Saturday, December 21, 2013

Divine...........................................

Susan Boyle....................................O Holy Night

What's the dream..........................

Susan Boyle...................I Dreamed A Dream (Les Miserables)
If you have never watched this, do.  If you have, watch it again!

Needs...................................























“To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.” 
-Reba McEntire


via

Realization....................................

















“I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” 
-Booker T. Washington

via

Decide................................

















“The good news is that the moment you decide that what you know is more important than what you have been taught to believe, you will have shifted gears in your quest for abundance. Success comes from within, not from without.” 
Ralph Waldo Emerson

via

There are many paths.........................


















“I've had great success being a total idiot. ” 
-Jerry Lewis

via

Trapped.............................................























“Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, "Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody." ... [My dark side says,] I am no good... I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the "Beloved." Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.”
-Henri Nouwen

via

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

Laurel Lea........................................The First Noel

Careful what you work for........................























“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.” 
-Francis Chan

via

Sweet...................................























“Success is most often achieved by those who don't know that failure is inevitable.” 
-Coco Chanel

via

After a few drinks.........................






















"If you ask a billionaire the secret of his success, he might say  it is passion, because that sounds like a sexy answer that is suitably humble.  But after a few drinks I think he'd say his success was a combination of desire, luck, hard work, determination, brains, and appetite for risk."
-Scott Adams, as excerpted from How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big:  Kind of the Story of My Life

via

Rising........................................

















“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” 
-Confucius


via

Three's the limit....................................?

























“If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.” 
-W.C. Fields


via

Friday, December 20, 2013

Santa's secret agent bird...............................

Brad Paisley.............................Penguin, James Penguin

He's at it again...........................

.........Another Random Thoughts post from the Execupundit.  I wish he would compile all of his previous versions and publish them as a book.  I'd buy it.

Ouch, times two........................

Graduating from college during the final days of Watergate, I (briefly) considered a career in the (at that time) honorable field of journalism.  Not that they ever belonged there, but the news (?) gathering folk seemed to have crashed and burned fallen off their pedestal.  For the inside scoop, you might consider reading this (ex)insider's tale.  Whatever else you might think, Sam Youngman can flat out write. Excerpt here:

".....it was harder to ignore the near criminal disconnect between Washington and the rest of the country, especially in an industry that has turned neighbors against each other while its instigators clock out and meet for a beer together, skilled actors who in many cases spend the day feigning hatred for each other on camera but are actually bound by their shared nihilism and reckless self-absorption. In Washington, a divided America is good for business."

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

In the year 1869, when the population of New York City had reached nearly a million, the occupants of 28 East 20th Street, a five story brownstone, numbered six, exclusive of the servants.
     The head of head of the household was Theodore Roosevelt (no middle name or initial), who was thirty-seven years of age, and importer and philanthropist, and the son of old Cornelius Van Schaak Roosevelt, one of the richest men in the city.  Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt - Martha Bullock Roosevelt, or Mittie, as she was called - was thirty-three, a southerner and a beauty.  The children, two girls and two boys, all conceived by the same father and mother, and born in the same front bedroom, over the parlor, ranged in age from fourteen to seven.  The oldest, Anna, was known as Bamie (from bambina, and pronounced to rhyme with Sammy).  Next came ten-year old Theodore, Jr., who was called Teedie (pronounced to rhyme with T. D.).  Elliot, aged nine, was Ellie or Nell, and the youngest, Corinne, was called Conie.
-David McCullough, Mornings On Horseback:  The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life, and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt

Humility......................................



















"When it comes to any big or complicated question, humility is the only sensible point of view."
-Scott Adams

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

James Bond............................From Russia With Love

Re-cycled Santa cartoons.............................
























almost all the cartoons via

Elevate.....................................

"National progress is the sum of individual industry, energy, and uprightness; as national decay is of individual idleness, selfishness, and vice...If this view be correct, then it follows that the highest patriotism and philanthropy consist, not so much in altering laws and modifying institutions, as in helping and stimulating men to elevate and improve themselves by their own free and independent individual action."
-Samuel Smiles, as excerpted from Self help; with illustrations of conduct and perseverance. (1859)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

metal Christmas, again......................

August Burns Red..................We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Withdraw............................

Do not live for death,
pay it no fear or wonder.
This is the firmest law
of the truest faith.  Death
is the dew that wets the grass
in the early morning dark.
It is God's entirely.  Withdraw
your fatal homage, and live.

-Wendell Berry

Mystery.............................




















"I would rather live in a world where my life is surrounded by mystery than live in a world so small that my mind could comprehend it."
-Harry Emerson Fosdick

image via APOD

Not that I'm not prepared to live in the moment, but there are only 92 days until Spring...............























“A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.” 
-Carl Reiner


image via Mme Scherzo

Time for some of that Christmas spirit.................


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

Kenny Dorham........................If Ever I Would Leave You

Cuttlefish...............................






















"The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.  When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink."
-George Orwell

(Ed. Note:  If faithful readers find this quote familiar, it may be because of this previous post)

Nice work if you can get it....................................























It’s beginning to look like Detroit’s bankruptcy will come in with a pretty hefty price tag. Despite being effectively broke, the city has already spent an astonishing $28 million on fees for lawyers and consultants brought on to assist with the process, some of whom are earning nearly $200,000 per month.
-as excerpted from this WRM blog post

cartoon via

Apparently, time is money........................


















thanks for clarifying, Hugh

Life in the good old U.S. of A.......2013 version

The Mistletoe Drone.   Is this a great country or what?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The kids will do better than just fine........

Unorganized Hancock.................Generic Christmas Song

Faithful readers will know that I am a big fan of the house band from Sippican Cottage.  More back story here and here.  I'll be hitting the tip jar.  Hope you do to.  It's kind of cool, the return mail will bring you a handwritten thank you note from the boys.  Try it.

On being careful what you wish for............

Mitch was once quoted as saying that his parents were very supportive, and always used to say, “Don’t expect your life to finish here. There’s a big world out there. Go out and see it.” Albom once mentioned that now his parents say, “Great. All our kids went and saw the world and now no one comes home to have dinner on Sundays.”
-as excerpted from this David Kanigan blog post

Thankfully....................................................



















“The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.” 
-Neil deGrasse Tyson

The great power of small acts.................

"...some believe 'it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I’ve found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness, and love.' "
-Peter Blair, as excerpted from this essay, "Remember Who the Real Enemy Is"

Think like a researcher........................

"At some point along the way... I learned to think like a researcher. When presented with a newspaper story, a "fact" from a friend, or a seemingly plausible argument, I learned to treat it like a witness to be interrogated, instead of a truth revealed."
-Gene Callahan, as excerpted from this blog post

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

Roy Orbison......................................Pretty Paper

Just wondering which is more important..............

"Together, our results indicate that religious practices can affect labor supply choices in ways that have negative implications for economic performance, but that nevertheless increase subjective well-being among followers."
-As excerpted from this Tyler Cowen blog post

Be surprised............................................

"Never allege conspiracy, when mere incompetence will do.  Few saw the housing bubble, and many denied it, including the present and incoming Fed Chairmen.  Incompetence is pervasive; we should be surprised when things go well."
-David Merkel, as excerpted from this Aleph Blog post about "Kentucky Fried Pensions"

John E. Smith..........................

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


Houston, we have a problem......














via

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The kids are going to be just fine......

Rhema Marvanne........................................O Holy Night

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

Theodore Roosevelt became President of the United States without knowing it, at 2:15 in the morning of 14 September 1901.  He was bouncing in a buckboard down the rainswept slopes of Mount Marcy, in the Adirondacks.  Constitutionally, not so much as a heatbeat impeded the flow of power from his assassinated predecessor to himself.  Practically, more than just four hundred miles of mud and rails still separated him from William McKinley's death chamber in Buffalo, where preparations for an emergency inauguration were already under way.
-Edmund Morris, from the prologue to Theodore Rex

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

On the morning after McKinley's interment, Friday, 20 September 1901, a stocky figure in a frock coat sprang up the front steps of the White House.  A policeman, recognizing the new President of the United States, jerked to attention, but Roosevelt, trailed by Commander Cowles, was already on his way into the vestibule.  Nodding at a pair of attaches, he hurried into the elevator and rose to the second floor.  His rapid footsteps sought out the executive office over the East Room.  Within seconds of arrival he was leaning back in McKinley's chair, dictating letters to William Loeb.  He looked as if he had sat there for years.  It was, a veteran observer marveled, "quite the strangest introduction of a Chief Magistrate...in our national history."
-Edmund Morris,  Theodore Rex

Teddy...............................

Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., the former governor of New York and a Spanish-American War hero,  was president of the United States between 1901 an 1909.  He ran again in 1912, starting the short-lived Bull Moose Party and surviving an assassination attempt, but came in second, ahead of his successor and political enemy William Howard Taft, but well behind Woodrow Wilson.  

He was respected enough to merit being carved in stone in North Dakota along side of three other fairly good guys.
















Roosevelt was extremely quotable.  The following quotes barely scratch the surface:

The worst lesson that can be taught a man is to rely upon others and to whine over his sufferings.

To sit home, read one's favorite paper, and scoff at the misdeeds of the men who do things is easy, but it is markedly ineffective. It is what evil men count upon the good men's doing.

It is no use to preach to [children] if you do not act decently yourself.

Probably the greatest harm done by vast wealth is the harm that we of moderate means do ourselves when we let the vices of envy and hatred enter deep into our own natures.

I don't pity any man who does hard work worth doing. I admire him. I pity the creature who does not work, at whichever end of the social scale he may regard himself as being.

The only man who makes no mistakes is the man who never does anything.

Power invariably means both responsibility and danger.

In this life we get nothing save by effort. Freedom from effort in the present merely means that there has been stored up effort in the past.

 When the weather is good for crops it is also good for weeds.

...the chief factor in any man’s success or failure must be his own character—that is, the sum of his common sense, his courage, his virile energy and capacity. Nothing can take the place of this individual factor.

More Roosevelt quotes can be found here.  They are worth reading.

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

LBJ addresses the UN General Assembly          12/17/63

A formula for happiness..................

...............can be found right here.  Secrets and formulas are nice, but the unfortunately reality is that happiness is an inside job.  Nobody has ever really improved on Lincoln's thought that we are about as happy as we make up our mind to be.  Still... read the essay, if only to put a context around this quote that was contained therein:

"Free enterprise does not mean shredding the social safety net, but championing policies that truly help vulnerable people and build an economy that can sustain these commitments. It doesn’t mean reflexively cheering big business, but leveling the playing field so competition trumps cronyism. It doesn’t entail “anything goes” libertinism, but self-government and self-control. And it certainly doesn’t imply that unfettered greed is laudable or even acceptable."
-Arthur C. Brooks

Simplicity............................

 Throwing Away the Mail

Nothing is simple,
not even simplification.
Thus, throwing away
the mail, I exchange
the complexity of duty
for the simplicity of guilt.

-Wendell Berry

Think and grow rich...............................



To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence;  supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.
-Sun Tzu, as channeled in James Clavell's version of The Art of War

art work from here.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Guide us.......................................

Kings College Choir...................We Three Kings of Orient Are

A collection of.............................

.................mighty fine art is regularly on display at Tail Feathers.  Do go visit.

Cicero, on the how-to of public speaking.........

"A leading speaker will vary and modulate his voice, raising and lowering it and deploying the full scale of tones.  He will avoid extravagant gestures and stand impressively erect.  He will not pace about and when he does so not for any distance.  He should not dart forward except in moderation with strict control.  There should be no effeminate bending of the neck or twiddling of his fingers or beating out the rhythm of his cadences on his knuckles.  He should extend his arm at moments of high dispute and lower it during calmer passages....Once he has made sure he does not have a stupid expression on his face and or a grimace, he should control his eyes with great care, for as the face is the image of the soul the eyes are its translators.  Depending on the subject at hand they can express grief of hilarity."

Before movies and TV.............................

"In Rome reputations were made not only at public meetings and in the Senate but also in the law courts.  Ambitious young men in their early twenties often appeared as prosecutors in criminal trials in order to make a name for themselves, not just as lawyers but as potential future politicians.
     "Both rhetoric and the study of literature were also intended to give students an ethical grounding, a moral education which inculcated the virtues of fortitude, justice, and prudence.
     "Public speaking in this complex sense is extinct and it is difficult now to conceive of its power, immediacy and charm.  Just as Samuel Pepys in seventeenth-century England would spend a Sunday going for sermon to sermon for the sheer pleasure of it, so crowds of Romans would pack the Forum, where trials were held in the open air, to listen to and applaud the great advocates of the day as they presented their cases.  The 'Friends, Romans, countrymen' speech in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar gives a hint of how the real thing must have been."

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

Nancy Wilson....................That's What I Want For Christmas

Flow.................................

Cultural Offering nurtures the Art of Satisfying Conversation.  The only thing he left out was the importance of fine cigars and Wild Turkey American Honey over ice.

O-H-I-O...........................

Spent yesterday afternoon watching son Dan graduate from The Ohio State University.  The boy learned a thing or two.  Dad is proud and pretty sure he got his money's worth.

If you squint really hard.................................

He's freezing and just wants to go.......................

The Mighty E..........................

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


Why he was (is) the greatest..............

Who else would have even thought of doing this, much less do it?  Successfully, I might add.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Did I mention we have tickets for this year?

Trans-Siberian Orchestra.......Wizards in Winter: a light show

Does it really matter why..........................?
















"Why does the universe go through all the bother of existing?"
-Stephen Hawking

Where, Who, What, Why, and Whither?
























"Where am I? Who am I? How came I here? What is this thing called the world? What does this world mean? Who is it that has lured me into the world? Why was I not consulted, why not made acquainted with its manners and customs instead of throwing me into the ranks, as if I had been bought by a kidnapper, a dealer in souls? How did I obtain an interest in this big enterprise they call reality? Why should I have an interest in it? Is it not a voluntary concern? And if I am to be compelled to take part in it, where is the director? I should like to make a remark to him. Is there no director? Whither shall I turn with my complaint?"
-Soren Kierkegaard

The key.................................














































"What does man actually know about himself? Is he, indeed, ever able to perceive himself completely, as if laid out in a lighted display case? Does nature not conceal most things from him — even concerning his own body — in order to confine and lock him within a proud, deceptive consciousness, aloof from the coils of the bowels, the rapid flow of the blood stream, and the intricate quivering of the fibers? She threw away the key."
-Friedrich Nietzsche

non chicken cartoon via

I can understand that.......................


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

Alexander "Mudcat"  Thomas.................Mudcat's Blues

On Dogs and Their People..............

"But no matter how old, she always watched me, always guarding me, following me from room to room to the point where I would sit longer than I wanted to if only to spare her the discomfort of having to stand yet again on those shaky bones."
-Jeff Kopito 

Sometimes even Old Pepper wonders why…
© Jeff Kopito


Cultural Offering.......................

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


Jetboy and his dog Skip....................

............musically opening doors and broadening horizons.  Do go visit from time to time.