Saturday, June 22, 2013

Feed your head...............................

Jefferson Airplane...........White Rabbit/Somebody To Love
(psychedelia alert...click through to Youtube, it's far out man)



Yeah, right..................................






















via

Keller on Optimism.......................

Brain Pickings has it covered.  Do go visit.  Two quotes:

“Doubt and mistrust are the mere panic of timid imagination, which the steadfast heart will conquer, and the large mind transcend.”

"Optimism that does not count the cost is like a house builded on sand. A man must understand evil and be acquainted with sorrow before he can write himself an optimist and expect others to believe that he has reason for the faith that is in him."

-Helen Keller

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

The Beatles.................................I'll Get You



The B-Side to She Loves You.  Recorded in July of 1963

First Things First

A New Yorker showed up at the Austin Country Club one day.  He said he'd heard about this famous teacher, this Penick fellow.
     I asked, "What can I do for you?"
     "If you're such a great teacher, teach me how to get out of sand traps," the New Yorker said.
     "Not so fast," I said.  "I can teach you how to get out of sand traps.  But I'm not going to do it until I teach you how to avoid getting into them in the first place."
-Harvey Penick,  Harvey Penick's Little Red Book:  Lessons and Teachings from a Lifetime in Golf

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

The motorcade rumbled down the cobblestone street.  Three motorcycles led the way, followed by a DC police squad, two Secret Service sedans, and then two identical limousines.  After the limousines came the Suburbans and more sedans.  It was an impressive sight, especially when one considered that the two men being protected had yet to win the White House.  However, earlier in the week a fringe terrorist group had announced their intent to disrupt the coming election, and the Secret Service had no choice but to take the threat seriously.
-Vince Flynn,  Act of Treason

And I'm playing golf today.........................

















via

Because I have chosen not to keep the club head square through impact, silly....

















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Friday, June 21, 2013

Footprints..................................

Jamie O'Neal......................................Somebody's Hero
(please click on through to the YouTube machine)

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

     The sleek gray craft sliced through the warm water and humid night air of the Philippine Sea at twenty-five knots, its twin engines rumbling towards its destination with a guttural moan.   The boat was in violation of international law and at least one treaty, but the men on board didn't care.  Technicalities, legalities, and diplomacy were for other people to sort out, people who sat in comfortable chairs with Ivy League degrees matted and framed on their office walls.  The men standing on the deck of the Mark V special operations craft were here to get a job done, and in their minds, it was a job that should have been taken care of months ago.
-Vince Flynn,  Executive Power

Betcha can't name the restaurant chain with the second highest annual revenue in 2012...............

Number One is a no-brainer.  McDonald's clocked in with  annual revenue (2012) of $34.17 billion.  Yeow, that's a lot of quarter pounders with cheese.   Taco Bell is 6th,  Dunkin' Donuts is 7th, KFC is 9th.  So, who is #2?

Answer, along with back story, and reasons why this might be important to the real estate industry, can be found here.   If you want a clue, #2  has about 10,000 more stores that #1.

In appreciation of Italian bus drivers..............

......or, what he learned from motion sickness, Mathew Ferrara shares a story and a lesson.  Full post is here. Excerpt here.

"High atop an Italian mountain, I learned an axiom of growth: Resting is an activity. It’s something to be done, as powerful and useful to our growing as honing skills or new information."


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

The Beatles.....................................Thank You Girl



This McCartney-Lennon tune was recorded in March of 1963 and released in the USA at the end of May.  It was the B-Side to From Me To You.  McCartney described it as "a bit of a hack song, but all good practice."  It reached #35 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1964

Gig...................................................

















"I firmly believe that kids don't want your understanding.  They want your trust, your compassion, your blinding love, and your car keys, but try to understand them and you're in big trouble."
-Erma Brombeck

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Good to know........................


The wave................................................






















"The wave is ignorant of the true nature of the sea;  how can the temporal comprehend the eternal?"
-Sa'ib of Tabriz

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Wisdom from the master......................

Random Wisdom:
"Life keeps reminding us to read the instruction manual but we may have to write it first."

Leadership Wisdom:   A List of 50 Don'ts.
46.  Over-extending yourself.
47.  Failing to prioritize.
48.  Setting too many goals.
48.  Exhausting resources.

Everyday Wisdom:
Focus
Life
Ideas

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Hey...........You.............

The Rolling Stones.........................Get Off Of My Cloud

From National Geographic........................

Hey Mom.  Look what followed me home.  Can I keep him?


















Extra large size (and additional photos too) here.

A quest...............................

















"Great understanding is broad and unhurried;  little understanding is cramped and busy."
-Chuang-Tzu

via

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

He was a virtuoso of resignations.  He perfected the art of getting power by giving it away.  He tried this first, unsuccessfully, as a young colonel of militia - but then only as a gesture from hurt pride.  He was still learning that mere power to refuse is real, but limited.  The power would later be refined, as would the gestures - when he learned the creative power of surrender.
-Garry Wills, Cincinnatus:  George Washington & The Enlightenment:  Images of Power in Early America

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

The Beatles...........................I Saw Her Standing There



Recorded and released in the February/March of 1963 on The Beatles first album in the UK, Please Please, Me.  The song reached the U.S. of A early in 1964 as the B-side to I Want To Hold Your Hand.  When Rolling Stone Magazine compiled the greatest 500 songs of all time in 2004, this one showed up as #139

Ouch..............................






















via Maggie's Farm

Fiddling.....................................

Walter Russell Mead pens an essay suggesting big troubles lie ahead in the Middle East.  He is totally unimpressed by the Obama administration's current path.  While WRM doesn't say it, his essay paints a picture that looks to us history majors a bit like Europe's attempt to appease Nazi Germany in the late 1930's.  Trying to avoid a little unpleasantness, they unleashed a cataclysm of unpleasantness.  Full, thoughtful essay is here.  Two excerpts here:

"Could the Obama administration in its second term be making a series of Middle East policy mistakes even more expensive and destructive than those the Bush administration made in its first? That is admittedly a high bar, but the trends are unsettling to say the least. The region is unraveling and American policy is in deep disarray."

"The administration has been zealously guarding against the Little Satan of unnecessary involvement in a regional war while ignoring or even facilitating the rise of the Great Satan of full-blown regional strategic disaster. Its poor handling of an escalating series of regional problems is increasing the chance that those problems will cascade into a major global crisis."

Progress.................of sorts....


This should work for sure.....................




















thanks jonco

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Slip...............................................

Johnny Rivers..................................Secret Agent Man

Relax.............................

From the Business Wisdom blog.........

Planning to Relax

"Spare moments are the gold dust of time."
-Unknown

Seems counter-intuitive to think about planning leisure time, but how much of it ends up wasted if you don't?

Note to self:  Must plan to relax!

Moses Harry Horwitz.......................

.........also known as Moe Howard was born this day in 1897.

The problem of our time...............

...........is not that Congress won't, or can't, act.


















 The problem is that Congress has delegated its responsibility for governing to agencies and their bureaucracy, who are more than eager and willing to create new illegalities in Congress's name.

"Government has become ungovernable;  that is, it cannot leave off governing.  Law has become lawless; that it, it cannot see where laws should stop.  The chief feature of our time is the meekness of the mob and the madness of the government."       -Gilbert Keith Chesterton, as excerpted from the English philosopher and writer's 1917 work, Eugenics and Other Evils: An Argument Against the Scientifically Organized State


thanks to Bilbo for the formula and Ka-Ching! for the quote

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

Boots Randolph................................Yakety Sax



Homer Louis Randolph III, aka "Boots",  first recorded this tune in 1958.  It did not become a big hit until it was re-recorded on the Monument label in 1963.   The song reached the #35 position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.  Faithful viewers of The Benny Hill Show (post 1969) may recognize this as its theme song.

Fortune cookie wisdom...................


Nothing-to-hide versus Privacy...................

How much should the government know about us citizens seems to be a hot topic here of late.  Some folks, who seem very willing to trade liberty for perceived security, employ the I-Have-Nothing-To-Hide argument in defense of massive data collection on individuals.  As our essayist points out, this is true until you ask them to show you their latest credit card bills or ask them to let you photograph them naked.  For an interesting essay about "privacy," go here and read this.  Excerpt here:

"The deeper problem with the nothing-to-hide argument is that it myopically views privacy as a form of secrecy. In contrast, understanding privacy as a plurality of related issues demonstrates that the disclosure of bad things is just one among many difficulties caused by government security measures. To return to my discussion of literary metaphors, the problems are not just Orwellian but Kafkaesque. Government information-gathering programs are problematic even if no information that people want to hide is uncovered. In The Trial, the problem is not inhibited behavior but rather a suffocating powerlessness and vulnerability created by the court system's use of personal data and its denial to the protagonist of any knowledge of or participation in the process. The harms are bureaucratic ones—indifference, error, abuse, frustration, and lack of transparency and accountability."

thanks craig

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

Someone must have been telling lies about Joseph K., for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine morning. His landlady's cook, who always brought him his breakfast at eight o'clock, failed to appear on this occasion. That had never happened before.
-Franz Kafka,   The Trial

Now he tells me....................................


















thanks Rob

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A slow dance........................

Johnny Hartman...........................I See Your Face Before Me

Curl........................................

You are so beautiful and I am a fool
to be in love with you
is a theme that keeps coming up
in songs and poems.
There seems to be no room for variation.
I have never heard anyone sing
I am so beautiful
and you are a fool to be in love with me,
even though this notion has surely
crossed the minds of women and men alike.
You are so beautiful, too bad you are a fool
is another one you don't hear.
Or, you are a fool to consider me beautiful.
That one you will never hear, guaranteed.

For no particular reason this afternoon
I am listening to Johnny Hartman
whose dark voice can curl around
the concepts on love, beauty, and foolishness
like no one else's can.
It feels like smoke curling up from a cigarette
someone left burning on a baby grand piano
around three o'clock in the morning;
smoke that billows up into the bright lights
while out there in the darkness
some of the beautiful fools have gathered
around little tables to listen,
some with their eyes closed,
others leaning forward into the music
as if it were holding them up,
or twirling the loose ice in a glass,
slipping by degrees into a rhythmic dream.

Yes, there is all this foolish beauty,
borne beyond midnight,
that has no desire to go home,
especially now when everyone in the room
is watching the large man with the tenor sax
that hangs from his neck like a golden fish.
He moves forward to the edge of the stage
and hands the instrument down to me
and nods that I should play.
So I put the mouthpiece to my lips
and blow into it with all my living breath.
We are all so foolish,
my long bebop solo begins by saying,
so damn foolish
we have become beautiful without even knowing it. 


-Billy Collins,  Nightclub

Hate it when that happens...........................






















via

Words.................................


"A very great part of the mischiefs that vex the world arises from words."
-Edmund Burke

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

The Dakotas.......................................The Cruel Sea

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

     Mr. Beale had not brought the warrant until Sunday evening but by Wednesday morning, before dawn outlined its high windows, the great hall at Fotheringhay was ready.  Though the earl of Shrewsbury had returned only the day before, nobody wanted any more delay.  Nobody know what messenger might be riding on the London road.  Nobody knew which of the others might weaken if they waited another day.
-Garrett Mattingly,  The Armada

How keys work...................................














via

What's in a name...................................?

It's Quiz time.   Writers sometimes opt to use a "pen name."  Reasons vary.  Joanne Rowling became J. K. Rowling (not the wildest pen name ever used) because the publishers thought it might aid in the book selling.  Sixteen year old Ben Franklin became Silence Dogood in a wildly successful attempt to trick his older brother James into publishing his writing.   Sam Clemens became Mark Twain just to change his luck (I just made that up, but feel free to repeat it).  Knowing my faithful readers are all fond of writing and books, I offer the following quiz for your entertainment.  No prizes will be awarded as the average grade is sure to be 100%.  See is you can match the pen name to the real name.  On your mark .................. get set...............go:


Pen Names                                            Real Names

Ayn Rand                                          Francois-Marie Arouet

George Eliot                                      Daniel Handler

Dr. Seuss                                            Stanley Martin Lieber

Joseph Conrad                                  William Sydney Porter

Franklin W. Dixon                            Mary Ann Evans

John LeCarre                                   James Alfred Wight

Lemony Snicket                               Jozef Korzeniowski

George Orwell                                 Theodore Geisel

O. Henry                                           Eric Arthur Blair

James Herriot                                  Cecil Smith

Lewis Caroll                                    David Cornwell

C. S. Forester                                 Alisa Zinov'yevni Rosenbaum

Voltaire                                           Charles Lutwidge Dodgson

Stan Lee                                         Leslie McFarlane

Probably......................................

























via

Monday, June 17, 2013

To me.........................................

Joe Cocker....................................You Are So Beautiful

Beautiful....................................























The Butterfly Nebula.  Larger photo and backstory here.

Dwell...................................



“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” 
-Marcus Aurelius

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Beautiful.......................................

















via

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

John Leyton...............................Beautiful Dreamer

Not and nor.........................



“The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.” 
-Lao Tzu

via

Reality.........................................


“There are no bad pictures; that's just how your face looks sometimes.” 
-Abraham Lincoln

Capacity.....................................



“Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.”
-Franz Kafka

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Gazing................................



“Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.  But you are the eternity and you are the mirror.” 
-Kahlil Gibran

via

Beautiful.................................

Tulips growing in the Netherlands..................












thanks Todd

Sunday, June 16, 2013

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

Heinz..........................................Just Like Eddie

Here's one for Skip..........................

Carlos Santana and Buddy Guy messing around on guitars

Pretty sure the answer is Yes.................


Verse..................................

From a quick visit with the Ragamuffin....................


An attitude.................................























via

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

Andy Williams.......................Days of Wine and Roses

A re-run.......................................


Legalities........................................

Friend Bilbo, who regularly shares some wonderful cartoons, is pretty worked up about Edward Snowdon, as evidenced by this post.  I don't have an opinion yet on Mr. Snowden, but this excerpt from Bilbo bothers me a bit:

Let's establish one thing up front: the program that Mr Snowdon, with all the vast, accumulated wisdom of his 29 years, exposed was perfectly legal under US law. It was approved by Congress, vetted by the courts, and operated under a network of legal and procedural oversight provisions designed to protect the rights of US persons. Reasonable people may (hell, will) disagree over whether the program is moral, as opposed to legal, and whether Congress has taken its oversight responsibilities seriously enough, but the simple fact remains that Mr Snowdon exposed for his own reasons a very expensive, very secret, very legal program intended to protect you and I ... and him ... from those who would do us harm.

After reading that paragraph, it reminded me of this quote from Walter Williams:













I will confess this "it's legal" argument hits one of my hot buttons.  Reasonable people may believe that this trivializes a very important issue, but, ok.  In Ohio, and in Newark, we have a whole host of very nice and very capable people in government who are "double dipping."  Double dipping occurs when you have worked in government for twenty or twenty-five years and become eligible for retirement, with said retirement benefits to be paid immediately upon retirement.  The result of this legality is that 50 year olds (nice and capable people) who began working for the government in their twenties, can retire today and begin collecting their benefits tomorrow.  Mind you, they are 50 years old, perhaps at their most productive age.  Since they are so productive, it only seems logical that we keep them working; after all, somebody has to do the job.  Makes perfect sense.  So, the day after they retire, they are rehired to work at the same job they just retired from, collecting the same paycheck as before, but now with their retirement pay as well.  Ergo, double dipping.  Oh, and if you comment on this you are quickly told it is legal.

Government employees receiving an extraordinary financial benefit created by other government employees, spending money not their own, with said benefit not being available to non-governmental employees.  But, it's legal.  Right.

Defending the 1%.................................

Greg Mankiw publishes an essay on income inequality.  It is worth the reading.  A few excerpts:

At the outset, it is worth noting that addressing the issue of rising inequality necessarily involves not just economics but also a healthy dose of political philosophy. We economists must recognize not only the limits of what we know about inequality’s causes, but also the limits on the ability of our discipline to prescribe policy responses. Economists who discuss policy responses to increasing inequality are often playing the role of amateur political philosopher (and, admittedly, I will do so in this essay). Given the topic, that is perhaps inevitable. But it is useful to keep when we are writing as economists and when we are venturing beyond the boundaries of our professional expertise.

A relevant fact here is that, over time, an increasing share of government spending has been for transfer payments, rather than for purchases of goods and services. Government has grown as a percentage of the economy not because it is providing more and better roads, more and better legal institutions, and more and better educational systems. Rather, government has increasingly used its power to tax to take from Peter to pay Paul. Discussions of the benefits of government services should not distract from this fundamental truth.

For example, many economics professors could have pursued higher-income career paths as business economists, software engineers, or corporate lawyers. That they chose to take some of their compensation in the form of personal and intellectual freedom rather than cold cash is a personal lifestyle choice, not a reflection of innate productivity. Those who made the opposite choice may have done so because they get greater utility from income. A utilitarian social planner will want to allocate greater income to these individuals, even apart from any incentive effects.

Left.........................................................






















“According to most philosophers, God in making the world enslaved it. According to Christianity, in making it, He set it free. God had written, not so much a poem, but rather a play; a play he had planned as perfect, but which had necessarily been left to human actors and stage-managers, who had since made a great mess of it.” 
-G.K. Chesterton 


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