Saturday, July 13, 2013

Will you ever....................................

Tim Buckley...............................................Once I Was

 

John's got it figured out.......................

Reading the books, as my kids remind me whenever I buy a new book without first having read the last new one I bought (or the one before that too), is a good first step.

About those books..........................



The Political Correctness Enforcement Agency........

As the old joke goes:  what's the opposite of diversity? University.

At least in regard to diversity of thought.   The above quote comes from this essay on the changing nature of climate change from Matt Ridley.  

C. S. Lewis and democracy..............

What I want to fix your attention on is the vast, overall movement toward the discrediting, and finally elimination, of every kind of human excellence–moral, cultural, social, or intellectual. And is it not pretty to notice how Democracy is now doing for us the work that once was done by the ancient Dictatorships, and by the same methods? ... Allow no pre-eminence among your subjects. Let no man live who is wiser, or better, or more famous, or even handsomer than the mass. Cut them down to a level; all slaves, all ciphers, all nobodies. All equals. Thus Tyrants could practise, in a sense, 'democracy'. But now 'democracy' can do the same work without any other tyranny than her own.
-C. S. Lewis, as excerpted from The Screwtape Letters

thanks Mungo

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

Follow The Boys...............................Connie Francis et. al

 

Time to invest in carbon paper............................?

Typewriters making a comeback?  Maybe.  Fuller story here.

Makes one kind of nostalgic.  I earned my beer money in school typing papers for fraternity brothers.  Might have actually learned more doing that than I did from going to class.

Success...........................................






















thanks nicole

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


Friday, July 12, 2013

Fire up the karaoke machine..................

Godley and Creme.................................Cry

 

thanks Tina

David Kanigan..........................

...........is on a hot streak.  Scroll through the posts from the past week at his Lead.Learn.Live blog.  Put him on your everyday reading list.  You'll be glad you did.


A great dissent..................................

............or, kissing the Fourth Amendment goodbye.  Really faithful readers will remember that, from time to time, judicial dissents capture my interest.  I'm indebted to Conor Friedersdorf  for pointing this one out.  While the cited case involved the drug testing of railway workers, feel free to substitute terrorists, leakers, tea partiers, or your favorite cause of the day, as the raison du jour.  The dissenter is Thurgood Marshall.   Full dissent is here.  Timely excerpts here:

"The issue in this case is not whether declaring a war on illegal drugs is good public policy. The importance of ridding our society of such drugs is, by now, apparent to all. Rather, the issue here is whether the Government's deployment in that war of a particularly draconian weapon -- the compulsory collection and chemical testing of railroad workers' blood and urine -- comports with the Fourth Amendment. Precisely because the need for action against the drug scourge is manifest, the need for vigilance against unconstitutional excess is great. History teaches that grave threats to liberty often come in times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure."


"I recognize that invalidating the full-scale searches involved in the FRA's testing regime for failure to comport with the Fourth Amendment's command of probable cause may hinder the Government's attempts to make rail transit as safe as humanly possible. But constitutional rights have their consequences, and one is that efforts to maximize the public welfare, no matter how well-intentioned, must always be pursued within constitutional boundaries. Were the police freed from the constraints of the Fourth Amendment for just one day to seek out evidence of criminal wrongdoing, the resulting convictions and incarcerations would probably prevent thousands of fatalities. Our refusal to tolerate this spectre reflects our shared belief that even beneficent governmental power -- whether exercised to save money, save lives, or make the trains run on time -- must always yield to "a resolute loyalty to constitutional safeguards." Almeida-Sanchez v. United States, 413 U.S. 266, 273 (1973). The Constitution demands no less loyalty here."

"In his first dissenting opinion as a Member of this Court, Oliver Wendell Holmes observed:  

'Great cases, like hard cases, make bad law. For great cases are called great, not by reason of their real importance in shaping the law of the future, but because of some accident of immediate overwhelming interest which appeals to the feelings and distorts the judgment. These immediate interests exercise a kind of hydraulic pressure which makes what previously was clear seem doubtful, and before which even well settled principles of law will bend.'  Northern Securities Co. v. United States, 193 U.S. 197, 400-401 (1904)   

A majority of this Court, swept away by society's obsession with stopping the scourge of illegal drugs, today succumbs to the popular pressures described by Justice Holmes. In upholding the FRA's plan for blood and urine testing, the  majority bends time-honored and textually based principles of the Fourth Amendment -- principles the Framers of the Bill of Rights designed to ensure that the Government has a strong and individualized justification when it seeks to invade an individual's privacy. I believe the Framers would be appalled by the vision of mass governmental intrusions upon the integrity of the human body that the majority allows to become reality. The immediate victims of the majority's constitutional timorousness will be those railroad workers whose bodily fluids the Government may now forcibly collect and analyze. But ultimately, today's decision will reduce the privacy all citizens may enjoy, for, as Justice Holmes understood, principles of law, once bent, do not snap back easily. I dissent."

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

The Beatles...................................There's A Place

 

Ever wonder.............................

.........about Thomas Sowell's young adulthood?   Read about it in this essay wherein he reminds the "elite busybodies" that their "compassionate" policies usually create more damage than provide actual help.
"I could even put aside some money for a rainy day. It was the closest thing to nirvana for me. Thank heaven there were no busybodies to prevent me from working more hours than they thought I should."

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


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

Dear Son - So begins Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography (1788), and with it the Harvard Classics.  On that New Year's night, the words seemed to confirm my idea of the Classics as a communication from earlier generations, and I was excited to be finally receiving this communication.  Several times over the months since I'd come up with my plan to read the Shelf, I'd considered getting an early start.  I would walk to the place where the volumes waited in my parents' library and run my fingers along their spines, wondering what secrets they held for me.  The fifty-one volumes took up three shelves, each close to two feet wide - the whole thing a bit more than the advertised five feet, I guessed.  Reading a volume of four or five hundred pages a week didn't seem like much of a task, but when these books were taken together the expanse was overwhelming.
-Christopher R. Beha, The Whole Five Feet:  What the Great Books Taught Me About Life, Death, and Pretty Much Everything Else

Yep.............................................

"Returns to skilled investing end up accruing to the people who have the skills (i.e. the managers) rather than to people who just have money."
-Matt Yglesias, as excerpted from this post on "The Hedge Fund Myth"

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Learn to fly again........................................

Mr. Mister......................................................Broken Wings

 

Focusing.............................

Our man on the ledge posts a Blaise Pascal quote on how the past and future mess with our present.  Jeff also pointed to Project Gutenberg's e-publication of Pascal's Pensees, where I  happily spent a half hour of my present pondering the differences between the 17th and 21st centuries.  I stopped reading when I came to this:

"In writing down my thought, it sometimes escapes me; but this makes me remember my weakness, that I constantly forget. This is as instructive to me as my forgotten thought; for I strive only to know my nothingness."

A foundational truth........................

 "It doesn’t matter who sits in the Presidential Palace if the country runs out of bread."
-Spengler, as excerpted from this essay on Islamism and Egypt in July of 2013

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

The Beach Boys..............................................Surfin' Safari

 

Paging all Edward Gorey fans...................

Maria Popova at Brain Pickings posted book cover illustrations by Edward Gorey.  The breadth of his work is truly amazing.  Do go visit.

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

He rolled the cigarette in his lips, liking the taste of the tobacco, squinting his eyes against the sun glare.  His buckskin shirt, seasoned by sun, rain, and sweet, smelled stale and old.  His jeans has long since faded to a neutral color that lost itself in the desert.
-Louis L'Amour,  Hondo

By design............................

If a mayoral candidate wanted to actually help young people, minorities, and the poor in New York, he or she would take a long hard look at the way poorly designed or outdated laws and regulations drive up costs and drive  away opportunity. Unfortunately, most candidates are more interested in parroting progressive platitudes and pandering to Wall Street, labor unions, and the construction industry.
-Walter Russell Mead, as excerpted from here

Regular readers will recognize that economics is not my strong suit, but.................If the Obama administration, or any administration for that matter, gets frustrated by the dearth of economic opportunity; and, if said adminstration wants to increase the number of people either creating their own businesses, or going to work for some one else's business, the best and easiest way to start that process would be to roll back "poorly designed  or outdated laws and regulations."   Just saying.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Our boy has been hiding in plain sight..............

I was going to post Gary Larson's "Beware of Doug" cartoon to celebrate the surfacing of Eclecticity Light, but seeing as Blogger just won't cooperate, you'll have to follow the first link.

Show me......................................

Foreigner..................................I Wanna Know What Love Is

 

Chatting with Sun Tzu*.................................

     The art of war is of vital importance to the state.  It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin.  Hence under no circumstances can it be neglected.

     Hence it is only the enlightened ruler and wise general who will use the highest intelligence of the army for purposes of spying, and thereby they achieve great results.  Spies are the most important element in war, because upon them depends an army's ability to move.

     Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemies resistance without fighting.

     If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.

     In all history, there is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.  Only one who knows the disastrous effects of a long war can realize the supreme importance of rapidly bringing it to a close.  It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war who can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying it on.

* as channeled by James Clavell

Checking in with Aesop, again........................

                        The Ass and the Old Shepherd

A Shepherd, watching his Ass feeding in a meadow, was alarmed all of a sudden by the cries of the enemy.  He appealed to the Ass to fly with him, lest they should both be captured, but the animal lazily replied, "Why should I, pray?  Do you think it likely the conqueror will place on me two sets of panniers?"  "No," rejoined the Shepherd.  "Then," said the Ass, "as long as I carry the panniers, what matters it to me whom I serve?"

        In a change of government, the poor change nothing beyond the name of their master.

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

The Beatles.............................All I've Got To Do

 

Leadership.......................................

The Execupundit way:

The leader must have a clear eye for what is real and what is false.  
from here

Show up without any advance notice. Look around. Ask questions. Listen for what is said and not said. See what is needed. Leave. Follow-up on what you learned.
from here

Each day we should commit to a great attitude, whether we feel like it or not, and share that upbeat outlook with others. Don't dismiss a burden you've never carried. 
from here

Pay attention to your instincts.
from here

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

Jack Reacher ordered espresso, double, no peel, no cube, foam cup, no china, and before it arrived at his table he saw a man's life change forever.  Not that the waiter was slow.  Just that the move was slick.  So slick, Reacher had no idea what he was watching.  It was just an urban scene, repeated everywhere in the world a billion times a day.  A guy unlocked his car and got in and drove away.  That was all.
-Lee Child,  The Hard Way

Happy leisure......................................

Enjoy a little more, and strive a little less:  others argue to the contrary, but happy leisure is worth more than drive, for nothing belongs to us, except time, wherein even he dwells who has no habitation:  equally infelicitous to squander precious existence in stupid drudgery, as in an excess of noble business.  Be not crushed under success, in order not to be crushed under envy:  it is to trample upon life, and to suffocate the spirit; some would include hereunder knowledge, but he who is without knowledge is without life.
-Baltasar Gracian,   The Art of Worldly Wisdom

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Someday.......................................

Ray Charles.............................................Hit The Road Jack

 

Pondering....................








Dennis Overbye, acknowledging the unsettledness of science, wonders about this Universe we find ourselves in.  Full post is here.  A few excerpts here:
"Is nature discrete or continuous? Is the universe infinite or finite? Is life inevitable, or is it a lucky accident? Will we ever find company in the cosmos?  Is the truth of the world to be found in the ways things change, like the river that you cannot step into twice, or the ways they remain the same, like the law of gravity or, indeed, the name of that river?"

"A single moment of insight or beauty or grace — like hitting a perfect towering drive off the eighth tee — can illuminate eternity."

Fairness...................................................

 "Appealing to fairness is a strategy for bargaining over the division of the surplus, not a way of determining in advance the "correct" division. Our discourse would be a lot less confused if everyone grasped this. "

So opines Will Wilkinson in this Economist essay.  While I like the quote and the essay, it is merely an excuse to use this cartoon, which I really like, again.















cartoon via

Lord Chesterfield.....................























Philip Dormer Stanhope  (1694 – 1773) said, and wrote, some neat stuff.  He is better known today as the 4th Earl of Chesterfield.  His contemporaries were not necessarily enamored with him.  As Boswell is quoted as saying,  ‘“This man (said he) I thought had been a Lord among wits; but I find he is only a wit among Lords!” And when his Letters to his natural son were published, he observed, that “they teach the morals of a whore, and the manners of a dancing-master.”’  You can read more about him here.  A few of quotes from Chesterfield:

"Speak of the moderns without contempt, and of the ancients without idolatry.'

"I recommend you to take care of the minutes: for hours will take care of themselves.'


"In seeking wisdom thou art wise; in imagining that thou hast attained it - thou art a fool."


"The young leading the young, is like the blind leading the blind; 'they will both fall into the ditch.'”

'The knowledge of the world is only to be acquired in the world, and not in a closet."


'Good humor is the health of the soul, sadness is its poison."


"There is time enough for everything, in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once; but there is not time enough in the year, if you will do two things at a time."


'The chapter of knowledge is a very short, but the chapter of accidents is a very long one.'


"Never seem wiser, nor more learned, than the people you are with. Wear your learning, like your watch, in a private pocket: and do not pull it out and strike it; merely to show that you have one."


"Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well."

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

Solomon Burke...................................If You Need Me

 

A conversation in poetry...................

How one old tire leans up against
another, the breath gone out of both.

Old friend,
perhaps we work too hard
at being remembered.

Which way will the creek 
run when time ends?
Don't ask me until
this wine bottle is empty.

While my bowl is still half full,
you can eat out of it too,
and when it is empty,
just bury it out in the flowers.

All those year
I had in my pocket,
I spent them,
nickel-and-dime.

Each clock tick falls
like a raindrop,
right through the floor
as if it were nothing.

In the morning light,
the doorknob, cold with dew.

The Pilot razor-point pen is my
compass, watch, and soul chaser.
Thousands of miles of black squiggles.

Under the storyteller's hat
are many heads, all troubled.

-Ted Kooser and Jim Harrison
Braided Creek:  A Conversation in Poetry
back story here

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

The seeds of financial disaster were sown more than thirty years ago when three smart, ambitious men, working sometimes in concert - allies to a cause they all believed in - and sometimes in opposition - competitors trying to gain advantage over each other - created a shiny new financial vehicle called the mortgage-backed security.  In the simplest of terms, it allowed Wall Street to scoop up loans made to people who were buying homes, bundle them together by the thousands, and then resell the bundle, in bits and pieces, to investors.  Lewis Ranieri, the messianic bond trader who ran the Salomon Brothers mortgage desk and whose role in the creation of this new product would be immortalized in the best-selling book Liar's Poker, was one.  Larry Fink, his archrival at First Boston, who would later go on to found BlackRock, one of the world's largest asset management firms, and who served as a key adviser to the government during the financial crisis was another.  David Maxwell, the chief executive of the Federal National Mortgage Association, a quasi-governmental corporation known as Fannie Mae, was the third.  With varying degrees of fervor they all thought they were doing something not just innovative but important.  When they testified before Congress - as they did often in those days - they stressed no (heaven forbid) the money their firms were going to reap from mortgage-backed securities. but rather all the ways these newfangled bonds were making the American Dream of owning one's own home possible.  Ranieri, in particular, used to wax rhapsodically about the benefits of mortgage-backed securities for homeowners, claiming, correctly, that the investor demand for the mortgage bonds that he and others were creating was increasing the level of home ownership in the country.
-Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera,  All The Devils Are Here

Not a period in sight...............................

Put yourself in the middle of things, to get at once at the heart of the business;  most roam around, in useless millings either about the edge, or in the scrub of tiresome verbosity, without striking upon the substance of the matter;  they make a hundred turns about a point, wearying themselves, and wearying others, yet never arriving at the centre of what is important;  it is the product of a scattered brain that does not know how to get itself together, they spend time, and exhaust patience, over that which they should leave alone, and afterwards are short of both for what they did leave alone.
-Baltasar Gracian,  The Art of Worldly Wisdom:  A collection of aphorisms from the work of Baltasar Gracian


The clinic...........................

















via

Monday, July 8, 2013

My banjo and me..........................

The Stampeders....................................Sweet City Woman

 

Checking in with Aesop.........................

                            The Ass and His Shadow

A Traveler hired an Ass to convey him to a distant place.  The day being intensely hot, and the sun shining in its strength, the Traveler stopped to rest, and sought shelter from the heat under the Shadow of the Ass.  As this afforded protection for only one, and as the Traveler and the owner of the Ass both claimed it, a violent dispute arose between them as to which of them had the right to the Shadow.  The owner maintained that he had let the Ass alone, and not the Shadow.  The Traveler asserted that he had, with the hire of the Ass, hired his Shadow as well.  The quarrel proceeded from words to blows, and while the men fought, the Ass galloped off.

          In quarreling about the shadow we often lose the substance.

Finding something beautiful.......................





































black and white via Shorpy
color via APOD

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

Jackie Wilson........................Baby Workout

 

Complexity.....................................

The White House announced the one-year delay in enforcing the employer insurance mandate for Obamacare, which might not even be legal, just as everyone was hurrying out of Dodge for the Fourth of July holiday. Minions were hastily assigned to explain the delay.

Mark Mazur, the deputy assistant (or is it the assistant deputy?) of the Treasury assigned to dream up new taxes, complained that the delay was caused by the “complexity of the requirements.” Life, in addition to being unfair, turns out to be complicated, too.

-Wesley Pruden, as excerpted from here


A Tuft of Flowers................................



















I went to turn the grass once after one
Who mowed it in the dew before the sun.

The dew was gone that made his blade so keen
Before I came to view the leveled scene.

I looked for him behind an isle of trees;
I listened for his whetstone on the breeze.

But he had gone his way, the grass all mown,
And I must be, as he had been, - alone,

"As all must be," I said within my heart,
"Whether they work together or apart."

But as I said it, swift there passed me by
On noiseless wing a bewildered butterfly,

Seeking with memories grown dim o'er night
Some resting flower of yesterday's delight.

And once I marked his flight go round and round,
As where some flower lay withering on the ground.

And then he flew as far as eye could see,
And then on tremulous wing came back to me.

I thought of questions that have no reply,
And would have turned to toss the grass to dry;

But he turned first, and led my eye to look
At a tall tuft of flowers beside a brook,

A leaping tongue of bloom the scythe had spared
Beside a reedy brook the scythe had bared.

I left my place to know them by their name,
Finding them butterfly weed when I came.

The mower in the dew had loved them thus,
By leaving them to flourish, not for us,

Nor yet to draw one thought of ours to him.
But from sheer morning gladness at the brim.

The butterfly and I had lit upon,
Nevertheless, a message from the dawn,

That made me hear the wakening birds around,
And hear his long scythe whispering to the ground,

And feel a spirit kindred to my own;
So that henceforth I worked no more alone;

But glad with him, I worked as with his aid,
And weary, sought at noon with him the shade;

And dreaming, as it were, held brotherly speech
With one whose thought I had not hoped to reach.

"Men work together," I told him from the heart,
"Whether they work together or apart."

-Robert Frost

Recycling..............................

Somebody tell Pat that there is a good use for all those orphaned shoes.  The creativeness of man and nature never ceases to amaze.






















thanks Yves

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Supernatural delight...........................

King Harvest.................................Dancing In The Moonlight

 

The hardest working man in the blogosphere....

Kurt Harden relaxing on a Saturday morning................




No-noes.....................................

  These are the six ways of courting defeat - neglect to estimate the enemy's strength;  want of authority;  defective training;  unjustifiable anger;  nonobservance of discipline;  failure to use picked men - all of which must be carefully noted by the general who has attained a responsible post.
-James Clavell, channeling Sun Tzu:  The Art of War

Forgiveness..........................................

     I was brought up in a family which read the Scriptures or repeated a verse from the Bible each night and then knelt down and said "family prayers."  I can still hear my father, in a lonely Missouri farmhouse, repeating these words of Jesus - words that will continue to be repeated as long as man cherishes his ideals:  "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."
     My father tried to live those words of Jesus, and they gave him an inner peace that the captains and Kings of earth have often sought in vain.
-Dale Carnegie, as excerpted from How To Stop Worrying And Start Living

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

Stan Getz and his orchestra on the International Hour

 

Ah, technology........................

The mind of man never ceases to amaze.  Click here, wait for it, move your mouse, tell me you are not smiling.

thanks Gerard

It is one (but not the only) path.......................


Saturday night at the Theatre...........................

My Sweetie and I went to see Oliver! at the fabulous Weathervane Playhouse last night. Long time local stage stalwart, and fan favorite, Dennis Kohler owns the  role of Fagin.  He did not disappoint.

A verse....................................

All aspects of fear are untrue because they do not exist at the creative level, and therefore do not exist at all. To whatever extent you are willing to submit your beliefs to this test, to that extent are your perceptions corrected. In sorting out the false from the true, the miracle proceeds along these lines:
Perfect love casts out fear.
If fear exists,
Then there is not perfect love.

But:
Only perfect love exists.
If there is fear,
It produces a state that does not exist.
Believe this and you will be free. Only God can establish this solution, and this faith is his gift.

Text - Chapter 1:VI:5