Saturday, October 5, 2013

Smiling faces all around...........

The Hollies.....................Look Through Any Window

Opening paragraph...........#1

     They burst upon the scene proclaiming principle.  For Victoria Claflin Woodhull and her sister, Tennessee Claflin, it was not enough to be the first women ever to have their own brokerage office on Wall Street, hailed as "Queens of Finance," and "The Bewitching Brokers."  Principle had to justify their unprecedented achievement.
-Johanna Johnston, Mrs. Satan:  The Incredible Saga Of Victoria C. Woodhull

Opening paragraph..................#2

     Home to young Victoria Claflin was a wooden shack on the side of a hill in a town with one intersection in the middle of the vast state of Ohio.  If there was a world beyond the endless rolling hills and fields, it wasn't apparent.  On the south side of Homer's main street was the large and prosperous Williams Mound Farm with its stately two-story home and twenty-five-foot-high Indian burial mound in the yard.  The north side of the street was lined with many well painted storefronts as a town of fewer than three hundred could support.  And on the back side of the main street, clinging like a barnacle in the shadow of the shops and storefronts, was the Claflin residence.
Mary Gabriel,  Notorious Victoria:  The Life Of Victoria Woodhull, Uncensored

"...the endless rolling hills and fields.........."

Homer, Ohio, at the time of Victoria Claflin Woodhull (no aerials available), probably looked a lot like it looks today (if one excludes the impact of the automobile).  The Village of Homer is "unincorporated," so it does not exist in the statistical records of the County.  Burlington Township, the six mile square home to Homer, had a population of 1,223 in the 2010 census.  Safe to say that Homer still has fewer than 300 folks.









Homer, Ohio.....................

After starting to read Notorious Victoria, it became apparent that I had ignored some local history.  Homer is a small village in north-central Licking County.  One driving between Granville and Mount Vernon passes right through it.  Only dimly aware of the story of Victoria Woodhull, no effort had ever been made to "go take a look."  This week, I went and took a look.  The State of Ohio historical markers provided a start.  Stopping at the smallest grocery store imaginable, I met the nicest proprietor imaginable.  She shared her knowledge and pointed me towards the 1850 census showing clearly the Claflin clan residing in Homer.  She also suggested the library.  For a wee village, Homer has a fabulous library.  The helpful staff had limited knowledge on the Claflin/Woodhull issue, but, confronted with a curious visitor, called in, from "down the street," the local repository of historical knowledge.  He came down and gladly shared what he knew and what he suspected.  While waiting, I thumbed through the over-sized three ring binder titled "Woodhull."  It was filled with newpaper clippings, journals, and other assorted historical musings about Woodhull.

While reading through such collections, one can find the most interesting thing.  I found a letter (forgetting to take a picture of it to share with you all) written by former three-term Newark mayor, William S. Moore, to some significant historical entity who had proclaimed that Belva Ann Lockwood was actually the first woman to run for president of the United States.  Moore politely asked if they had ever heard of Licking County's Victoria Claflin Woodhull?  The snippy response to Moore's question was that Woodhull may have run, but her name appeared on no ballots anywhere.  Therefore, she didn't count.  Bah humbug.

Can you name Woodhull's almost running mate on the Equal Rights Party slate?   Answer here.

Here is a little slice of Americana for you:

Village of Homer, County of Licking, State of Ohio

A little slice of Americana

Homer claims her, without really embracing her


"In a town with one intersection in the middle of the vast state of Ohio"

The Indian mound described still survives, hard by the village library

No one knows for certain, but the suspected site of the Claflin homestead

What are the odds?  Another notable family from a village of "less than 300"

with two high achieving siblings, at about the same time as the Claflins.

Site of the old Rosecrans home, an 8 iron away from the Claflin's

The friendliest little store in a very little village

The 1850 census.........................

...for the Village of Homer and Burlington Township, Licking County Ohio.  The Claflin clan makes the cut.


































source is here

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

The Orlons......................................Crossfire




Is it really possible that Manfred Mann co-wrote this song?

True this...............................






















via

Really...............................?

I don't know much about web sites and technology, but I would have thought that they ran themselves, typically with very little human involvement.  Doesn't it take more work to shut a site down than to just leave it up unattended?  Not feeling bitter here, but just thinking this is childish............


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






















via

Friday, October 4, 2013

I feel my finger.......................

The Beatles...........................Happiness Is A Warm Gun

Bilbo.................................

.............provides some suggestions for funding our government.  I've never met Bilbo, except through reading his blog, but I sense he would be a fun guy to have beers with once in a while (he posts great cartoons).  I also suspect he would benefit from reading this Execupundit post (among many others).

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

Murry Kellum....................................Long Tall Texan



The Kingsmen version is here.

The Beach Boys live version is here.

There are other versions, but you get the general idea.

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

They moved swiftly, silently, with purpose, under a crystalline, star-filled night in western Siberia.  They were Muslims, though one could scarcely have know it from their speech, which was Russian, though inflected with the singsong Azerbaijani accent that wrongly struck the senior members of the engineering staff as entertaining.  The three of them had just completed a complex task in the truck and train yards, the opening of hundreds of loading valves.  Ibrahim Tolkaze was their leader, though he was not in front.  Rasul was in front, the massive former sergeant in the MVD who had already killed six men this cold night - three with a pistol hidden under his coat and three with his hands alone.  No one had heard them.  An oil refinery is a noisy place.  The bodies were left in the shadows, and the three men entered Tolkaze's car for the next part of their task.
-Tom Clancy, Red Storm Rising

Clancy.............................






















By now lots have folks have commented on the passing of Tom Clancy.  My only knowledge of him is only through his fiction.  In his early days, he wrote some seriously good books.  The Hunt for Red October, Red Storm Rising, The Sum of All Fears, Without Remorse, and Debt of Honor were books that kept me up all night reading.  I feel honored to have those books on my shelves.  Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger,  The Cardinal of the Kremlin, Executive Orders, and Rainbow Six were good reads, but not books I lost sleep over.  Starting with The Bear and The Dragon, Clancy lost his touch.  It seemed more than anything that he needed a strong editor, but didn't have one. A 1,000 page book that should have been 500 pages.  It feels sad to complain about a guy who wrote so well and so often, but I guess I got spoiled by his early excellence.  Still, a great loss.

Clancy..............................















Tom Clancy (1947-2013) was a prolific writer, mostly on military topics.  Read more about him here and here. He was fairly quotable too:

"I’ve made up stuff that’s turned out to be real, that’s the spooky part."

"Life is about learning; when you stop learning, you die."

"Look, this is simple. The good old days are now. OK? The human condition today is better than it's ever been, and technology is one of the reasons for that."

"Look, technology is another word for tool. There was a time when nails were high-tech. There was a time when people had to be told how to use a telephone. We got past that. Technology is just a tool. People use tools to improve their lives."

"The difference between reality and fiction? Fiction has to make sense."

'The average guy is fairly smart, if you give him the ability to make decisions for himself. That's the whole premise of America, and that's why America has prospered, and it prospers because if the average guy can get information, he can make his own decisions."

"Show me an elitist, and I'll show you a loser."

'People, I am actually fairly smart. Why has this not occurred to anyone? The information is all out there, if you go looking for it, and the classified stuff just comes from analyzing the unclassified stuff and connecting the dots..."

"Historically, anything that gets information to people is good for the world. The most important human being who ever lived, if you want to leave out religious figures, would be Johannes Gutenberg... that's when the liberation of human thought happened, because people could read the thoughts of people across the world, and have thoughts of their own, and publish them and spread information around."

Fining beauty on a golf course is fairly easy....

Dateline:  Dublin, Ohio
Spent yesterday wandering around Muirfield Village Golf Club, dodging rain drops and watching the President's Cup golf match.  What a great golf course!  What a fun day!  Several faithful readers will know that one of my life's ambitions is to see all four Major tournaments, live and in person.  I looked on yesterday's adventure as a tune-up for that quest, that surely will commence next Spring.

Some spectacular real estate

Muirfield is home to Jack Nicklaus's Memorial Golf Tournament.  These
are just a few of the plaques honoring the honorees

Bob Jones, the first Memorial Tournament Honoree

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Won't you come out to play...........

The Beatles..........................Dear Prudence

A capital idea...........................






















Unfortunately............................

"Opposing a bad program, to be sure, is not the same as building a national majority around a good program."
-Spengler

A story as old as time itself.............

"The current crisis is only peripherally about health care exchanges and spending resolutions and vitriol spewed by the political and journalistic fraternities. The current crisis, at its heart, is about greed and the human lust for authority over other humans."
-full post is here

thanks maggie

Pare down.....................

In the age of social media, you may experience the feeling of being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of connections, followers, friends, etc.  Or you may employ my favorite tactic, as shown by the cartoon below.  Mathew Ferrara suggests a tighter focus on nurturing  a smaller number of stronger relationships.  Full post is here.  Excerpts here:

"During her presentation, she reminded us of anthropologist 
Robin Dunbar’s theory that most people’s brains can only 
support about 150 relationships at a time, in a high quality 
fashion."

"Because trust can’t be auto-built."


This says it all for me:


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

The Kingston Trio.......................Ally Ally Oxen Free



Editor's (First) Note:   First experience with a YouTube video without a video.  Liking it.

Editor's (Second) Note:  For all of you who thought the game we used to play as wee tykes was called "Ollie Ollie In Come Free", feel free to explore the many variations here.

Thank God for cartoons..................



















via

The can (tries to) kick back...............

Here is a web site filled with info graphics suggesting my generation has well and truly screwed our kids' generation.  Not sure I buy all the numbers, but the general idea seems to reflect current reality.  My parents both grew up during the Great Depression.  Their life-long saving and spending discipline reflected the lessons learned from that upbringing.  Looks like the Millennials will get to re-learn the virtue of thriftiness.  They will also be the ones most likely to choose the nursing homes where we get to spend our final years.  Uh-oh.

thanks mungo

Dreams............................

.....do come true.  A pictorial essay with the proof here.

thanks craig

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A trailer..............................

Alec Guinness................................The Man in the White Suit

Autumn leaves must fall...............

Chad and Jeremy.............................A Summer Song

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

In Alexander Mackendrick's 1951 Ealing comedy The Man in the White Suit, Alec Guinness plays Sidney Stratton, a dithery, even childlike chemist who creates a fabric that will never wear out or get dirty.  His invention is heralded as a great step forward - until the owners of the textile mills at which he is employed, along with the members of the unions representing his fellow workers, realize that it will put them all out of business.  Soon enough, these perennial antagonists join forces to trap Stratton and destroy his fabric, which he is wearing in the form of a white suit.  They chase him down, corner him, and seem about to murder him, when at the very last moment, the suit begins to disintegrate.  Failure thus saves Stratton from the industry he threatens and saves the industry from obsolescence.
-David Leavitt,  The Man Who Knew Too Much:  Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer

I tried this approach in 11th grade and got yelled at

"Mathematical reasoning may be regarded rather schematically as the exercise of a combination of two facilities, which we may call intuition and ingenuity. The activity of the intuition consists in making spontaneous judgments which are not the result of conscious trains of reasoning... The exercise of ingenuity in mathematics consists in aiding the intuition through suitable arrangements of propositions, and perhaps geometrical figures or drawings."
-Alan Turing

A few more quotes from Alan Turing................

"A man provided with paper, pencil, and rubber, and subject to strict discipline, is in effect a universal machine."

"Science is a differential equation. Religion is a boundary condition."

"I am not very impressed with theological arguments whatever they may be used to support. Such arguments have often been found unsatisfactory in the past. In the time of Galileo it was argued that the texts, 'And the sun stood still... and hasted not to go down about a whole day' (Joshua x. 13) and 'He laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not move at any time' (Psalm cv. 5) were an adequate refutation of the Copernican theory."

"We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done."

"I believe that at the end of the century the use of words and general educated opinion will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted."

"The idea behind digital computers may be explained by saying that these machines are intended to carry out any operations which could be done by a human computer."

"We may hope that machines will eventually compete with men in all purely intellectual fields."

"No, I'm not interested in developing a powerful brain. All I'm after is just a mediocre brain, something like the President of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company."

"A computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human."

Alan Turing (1913-1954) was one smart dude who was ill-treated because of his sexual orientation.  His efforts as a code breaker during the Second World War were noteworthy.  He also laid much of the foundation for what could be loosely called "computer science."   Full wiki is here. A deeper look is here.






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

Tommy Hunt................................I Am A Witness



Wiki on Tommy Hunt is here.

Much more fun.........................






















via

McSweeney's.........................

..........................................celebrates FALL:













"The point is: fall is unequivocally the greatest 90-some-days of the year, the Muhammad Ali of seasons."

Full, heart-felt paean to my favorite season too is here.

A certain polish.........................


Cut backs...........................

















via

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Time to expand the menu...................


Forever and for always......................

Shania Twain and Alison Kraus and Union Station

Begin........................................


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

Scott Thompson looked at his watch.  He was running behind.  He had a long list of to-dos to complete by the end of the week, and it was already Thursday.  Thompson is a busy guy.  As president and former chief technology officer of PayPal, the largest Internet payment system in the world, he runs the Web's alternative to checks and credit cards.  But he'd promised to give twenty minutes to a kid who claimed to have a solution to the problem of online payment scams, credit card fraud, and electronic identity theft.
-Dan Senor and Saul Singer,  Start-Up Nation:  The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle

Hangs on..........................................























via Business Wisdom

Letting go.........................
















thanks todd

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

The Dynamics.............................................Misery



The Dynamics were a little known Detroit R & B group.  Misery was their first single, released on the Big Top label in 1963.  The song peaked at #44 on Billboards Top 100.  In 1964, The High Numbers (soon to be known better as The Who), released Zoot Suits.  Inquiring minds may want to know who stole from whom.  One person's opinion can be found here.   We report.  You decide.

The High Numbers............................Zoot  Suits

Schumpeter....................

.......suggests foregoing the Harvard MBA and investing instead in all five seasons of "Breaking Bad."

    "Three things help our chemistry teacher turn an insight into a flourishing business.  The first is huge ambition.  He is not in the 'meth business' or the 'money business,' he says.  He is in the 'empire business.'  The second is product obsession.  Other dealers might peddle 'Mexican shoe-scrapings' on the ground that addicts care little about quality.  He produces the king of meth, so pure that it turns blue, and would rather destroy an entire batch than let an inferior product be traded under his brand.  The third is partnerships and alliances.  He spots talent in a former pupil turned drug-dealer, Jesse Pinkman, and forms a strong working relationship with him.  He also contracts distribution to a succession of local gangs so that he can concentrate on the higher value added part of the business:  cooking and quality control."

Full essay is here.

Choosing.......................

"choosing what not to do is as important as choosing what to do."
-Michael Wade, as excerpted from here

That's what we're worried about.....























via

Monday, September 30, 2013

A good old-fashioned humor break................

Jack Benny converses with Mel Blanc, sort of............

A glass of wine with you, sir............

Knopfler/Taylor............................Sailing to Philadelphia

Modern Art...............................

















via

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

     I've often said that there a million men in this country who could have done the job I did as president, or who were qualified for the job.  I think that's true, but they didn't have the chance.  A great many men who are well qualified to be chief executive have been passed up and overlooked.  It takes luck, conditions that prevail at the time, and when the right moment comes, ability to meet that situation.  Perhaps I shouldn't say that myself because I was finally nominated and elected president of the United States.  But it's true.
Harry S. Truman,  Where The Buck Stops:  The Personal and Private Writings of Harry S. Truman

Truman.......................



















Harry Truman, son of a Missouri farmer, was a college drop-out, a captain of an artillery battery during WWI and somewhat of a war hero, a Kansas City haberdasher, a Pendergast machine politician, a U.S. Senator, the vice president (for 82 days), and the 33rd president of the United States.  In his almost eight years as president, Truman authorized the use of two atomic weapons against Japan, saw to the end of WWII, approved the Marshall Plan for rebuilding Europe, oversaw the Berlin Airlift and creation of NATO, supported the creation of Israel, pulled off one of the biggest upsets in presidential election history, committed U. S. troops to the defense of South Korea, fired General Douglas MacArthur, and survived an assassination attempt.  All in a day's work.  Here are some quotes attributed to Truman:


"I always remember an epitaph which is in the cemetery at Tombstone, Arizona. It says: 'Here lies Jack Williams. He done his damnedest.' I think that is the greatest epitaph a man can have - When he gives everything that is in him to do the job he has before him. That is all you can ask of him and that is what I have tried to do."

"Some of my best friends never agree with me politically."


"Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear."

'No nation on this globe should be more internationally minded than America because it was built by all nations."

"I never did give anybody hell. I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell."

"Of course, there are dangers in religious freedom and freedom of opinion. But to deny these rights is worse than dangerous, it is absolutely fatal to liberty. The external threat to liberty should not drive us into suppressing liberty at home. Those who want the Government to regulate matters of the mind and spirit are like men who are so afraid of being murdered that they commit suicide to avoid assassination."

"Carry the battle to them. Don't let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive. And don't ever apologize for anything."

"I learned that a great leader is a man who has the ability to get other people to do what they don't want to do and like it."

"Whenever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship."

"A politician is a man who understands government, and it takes a politician to run a government. A statesman is a politician who's been dead 10 or 15 years."

"We know now that the basic proposition of the worth and dignity of man is not a sentimental aspiration or a vain hope or a piece of rhetoric. It is the strongest, most creative force now present in this world."

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

The Miracles....................I Gotta Dance To Keep From Crying



This Holland-Dozier-Holland tune was released in October of 1963.  While it peaked at # 35 on the Pop charts (#17 on the R & B charts), Dave Marsh, rock critic for Rolling Stone, ranked this song # 356 out of the 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made.  Odd that.

Empty praise...............................


















via

I always thought that giving out "6th Place" ribbons at Middle School track meets was fairly silly, especially when there were only six runners....

But, that's what we did.  Something about "self-esteem."  Turns out that maybe this whole "self-esteem' movement, aka "the empty praise movement," has damaged a generation or two of youngsters.  Full essay is here.   A few excerpts here:

"Children who are told that they are brilliant do less well than do children who are praised for their effort."

"The empty praise movement taught parents and teachers to lie to children, systematically and shamelessly."

"It should not be surprising that the more you lie to children the less they will believe anything that you say."

"Children who are told that they are naturally talented and gifted conclude that they do not need to make an effort. They believe that their innate abilities will allow them to breeze through any task. If anything goes wrong they do not have a work ethic to allow them to soldier on."

James Dean.............











The 24 year old iconic actor, and race car driver, died in an automobile accident on this day in 1955.  Wiki here. His acting career was brief, but he starred in Rebel Without A Cause, East of Eden, Giant, and this public service address on the topic of safe driving:

I know................................

...........that these pictures have been posted here several times before.  After seeing this John Cox illustration of Ty Cobb, though, it seemed appropriate to post them again.




Important...................................

















via

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Mellow out....................................

Lee Ritenour....................................................Pavane
(it will be worth the effort to click through to YouTube)

In the wink of a young girl's eye.....

Bruce Springsteen.......................... ...Glory Years
    (please click on through to YouTube central)

Special..............................


On being a teammate................

     Faithful readers will have noted that I was back in the Philadelphia area last weekend.  The reason behind the trip was a bit of nostalgia.  My high school soccer team (Lower Merion) won (what passed for at that time) the state championship in 1968 (my senior year).  The school's soccer hall of fame organization wanted to induct a few members from that team into said Hall of Fame.  In an act of great kindness and generosity, those contacted about such an induction said that it would be impossible to select a few members.  The 1968 soccer team was a TEAM, and that they should induct the team, not individuals.  That is what happened.  Last weekend was the induction ceremony.

Forty-five years later, still looking pretty good
















      As a bit of background.  I love being a member of a highly functioning team.  I played scholastic soccer for six years and competitive lacrosse for ten years (plus another fifteen years of coaching college lacrosse).  I've seen many iterations of teams.  In my mind, they all get compared to the Lower Merion High School soccer team of 1968.  It is a high standard.  I should tell you that I wasn't a very good soccer player, and my playing time could be generously characterized as limited, but no one enjoyed that season and being on that team more than me.  The camaraderie, the friendships, the bus rides and the locker room, the first string vs the "bomb squad" battles in practice, the incredible amount of running we did in training - it was all great.

     None of this was slated to show up on this blog, until I read this article about super-stars, weak-links, and the importance of creating a TEAM.  A brief excerpt:

"It was not until the 1990s that psychologists began to investigate the reasons behind Köhler's findings. They found two causes for the effect: a social comparison process, where individuals perform better when working with a more capable partner, and an "indispensability" condition in which individuals do not want to hold back the group and feel that their contribution is crucial to collective performance."

Teamwork...............................

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” 
-Phil Jackson


"No member of a crew is praised for the rugged individuality of his rowing."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”
-Michael Jordan


"I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion."  
-Mia Hamm

“Remember teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.” 
-Patrick Lencioni


"Gettin' good players is easy.  Gettin' 'em to play together is the hard part."
 -Casey Stengel

“Teamwork is the secret that make common people achieve uncommon result.” 
-Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha


“The greater the loyalty of a group toward the group, the greater is the motivation among the members to achieve the goals of the group, and the greater the probability that the group will achieve its goals.” 
-Rensis Likert


"Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision.  The ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives.  It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results."
-Andrew Carnegie

Your basic locker room................

















via

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

Tony Sheridan & The Beat Brothers......What'd I Say

Really good news on the helium front.......





















You may not have been aware of the looming crisis, so news that it has been averted may not qualify as news.  Still, for those of you who believe in the law of unintended consequences, and for those of you who fancy helium balloons, it's an interesting story.  Update is here.

thanks tyler

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

17 17.  Iron sharpens iron,
So one man sharpens another.


18 18.  He who tends the fig tree will eat its fruit;
And he who cares for his master will be honored.


Proverbs 27: 17-18
The Holy Bible
New American Standard Version

Fundamentals........................

"Economics and politics confront the same fundamental problem: What everyone wants adds up to more than there is. Market economies deal with this problem by confronting individuals with the costs of producing what they want, and letting those individuals make their own trade-offs when presented with prices that convey those costs. That leads to self-rationing, in the light of each individual's own circumstances and preferences.
"Politics deals with the same problem by making promises that cannot be kept, or which can be kept only by creating other problems that cannot be acknowledged when the promises are made."

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

The child with thirty-six years to live is being hunted.
-Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard,  Killing Jesus:  A History