Saturday, December 14, 2013

metal Christmas.....................

August Burns Red................................Jingle Bells

About that seeing and believing thing..........

"Still photographs are the most powerful weapon in the world. People believe them, but photographs do lie, even without manipulation. They are only half-truths."
-Eddie Adams, AP photographer, as excerpted from this Ed Driscoll post.

How to have a plyometric breakdown................

Life in the fast (and healthy) lane, with the always interesting Penelope Trunk.

It's great to be alive..............................

















via

Nary a commission-based job on the list........

A list for "12 fast-growing and high-paying jobs in 2014" is here.  Maybe this is just my bias, but the really good jobs don't pay by the hour.  Just saying.

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

Sonny Rollins et. al...................There Will Never Be Another You

Preference....................................









"Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have."
-Harry Emerson Fosdick

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics....................

Manipulate the data all you want, but the numbers themselves tend not to lie.

thanks craig

The Execupundit..................................

.................................goes all zen on us.


When snowmen go bad.................














for the rest of Bilbo's "cartoon saturday," go here.

Friday, December 13, 2013

I don't want a lot....................................

Mariah Carey...................All I Want For Christmas Is You

Opening paragraphs...........Part One

In May 1966 Henry R. Luce - cofounder of what became the largest and most influential magazine empire in America - agreed to participate in an exclusive television interview for the first time in his life.  Luce was then sixty-eight years old and had retired as editor in chief of Time Inc. two years earlier.  But he remained a figure of fascination to many Americans - all the more so because he was so seldom seen by the many people who were influenced, fascinated, and sometimes outraged by the contents of his magazines.
-Alan Brinkley, from the Preface to The Publisher:  Henry Luce and His American Century

Opening paragraphs..............Part the Second

In the beginning they were a tiny vanguard, clinging precariously to the rim of the great Chinese landmass - a few earnest, lonely, often frightened men and women engaged in an almost entirely futile enterprise.  They lived among Western merchants but shared little with them.  For their task was not to build trade.  It was to save souls.
-Alan Brinnkley,  The Publisher:  Henry Luce and His American Century

A worthy vision.............................

“To see life;  to see the world;  to eyewitness great events;  to watch the faces of the poor and the gestures of the proud;  to see strange things-machines, armies, multitudes, shadows in the jungle and on the moon;  to see man's work-his paintings, towers, and discoveries;  to see things thousands of miles away, things hidden behind walls and within rooms, things dangerous to come to;  the women that men love and many children; to see and take pleasure in seeing;  to see and be amazed;  to see and be instructed...”
-Henry Luce

Wise men seeking.........................


Benozzo Gozzoli             Three Wise Men                1459-61

Leonaert Bramer   Journey of the Three Wise Men to Bethlehem  c. 1638




















John Lafarge          The Three Wise Men            1878
James Tissot     Journey of the Magi    1894
                     Bertha Lum         Three Wise Men      1920



































Wise Men                  Chidi Okoye                 1995

Fifty years ago................Wow!

Judy Garland......................Battle Hymn of the Republic

Stronger.............................






















thanks todd

If I had to guess.............................

.........I'd say this near-perfect plasma sphere has far more to say about global warming and cooling than anything us humans do.  Just a guess though.


It's your lucky day......................


Thursday, December 12, 2013

In a perfect world........................

.......................we'll be trimming the tree tonight!

James Taylor..........................................Deck the Halls

Opening paragraphs.............Part the First

In the four years that Abraham Lincoln would be president, the American public would gradually discover, much to its collective astonishment, that this unprepossessing Illinois politician had remarkable abilities as a writer.  In that brief period, and in the midst of a relentless siege of crises and distractions, he would produce not one or two examples of provocative writing (which would itself be more than most presidents could manage) but a whole series of unmistakably impressive documents.  Even though confined to such unpromising formats as ceremonial speeches, messages to Congress, proclamations, and public letters in newspapers, Lincoln's presidential writing proved to be timely, engaging, consistently lucid, compelling in argument, and most important of all, invested with memorable and even inspiring language.  Eventually it began to be recognized that Lincoln's unsuspected literary talent was having a decisive effect in shaping public attitudes and was a telling factor in the success of his policies.  Only with his death, however, did it begin to dawn on his contemporaries that Abraham Lincoln's words were destined to find a permanent place in the American imagination.
-Douglas L. Wilson,  from the Prologue to Lincoln's Sword:  The Presidency and the Power of Words

Opening paragraphs.........Part the Second

On the day before his fifty-second birthday, February 11, 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln boarded a train in Springfield, Illinois, and set off for Washington.  Before leaving his hometown, he had said a series of good-byes.  Ten days earlier he had paid an emotional visit to his aged stepmother and visited the grave of his father.  He had hosted a public reception, personally greeting the hundreds of well-wishers who streamed into and out of his house at Eighth and Jackson.  The day before, he had made a final, nostalgic visit to his law office and his law partner of sixteen years, William H. Herndon.  Inside the Great Western Railway station, just prior to his train's departure, he gravely shook hands with the loyal contingent of close friends who had braved an early morning hour and drizzling rain to see him off.  Ordinarily a man of remarkable self-control, Lincoln was unable to disguise his feelings.  As he shook hands with his friends, according to a reporter on the scene, "his face was pale and quivered with emotion so deep as to render him almost unable to utter a single word."
-Douglas L. Wilson, Lincoln's Sword:  The Presidency and the Power of Words

Expectations..................................
























“Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you’re a good person is like expecting a bull not to attack you because you’re a vegetarian.” 
-Dennis Wholey

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

The Beatles............................................Boys

By necessity.................

" Free man is by necessity insecure;  thinking man is by necessity uncertain."
-Erich Fromm

Trying to remember the last time..................

............I felt confidence in the Federal Government.  I'm very confident that I felt confidence on July 21th, 1969 when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin launched their ascent module from the surface of the moon to rejoin the Apollo 11 command module for the trip back to earth.  I am highly confident I felt confidence on  August 9th, 1974 when Jerry Ford took his oath of office as President of the United States upon Richard Nixon's resignation.  I'm sort of confident that I felt confidence in the manner that George H. W. Bush and his administration organized and waged the first Gulf War early in 1991.  You might offer some helpful suggestions, but beyond those examples (and maybe a few more I've forgotten about), I don't find the behavior and activities of our Federal Government all that confidence inspiring.  Which is a shame.  This topic arose today because of this blog post from WRM.  Excerpts here:

"The federal government needs to rebuild public confidence in the concept of health care reform by way of discrete changes that make small but important improvements."

"The fantasy that there is one big, seamless reform that will make everything work beautifully leads a lot of people on unicorn hunts. Wonks of both sides might wish they could push through their pet reforms, convincing people to bear with lots of short-term disruption, but politics and public opinion just don’t allow that."

Wishing them luck.

Us folk in Newark, Ohio................

.........don't think too much about building skyscrapers.  But if we did, we'd build something like this:

Not your typical 56 and 50 story residential condominium project

Absolute World      Mississauga, Ontario









































For a pictorial of some other very cool buildings, go here.

Fun with photography.............................












































































pictures from here or here or here or here

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Willie, take your little drum...........

Mannheim Steamroller...................................Pat a Pan

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

     To understand Cicero's life, which spanned the first two thirds of the first century BC, it is necessary to picture the world in which he lived, and especially the nature of Roman politics.
     Rome in Cicero's day was a complex and sophisticated city, with up to a million inhabitants, and much of its pattern of life is recognizable familiar, even at a distance of two millennia.  There were shopping malls and bars and a lively cultural scene with theater and sport.  Poetry and literature thrived and new books were much talked about.  Leading actors were household names.  The affluent led a busy social round of dinner parties and gossip, and they owned country homes to which they could retreat from the pressures of urban living.  Politics was conducted with a familiar blend of private affability and public invective.  Speech was free.  Everyone complained about the traffic.
-Anthony Everitt,  Cicero:  The Life and Time of Rome's Greatest Politician

History Majors of the World, Unite......!


















"Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum. Quid enim est aetas hominis, nisi ea memoria rerum veterum cum superiorum aetate contexitur?"
("Not to know what happened before you were born is to be a child forever. For what is the time of a man, except it be interwoven with that memory of ancient things of a superior age?")
-Marcus Tullius Cicero

cartoon via

Speaking of history..............................





















































all cartoons, except for the cats, via

Yes and No............................














“Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.” 
-Josh Billings
image via

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

Al Martino.............................I Love You Because

Slippery.................................

“You cannot learn to skate without being ridiculous...the ice of life is slippery.” 
-George Bernard Shaw

From the Onion....................

Pictures of the Year (somehow I missed this back in January)

Obama begins inauguration with ceremonial drone flyover

On dampened ardor..............................
















"When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, the men's weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be dampened.  If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength, and if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the state will not be equal to the strain.  Never forget:  When your weapons are dulled, your ardor dampened, your strength exhausted and your treasury spent, other chieftains will spring up and take advantage of your extremity.  Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue."
-Sun Tzu (as channeled by James Clavell),  The Art of War

cartoon via

Kindness................................

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” 
-Plato


“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention.” 
-Kahlil Gibran


"Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see."
-Mark Twain


"You can accomplish by kindness what you cannot by force."
- Publilius Syrus


“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” 

-Henry James

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."
- Aesop


“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” 
-Dalai Lama XIV


“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” 
-Ralph Waldo Emerson


“Ask yourself: Have you been kind today? Make kindness your daily modus operandi and change your world.” 
-Annie Lennox

Me too...................................
















via

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Joy.................................

The United States Air Force Band as a flash mob



thanks e-man

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

Although he regarded Ulster as his homeland, Clive Staples Lewis denied being Irish.  "I'm more Welsh than anything," he once said to me, "and for more than anything else in my ancestry I'm grateful that on my father's side I'm descended from a practical Welsh farmer.   To that link with the soil I owe whatever measure of physical energy and stability I have.  Without it I should have turned into a hopeless neurotic."   During the disappointments and emotional difficulties of his twenties, this link with the land gave him self-confidence.  It was a quality he badly needed, for it was his conviction that , as he wrote to his friend Arthur Greeves, "we hold our mental health by a thread."
-George Sayer,  Jack:  A Life of C. S. Lewis

For our own good...............................



















"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
-C. S. Lewis

cartoon via

Night Thoughts....................

Stars, you are unfortunate, I pity you.
Beautiful as you are, shining in your glory,
Who guide seafaring men through stress and peril
And have no recompense from gods or mortals,
Love you do not, nor do you know what love is.
Hours that are aeons urgently conducting
Your figures in a dance through the vast heaven,
What journey have you ended in this moment,
Since lingering in the arms of my beloved
I lost all memory of you and midnight.

-Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

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

Combat! episode from December, 1963.  Looks like Sgt. Saunders has gotten himself into a spot of trouble.  No word on the whereabouts of Caje, Kirby, or Littlejohn.

Us Ohioans will welcome them with open arms...

"A combination of expensive green policy missteps and a hesitance to explore its own shale reserves have sent Europe’s electricity prices spiraling upward in recent years. That’s hurting households and businesses alike, and has many European companies eying the greener grass of shale-rich America."
-Walter Russell Mead, as excerpted from this blog post

The invisible hand............................

Poverty is the default condition of humanity. It is the given. What needs explaining is wealth. And the greatest engine of wealth creation is the market. By raising productivity and lowering the price of goods, markets certainly help the rich, but they help the poor more. Capitalism’s most impressive achievement, Joseph Schumpeter noted, was not providing more silk stockings for the Queen, “but in bringing them within reach of factory girls.”
-Shikha Dalmia, as excerpted from this blog post 

Person of the Year...................?

And what a year it has been.  I think Michael has it about right.

Your move..................................

"The Golden Rule is of no use whatsoever unless you realize that it is your move."
-Dr. Frank Crane

Monday, December 9, 2013

Ah, the glory that is youth...................

The Jackson 5.............I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

Just as we suspected.................

The Economist reports:  the brains of men and women ARE wired differently.  Full story here.


Life in the echo chamber..............

I am most worried about problem (2), the way that people are closing their minds. I have said that very few bloggers or newspaper columnists seek to communicate with people on the other side or to open minds of people on their own side. Instead, the goal seems to be to ensure the opposite–that people on your own side keep their minds closed. You reinforce mind closure by demonizing the other side, using ad hominem and straw-man arguments, and by working intensively to reinforce your side’s narrative through using spin, denial, and bullying.

-Arnold Kling, as excerpted from this blog post

Rules of Evidence........................

What you want to say most
is inadmissible.
Say it anyway.
Say it again.
What they tell you is irrelevant
can't be denied and will
eventually be heard.
Every question
is a leading question.
Ask it anyway, then expect
what you won't get.
There is no such thing
as the original
so you'll have to make do
with a reasonable facsimile.
The history of the world
is hearsay. Hear it.
The whole truth
is unspeakable
and nothing but the truth
is a lie.
I swear this.
My oath is a kiss.
I swear
by everything

incredible.

-Lee Robinson

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

Freddie Roach.....T'Ain't What You Do (It's The Way You Do It)

Granule level of faith...............

Andrew Sullivan quotes Raymond Arroyo on  Pope Francis:
One is the great warmth, affection and magnetism of this man—Francis—and his willingness to allow the gospel to shape his ministry in a very profound and visual way. Additionally, the pressures of the culture we find ourselves in has, in a way, forced Catholics and Protestants together in a new way, where they realize that what divides them is far less than what unites them. … And when you hear a Pope stand up and talk about mercy, and forgiveness, and the broken hearts we all endure, and the need to push gossip aside and how destructive that can be in our lives, he’s getting down to the very granule level of faith that I think is appealing to the evangelical and Protestant mind.

Quality of life...................................

Peter Berger pens an interesting essay concerning Pope Francis and Liberation Theology.  Francis, more than any pope in my memory, is identifying with the poor and questioning economic systems.  Full essay here.  Excerpt here:

Francis continues to talk about his wish for a “poor church”, a “church for the poor”. But lately he has spoken out on “greed” and “inequality”, social maladies due to “neoliberalism” and “unfettered capitalism”. If this is the direction in which he is going, one must worry about his view of the world. How does he understand it? Specifically, has he understood the basic fact: Capitalism has been most successful in producing sustained economic growth. And that it is this growth which has been most effective in greatly reducing poverty? Just where is there “unfettered capitalism” in the world today?  It is in China.

The only thing more fun than..........................

..........looking at the photographs at the Astronomy Picture of the Day site, is reading the explanations where the pros take their best guess at what it is we are viewing.























Explanation: South of the large star-forming region known as the Orion Nebula, lies bright blue reflection nebula NGC 1999. At the edge of the Orion molecular cloud complex some 1,500 light-years distant, NGC 1999's illumination is provided by the embedded variable star V380 Orionis. That nebula is marked with a dark sideways T-shape near center in this cosmic vista that spans about 10 light-years. The dark shape was once assumed to be an obscuring dust cloud seen in silhouette against the bright reflection nebula. But recent infrared images indicate the shape is likely a hole blown through the nebula itself by energetic young stars. In fact, this region abounds with energetic young stars producing jets and outflows with luminous shock waves. Cataloged as Herbig-Haro (HH) objects, named for astronomers George Herbig and Guillermo Haro, the shocks look like red gashes in this scene that includes HH1 and HH2 just below NGC 1999. The stellar jets push through the surrounding material at speeds of hundreds of kilometers per second.

It doesn't love you....................

Lately, I've been working on turning the iPhone off, or leaving it behind.  It is a process.  When my partner notices, it will be progress.   In case you are wondering why................



courtesy of Bilbo

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Come.................................

Mannheim Steamroller.......................Veni, Veni Emanuel

Courtesy.........................


The Annunciation        Philippe de Champaigne         c. 1644












The Visitation      Domenico Ghirlandaio        1491































Simeon the Righteous      Alexey Yegorov    c. 1840






















Of Courtesy, it is much less 
Than Courage of Heart or Holiness, 
Yet in my Walks it seems to me 
That the Grace of God is in Courtesy. 

On Monks I did in Storrington fall, 
They took me straight into their Hall; 
I saw Three Pictures on a wall, 
And Courtesy was in them all. 

The first the Annunciation; 
The second the Visitation; 
The third the Consolation, 
Of God that was Our Lady's Son. 

The first was of St. Gabriel; 
On Wings a-flame from Heaven he fell; 
And as he went upon one knee 
He shone with Heavenly Courtesy. 

Our Lady out of Nazareth rode - 
It was Her month of heavy load; 
Yet was her face both great and kind, 
For Courtesy was in Her Mind. 

The third it was our Little Lord, 
Whom all the Kings in arms adored; 
He was so small you could not see 
His large intent of Courtesy. 

Our Lord, that was Our Lady's Son, 
Go bless you, People, one by one; 
My Rhyme is written, my work is done. 


-Hilaire Belloc

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

25  And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.  

26  And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.

27  And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,

28  Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,

29  Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:

30  For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,

31  Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;

32  A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

33  And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.

Luke 2:25-33
The Holy Bible
King James Version

Remember..........................................

“We all remember how many religious wars were fought for a religion of love and gentleness; how many bodies were burned alive with the genuinely kind intention of saving souls from the eternal fire of hell. Only if we give up our authoritarian attitude in the realm of opinion, only if we establish the attitude of give and take, of readiness to learn from other people, can we hope to control acts of violence inspired by piety and duty.” 
-Karl Popper

Faith.................................