Saturday, October 12, 2013

For the want of a nickel...................

The Kingston Trio.................................M. T. A.

Slowly.....................................

"Men, it has been well said, think in herds, it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."
Charles Mackay,  Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Modern art.......................

















"Modern art is what happens with painters stop looking at girls and persuade themselves that they have a better idea."
-George Jean Nathan (1882-1958)

painting via

On playing well with others..................

"He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine;  as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.  That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation."
-Thomas Jefferson, as excerpted from this letter

Thinking about ethanol....................

"I would rather subsidize ethanol than buy oil from people who don't like us.  Whatever fuel we can produce at home is better than what we have to buy from abroad.  It creates jobs here.  It produces jobs here.  It produces taxes here.  It doesn't go out the door, never to be seen again.  I'd damn near rather use anything other than foreign oil, be it wood chips, switchgrass, or wadded-up newspapers.
     "In the late 1980s, I was in a meeting with half a dozen senators when I expressed my doubts about ethanol.  I couldn't believe the U. S. government was subsidizing a fuel that actually costs more than its worth.  Afterward, my good friend Senator Bob Dole took me out into the hall.
     "'People up here aren't stupid,' the Kansas senator told me.  'They understand what you're saying, and you're wasting your time telling them something they already know.'
     "'OK, what else?' I asked.
     "'There are twenty-one farm states in the United States, and they have forty-two senators, and they're all together on ethanol,' he said.  'So don't think your going to explain to us that we don't need to subsidize ethanol.'
     "'OK, I understand.  We're going to have ethanol.'"
-T. Boone Pickens, The First Billion is the Hardest: Reflections on a Life of Comebacks and America's Energy Future

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

Stan Getz/Joao Gilberto............................................Corcovado

Organic..............................























via

On things that "can't" happen...............

"The Bible says, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.'  People look upon it as cruel, but it was meant as a limit. 
-David Merkel, as excerpted from this interesting post

It's hard for some guys to get respect....

"Jimmy Carter says today's middle class is living like poor Americans were right after he left the White House. He would have come closer to the truth if he'd said the sun rises in the West."
-as excerpted from here

via

Friday, October 11, 2013

Time for a few laughs....................................

Whose Line Is It........................................?

A good mind.................................

B. B. King.......................................All Over Again

But we meant well......................


















"It is exercises like this that give humanitarians and idealists such a lousy reputation in the field of international affairs. Good intentions unmoored from judgment and sobriety are lethal weapons that have wrecked and will wreck the lives and happiness of millions."
-excerpted from Via Meadia's essay on the "Libyan Afterparty"

cartoon via

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

My high school had a language requirement.  Back in 1967 it wasn't quite as obvious that Spanish would be so useful, so I found myself sitting through Latin classes for three years.  Our teachers stressed  that, since so much of the English language has  Latin and/or Greek roots, such a course of study would be useful through its enhancement of our vocabulary.

So I was sitting in a continuing education class yesterday, and the word psychrometry was flashed onto the screen.  Since the course was dealing with water and mold damage to buildings, confusion followed.  My first (and only assumption) was that the root of the word was psych:  "A prefix that is normally used with elements of Greek origin, psych- affects the meanings of hundreds of words.   Etymologically, this element includes such meanings as, breath, to breathe, life, soul, spirit, mind, consciousness."

Turns out my assumption was wrong.  The root of the word was psychros: "a combining form meaning “cold,” used in the formation of 
compound words: psychrometer. Origin:  combining form 
representing Greek psȳchrós  cold; akin to psȳ́chein  to blow.

To conclude, psychrometry means the measurement or calculation of relative humidity and and water-vapor pressures from temperature and barometric pressure.  

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


Seeking softness in hard places.......

    The Stone Man                     ©Jeff Kopito
















"I think it’s a bit of a zen approach – light doesn’t exist without dark, cold doesn’t exist without heat. Hard doesn’t exist without soft. We need both to understand, to provide counsel to ourselves and to each other.
"The difficulty then is finding the right balance."

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

B. B. King............................................The Letter

From the "ev'ry hand's a winner and ev'ry hand's a loser" department....................

"The odds against getting a perfect hand in bridge are 1 out of 365 billion.  Those odds are also the odds for getting the worst possible hand."
-Leo Rosten

Hey, wait a minute.....................

“Times are not good here. The city is crumbling into ashes. It has been buried under taxes and frauds and maladministrations so that it has become a study for archaeologists...but it is better to live here in sackcloth and ashes than to own the whole state of Ohio.” 
-Lafcadio HearnInventing New Orleans: Writings of Lafcadio Hearn

Just as some background on Hearn, here is an excerpt from his Wiki:
By the strength of his talent as a writer, Hearn soon obtained a job as a reporter for the Cincinnati Daily Enquirer, working for the newspaper from 1872 to 1875. Writing with creative freedom in one of Cincinnati's largest circulating newspapers, he became known for his lurid accounts of local murders, developing a reputation as the paper's premier sensational journalist, as well as the author of sensitive accounts of some of the disadvantaged people of Cincinnati.

Speaking of Ohio................

About 17,000 years ago, a long time to us humans, but a blink of an eye in the great geologic scheme of things, much of Ohio was covered under a sheet of ice.  Those who know these sorts of things estimate that the ice sheet may have been a 1,000 feet thick in the center of our fine State.  That's a lot of ice.  Casual readers may sense that this blogger doesn't get all excited about the problem of "global warming."  This is mostly because Ohio has been glaciated more than once, and sensing there is some natural variation in climate, and also sensing mankind is fairly clever at problem solving, he prefers warming to cooling.

Ice Extent   circa 15,000 BC

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A different language..........................

Mike & The Mechanics...............The Living Years

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

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, who from the first appears to have been simply Edgar to his family, was born in Paris around eight-thirty in the evening of July 19, 1834, at 8 Rue Saint-Georges, one of the partly new streets near the magnificently new church of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette and at about the point where the central plain of the Right Bank begins to rise perceptibly toward the windmills, vineyards, bistros, and artists' studios on the Butte of Montmarte.  Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres - Monsieur Ingres, even to his detractors - was fifty-four years old, Eugene Delacroix was thirty-six, Honore de Balzac thirty-five, Victor Hugo thirty-two, and Hector Berlioz thirty-one.  In the working-class Beaubourg quarter, King Louis-Philippe's soldiers had just restored order after a series of riots; at the Opera, balletomanes had just begun to thriill to the rivalry between the ethereal Marie Taglioni and the pagan Fanny Elssler.  A railway line to suburban Saint-Germain-en-Laye was under construction.
-Roy McMullen, Degas:  His Life, Times, and Work

Degas..........................................

Edgar Degas (1834-1917) was a seriously talented and prolific man, best known for his paintings.  While he is often lumped in with the Impressionists, he resisted that label.  Hard to disagree.  He is well known for his paintings of dancers.  None are shown below, but you can find them here.   The wiki on Degas is here.  Some of my favorite paintings are below:

Self Portrait             1855


Before the Race    1882
































Interior    1868-69
















The Millinery Shop   1882-86




















 Musicians in the Orchestra   1872























Portrait,  The Stock Exchange    1879

Woman Combing Her Hair     1884-86

Repasseuses  (Women Ironing)     1884

The Bellelli Family  1858-1867
















































































After the Bath     1883






































L'Absinthe   1876

Degas.................................

“I want to be famous but unknown!” 

"Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do."


"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see."


"Your pictures would have been finished a long time ago if I were not forced every day to do something to earn money."

"I'm glad I haven't found my style yet. I'd be bored to death."


"Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things."


"There is a kind of success that is indistinguishable from panic."

"It is all very well to copy what one sees, but it is far better to draw what one now only sees in one's memory. That is a transformation in which imagination collaborates with memory."


"I always urged my contemporaries to look for interest and inspiration to the development and study of drawing, but they would not listen. They thought the road to salvation lay by the way of colour."

“A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, and some fantasy. When you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people” 

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

President John F. Kennedy presents the Collier Trophy to the seven Mercury astronauts:

George Will talks Washington...............

This is the Madisonian scheme. Each institution shall be the jealous asserter of its prerogatives and try to maximize its power. I sometimes think that when he was at Harvard Law School, Mr. Obama cut class the day they got to the separation of powers, 'cause he seems to consider it not just an inconvenience but an indignity that although he got 270 electoral votes and therefore gets to be president, he didn't get everything. The Madisonian scheme is for the government to be hard to move. It's supposed to be. People look at Washington and say, oh gosh, this is so difficult. It's supposed to be difficult.

As excerpted from this interview.

Thanks E.

Corruption.........................











“The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.” 
-Tacitus

“It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.” 
-Mark Twain

“When one gets in bed with government, one must expect the diseases it spreads.” 
-Ron Paul

“Power attracts the corruptible. Suspect any who seek it.” 
-Frank Herbert

“Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist.” 
-Edmund Burke

“There are pockets of wealth in this country. Mostly those pockets are in the politicians’ pants. 
” 
-Jarod Kintz


“All intellectual tendencies are corrupted when they consort with power.” 
-Clive James


“Experience has shown, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” 
-Thomas Jefferson


“If absolute power corrupts absolutely, where does that leave God?” 
-George Deacon


thanks jonco

Amplitudhedrons.........................

"Artist’s rendering of the amplituhedron, a newly discovered mathematical
object resembling a multifaceted jewel in higher dimensions. Encoded in
its volume are the most basic features of reality that can be calculated -
the probabilities of outcomes of particle interactions."


















"Physicists have discovered a jewel-like geometric object that dramatically simplifies calculations of particle interactions and challenges the notion that space and time are fundamental components of reality."

While reading this essay, three thoughts occurred.  The first was, "I'm glad this makes sense to somebody."  The second was, "if Richard Feynman was a pioneer of this stuff, it must be important."  The third was, "large vocabularies are fairly necessary to physicists too."  

As one who gets an unsettled feeling whenever hearing about "settled science," I loved this conclusion:
“The field is still developing very fast, and it is difficult to guess what will happen or what the lessons will turn out to be.”

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

The democracy of language, as promulgated in 1943...............

"During this present year about five thousand new words will come into out language.  Intense and dramatic times such as these are always prolific in breeding new words.  The scholars won't mint or invent these new words.  They will just pop up.  The scholars will have nothing whatsoever to say about how they shall be pronounced or spelled, or what they shall mean.  They will be pronounced and spelled and defined pretty much as the public pleases.  If you were to ask the editor of the Funk & Wagnalls New Standard Dictionary or of Webster's or the Oxford or any other, 'Who decides about these new words?' this editor would answer, 'You do,' meaning, of course, the many millions of 'you' who use our language."
-as excerpted from 30 Days To A More Powerful Vocabulary, by Dr. Wilfred Funk and Norman Lewis

It might make an good contest, figuring out the most fun, or interesting, new words from the past few years.  Without much study, my first nominee would be "omnishambles.....a situation which is seen as shambolic from all possible perspectives."   You can read up on the Oxford English Dictionary Word of the Year for 2012, including ways to include it in your daily conversation, here.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Smile an everlasting smile.............

The Bee Gees...................................Words

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

"If a picture is worth a thousand words, please paint me the Gettysburg Address."
-Leo Rosten

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

It was while she was married to Archie Christie that Agatha Christie, nee Miller, wrote and published her first novel, the Mysterious Affair at Styles.  That marriage lasted for less than fourteen years, ending in divorce at about the time of the publication of her ninth book, The Mystery of the Blue Train, but her career as a writer of crime fiction continued for a further half-century and a further eighty-five titles (excluding the plays).  Having become known to a vast reading public as Agatha Christie, the author continued to use that name for professional purposes throughout the rest of her life, although privately she became Mrs Max Mallowan soon after her divorce from Christie.
-Charles Osborn, The Life and Crimes of Agatha Christie:  A Biographical Companion to the Works of Agatha Christie

Christie.........................................


















Agatha Christie (1890-1976) wrote steadily, and then wrote some more.  She published some 66 crime/detective novels, numerous short stories, and the longest running play of them all.  Using a pen name, she also wrote a half dozen romance novels.  Writing is one thing.  Selling is another.  Christie is credited with selling over four billion books in more than 100 languages.  Is that possible?   Here are but a few of the many interesting things she wrote:

"Curious things, habits. People themselves never knew they had them."


“If you place your head in a lion's mouth, then you cannot complain one day if he happens to bite it off.” 

"There is nothing more thrilling in this world, I think, than having a child that is yours, and yet is mysteriously a stranger."
“You gave too much rein to your imagination. Imagination is a good servant, and a bad master. The simplest explanation is always the most likely.” 

"Any woman can fool a man if she wants to and if he's in love with her.'

“Instinct is a marvelous thing. It can neither be explained nor ignored.”

"There's too much tendency to attribute to God the evils that man does of his own free will."


"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing."


“The young people think the old people are fools -- but the old people know the young people are fools.” 

"An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets the more interested he is in her."


"Too much mercy... often resulted in further crimes which were fatal to innocent victims who need not have been victims if justice had been put first and mercy second."

Fusion.............................

Figuring out fusion would be a game-changer, and breakthroughs like this one remind us of the dangers of predicting the future based on current technology. The rate of technological change is accelerating, and the only ones who stand to lose are the prophets of doom. 
-Via Meadia, as excerpted from here

back story here and here

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

Sandy Koufax sets a World Series strike out record and the Dodgers take two from the Yankees to open up the 1963 World Series.  For the inquisitive-minded, the Series re-cap is here.

The bloggery of art...................

...........few do it better than Tail Feathers.

Say it isn't so....................

Has the fearsome shut-down juggernaut shut down NASA's fabulous Astronomy Picture of the Day site (or is my computer just being cranky)?  Now they're getting nasty.

Make mine a double, please.........................


If you like.......................

........great music and some funny cartoons, make sure to scroll through the past week or so at Jade Page Press.  Well done, Nan.

Philosophers...........................
























































four of the cartoons from here

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

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

Grass Roots..............................I'd Wait a Million Years




Grass Roots.............Where Were You When I Needed You




More Grass Roots here and here

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

The Execupundit has been entertaining and, in a sneaky fashion, educating us lately with his series "Language to Remember and Use" (a few samples are here, here, and here).

When I was a sophomore in  high school, I remember reading studies linking large vocabularies with higher paying jobs.  It seemed there was often a direct correlation between the number of words a person knew and could use correctly and appropriately and the amount of money they might be paid for their work.  Thinking that was a classic case of "knowledge is good,"  I purchased a paper-back copy of Funk and Lewis's 30 Days To A More Powerful Vocabulary. Can't say that I mastered the book (originally copyrighted in 1943), but I can say I still have a copy of it on my shelves.

A quick consultation with the Oracle Google did not turn up those old studies, probably too old.  It did turn up this essay on the importance of a large vocabulary, and the impact of educational philosophies on same, however.  Here is a wee excerpt:

"Later, another Cornell scholar, the sociologist Donald Hayes, showed that the decline of the verbal SAT scores was indeed correlated with a dumbing-down of American schoolbooks. Following the lead of the great literacy scholar Jeanne Chall, Hayes found that publishers, under the influence of progressive educational theories, had begun to use simplified language and smaller vocabularies. Hayes demonstrated that the dilution of knowledge and vocabulary, rather than poverty, explained most of the test-score drop."

If Michael doesn't mind,  I may copy him (again) and start a new series on "fun with the language."  If I did such a thing, I might start with the word "Simulacrum: noun:  an insubstantial form or semblance of something."

A mere simulacrum.........................................























"Way back in January, when it emerged that Beyoncé had treated us to the first ever lip-synched national anthem at a presidential inauguration, I suggested in this space that this strange pseudo-performance embodied the decay of America’s political institutions from the real thing into mere simulacrum. But that applies to government 'crises,' too — such as the Obamacare 'rollout,'  the debt 'ceiling,' and the federal 'shutdown,' to name only the three current railroad tracks to which the virtuous damsel of Big Government has been simultaneously tied by evil mustache-twirling Republicans.
-Mark Steyn, as excerpted from here

via

Hmmmm..................................

Then, as his planet killed him, it occurred to Kynes that his father and all the other scientists were wrong, that the most persistent principles of the universe were accident and error.
-Frank Herbert, Dune


via

One of the problems with...............

............successful investing is that it takes discipline and a willingness to do your own thinking.  To wit:

"In terms of simple profitability, an average investor could have done just as well investing in the stock market if they bought during the panic period," Buffett told the Journal on Saturday. "You make your best buys when people are overwhelmingly fearful."

Read more here about how  $10 billion was earned by investing during the darkest time of the Great Recession.

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

The Shadows......................................Foot Tapper

Usefulness..............................

"I am not an economist, but as far as I can make out, for true economic growth to happen, something somewhere has to get cheaper."

"Moore’s Law is a reminder that by far the most useful thing you can do for humanity is to lower the cost of something."

-Matt Ridley, as excerpted from this blog post

Speaking of horse racing............

I suspect this could be funny.  For 19 more jokes for the physics lovers amongst us, go here.


































thanks craig

To Whom It May Concern.......................




















via

Monday, October 7, 2013

Kentucky Headhunters..........Walk Softly on This Heart of Mine
     (as always, please click through to YouTube Central)

A day at the races.................................

Visited our youngest daughter at the University of Kentucky this past weekend.  Our visit coincided with the opening of the fall racing season at Keeneland.  Naturally we went.

The girls love the horses


Horse racing is quite the business.  This filly isn't slated to run
until next weekend.  In the meantime, she's just hanging out

I think I bet on this one in the fourth race



















































Up close and personal.  Warming the horses up pre-race at the Paddock








If you spot the speck at the far left hand side of the picture, that's what
my money looks like when I throw it away.   There is a reason they are
long shots.













Did a double-take when we walked past this sign.

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

The campus at the University of Kentucky is truly beautiful  

How to turn $5 into $26...................

Doesn't look like much, but the nice man gave me $26 for it.

















Of course, sometimes the winners get out-numbered by  the losers.  Still, a fun day was had by all.

Mostly useless scraps of paper

Now this is a library....................

Our daughter says she spends most of her time at the University of Kentucky studying at the William T. Young Library.  I believe her.

Construction of the library was completed in 1998.  It contains 350,000 square feet of space and cost , drum roll please, $58,000,000.  While no one has counted them lately, there should be more that 1,200,000 books on the shelves.

Quite the building in quite the setting.  You can read more here.


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

Frank Ifield........................I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)

Ashland..................................

One can hardly visit Lexington, Kentucky and not stop by "Ashland," the home of "The Great Compromiser,"  Henry Clay.  Must not be part of the Federal park system.  It was open for business.


Henry Clay...........................























Among other things, you could call Henry Clay (1777-1852)  a career politician.  Virginia born, Clay moved to Lexington, Kentucky in 1797.  A successful lawyer, noted for his courthouse orations, he was first elected to represent Fayette County in the Kentucky General Assembly.  He served multiple terms as a U. S. Senator (appointed at that time by the State legislature), and multiple terms as a U.S. Congressman, being Speaker of the House on three separate occasions.  A three time presidential candidate, Clay also served as Secretary of State in the John Quincy Adams administration.  Which is a story for another day.  Clay's wiki is here.  A few quotes from Clay are here:

“Statistics are no substitute for judgement.” 

"Of all human powers operating on the affairs of mankind, none is greater than that of competition."

“But if we throw our ports wide open to the admission of foreign productions, free of all duty, what ports of any other foreign nation shall we find open to the free admission of our surplus produce?”

“Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart.”

“The time will come when Winter will ask you what you were doing all Summer.”

"If you wish to avoid foreign collision, you had better abandon the ocean."

“Let him who elevates himself above humanity . . . say, if he pleases, "I will never compromise"; but let no one who is not above the frailties of our common nature disdain compromise.”

Previously posted Clay quotes are here


Test.................................


















"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."
-Abraham Lincoln

thanks kurt

Us humans.....................................


















"Man is a clever animal who behaves like an imbecile."
-Albert Schweitzer

cartoon via

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Woke up this morning......................

We Five....................................You Were On My Mind

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

2.  The rich and poor have a common bond,
     The Lord is maker of them all.

Proverbs 22:2
The Holy Bible
New American Standard version

The great illusion.........................






















via

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

The man who stood silently, patiently, in the lengthening shadows at the water's edge was in no manner physically remarkable except, perhaps, for his eyes.  There was a singular keenness about them, imbuing a quick and penetrating gaze that belied the passivity of his pose.  As always, they missed little of his surroundings and nothing that moved.  Those were the eyes of Pucksinwah, war chief of the Shawnee nation.
-Allan W. Eckert,  A Sorrow In Our Heart:  The Life of Tecumseh

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

Peter, Paul & Mary.............................Stewball

Not so true...............................

















via

Who's laughing now...................


Going to the dogs......................