Saturday, November 23, 2013

Seeing Eye People.........................

A gentleman does not attempt to walk and send a text message at the same time.
-How To Be A Gentleman (Revised and Expanded)



video via

Holding on........................................

Calexico.......................................................Splitter



thanks Nan

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

His heritage was ordinary, his parents were humble folk, his childhood was typical of thousands of other youngsters growing up around the turn of the century, and most of his career was humdrum and unrewarded.   On the surface, everything about him appeared to be average.  Had he died in 1941, on the verge of retirement on his fifty-first birthday, he would not today even be a footnote to history.
-Stephen E. Ambrose,  Eisenhower:  Soldier, General of the Army, President-Elect  1890-1952

Ike...................................

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) was our thirty-fourth president, serving two terms between 1953 and 1961.  The Cliff Notes on his life are here.  The career soldier who becomes the Supreme Allied Commander during a world war must, by definition, be a skilled politician.  I am no Eisenhower expert, but from what I do know, Ike seemed to be a principled and pragmatic, rather than a partisan, politician. Among other things, Ike birthed the Interstate Highway system, designed our nuclear deterrence strategy, confronted the expansion of communism without resorting to war, sent the 101st Airborne to Arkansas to enforce court ordered school desegregation, and, in response to "Sputnik," launched NASA and the space race.  Would I be the only one who misses his quiet leadership?  Here are a few of his quotes:

Humility must always be the portion of any man who receives acclaim earned in blood of his followers and sacrifices of his friends.

 I once said, as a sort of wisecrack, that leadership consists of nothing but taking responsibility for everything that goes wrong and giving your subordinates credit for everything that goes well.

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its stupidity.

The hand of the aggressor is stayed by strength — and strength alone.

We must be ready to dare all for our country. For history does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.

 A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both. 

I tell this story to illustrate the truth of the statement I heard long ago in the Army: Plans are worthless, but planning is everything. There is a very great distinction because when you are planning for an emergency you must start with this one thing: the very definition of "emergency" is that it is unexpected, therefore it is not going to happen the way you are planning.

I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.

Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.  In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.


Numbers.................................
















“There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it's only a hundred billion. It's less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers.” 
-Richard P. Feynman


image via

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

Pope Paul VI broadcasts a message to the USA



"We are deeply shocked by the sad and tragic news of the killing of the president of the United States of America, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and the serious wounding of Governor (John) Connally (of Texas), and we are profoundly saddened by so dastardly a crime, by the mourning which afflicts a great and civilized country in its head, by the suffering which strikes at Mrs. Kennedy, her children and the family.
"With all our heart, We deplore this unhappy event. We express the heartfelt wish that the death of this great statesman may not damage the cause of the American people, but rather reinforce its moral and civil sentiments, and strengthen its feelings of nobility and concord; [official text cut in video: and we pray to God that the sacrifice of John Kennedy may be made to favor the cause he promoted and to help defend the freedom of peoples and peace in the world.]
"He was the first Catholic president of the United States; We recall our pleasure in receiving his visit and in having discerned in him great wisdom and high resolution for the good of humanity. Tomorrow, we shall offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that God may grant him eternal rest, that he may comfort and console all those who weep for him on his death, and in order that not hatred, but Christian love, should reign among all mankind."

Happiness...............................

















So early it's still almost dark out.
I'm near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.
When I see the boy and his friend
walking up the road
to deliver the newspaper.
The wear caps and sweaters,
and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.
They are so happy
they aren't saying anything, these boys.
I think if they could, they would take
each other's arm.
It's early in the morning,
and they are doing this morning thing together.
They come on slowly.
The sky is taking on light,
thought the moon still hangs pale over the water.
Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn't enter into this.
Happiness.  It comes on
unexpectedly.  And goes beyond, really,
any early morning talk about it.

-Raymond Carver

image via

Risk................................





















"There are risks and costs to a program of action, but they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction."
-John F. Kennedy

A gentleman...................

When a gentleman outgrows his clothes, he gives them away to charity.  He does not pretend that someday he will lose weight.  When, and if, he does lose weight, he certainly will not want to celebrate by wearing out-of-date coats and trousers.
--------------------------------------------------
After he has sent an e-mail message to a personal friend, a gentleman does not assume that his friend will respond to him within twenty-four hours.
--------------------------------------------------
A gentleman may not be able to dance a samba, but he should be capable of a box step, which is almost like not dancing at all.

-as excerpted from How To Be A Gentleman:  A Timely Guide to Timeless Manners

Friday, November 22, 2013

Gone................................

Bon Jovi...............................Abraham, Martin, and John

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

Potential disaster hovered over a small-town airport in the south-western corner of Missouri one afternoon in May of 1969.  Weather was not a problem:  it was a pretty day.  But three fliers unknowingly but inexorably were heading for a close brush with death.  They were, as the locals would say, within spitting distance of eternity.
-Vance H. Trimble,  Sam Walton:  The Inside Story of America's Richest Man

some previously posted SamWalton quotes are here

Value..................................

We get paid for bringing value to the marketplace.  It takes time to bring value to the marketplace, but we get paid for the value, not for the time.
-Jim Rohn

Schooling...............................

The world is full of mostly invisible things,
And there is no way but putting the mind’s eye,
Or its nose, in a book, to find them out,
Things like the square root of Everest
Or how many times Byron goes into Texas,
Or whether the law of the excluded middle
Applies west of the Rockies. For these
And the like reasons, you have to go to school
And study books and listen to what you are told,
And sometimes try to remember. Though I don’t know
What you will do with the mean annual rainfall
On Plato’s Republic, or the calorie content
Of the Diet of Worms, such things are said to be
Good for you, and you will have to learn them
In order to become one of the grown-ups
Who sees invisible things neither steadily nor whole,
But keeps gravely the grand confusion of the world
Under his hat, which is where it belongs,
And teaches small children to do this in their turn.

-Howard Nemerov,  To David, About His Education


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

Walter Cronkite delivers the fateful news...................Gripping



This video was available at YouTube.  Try this link

When can we start...............................?

"Whatever one's religion...walking the labyrinth clears the mind and gives insight.   It calms people in the throes of life's transitions."    
I'd bet the same would be true if you just traced the path (a non-sceptical attitude might help) with the point of a pencil.  More information about The Sacred Labyrinth Walk is here.  More information specifically about The Chartres Labyrinth can be found here.  The Cliff Notes on the Chartres Cathedral are here.  Enjoy!








































Two interesting finance and investment posts by David Merkel at The Aleph Blog....................

Excerpt from Post the First:

The main thing to understand here is that the government is not here to help you, but to milk you.  The government does not care about you.  It cares about its survival.  If it can’t get sufficient taxes out of the populace, it will use its financing arm, the central bank, to lend to it at preferential rates, while passing on losses to the populace via inflation. 
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Excerpt from Post the Second:

The main idea is this: buy companies with better prospects than those being sold.

My first political memory........................

I was only eight years old, and lived with a bunch of Republicans, but somehow I had one of these campaign buttons:


Let's dance............................




















































































frog via
other animals via

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I'll be there.............................

Yardbirds (with Jimmy Page)..............Heart Full of Soul

On the freedom of forgiveness.............

..........or, buses are not for throwing people under.

Greg Mankiw points to this conversation with Dana Perino

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

        Normally a blunt, outspoken man, given to great bouts of uninhibited conversation with friends and associates, A. P. Giannini seldom talked at any length about his childhood on the California frontier.  On those few occasions when he did, however, he claimed that it had been one of the most decisive experiences of his life.  "San Jose had a population of about fourteen thousand," he said toward the end of his life.  "It was located in the Santa Clara Valley about fifty miles from San Francisco.  Back in the days of the gold rush, it had been a pretty rough town.  But then things settled down and families began moving in to buy land on which to farm.....I didn't care very much for farming, but it is sincere, honest work which is the best recipe for happiness I know."
-Felice A. Bonadio,  A. P. Giannini:  Banker of America

Giannini..........................









A. P. Giannini founded the Bank of Italy (in San Francisco) in 1904 for the specific purpose of serving "the little guy."  His finest hour came in the direct aftermath of the Great Earthquake in 1906, when, amid the rubble, his bank was back making loans in a matter of days.  He grew the Bank of Italy well.  In 1928 it became The Bank of America.  A broader, but still short, picture of the man, his philosophy, and his accomplishments can be found here.   He certainly should make the short list of  "the most important Americans that people have never heard of."

To speak.........................

......................or not to speak?     That is the question.

The Execupundit has tallied the answer.

Frothing.....................................

Speaking for vast swaths of the populace can be a risky venture, but Walter Russell Mead seems ready, wiling, and able to take a shot at it.    As excerpted from this recent essay:

Middle America isn’t frothing over Obamacare because we are a nation of racist policy wonks who did the math and hate the blacks. The public is angry first (as Edsall mostly seems to understand) because of the supremely infuriating blend of incompetent arrogance our Second Lincoln has brought to the greatest domestic challenge of his presidency. They are angry because an expensive and cumbersome new piece of social engineering looks badly engineered. But in the second place, they are angry because the liberal wing of the Democratic Party and its journalistic spear carriers in the MSM systematically misrepresented the nature of the new system.

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

Beatlemania comes to CBS News..............................

To test....................or, not to test?

That is the question from Andrew Sullivan:
"....Healthcare.gov is a massive undertaking. If you want to envision just how massive, take a look at this eye-popping chart, which puts the alleged 500 million lines of code in context.
And the Obamaites thought this didn’t need constant, early and repeated testing? Are they on another planet or another solar system?"

Gluttony........................

Jeffrey Sachs argues against a "consumption-led" recovery:

Keynesians like to say that there is a savings glut (an excess of saving over investment). They try to remedy it by spurring consumption. This is a mistake. There is an investment shortfall, because the financial, regulatory, and policy barriers to high-return investments have not been addressed. America urgently needs investments in modernized infrastructure, advanced science and technology, and job skills appropriate for the 21st century. We are sitting on top of an information revolution and nanotechnology revolution that could positively reshape healthcare, education, transportation, low-carbon energy systems, green buildings, water conservation, and environmental safety.

via

Is it........................................

...."out of order comes chaos".......or, "out of chaos comes order"?   I can never remember.













Thanks E

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bourbon so sour.....................................

The Rolling Stones........................................Dear Doctor




Back story for this selection is here.

Got that right.............................















thanks jess

On time and money.....................























"Many people take no care of their money till they come nearly to the end of it, and others do just the same with their time."
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A cascade of ego and error.......

“living systems are never in equilibrium. They are inherently unstable. They may seem stable, but they’re not. Everything is moving and changing. In a sense, everything is on the edge of collapse.”

A very interesting essay that points to the National Park Service's folly of trying to enhance the elk population at Yellowstone National Park.  Fans of the "Law of Unintended Consequences" will be sure to enjoy this one.

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

The Beatles.........Twist and Shout (the short version) live 11/20/63

Now, why didn't we think of this.........?

Matt Yglesias suggests borrowing a sensible regulation from New Zealand to gently let the air out of our next "real estate bubble".....

The basic concern about "bubbles" and financial stability that central banks are often encouraged to use as a pretext for tighter monetary policy. But instead of tight money, the Reserve Bank has responded with tighter mortgage regulation—basically requiring larger downpayments for most mortgages. That limits the downside risk to the economy if house prices do crash in the future. And it might even restrain future price appreciation. But it doesn't try to "prick" a bubble by creating more unemployment. That's the way it should be done.

The business of mindfulness......

Schumpeter sees the contradiction as western capitalism seeks inspiration from eastern mysticism.  Full essay here.  Brief excerpt here:
"The biggest problem with mindfulness is that it is becoming part of the self-help movement - and hence part of the disease it is supposed to cure.  Gurus talk about 'the competitive advantage of meditation.'  Pupils come to see it as a way to get ahead in life.  And the point of the whole exercise is lost."

The best medicine..................................


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Rooted...............................

Richie Havens..................................High Flying Bird

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

Despite the power of his physical presence - or perhaps, because of it - Peter Morrone preferred writing to oratory.   This is not surprising.   The man, after all, was a hermit, and although the word didn't exist back then, it's safe to say that the monk with the body of an athlete and the heart of a rebel was an introvert.  When he had something to say, more often than not, he wrote a letter.
-Jon M. Sweeney,  The Pope Who Quit:  A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death, and Salvation

Editor's Note: Timing is everything.  Sweeney's book on the tale of Pope Celestine V, who resigned the papacy in 1294, was published in 2012.  On the last day of  February of 2013,  Pope Benedict XVI became only the second Pope in history to voluntarily resign.   All you history mavens will remember that Pope Gregory XII resigned for political reasons  in 1415 to end the Western Schism.

It's worth celebrating........................


Help wanted........................

"There is nothing that any president needs more than a team of competent people around him who can keep him and his key initiatives on track. President Obama is in his fifth year in office, and he isn’t getting the level of performance from his staff you’d need to be an effective principal of a middle school. At this point, that failure doesn’t just reflect badly on the staff; it reflects on the man who selected them. More and more people in the United States and beyond are asking the obvious and painful question: Why can’t the President of the United States find and keep a minimally competent staff?"
-Walter Russell Mead, as excerpted from this essay

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

Hank Mobley.............................No Room For Squares

A fun..................

................to-do list can be found here.  Wee sample here:

5.  Major in Philosophy.  Ask people WHY they would like fries with that.

A tale worth pondering.....................

A "public intellectual" and Harvard professor becomes a national politician.  What could possibly go wrong?   A lot.  Full essay (via Arts & Letters Daily) is here.  Interesting excerpt is here:

 "Blindness—and it was a moment of blindness—is the necessary condition for much human achievement."

Wear me...............................

I want you to wear me
comfortably,
as you would a dress,
or the silver necklace that you wear
around your neck.
Comfortably, so that I am always
next to you:
but most important -
something you decide
each morning to select.

-Robert Kogan

Whimsy.............................

Finding friends like Doug are what makes this whole bloggery thing worthwhile.  Faithful readers will know that, from time to time, we post blog headers from Eclecticity.   I just found this one, misfiled if you can believe that, in my archives and could not resist the urge to share.  To view many, if not most, of his others, just scroll through the "Labels" on the lower right hand side of this blog and click on Eclecticity.  It's quite the collection.


OMG.................................

Tornado trail.......................Washington, Illinois 11/18/13



































Monday, November 18, 2013

Call the fashion police...................

The Grass Roots................................Sooner or Later

One stubborn tree.............................


More than you ever wanted to know..........

............................about the rise and fall of Wikipedia.













thanks glenn

Can I get an Amen........................?

Tyler Cowen on how to get rid of excess (old) regulations:

"Better bureaucratic incentives are needed. Agencies are now motivated to generate regulation after regulation, because those are the formal assignments set before them. One possible step forward would be to require agencies to submit plans for retiring some fraction of their regulations over the next few years, and to reward these agencies for seeing this process through."

too sweet..............................

I have been going to the track for so
long that
all the employees know
me,
and now with winter here
it's dark before the last
race.
as I walk to the parking lot
the valet recognizes my
slouching gait
and before I reach him
my car is waiting for me,
lights on, engine warm.
the other patrons
(still waiting)
ask,
"who the hell is that
guy?"
I slip the valet a
tip, the size depending upon the
luck of the
day (and my luck has been amazingly
good lately)
and I then am in the machine and out on
the street
as the horses break
from the gate.
I drive east down Century Blvd.
turning on the radio to get the result of that
last race.
at first the announcer is concerned only with
bad weather and poor freeway
conditions.
we are old friends: I have listened to his
voice for decades but,
of course, the time will finally come
when neither one of us will need to
clip our toenails or
heed the complaints of our
women any longer.
meanwhile, there is a certain rhythm
to the essentials that now need
attending to.
I light my cigarette
check the dashboard
adjust the seat and
weave between a Volks and a Fiat.
as flecks of rain spatter the
windshield
I decide not to die just
yet:
this good life just smells too
sweet.
-Charles Bukowski
Charles Bukowski        © Jeff Kopito











A prisoner of hope...................

“Hope and optimism are different. Optimism tends to be based on the notion that there's enough evidence out there to believe things are gonna be better, much more rational, deeply secular, whereas hope looks at the evidence and says, 'It doesn't look good at all. Doesn't look good at all. Gonna go beyond the evidence to create new possibilities based on visions that become contagious to allow people to engage in heroic actions always against the odds, no guarantee whatsoever.'  That's hope. I'm a prisoner of hope, though. Gonna die a prisoner of hope.”


thanks stephen

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

JFK delivers a partisan speech to a partisan crowd (truth be told, by today's standards it doesn't seem all that partisan).

Be very careful...........................
















thanks todd

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











"The universe has a plan bigger than yours"

Just in case you were curious.................

In 1659, the Massachusetts General Court ordered a "hefty 5 shilling fine" to be paid by anyone caught celebrating Christmas.  The ban was revoked in 1681.  (A fine ought to be re-instated for celebrating Christmas before Thanksgiving Day.  Just saying.)

Christmas became an official federal holiday in 1870.

Meeting day...........................


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Laughs and giggles....................

You got the power................................

The American Breed........................Bend Me, Shape Me

Advice....................................

"And finally, we can follow the advice of Demosthenes when asked what was to be done about the decline of Athens.  His reply?  'I will give what I believe is the fairest and truest answer:  Don't do what you are doing now.'"
-Charles Krauthammer, as excerpted from his 2009 essay, Decline Is A Choice contained in Things That Matter

Of eggs and baskets..................

"Tis part of a wise man to keep himself today for tomorrow, and not to venture all his eggs in one basket."
-Cervantes

"Concentrate your energies, your thoughts and your capital. The wise man puts all his eggs in one basket and watches the basket."
-Andrew Carnegie

"As I have discovered by examining my past, I started out as a child. Coincidentally, so did my brother. My mother did not put all her eggs in one basket so to speak: she gave me a younger brother named Russell, who taught me what was meant by survival of the fittest."
-Bill Cosby


"Mr. Wrigley believed in this: Put all your eggs in one basket
and watch the basket. They don't do that today. This is the old-
fashioned way I'm talking about. He carried it on to his business.
Do one thing and stay with it."
-
Ernie Banks

More than the present...................?



































thanks michael

Our community...........................

This fountain, at the south west corner of the Courthouse lawn, has been a fixture on Newark's downtown Square for as long as I've been in town.  Not sure when it was first installed, but over the past ten years the water supply and circulating system have experienced major problems.  The fountain has been non-functional more often than not.




























































The hero of this story is Rodney Hendershott.  Employed by Gutridge Plumbing, Rodney donated his plumbing skills and countless hours of his time in an attempt to nurse the fountain back to health over the past four or five years.  Eventually determining that his patient was terminal, Rodney convinced the powers-that-be that it was time to replace the fountain.

















Combining private and public monies (about $44,000 worth),  the old fountain was removed, a new foundation and new plumbing installed, and voila - an new fountain was unveiled.







Colored lights have been added, making for an entertaining light show.

Glad I don't live there....................


















via

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

Judy Garland and her (17 year old) daughter Liza Minnelli

Seems simple enough...............

If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.
-John 13:14

But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.
-Mathew 5:44

This I command you, that you love one another.
-John 15:17

And He said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the great and foremost commandment.  The second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
-Mathew 22:37-39

And looking upon them, Jesus said to them, "With men, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
-Mathew 19:26

-The Holy Bible
New American Standard Version

Unnameable...............................

  That which cannot be seen is called invisible.
That which cannot be heard is called inaudible.
 That which cannot be held is called intangible.
           These three cannot be defined;
         therefore, they are merged as one.

 Each of these three is subtle for description.
             By intuition you can see it,
                             hear it,
                          and feel it.
                    Then the unseen,
                        the unheard,
                      and untouched
                   are present as one.

              Its rising brings no dawn,
               its setting no darkness;
         it goes on and on, unnameable,
            returning into nothingness.

 Approach it and there is no beginning;
          follow it and there is no end.
 You cannot know it, but you can be it,
             at ease in your own life.

Discovering how things have always been
  brings one into harmony with the Way.

-Tao Te Ching
Chapter 14
as channeled by Wayne Dyer
               Nothing Twice

     Nothing can ever happen twice.
    In consequence, the sorry fact is
      that we arrive here improvised
and leave without the chance to practice. 

     Even if there is no one dumber,
   if you're the planet's biggest dunce,
 you can't repeat the class in summer:
     this course is only offered once. 

       No day copies yesterday,
no two nights will teach what bliss is
      in precisely the same way,
   with precisely the same kisses. 

One day, perhaps some idle tongue
  mentions your name by accident:
     I feel as if a rose were flung
   into the room, all hue and scent. 

The next day, though you're here with me,
       I can't help looking at the clock:
   A rose? A rose? What could that be?
           Is it a flower or a rock? 

     Why do we treat the fleeting day
with so much needless fear and sorrow?
         It's in its nature not to stay:
    Today is always gone tomorrow. 

   With smiles and kisses, we prefer
    to seek accord beneath our star,
  although we're different (we concur)
     just as two drops of water are.


-Wislawa Szymborska
(translated by Baranczak and Cavanagh)

Politically sophisticated...........?

Ta-Nehisi Coates weighs in on bigotry and Alec Baldwin's anger management issues.  His post contains this interesting sentence:
"And progressives, in this enlightened age, should not be in the habit of handing out cookies to bigots who happen to be politically sophisticated."
An interesting turn of phrase.

Just because........................



















thanks Todd