Saturday, June 29, 2013

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

It was the best of times, it was the worst of journalism - and it is no small irony that the former condition led directly to the latter, that the golden age of America's founding was also the gutter age of American reporting, that the most notorious of presses in our nation's history churned out its copy on the foothills of Olympus.  The Declaration of Independence was literature, but the New England Courant talked trash.  The Constitution of the United Sates was philosophy; the Boston Gazette slung mud.  The Gazette of the United States and the National Gazette were conceived as weapons, not chronicles of daily events; the two of them stood masthead to masthead, firing at each other, without ceasing, without blinking, without acknowledging the limitations of veracity.  Philadelphia's Aurora was less a celestial radiance than a ground-level reek, guilty of "taking a line that would have been regarded as treasonable in any later international conflict."  And Porcupine's Gazette, the Aurora's sworn foe, was as barbed as its namesake.
-Eric Burns,  Infamous Scribblers:  The Founding Fathers and the Rowdy Beginnings of American Journalism

Pretty relaxing video too..........................

Jimmy Buffett............................................Margaritaville

 

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

Flambeau, once the most famous criminal in France and later a very private detective in England, had long retired from both professions.  Some say a career of crime had left him with too many scruples for a career in detection.  Anyhow, after a life of romantic escapes and tricks of evasion, he had ended at what some might consider an appropriate address:  in a castle in Spain.  The castle, however, was solid though relatively small; and the black vineyard and green stripes of kitchen garden covered a respectable square on the brown hillside.  For Flambeau, after all his violent adventures, still possessed what is possessed by so many Latins, what is absent (for instance) in so many Americans, the energy to retire.  It can be seen in many a large hotel-proprietor whose one ambition is to be a small peasant.  It can be seen in many a French provincial shopkeeper, who pauses at the moment when he might develop into a detestable millionaire and buy a street of shops, to fall back quietly and comfortably on domesticity and dominoes.  Flambeau had casually and almost abruptly fallen in love with a Spanish lady, married and brought up a large family on a Spanish estate, without displaying any apparent desire to stray again beyond its borders.  But on one particular morning he was observed by his family to be unusually restless and excited; and he outran the little boys and descended the greater part of the long mountain slope to meet the visitor who was coming across the valley; even when the visitor was still a black dot in the distance.
G. K. Chesterton,  The Secret of Father Brown

One of the beauties..................

.......of the Intertunnel is the speed at which you can become exposed to things of which you were not previously aware.  Friend Scott commented on Thursday night's music selection with the suggestion to listen to Gov't Mule's version of same.  Yesterday, he very kindly posted it here.  With all the wonder of technology, I'm listening to it while typing this.  Excellent!

Diagrams....................................

Shedding a little light.....................



































The diagram from Thomas Edison's patent for the "Electric-Lamp,"  the first incandescent lighting.
From 100 Diagrams That Changed The World

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

The Beatles...........................................Ask Me Why

 

Ask Me Why was recorded in late 1962 and released (as the B-Side to Please Please Me) in the US in February of 1963.

Proof..........................................

"For me the Beatles are proof of the existence of God."
-Rick Rubin, as excerpted from here

At the movies............................

My Sweetie and I went to the cinema last night to see (for the second time) Now You See Me.  If you have not seen it, please do.  It is a delight.

 

Least..........................................














"There’s a tremendous power in using the least amount of information to get a point across."
-Rick Rubin, as excerpted from here, again.

Idea drawings............................

Friend Jeff, aware of my fascination with cartoons from The New Yorker, pointed me to this TED talk.  Bob Mankoff, the lucky guy that gets to choose 17 cartoons out of the 1000 submitted each week (and a pretty fair cartoonist in his own right), analyses humor for us.  It's a good investment of twenty minutes.  Enjoy

Friday, June 28, 2013

That ain't the way to have fun....................

Three Dog Night.....................Mama Told Me Not To Come

 

All you need to know about.........................

.......central planning or government-run anything:

They fail because they attempt to substitute a single brain, or a relatively small panel of brains organized into a bureaucracy, for the collective cognitive firepower of millions or billions of people. Put simply, they attempt to manage systems that are too complex for them to understand. Complexity is humbling, but politics is immune to humility.

So says Kevin Williamson in this essay titled, iPencil:  Nobody knows how to make a pencil, or a health- care system.  One more excerpt to conclude:  

Washington is packed to the gills with people who believe they have the ability to design an intelligent national health-care system, but there is not one who does - no Democrat, no Republican, no independent.  The information burden is just to vast.  Washington is not only full of people who do not know what they are talking about, it is full of people who do not know that they do not know what they are talking about.  That is no model for social change.

thanks Mark

Talking about information...............................




























































cartoons via

We knew this........................................
















.......gap existed, we just didn't believe it would last this long.  The back story and commentary (as well as an enlargeable chart) can be found here.   Essentially, the construction of new single family houses has been in the tank since 2007.   The early part of the tankage was caused by over-building in the 2002-2006 era.  More recently, it has been caused by the still-too-great price differential between the "distressed" inventory of older single family houses and the actual costs of new construction.  All markets are different, but we are hoping the price differential shrinks pretty soon. An active construction industry will be a tremendous shot in the arm for our economy.   Have I told you lately that we have some fabulous wooded building lots available?

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

The Beatles.............................Anna (Go To Him)

 

Written and recorded in 1962 by Arthur Alexander, the Beatles covered the song and released it on their Please Please Me album in 1963

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

New Jersey was 40,000 feet below me, obscured by cloud cover.  Heaven was above me.  And hell was sitting four rows back.  Okay, maybe hell was too strong.  Maybe it was just purgatory.
-Janet Evanovich,  Explosive Eighteen

Diagrams..........................





















Nicolaus Copernicus published his heliocentric model and theory of the solar system in 1543.  No biggie, just contradicted fourteen centuries of western thought and belief by placing the sun, not the earth but the sun, as the fixed center of the solar system.  As one might suspect, it did not immediately garner a lot of love.  More on the story here.


Maybe............................

"Denigrating art you don't understand doesn't hurt the art--it reveals something about your willingness to learn."
-Seth Godin























"When (part of) your marketplace embraces a 'new' that makes no sense to you, it's essential you understand the point of view that's leading people to embrace this new idea. No, you don't have to cheer it on, collect it, support it or pretend you think it's the greatest breakthrough ever. But yes, you probably need to understand why other people were touched, inspired or found something worth talking about."
-Seth Godin

Both quotes were taken from this Seth's Blog post.

The old human element.................................

The Execupundit nails the current state of society-at-large.  Although, the history major in me suspects that many of those characteristics were also prevalent 100 and 200 years ago.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lips............................................

Dave Mason..............................Sad And Deep As You

 

Thunder...................................

Bob Seger........................................................Night Moves

 

A few words from Robert Schuller....................

“Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation.” 

“Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future.” 

"You never suffer from a money problem, you always suffer from an idea problem."

“Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the apples in a seed.” 

"Most people who succeed in the face of seemingly impossible conditions are people who simply don't know how to quit."


"If there exists no possibility of failure, then victory is meaningless."


"Failure doesn't mean you are a failure... it just means you haven't succeeded yet."

"Some people are at the top of the ladder, some are in the middle, still more are at the bottom, and a whole lot more don't even know there is a ladder."

 "When you can't solve the problem, manage it."

Ed. Note: Robert Schuller and his Sunday Hour of Power TV show were a big hit in the 1970's.  I remember one of my uncles telling my Mom that he would rather listen to Schuller on TV than go to church.  Can't say I blame him.  Schuller was fun and he had a way with words.  Still, I never did understand the whole Crystal Cathedral thing.  Adding the old human element, things don't always work out the way you want them to.

Adding to the blogroll......................

Methinks the purpose of the blogroll is to help keep track of where I've been. After all, the blogosphere is a fairly large place.  I don't know if Samizdata is going to be a favorite or not, but you've got to love the way they think about themselves:

Who Are We?

The Samizdata people are a bunch of sinister and heavily armed globalist illuminati who seek to infect the entire world with the values of personal liberty and several property. Amongst our many crimes is a sense of humour and the intermittent use of British spelling.
We are also a varied group made up of social individualists, classical liberals, whigs, libertarians, extropians, futurists, ‘Porcupines’, Karl Popper fetishists, recovering neo-conservatives, crazed Ayn Rand worshipers, over-caffeinated Virginia Postrel devotees, witty Frédéric Bastiat wannabes, cypherpunks, minarchists, kritarchists and wild-eyed anarcho-capitalists from Britain, North America, Australia and Europe.

as always, thanks craig

Quotable.................................

"The attempt to make heaven on earth invariably produces hell. It leads to intolerance. It leads to religious wars, and to the saving of souls through the inquisition. And it is, I believe, based on a complete misunderstanding of our moral duties."
-Karl Popper

"America's abundance was not created by public sacrifices to the common good, but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes."
-Ayn Rand

"Progress comes from trial and error, when we're free to try things and free to reject ideas that don't work. That makes me optimistic about the future. The problem comes when people either try to stamp out experimentation or try to cram one possibly hare-brained scheme down everyone's throat."
-Virginia Postel

"Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."
-Frederic Bastiat

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

The Tymes......................................Wonderful! Wonderful!

Diagrams.......................................

















Lunar Eclipse diagram from Abu Rayhan al-Biruni, dating to 1019 AD.  The Wiki translation of the writing reads: Why – why the increase and decrease of the light of the moon is settled while other stars don't behave so, observing these and not understanding the spirit of these is a misdeed   that the light of the stars is of their own

Found this while thumbing through Scott Christianson's 100 Diagrams That Changed the World

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

The girl was moody getting out of the car, making a sour face to let him know she hated the shabby house and sun-scorched street smelling of chili and episote.  To him, this anonymous house would serve.  He searched the surrounding houses for threats as he waited for her, clearing the area the way another man might clear his throat.  He felt obvious wearing the long-sleeved shirt.  The Los Angeles sun was too hot for the sleeves, but he had little choice.  He moved carefully to hide what was under that shirt.
-Robert Crais,  The Watchman

Want to impress your lady.................................?

..................................take her boating.
















via

Mother Nature had other plans..................



thanks jonco

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Eric, Paul, Ringo and some friends making music.......

Can anybody play...........................?

The Hollies......................................................Carrie Anne

Exchange...............................

Faithful readers will know that I am a fan of the Kids Prefer Cheese blog.  Mike Munger, one of those responsible for said blog, is a professor at Duke - not that we should hold that against him.  He was recently asked some questions by AIER (American Institute for Economic Research).   My only complaint is that they should have asked more questions.  A sample:
What’s the most important economic concept for the average person to understand?
Voluntary exchanges make both parties better off.  So the more exchange, the better.  Rules or laws that prevent exchange, or make it more expensive, harm people in ways that are hard to see.  Much of the harm that markets appear to cause are actually caused by misguided attempts to direct and regulate exchange.

A few thoughts from Dale Carnegie............

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

“Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. ”

“Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment”

“You can conquer almost any fear if you will only make up your mind to do so. For remember, fear doesn't exist anywhere except in the mind.” 

“Take a chance! All life is a chance. The man who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare.”

“When we hate our enemies, we are giving them power over us: power over our sleep, our appetites, our blood pressure, our health, and our happiness.”

“It isn't what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” 

“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain--and most do.”

“Even god doesn't propose to judge a man till his last days, why should you and I?”

“Success is getting what you want.....Happiness is wanting what you get.” 

Wiki on Dale Carnegie (born Carnagey, so no, he is not related to Andrew) is here.

Surely you jest...............................

Headline reads:

Yale's Emotional Intelligence Test Will Determine If You Are A Good Leader

Sixth paragraph reads:

Scoring the test-takers is another complicated task, as it's hard to say what the right answer is on every question.

Questionable assumption reads:

The idea is that leadership requires an ability to read people, accurately understand and manage emotions, communicate effectively, and adapt quickly to other cultures.

Post from whence these nuggets came is here, along with a handful of hard-to-score questions.  One wonders how Churchill, Gandhi, Patton, Steve Jobs, et. al. would have graded out (my guess is they would have left the room long before completing the test). 

thanks craig

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

The Beatles....................................................Misery



A McCartney-Lennon tune recorded in February of 1963 and released on the Please Please Me album. The Wiki reports:  According to Lennon, "It was kind of a John song more than a Paul song, but it was written together."[1] McCartney was to say: "I don't think either one of us dominated on that one, it was just a hacking job."[2]  I have absolutely zero remembrance of this song.  This may be the first time I've heard it.

Exercise...............................

     "Nature has so built man that he has absolute control over the material which reaches his subconscious mind, through his five senses, although this is not meant to be construed as a statement that man always exercises this control.  In the great majority of instances, he does not exercise it, which explains why so many people go through life in poverty."
-Napoleon Hill, as excerpted from Think And Grow Rich

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

Our office was a good place to be that morning.  There was only the tocking of the Pinocchio clock, the scratch of my pen, and the hiss of the air conditioner fighting a terrible heat.  Fire season had arrived, when fires erupted across the Southland like pimples on adolescent skin.
-Robert Crais,  Chasing Darkness

Storms................................

He in his madness prays for storms, and dreams that storms will bring him peace.
-Leo Tolstoy


















thanks michael

Artful fun with photography.............................

From the wide, wide world of Twisted Sifter:





















































more here........................

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

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

David Sanborn...................................The Dream

Twofer....................................

Clapton and Sanborn..........................Goin' Down Slow

Well, let's get drinking.........................


For those of you who enjoy the play of words...................

...........scroll through this exchange.   It's a school of puns.

An indictment................

..........of our educational system and a failure of parenting.  If 86% of the quiz takers failed to score a 100% on this quiz comprised of five baby questions, all  I can say is, "yeow."  Of course, before I get too cocky, I should probably ask my kids these questions.  Not so sure they would know #3.

Speaking of educating my kids...........................

.............I think I will just send them this link and tell them to read these five essays.  Hell, maybe I'll just print them out and give them to them.  Call it an early Christmas present.

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

Dave Clark Five...................................Do You Love Me

Self-help..................................................

Sarah L. Courteau writes an essay for the Wilson Quarterly that seems to want to slap down the "self-help" industry.  I'm probably not her audience.  Last I checked, my book shelves were chock full of works from Wallace Wattles, George Clason, Napoleon Hill, Norman Vincent Peale, Earl Nightingale, Dale Carnegie, Og Mandino, Robert Schuller, Louise Hay, Jim Rohn, Wayne Dyer, Stuart Wilde, Richard Carlson, Brian Tracy, et.al.  There is even a stray Tony Robbins in the mix.  Can't, and won't, say that any of them were life changers.  But, I feel better for reading, and re-reading, them.  In terms of value, I've gotten back way more than I invested.  More than I can say for reading the Wilson Quarterly or putting money in the stock market.

"The ethos of self-help is woven into American culture. It’s the literature of aspiration. The pursuit of happiness is embedded right there in the document that launched the American experiment."

via

The Universe has been around ten billion years, or so.......................................

....................we get maybe 80 years, or so; a mere snap of the fingers in relation.  The question arises, "How much should we know?"  The answer floats gently by, "Not as much as you think."
















For those of you who want to argue about the age of the Universe, there is this from Wikipedia:

The age of the universe is defined in physical cosmology as the time elapsed since the Big Bang. The best measurement of the age of the universe, as of 22 March 2013, is 13.798 ± 0.037 billion years[1][2][3] (4.354 ± 0.012 × 1017 seconds) within the Lambda-CDM concordance model.[4] The uncertainty of 37 million years has been obtained by the agreement of a number of scientific research projects, such as microwave background radiation measurements by the Planck satellite, the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probeand other probes. Measurements of the cosmic background radiation give the cooling time of the universe since the Big Bang,[4] and measurements of the expansion rate of the universe can be used to calculate its approximate age by extrapolating backwards in time.

Don't you love the "+/- 0.037 billion years"?  Close enough for government work.

Johnny Bunko.............................

......and his six essential lessons for a productive and satisfying life.  A wee sample:

5. Make excellent mistakes.  Commit errors from which the benefits of what you’ve learned exceed the costs of the screw-up.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Whistling.................................

The Tremeloes..............................Here Comes My Baby

The Peace of Wild Things...................

















When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things 
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.


-Wendell Berry

photo copyrighted by Country Captures
gif via

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

The Beatles...........................................All My Loving



The video is from the Ed Sullivan show in February of 1964.  This Lennon-McCartney song was recorded in July of 1963 and released on the With the Beatles album in November of 1963.  Oddly enough, it was never released as a single in the United States.

We didn’t have the “green thing” back then......

Ray, with a bit of attitude, takes us back to those  pre-green days.  You know, that  time in our history when stuff got repaired, retro-fitted, re-used, and handed-down.  That time when blue jeans got holes in the knees from hard use, instead of trendy design.  That time when those holey jeans were first patched, and then, with a pair of scissors in hand,  turned  into shorts for summer time wearing.  That time when the clothes line in the back yard was in active use eight months out of the year.  That time that the only power to the mower came from legs and arms.  That time when, if we wanted to get somewhere, we walked or rode our bikes.  You know, the good old days.  Anyway, Ray takes us back there.  Enjoy the trip - and the attitude:

"We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to piss us off…especially from a tattooed, multiple pierced smartass who can’t make change without the cash register telling them how much."

Economic Development 101.........

An economy that was based on (among other things) cheap energy gets a huge shot in the arm:

"Each shale well requires up to 100 tons of high-quality steel pipe; fleets of specially adapted trucks and trailers; a small hangar of earthmoving, drilling and other equipment; specialty chemicals, sands and ceramics; and some very high-end seismic and other underground imaging gear. Many of these products are now U.S. specialties."

and:

"Energy production is a good job producer, offering classic blue-collar jobs at high pay to people without college degrees. Oil and gas rig workers can pull down $100,000 annual incomes before they’re thirty. "

and:

"The current official estimate - that by 2020 or so the U.S. will surpass Saudi Arabia in oil output, and Russia in gas - remains on track, and the country will be a major global energy producer far beyond that, which will do wonders for the U.S. trade deficit."

Next assignment for the bright and creative people who brought us the horizontal drilling-fracking revolution: solve the problem of how to re-cycle the chemicalized water used to frack the wells (and, while you are at it, figure out how  to frack using less water).

via

Three dimensional drawings................

The art of Ramon Bruin.............




















thanks

Say it ain't so....................

Really, really, really sad news...............................