Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hey, who are those strangers on the stage...?

U2 (and friends)......................................Gimme Shelter

On home study.............................

       "There is one weakness in people for which there is no remedy.  It is the universal weakness of lack of ambition!  Persons, particularly salaried people who schedule their spare time, to provide for home study, seldom remain at the bottom very long.  Their action opens the way for the upward climb, removes many obstacles from their path, and gains the friendly interest of those who have the power to put them in the way of opportunity."
-Napoleon Hill, as excerpted from Think and Grow Rich

On doing good deeds..................























"When you feel hurt because someone has been ungrateful for your kindness, it shows that you have been looking for gratitude, and this is a great mistake.  The true reason for helping another is that it is our duty to help others insofar as we can do so wisely; or because it is an expression of love.  Of course, love will not look for a quid pro quo, and to have done one's duty should be its own reward, remembering, if we wish, that in some other way the deed will surely be recognized.  The very fact that one is looking for gratitude means that he is putting the other person under a sense of obligation, and that person will probably get this subconsciously and resent it strongly, as such a thing is highly repugnant to human nature.  Do your good deed, and then pass on, neither expecting nor wishing for personal recognition."
-Emmet Fox, as excerpted from The Sermon On The Mount

Painting, The Runaway, by Norman Rockwell from 1958

On networking.........................

"One of my all-time favorite quotes on networking comes from Peter Linneman. He says that in order to build a great network you must 'always do the very best you can to fulfill what you said you would do, help others simply because you can rather than because you believe it would indirectly benefit you, and do this for the next thirty years.' He’s dead on."
-Joe Stampone, as excerpted from this blog post

Come on, tell us what you really think...............

Spengler is not a fan of the Middle East in general and Erdogan's Turkey in particular.  Full post here.  Interesting, fun-with-words, quote here:

Now the hashish smoke has cleared, Erdogan’s Cave of Wonders has turned back into a sandpit, and the foreign policy establishment has nothing to show for years of propitiation of this Anatolian wannabe except a headache.

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

At the movies................................Federico Fellini's 8 1/2

So, who listens to critics anyway...............























      He had the misfortune to come of age at a time when realist painting was written off as less "authentic" than abstract painting.  Critics denounced him as insufficiently angst ridden and overtly cheery.  What somehow got lost in the critical discussion in this:  looking is an act of passion if you look hard enough.
-Deborah Solomon,  as excerpted from American Mirror:  The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell

Are you talking to me............?

Afraid he might be.  Trying to change..........honest.

Ah, technology.....................................

Happy Anniversary, Michael...............













Long may you blog...........................!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Tell me something.........................

David Gray..........................................Hospital Food

Beyond......................................






















via Ka-Ching!

A Call..............................

'Hold on,' she said, 'I'll just run out and get him.
The weather here's so good, he took the chance
To do a bit of weeding.'
                                         So I saw him
Down on his hands and knees beside the leek rig,
Touching, inspecting, separating one
Stalk from the other, gently pulling up
Everything not tapered, frail, and leafless,
Pleased to feel each little weed-root break,
But rueful also...
                             Then found myself listening to
The amplified grave ticking of the hall clocks
Where the phone lay unattended in a calm
Of mirror glass and sunstruck pendulums...

And found myself thinking:  if it were nowadays,
This is how Death would summon Everyman.

Next thing he spoke and I nearly said I loved him.

-Seamus Heaney

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

At the movies........................Jason and The Argonauts

Finding some beauty.........................

My Sweetie's amaryllis opened in time to celebrate Christmas.



Meaning...............................









"To invent your own life's meaning is not easy, but it's still allowed, and I think you'll be happier for the trouble.  Reading those turgid philosophers here in these remote stone buildings may not get you a job, but if those books have forced you to ask yourself questions about what makes life truthful, purposeful, meaningful, and redeeming, you have the Swiss Army Knife of mental tools, and it's going to come in handy all the time."
-Bill Watterson

thanks maria

"........redemptive power................."






























      Underlying Rockwell's every painting and gesture was his faith in the redemptive power of story-telling -- stories, he believed, were a buffer against despair and emptiness.  Each of his Post covers amounts to a one-frame story complete with a protagonist and plot.  Among his earliest inspirations was Charles Dickens, who taught him how to espy stories on every street corner.  In some ways, Rockwell's paintings, which are grounded in the rendering of particulars, demands to be "read" like a story.  The experience they offer is literary as much as visual, in the sense that he cared less about the sensual dazzle of oil pint than the construction of a seamless narrative.  The public that saw and appreciated his paintings walked away from them thinking not about the dominance of cerulean blue or cadmium yellow but about the kid on the twenty-foot-high diving board up in the sky, terrified as he peers over the edge and realizes there is only one way down.
-Deborah Solomon,  as excerpted from American Mirror:  The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell

Peace............................

From Pope Francis's Christmas message:

"True peace is not a balance of opposing forces. It is not a lovely "façade" which conceals conflicts and divisions. Peace calls for daily commitment, starting from God's gift, from the grace which he has given us in Jesus Christ."

Full text of the message is here.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Did I tell you we will be seeing TSO today?

Trans-Siberian Orchestra............A Bumble Bee flys to Joy

Santa's stack...............................


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

For every Rembrandt, for every artist whose work shines across the divide of centuries, there are thousands of artists whose names have been forgotten.  Their work remains invisible to us, shuttered away in moldering basements and junk shops where no one has bothered to dust it off and look at it for decades.  It's not a tragedy.  It's simply the law of the art jungle:  lesser artists fall into obscurity over time.  And then there's even a lower category, those who never had the good fortune to climb into a respectable professional height from which to plummet.
-Deborah Solomon,  American Mirror:  The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell

Rockwell....................................























Cliff Notes on the life of  Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) are here.   A few quotes attributed to him are here:

“The secret to so many artists living so long is that every painting is a new adventure. So, you see, they're always looking ahead to something new and exciting. The secret is not to look back.”

“Commonplaces never become tiresome. It is we who become tired when we cease to be curious and appreciative. We find that it is not a new scene which is needed, but a new viewpoint.” 

"I'll never have enough time to paint all the pictures I'd like to."

"Without thinking too much about it in specific terms, I was showing the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed. My fundamental purpose is to interpret the typical American. I am a story teller."

"When I go to farms or little towns, I am always surprised at the discontent I find. And New York, too often, has looked across the sea toward Europe. And all of us who turn our eyes away from what we have are missing life."

"I unconsciously decided that, even if it wasn't an ideal world, it should be. So I painted only the ideal aspects of it - pictures in which there are no drunken slatterns or self-centered mothers... only foxy grandpas who played baseball with the kids and boys who fished from logs and got up circuses in the backyard."

"If a picture wasn't going very well, I'd put a puppy in it."

"If there was sadness in this creative world of mine, it was a pleasant sadness. If there were problems, they were humorous problems."

"The view of life I communicate in my pictures excludes the sordid and ugly. I paint life as I would like it to be."

Be careful with those expectations..................

.....................they are often just premeditated resentments.















thanks jessica

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

Live TV.......Tex Ritter recites the Gettysburg Address  12/26/63

Lostness..........................................

















                       Lost In Heaven

The clouds, the source of rain, one stormy night
Offered an opening to the source of dew;
Which I accepted with impatient sight,
Looking for my old sky-marks in the blue.

But stars were scarce in that part of the sky,
And no two were of the same constellation -
No one was bright enough to identify;
So 'twas with not ungrateful consternation.

Seeing myself well lost once more, I sighed
"Where, where is Heaven am I?  But don't tell me
O opening clouds, by opening on me wide.
Let's let my heavenly lostness overwhelm me."

-Robert Frost

photo via

Three things..................................





















via             thanks john

The evolution of morality................

Matt (The Rational Optimist) Ridley is on the case- here.  Conclusion here:

"So the question immediately suggests itself. What am I doing today that my great-grandchildren will find disgusting and might even get me prosecuted in old age? When I asked Pinker for his answer, he replied: 'That’s easy — meat eating.' I would add field sports. I consider hooking a trout on a dry fly, or shooting a fast woodcock for the pot, to be acts of almost noble communion with nature, but others already see them as barbaric. It seems unlikely that my view will prevail in the very long run."

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas................................

Lindsey Stirling...............................What Child Is This

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

8  And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Luke 2:8-14
The Holy Bible
King James Version

Merry Christmas.............................




images recycled from previous years

Merry Christmas........................

















thanks doug

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

The Life Treasury of Christmas Music..............Patapan



Oops...............................


















via

Rockwell's Santa.......................








Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Holy night........................................

Silent Night.....................................................

Presto......................!

............Christmas Magic from the Heartland.

It's never too late to be late..................

The Execupundit offers a public service - for the last minute shoppers amongst us.

The kids will do just fine......................

More fun with test answers:



















via

Today's lesson.........................















via

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

The Beatles interviewed, two takes, Christmas 1963

On human nature and the return of history....

The Economist looks back 100 years with angst and sees "uncomfortable parallels".  Full essay here.  Conclusion here:
"Madness, whether motivated by race, religion or tribe, usually gives ground to rational self-interest. But when it triumphs, it leads to carnage, so to assume that reason will prevail is to be culpably complacent. That is the lesson of a century ago."

It's what therapists do.........................

Interesting rationale for a massive fraud:

“With the help of his therapist,” wrote attorney John Kern, “Mr. Beale has come to recognize that, beyond the motive of greed, his theft and deception were animated by a highly self-destructive and dysfunctional need to engage in excessively reckless, risky behavior.” Kern also said Beale was driven “to manipulate those around him through the fabrication of grandiose narratives … that are fueled by his insecurities.”

via

Quote worth pondering.........................

"Corporatism is not capitalism."
-Arnold Kling, as excerpted from this blog post on Health Insurance, government, and the marketplace; circa 2014.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Proclaim.................................

King's College Choir................Hark!  The Herald Angels Sing

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

      Bradbury's birth remains the point of departure for one of his most controversial autobiographical anecdotes - his claim to remember the trauma of birth, the sensation of breastfeeding, the pain of circumcision, and infant nightmares about being born.  When he discovered (in his late seventies) that he had been delivered as a ten-month baby, Bradbury felt sure that his memories were the result of heightened development of his senses.  He stands ready to argue the point with psychologists of any school and to proclaim his memories with conviction with any audience.  These memories - whether imagined or real - surface with great impact in such stories as "The Small Assassin," one of his best-known weird tales of the 1940's:  What if birth trauma can translate into hate during the first hours of life?  What if a ten-month baby developed more quickly than the norm, and found the ability to turn on its parents with murderous intent?  Is it merely fear projected by a mother who nearly died in childbirth?  Or is there really a small movement in the dark at the top of the stairs, carefully planting a toy that sends the mother tumbling to her death?
-Jonathan R. Eller,  Becoming Ray Bradbury

Bradbury.........................

















Ray Bradbury was a virtual quote machine.  He wrote over 600 short stories on top of 27 novels. Here are the Cliff Notes on his life.   Here is a smattering of some of the fun things he said: 

“If we listened to our intellect we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go in business because we'd be cynical: "It's gonna go wrong." Or "She's going to hurt me." Or,"I've had a couple of bad love affairs, so therefore . . ." Well, that's nonsense. You're going to miss life. You've got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.” 

“Self-consciousness is the enemy of all art, be it acting, writing, painting, or living itself, which is the greatest art of all.”


“I hate a Roman named Status Quo!" he said to me. "Stuff your eyes with wonder," he said, "live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that," he said, "shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass.” 


“We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?” 


“Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You've got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it. It's like boats. You keep your motor on so you can steer with the current. And when you hear the sound of the waterfall coming nearer and nearer, tidy up the boat, put on your best tie and hat, and smoke a cigar right up till the moment you go over. That's a triumph.” 


“We are an impossibility in an impossible universe.” 

“I don't believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don't have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn't go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.” 


“A good night sleep, or a ten minute bawl, or a pint of chocolate ice cream, or all three together, is good medicine.”


“Insanity is relative. It depends on who has who locked in what cage.” 


Other Bradbury quotes can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Traditions................................







How blessed we are....................

"Today, of Americans officially designated as 'poor,' 99 percent have electricity, running water, flush toilets, and a refrigerator; 95 percent have a television, 88 percent a telephone, 71 percent a car and 70 percent air conditioning. Cornelius Vanderbilt had none of these."
-Matt Ridley, as excerpted from The Rational Optimist

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

Phil Spector..........................A Christmas Gift for You

What is the strongest force on earth?

Hmmm..........If you answered "love," you get a red X.  Interesting scientific answer and analysis is here.

Habit-forming..............................

















"A great strategy for success in life is to become good at something, anything, and let that feeling propel you to new and better victories.  Success can be habit-forming."
-Scott Adams, as excerpted from How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big:  Kind of the Story of My Life

via

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

Do you mean that "experts" say meaningless things?

Les Mis..................................

My Sweetie and I attended a performance of Les Miserables at Newark's fabulous Weathervane Playhouse this weekend.  A stunning show!  The cast was superb, voices in fine form, and the set amazing.   The story is not light-hearted, but any tale of redemption is worth paying attention to. It is a rare theatrical performance that will bring tears to my eyes.  This one did.  It plays through next weekend.  If you have the chance, go experience it.   The company may differ from the one below, but they were still special.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Exultation...............................

Martina McBride..................O Come Let Us Adore Him

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

To understand Carl Gustav Jung one must first understand Switzerland, and this is no easy matter.  People become puzzled when confronted with a republic that has no president but a communal leadership consisting of an executive council.  The technicalities of confederation rather than federation - the technical distinction is that in confederation the central government has powers over the member states but not directly over their citizens - leads to further confusions.  Compound this with a geography that produces cis-Alpine, trans-Alpine and inter-Alpine cantons and a political culture not based on a single language and one is already faced with a social complexity that matches the notorious difficulty of Jung's psychological thought.  Some observers have even suggested a stricter determinism:  that Jung could not have had the theories he had if he had been born elsewhere, since the Swiss constitution is itself "Jungian."
-Frank McLynn,  Carl Gustav Jung

Choosing from thousands of Jung quotes....















Cliff Notes on Carl Jung can be found here or here.  Quotes here:

“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” 

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” 


“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” 

“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” 


“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” 


“Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol, morphine or idealism.” 


“Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.” 

“The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.” 


“The man who promises everything is sure to fulfil nothing, and everyone who promises too much is in danger of using evil means in order to carry out his promises, and is already on the road to perdition.” 

“Midlife is the time to let go of an overdominant ego and to contemplate the deeper significance of human existence.”

Undiscriminating........................

Greed for enlightenment and immortality
is no different than greed
for material wealth.
It is self-centered and dualistic, and thus
an obstacle to true attainment.
Therefor these states are never achieved
by those who covet them;  rather,
they are the reward of the virtuous.

If you wish to become a divine immortal
angel, then restore the angelic
qualities of your being
through virtue and service.
This is the only way to gain the attention
of the immortals who teach the
methods of energy enhancement
and integration that are
necessary to reach the 
divine realm.

These angelic teachers cannot be sought
out;  it is they who seek
out the student.
When you succeed in connecting your
energy with the divine realm through
high awareness and the practice of
undiscriminating virtue, the
transmission of the ultimate
subtle truths will follow.
This is the path that all angels take to the
divine realm.

Verse 59
Hua Hu Ching:  The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu
Brian Brown Walker

Maybe I'll think about it................


........a basic fact of life................


















“Acknowledge the complexity of the world and resist the impression that you easily understand it. People are too quick to accept conventional wisdom, because it sounds basically true and it tends to be reinforced by both their peers and opinion leaders, many of whome have never looked at whether the facts support the received wisdom. It's a basic fact of life that many things "everybody knows" turn out to be wrong.” 
-Jim Rogers

via

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

Judy Garland with friends and family share some carols

Head on a swivel.....................
















thanks john

...deeply planted.............

"Attend to the little ones,"
said William Blake, and long
before Blake spoke or wrote
shepherds obeyed him, watching
over the births of lambs.
Like human beings at the beginning
and the end of their lives, these 
little ones are in need
of everything, having not
a breath that is not given.
By Nature's gift they live,
and at times by human help,
the shepherd finding in himself
the world's tenderness deeply
planted, sorrow always
that even the least should be lost.

-Wendell Berry

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

18  Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

19  Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

20  But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

21  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.

22  Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

23  Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

24  Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

25  And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.

Matthew 1:18-25
The Holy Bible
King James Version