The Thinks...........................


















"Think left and think right and think low and think high.  Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!"
-Dr. Seuss


image via

Self-help Cliff Notes...................

........Get 'em here.   31 "self-help" books re-capped in four minutes or less.  How can you lose?

thanks Craig

Edison on luck......................

A Saturday afternoon in January 2003.  Thomas A. Edison, "the happy-hooligan light shining out of his gray eyes," made his introductory speech to M. A. Rosanoff, a nervous new man in the chemical research department of the phonograph factory at West Orange who "approached him in a humble spirit: 'Mr. Edison, please tell me what laboratory rules you want me to observe.'  And right then and there I got my first surprise.  He spat in the middle of the floor and yelled out, 'Hell!  There ain't no rules around here!  We are tryin' to accomplish somep'n.....Do you believe in luck?'"  The trembling Rosanoff replied, "Yes and no.  My reasoning mind revolts against the superstition of luck, my savage soul clings to it."  "For my part," said the Old Man, launching into a volatile subject, "I do not believe in luck at all.  And if there is  such thing as luck, then I must be the most unlucky fellow in the world.  I've never once made a lucky strike in all my life.  When I get after something that I need, I start finding everything in the world that I don't need - one damn thing after another.  I find ninety-nine things that I don't need, and then comes number one hundred, and that -at the very last - turns out to be just what I had been looking for.  It's got to be so that if I find something in a hurry, I git to doubting whether it's the real thing; so I go over it carefully and it generally turns out wrong.  Wouldn't you call that hard luck?  But I'm tellin' you, I don't believe in luck - good or bad.  Most fellows try a few things and then quit.  I never quit until I got what I'm after.  That's the only difference between me, that's supposed to be lucky, and the fellows that thing they are unlucky.
-Edison: Inventing the Century, A Biography by Neil Baldwin

Pilgrim soul..................

When you are old and grey and full of sleep
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep.

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead,
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

-William Butler Yeats

The death of the easy answer...........























The question is:  Why does Chicago have so many murders compared with other Big Cities?  As one reads along in the Intertunnel, one might get the idea that Chicago's strict gun control laws may be playing a part.  The correct answers might be a tad more elusive. Those who enjoy having their easy assumptions challenged should read this.  For those who are not motivated to click through, the short answer is that governance decisions seem to have had a lot to do with it.  Do read the article.

image via

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

     The year 1866 was signalized by a remarkable incident, a mysterious and inexplicable phenomenon, which doubtless no one has yet forgotten.  Not to mention rumors which agitated the maritime population, and excited the public mind, even in the interior of continents, seafaring men were particularly excited.  Merchants, common sailors, captains of vessels, skippers, both of Europe and America, naval officers of all countries, and the governments of several states on the two continents, were deeply interested in the matter.
-Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Fifty years ago.........................

Cliff Richards & The Shadows.................Lucky Lips

Do it.............................


















"Don't wait.  The time will never be just right."
-Napoleon Hill

via

Monday, February 4, 2013

Don't misunderstand me.......

The James Gang.....................................Funk #49
(Please click on through to Youtube.  Thank thee kindly)

Welcome to the real world....................


















Matt Yglesias, a pretty smart guy who will never be mistaken for a conservative, discovers the joys small business people face when confronting the "bureaucracy."  All those reasonable rules and regulations.  Right.  His full essay is here.

Red tape, long lines, inconvenient office hours, and other logistical hassles probably won’t stop tomorrow’s super-genius from launching the next great billion-dollar company. But it’s a large and needless deterrent to the formation of the humble workaday firms that for many people are a path to autonomy and prosperity.

Looking forward to reading more on his continuing education.

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It's not............................


















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Unfinished business...................


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

William Blake's illustration Circle of the Lustful          1827


















Midway the path of life that men pursue
  I found me in a darkling wood astray.
  For the direct way had been lost to view.
Ah me, how hard a thing it is to say
  What was this thorny wildwood intricate
  Whose memory renews the first dismay!
Scarcely in death is bitterness more great:
  But as concerns the good discovered there
  The other things I saw will I relate.
How there I entered I am unaware
  So was I at that moment full of sleep
  When I abandoned the true thoroughfare.
But when I reached the bottom of a steep
  Ending the valley which had overcome
  My courage, piercing me with fear so deep,
Lifting mine eyes up, I beheld its dome
  Already covered with that planet's light
  Which along all our pathways leads us home.

Dante Alighieri, from Canto I, The Divine Comedy
with thirty-two drawings by William Blake