Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Saturday jam.............................

Allman Brothers.......................Whipping Post

Happy....................................














Happy are the painters, for they shall not be lonely.  Light and colour, peace and hope, will keep them company to the end, or almost to the end, of the day.
-Winston Churchill,  Painting As A Pastime

Churchill's painting of a Moroccan landscape via

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

     The Jews started it all - and by "it" I mean so many of the things we care about, the underlying values that make all of us, Jew and gentile, believer and atheist, tick.  Without the Jews, we would see the world through different eyes, hear with different ears, even feel with different feelings.  And not only would our sensorium, the screen through which we receive the world, be different, we would think with a different mind, interpret all our experience differently, draw different conclusions from the things that befall us.  And we would set a different course for our lives.
-Thomas Cahill,  The Gifts of the Jews:  How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels

Two interesting questions...................

Question #1: Is there any state where a college men's football or basketball coach is not the highest paid state official?

Answer # 1:  In forty states, the highest paid state employee is a university football or basketball coach.  In all fifty states, the highest paid public employee works for a state university.  Source, and eye-popping graphic, is here.

Question # 2:  Are government student loans are to university payrolls as quantitative easing is to stock prices?

Answer #2:  Must be teased out of this post by the reader.

Thanks Warren

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

The Shirelles......................................Foolish Little Girl

Dreaming.....................




















I remained a socialist for several years, even after my rejection of Marxism; and if there could be such a thing as socialism combined with individual liberty, I would be a socialist still. For nothing could be better than living a modest, simple, and free life in an egalitarian society. It took some time before I recognized this as no more than a beautiful dream; that freedom is more important than equality; that the attempt to realize equality endangers freedom; and that, if freedom is lost, there will not even be equality among the unfree.
-Karl Popper

cartoon via

Wonder where biology majors fit in.....?




















source and commentary here

The suitcase mood........................

From the A Fistful of Euros blog comes this interesting essay on demographics, economics, and the tendency of us humans to indulge in the "suitcase mood" by migrating.  It is extremely easy, even for us history majors, to assume that things will always be the same.  Bad assumption.  There is nothing in the recorded history of man that suggests anything other than change is in our future.  But......the end of countries?  Yep.

Thanks Tyler

Wrong way............................




















Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation's final law
Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek'd against his creed


-Alfred Lord Tennyson, as excerpted from In Memoriam

image via

Friday, May 10, 2013

Sweet................................

Brewer & Shipley.................One Toke Over The Line

Why I read them every day.......

The Execupundit:  The "feel good fake action" is tokenism that is somehow supposed to announce to the world that the performer is a noble person. This can be baffling to those who scrutinize it for real substance because there is none, but they miss the action's origins. Substance is far down on the list of desired components - nice, if possible, but not really required - because if the action demonstrates that the performer is a kind, tolerant,  and generous intellectual then nothing else need be added. Any critics are ignorant souls who just haven't "evolved" enough.  Full post from whence this came is here.

Nicholas Bate:   24.  Money does not cause happiness; lack of money causes unhappiness.   25.  You don't have to know; but you do have to try.  26.  Despite the map she was still lost.  Epiphany:  Maybe the map was wrong.  Now there was a thought.     Full Executive Summary 1-26 of Jagged Thoughts for Jagged Times is here.

The not-so Simple Village Undertaker:  Sometimes it is better to show up and keep quiet.  Full post is here.

The Hammock Papers:   Be Aware of Invisibility.   Here

Eclecticity:  Doug, the Mighty E. and High Lord of Quirkiness, turns personal:  I did nothing to instill this natural drive in him. He is one of the lucky natural athletes that also has the heart of a champion. But it is over. I’m sad that this chapter has closed. There are tears welling. The story is here.

Seth Godin:  It's simple: the fear that used to protect us is now our worst enemy.  Full post is here.

David Kanigan:  Sit. Feast on your life.  Full love poem is here.

Sippican Cottage:  Greg riffs on his music appreciation teacher: He affected a style approximating Englebert Humperdinck, gone to seed. He had Civil War sideburns and high-water bell-bottom pants with garish socks and round-heeled shoes that looked like they were  designed by some unholy agglomeration of Florsheim and Cardinal Richelieu. We slumped in our chairs, while he waved one --just one-- 45 record in the air, intoning,"This is the greatest record ever made," and meant it. He put it on, and played it over, and over, and over again. He'd stop it now and then at odd intervals by yanking the needle up to pontificate on some minor point of interest he found in the noise, a signpost to the entrance of entertainment nirvana that only men like him, attuned to such things, could discern, and then he'd slam it back down and the sound would wash over us again from the tinny speaker in the ancient record player he used.  Full, Mark Knopfler dissing, essay is here

Cultural Offering:  The man who opened the entire blogosphere for me celebrates #1 son's college graduation:  Today is graduation day.  And it was all training.  ALL of it.  Yes, training in sciences and in speech and in writing and presenting and creating and thinking.  Training in the subjects was important.  But the other training was in scheduling, time management, working with others, creating and being.  Parts of the books will be of use in the future; all of the experiences will be.  Full post, with some interesting bits of advice, is here

And now you know......the rest of the story...

On Clarity...................

     Clarity of intent allows you to direct all your energy in the correct direction so that your full power is brought to bear upon the focus of your will.  It seems to me that most people are easily strong enough to materialize the things they want.  It is the lack of clarity in their lives that messes them up.
     Our lives are cluttered.  Thus, our consciousness, which is the powerhouse of our destiny, has to give a little energy here and there.  Nothing comes together quickly or easily.

     But remember, you energy will only rise in direct relationship to the number of things you are able to get rid of - not the things you acquire.  By getting rid of things, attitudes, encumbrances, and blocks of one kind or another, things fly.
-Stuart Wilde,  The Trick To Money Is Having Some

     

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

Mungo Santamaria............................Watermelon Man

Quiet please.............................


The enemy of the good...................

















“Fuck you perfectionism. Without you, I am brilliant.”
-Coco J. Ginger

“Good enough is good enough. Perfect will make you a big fat mess every time.”
-Rebecca Wells

“Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order.” 
-Anne Wilson Shaef

cartoon via

Habits.................................

























“Self-control is the chief element in self-respect, and self-respect is the chief element in courage.” 
-Thucydides

cartoon via

Live.......................................

























“Don't become a puppet to other peoples desires, live and create your life as you intend it to be.” 
-Steven Redhead

cartoon via

A love poem...........................

The spider, dropping down from twig,
Unwinds a thread of her devising;
A thin, premeditated rig
To use in rising.

And all the journey down through space,
In cool descent, and loyal-hearted,
She builds a ladder to the place
From which she started.

Thus I, gone forth, as spiders do,
In spider's web a truth discerning,
Attach one silken strand to you
For my returning.

-E. B. White,  Natural History

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Forgive.....................

The Spinners.....................Working My Way Back To You



Originally recorded by the Four Seasons in 1966, the Spinners released this version in December of 1979.  It climbed up the Billboard Top 100, peaking at #2, where it sat for two weeks behind Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall.  Go figure.

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


















“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” 
-Marthe Troly-Curtin

So it seems.......................................

“The problem with procrastination is it’s been around since the beginning of time it seems.” 
-Stephen Richards



Forgive.........................................



















“'Procrastination is not Laziness', I tell him. 'It is fear. Call it by its right name, and forgive yourself.'" 
-Julia Cameron

Way..........................................























“If you ask me, reincarnation is just another way to procrastinate.” 
― Chuck PalahniukLullaby

Potential top free-agent pick.................
















via

Big.........................................




































“The scholar's greatest weakness: calling procrastination research.” 
-Stephen King

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

The Orlons...............................Not Me

Choices..............................................

Yesterday we briefly mentioned Michael Kelly's discernment of good vs evil and his advocacy for the second Gulf War.  In our very serendipitous world, it was only natural that today I would find this Gary Trudeau cartoon covering the opening of the new Bush Library.


The trick....................................





































cut and pasted from here

Sleep.....................................


















"We definitely have a culture where lack of sleep is glorified. I think that it's a good skill to be able to operate as well as possible on low sleep, but that doesn't mean that that skill should be exercised regularly. By getting a full nights rest and sleeping as long as your body wants you to, you can easily overcome the raw time shortage through better focus and higher quality work."
-Tynan, as excerpted from this post

image via

That was helpful..............................

















via

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Jump off.................................

Marshall Tucker Band.........................Can't You See

Bait...............................

“Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no hook beneath it.” 
-Thomas Jefferson

























cartoon via

Fetters.........................

























“It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”
-Edmund Burke

cartoon via

Worry and change.................................

To quote friend John, "The future is uncertain.  Just like it always has been."   His full post is here.  Opening lines here:

















I've never had much of a problem coping with change.  I just rely on the wisdom from one of my earliest gurus, the remarkable Alfred E. Neuman, when he stated unequivocally, "What, me worry?"


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

     The story of America's discovery by Europeans begins with a fugitive.  Eirik the Red fled his native  Norway, the sagas say, "because of some killings."  Settling in Iceland, Eirik took up farming and feuded with a neighbor, Filth-Eyjolf.   Then he slew Filth, as well as Hrafn the Dueller.  Banished for the murders, Eirik moved to islands off Iceland's coast and lent bedsteads to a man named Thorgest.  When the loan went bad, Eirik killed Thorgest's sons, "along with several other men."
Tony Horwitz, A Voyage Long and Strange:  On the Trail of Vikings, Conquistadors, Lost Colonists, and Other Adventurers in Early America

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

Major Lance.....................................Hey Little Girl

The rule of law............................

.....and the sanctity of contracts are the unsung and underappreciated heroes of the success story that is the free enterprise economy.  From the Leaders essay in the latest Economist comes this nugget:

     A fundamental test of Mr. Xi's vision will be his attitude to the rule of law.  The good side of the dream needs it:  the economy, the happiness of his people and China's real strength depend on arbitrary power being curtailed.  But corruption and official excess will be curbed only when the constitution becomes more powerful than the party.

Trying (hard) to make sense of it all..............

Victor Davis Hanson rambles on a bit about the state of agriculture, land values, real estate cycles, cynicism vs optimism, immigration, and California.  The man always has an interesting point of view and can cover a lot of ground in a hurry. VDH asks the question, "Does anyone still believe in the old idea of labor laboris gratia?"  I'd say he does.  A few excerpts:


Central California is also a magnet for very rich Punjabis. Their three-story gated castles of 6,000 square feet are suddenly commonplace. For every copper-wire thief, there is an immigrant agribusiness man who smiles and says: “No problem. I just got more barbed wire, more video cameras, more lights” — such an impressive confidence so characteristic of the immigrants who have always energized America.
The Sikh community arrives with capital, English, and education — and wishes to become even richer, better spoken, more highly educated, and more successful. In this nexus, land is not just a wise investment, but immediate proof of visible, tangible success, in the manner of the old idea of a landed aristocracy.

So California is both more poorly managed than any time in its past, more divided between rich and poor, more fragmented by opportunistic ethnic identity politics, more impoverished by massive illegal immigration — and never more naturally wealthy. The other day I drove through the verdant Central Valley on Manning Avenue. Each acre I zoomed by is producing thousands of dollars in global profits. At I-5, I looked out at fracking country, before descending into the land of Facebook, Google, and Apple — all on mostly poor roads, with terrible drivers and third-world public rest stops, and now and then passing inferior schools.
California may be in awful financial, social, civic, and political shape — but it is far, far from broke.

Michael Kelly.........................

     It is time for me to return my copy of Michael Kelly's Things Worth Fighting For: Collected Writings to the library.  I love reading a good wordsmith, and above all else, Kelly was a good wordsmith.  As a political junkie I savored his essays on Bill and Hillary, Al Gore, Ritchie Daley, David Gergen, Ted Kennedy, Jesse Jackson, et. al.  But,  a goodly portion of his collected writings had me feeling uncomfortable.  Kelly was a serious war correspondent.  He was there to report on the rape of Kuwait and the destruction of the fleeing Iraqi army in the very brief  first Gulf War.   He was in Bosnia to report on ethnic cleansing.  Kelly had an up-close-and-personal view of the horrors man is capable of.  He was willing to label it evil. Because of his willingness to distinguish between good and evil,  Kelly was ardently in favor of the second George Bush's adventure into Iraq.  From the comfort of my living room, I was ardently opposed to it.  Kelly's writings have spurred some internal dialogue on this good vs evil thing.  We may revisit the subject.
     After the events of September 11, 2001, Kelly penned this: "We are, we learn again, brave and compassionate and strong.  We are good people and we have built what is in fact 'a just and fair and decent place,' and we will preserve this place from those who would destroy it."

But enough with this seriousness.  Let us close this fascination with Michael Kelly's writings by pointing to an essay titled Truth Be Told.  Two brief excerpts to give you a taste, and a link to the whole essay:

Pundits we wish to be regarded as scrupulously fair and honest folks like to occasionally toss  into their verbal wake a parenthetical clause known in the trade as the Full Disclosure.

 Pundits do not operate under truth-in-packaging rules. What if they did? Herewith, for the remainder of this column, an experiment in true Full Disclosure:

Full essay here.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Live from Daryl's House...........................

Rob Thomas, Daryl Hall.............................3 A. M.

A conversation......................

..........in poetry between Ted Kooser and Jim Harrison.  Back story is here.

The Great Gourmand rows his boat
all day on a peanut butter sandwich
and warm water.

At my age
even in airports,
why would you wish
time to move faster?

The clock stopped at 5:30 for three months.
Now it's always time to quite work,
have a drink, cook dinner.

The butterfly
jots a note on the wind
to remind itself of something.

How can it be
that everyone my age
is older than I?

Twisted my ankle
until it's blue.
Now I can feel my heart
beating in my foot.

As excerpted from Braided Creek:  A Conversation in Poetry

Thomas Sowell....................


A young man gets schooled on government and human nature.  Fuller story here.  Excerpt here:
To me the question was: Is this law making poor people better off or worse off?
That was the not the question the labor department was looking at. About one-third of their budget at that time came from administering the wages and hours laws. They may have chosen to believe that the law was benign, but they certainly weren’t going to engage in any scrutiny of the law.
What that said to me was that the incentives of government agencies are different than what the laws they were set up to administer were intended to accomplish. 
Even fuller story here

thanks craig

Fun with language.......................

The Epicurean Dealmaker strings words together in a most delightful and thoughtful manner.  In this essay he defends jargon in general and "management-speak" in particular.  Some excerpts:

Sure, like any language—English, for example—management-speak can be used “to deflect blame, complicate simple ideas, obscure problems, and perpetuate power relations.” But that is a function of language. And make no mistake: bureaucratese is its own language. Or, to be more precise, its own idiom. Idioms evolve organically among the members of a group sharing common interests and concerns to better communicate those very interests and concerns. This can take the form of abbreviation, where a commonly understood word or phrase can convey an entire sentence or conversation; motivation, where a word or phrase is understood to inspire action; or community-building, where the word or phrase triggers thoughts and actions of allegiance and commonality among its audience. These all necessarily exclude people outside the in-group, but this does not need to be a sinister thing. Try to follow a conversation among particle physicists in the Cal Tech lunchroom one day if you doubt me.


Human society is complex and highly specialized. It should be no surprise that we have erected our own Tower of Babel of mutually incomprehensible idioms, even within the English language, in order to cope. If nothing else, management-speak and other specialized idioms thrive because they are efficient: they save lots of time which conversationalists would otherwise waste in trivial itemizing and explication of concepts, notions, beliefs, and the like which they already share and understand. Business speak, like many other idioms, shares the additional motivation that it is primarily a rhetorical device, designed to summon and direct the energies of hundreds, thousands, or even hundreds of thousands toward the pursuit and execution of common goals which the rest of society does not necessarily share. Its practitioners really don’t care what unwashed outsiders think about it.

 Saying business jargon is awkward is like complaining that white lies are untrue: accurate, as far as it goes, but it misses the entire point.























via

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

The Dartells..............................Hot Pastrami

There is always a catch...................

“True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline.”
-Mortimer J. Adler

No.....................................


























“Self-respect is the root of discipline: The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.” 
-Abraham Joshua Heschel

Paul Palnik cartoon via

Hip to be square.......................

A few excerpts from Michael Kelly's excellent essay, Getting Hip to Squareness:

Can we be square again?  We were last square half a century ago.  Then we were, more or less successively, hep, hip, cool, wild, beat, alienated, mod, groovy, radical, turned on, dropped out, camp, self-actualizing, meaningful, punk, greedy, ironic, Clintonian, and finally, postmodern, which is to say exhausted - and who can blame us?

Now we are supposed to be square again.  No one puts it that bluntly, because square remains the condition that dare not speak its name.

Returning to square seems like revirginizing.  The problem is knowingness.  All anti-square postures stand on a base of superior knowingness:  Suburban life may look wholesome and sweet, but it is really one vast snake pit tarted up as a gunite swimming pool.  George Washington may look like the star of Founding Father Knows Best, but really he was a false-tooth real-estate speculator.  Woody Guthrie carries a nice tune, but this land is not your land, unless you are a Trump or a Tisch.

Editor's Note:  If you follow the link above, you will find The Atlantic is a bit disorganized.  Several things not belonging to Kelly's essay are interspersed within Kelly's essay.  Do your best to sort it out.  It is worth the effort.  The excerpts above came from Things Worth Fighting For, Kelly's collected writings.

Attitude........................






















via

Monday, May 6, 2013

Eye to eye...............................

Dave Mason.....................We Just Disagree

Discipline as a system......................

     Discipline has been defined as a system of techniques of dealing constructively with the pain of problem-solving - instead of avoiding that pain - in such a way that all of life's problems can be solved.  Four basic techniques have been distinguished and elaborated:  delaying gratification, assumption of responsibility, dedication to the truth or reality, and balancing.  Discipline is a system of techniques, because these techniques are very much interrelated.  In a single act one may utilize two, three, ore even all of the techniques at the same time and in such a way that they may be distinguishable from each other.
-Scott Peck,  The Road Less Traveled

Accumulative..........................

Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.  It is the accumulative weight of our disciplines and our judgments that lead us to either fortune or failure.
-Jim Rohn

Say....................................

























“To not say all that can be said is the secret of discipline and economy.”
-Dejan Stojanovic

via

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

Lou Christie..............................Two Faces Have I

 

Roots and wings..............................



















“Parents teach children discipline for two different, indeed diametrically opposed, reasons: to render the child submissive to them and to make him independent of them. Only a self-disciplined person can be obedient; and only such a person can be autonomous.” 
-Thomas Stephen Szasz

cartoon via

Vocation and Avocation.................

     It may also be said that rational, industrious, useful people are divided into two classes:  first, those whose work is work and whose pleasure is pleasure; and secondly, those whose work and pleasure are one.  Of these the former are the majority.  They have their compensations.  The long hours in the office or the factory bring with them as their reward, not only the means of sustenance, but a keen appetite for pleasure even in its simplest and most modest forms.  But Fortune's favoured children belong to the second class.  Their life is a natural harmony.  For them the working hours are never long enough.  Each day is a holiday, and ordinary holidays when they come are grudged as enforced interruptions in an absorbing vocation.  Yet to both classes the need of an alternative outlook, of a change of atmosphere, of a diversion of effort, is essential.  Indeed it may well be those whose work is their pleasure are those who most need the means of banishing it at intervals from their minds.
-Winston Churchill, Painting As A Pastime

Sunset Over the Sea              Winston Churchill

Sake................................



















“We must do our work for its own sake, not for fortune or attention or applause.” 
-Steven Pressfield

cartoon via

Home from college. Let the naps begin.......



















Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Sunday Morning Jam.....................

The Byrds..............................Eight Miles High

Winston on books......Part the First

     The most common form of diversion is reading.  In that vast and varied field millions find their mental comfort.  Nothing makes a man more reverent than a library. 'A few books,' which was Lord Morley's definition of anything under five thousand, may give a sense of comfort and even of complacency.  But a day in a library, even of modest dimensions, quickly dispels these illusory sensations.  As you browse about, taking down book after book from the shelves and contemplating the vast, infinitely varied store of knowledge and wisdom which the human race has accumulated and preserved, pride, even in its most innocent forms, is chased from the heart by feelings of awe not untinged with sadness.  As one surveys the mighty array of sages, saints, historians, scientists, poets, and philosophers whose treasures one will never be able to admire - still less enjoy - the brief tenure of our existence here dominates mind and spirit
-Winston Churchill,  Painting As A Pastime

"My Mind To Me A Kingdom Is"  Lord Morley and his beloved books


































image via