Saturday, January 4, 2014

.........bleeds daylight..................

Bare Naked Ladies....................Lovers In A Dangerous Time

Oddities..................................

The Business Insider brings us 54 of the Strangest Photos of 2013.  Trust me when I tell you that there are some strange photos there.  The Beard World Championship 2013 in Leinfelden-Echterdingen qualifies as one of the more normal ones.  Not that I'm being judgmental, mind you.











Serving...................................

     The age of the "go-getter has passed.  He has been supplanted by the "go-giver."
-Napoleon Hill, as excerpted from Think and Grow Rich

Landshark..................................

















via

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

Dr. Strangelove at the movies:  "ruling out human meddling"

Maybe, but at this age just hearing is presenting its own challenges.....

















via

And then the sky just caught fire............











via

Friday, January 3, 2014

.............close to mine.............

American Flyer.......................................Back in '57

Counter-intuitiveness on display.............

If the same-old same-old is not your thing,  consider spending some time with Dan Pink's Flip Manifesto.  A wee sample:

Steve Swasey, Netflix's vice-president for corporate communication, says:  "Rules and policies and regulations and stipulations are innovation killers.  People do their best work when they're unencumbered.  If you're spending a lot of time accounting for the time you're spending, that's time you're not innovating."

The same goes for expenses.  Employees typically don't need to get approval to spend money on entertainment, travel, or gifts.  Instead, the guidance is simpler:  act in Netflix's best interest.  It sounds delightfully adult.  And it is - in every regard.  People who don't produce are shown the door.  "Adequate performance," the company says. "gets a generous severance package."

The idea is that freedom and responsibility, long considered fundamentally incompatible, actually go together quite well.

On genies and bottles.......................














Technology has delivered to us many fabulous gifts.  The fruits of technology have spurred dramatic increases in the healthiness of our species.  Magic algorithms located somewhere within the Intertunnel have made an incalculable amount of information (both true and false) available to the everyman.  The toys and tools of this age have gone way beyond time saving and labor saving and way finding.  So where does it all lead?   Us history majors are much better at looking at the past than figuring out the future.  For that we turn to Mashable and its recent post 7 Huge Tech Trends To Expect in 2014.  My favorite is Drone Wars.  Enjoy.

Bring back the draft...............?

If you were to say to yourself, "I only have time to read one essay about the state of our republic today, so I'm going to make it a good one," then I would say to you, "read Andrew J. Bacevich's essay, One Percent Republic."    Excerpt here:

"... in formulating basic military policy and in deciding when and how to employ force, the state no longer requires the consent, direct participation, or ongoing support of citizens. As an immediate consequence, Washington’s penchant for war has appreciably increased, without, however, any corresponding improvement in the ability of political and military leaders to conclude its wars promptly or successfully. A further result, less appreciated but with even larger implications, has been to accelerate the erosion of the traditional concept of democratic citizenship."

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

The Beatles.................................A Hard Day's Night

Sentient money....................

Asked recently if money today is smarter, Greg Vilkin, managing principal and president of MarcFarlane Partners, said that, "Money today is more nervous than it has ever been."
-as excerpted from here

Unfathomed...............................



































"Didst thou ever descry a glorious eternity in a winged moment of time?  Didst thou ever see a bright infinite in the narrow point of an object?  Then thou knowest what spirit means -- the spire-top, whither all things ascend harmoniously, where they meet and sit contented in an unfathomed Depth of Life."
-Peter Sterry

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

Mitch Rapp stared at his reflection in the dusty, cracked mirror and questioned his sanity.  There was no shaking, or sweaty palms.  He wasn't nervous.  It was just a cold, calculated assessment of his abilities and his odds for success.  He went over the plan once more from start to finish, and again concluded it was likely that he would be severely beaten, tortured, and possible killed, but even in the face of such prospects, he couldn't bring himself to walk away, which brought him right smack dab back to that part about his mental health.  What kind of man willingly chose to do such a thing?  Rapp thought about it for a long moment and then decided someone else would have to answer that question.
-Vince Flynn,  American Assassin

In the good old US of A.......................


























cartoons via

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Need some work...............................

Bruce Hornsby.....................................The Changes

again, again...............................

















The painter Harlan Hubbard said
that he was painting Heaven when
the places he painted merely were
the Campbell or the Trimble County
banks of the Ohio, or farms
and hills were he had worked or roamed:
a house's gable and roofline
rising from a fold in the hills,
trees bearing snow, two shanty boats
at dawn, immortal light upon
the flowing river at its bends.
And these were Heavenly because
he never saw them clear enough
to satisfy his love, his need
to see them all again, again.

-Wendell Berry

One of my new favorite blogs.................

is Joe Hanson's It's Okay To Be Smart.  If you haven't visited, try it out.  You gotta love somebody who loves Feynman.

The Whole Universe in a Glass of Wine



“A poet once said, 'The whole universe is in a glass of wine.' We will probably never know in what sense he meant it, for poets do not write to be understood. But it is true that if we look at a glass of wine closely enough we see the entire universe. There are the things of physics: the twisting liquid which evaporates depending on the wind and weather, the reflection in the glass; and our imagination adds atoms. The glass is a distillation of the earth's rocks, and in its composition we see the secrets of the universe's age, and the evolution of stars. What strange array of chemicals are in the wine? How did they come to be? There are the ferments, the enzymes, the substrates, and the products. There in wine is found the great generalization; all life is fermentation. Nobody can discover the chemistry of wine without discovering, as did Louis Pasteur, the cause of much disease. How vivid is the claret, pressing its existence into the consciousness that watches it! If our small minds, for some convenience, divide this glass of wine, this universe, into parts -- physics, biology, geology, astronomy, psychology, and so on -- remember that nature does not know it! So let us put it all back together, not forgetting ultimately what it is for. Let it give us one more final pleasure; drink it and forget it all!”

-Richard P. Feynman

About those resolutions..................






















via Ka-Ching!

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

Beach Boys...................................................I Get Around

The ten best science fiction movies....................

..........as chosen by scientists. I've seen, and liked, most of them.  Without trying to be picky, my list would probably include The Day The Earth Stood Still with Michael Rennie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Woody Allen's Sleeper.   Full scientist-picked list is here.  Sample here













No. 5 Fantastic Voyage (1966)

A miniature spacecraft and crew are injected into a comatose scientist to remove a life-threatening blood clot, so that he can survive to share vital secrets. The movie's lavishly depicted workings of the human body garnered two Academy Awards and three additional nominations—and got James Giordano thinking about medicine at the tiniest scale. Now a professor of neuroscience at Georgetown University, Giordano examines the mechanics of the brain's response to pain. "The film has been a lifelong inspiration for me to work on developing neurotechnology," he says. David Carroll, director of the Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials at Wake Forest University, says that the movie's minuscule technology, although physically impossible, is echoed in his current work. "It's exactly what we are working on: Injecting nanobots that find a cancerous tumor, tell us when they have found it, and destroy it," he says. Now that's fantastic.

The criminalizing of daily life....................

40,000 new laws this year?  Can that possibly be right?   It was drummed into me as a youngster that "ignorance of the law is no excuse."  That seems like a long time ago.

On laughing at yourself more...........

The Strategic Learner makes some promises for the New Year, including to laugh more.  To help with that process, he posted a hour+ clip of George Carlin highlights.  As a time saving public service, here a a seven minute excerpt from that performance.  Enjoy, but remember - it is Carlin.

George Carlin doing what George Carlin did best

Purposeful.........................









thanks e-man

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

It's a tradition.......................

U2........................................................New Year's Day




here is last years version

Tackling the Trinity.........................

Walter Russell Mead sets out to explain the "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."

"...and many people who think they are extremely well educated don’t know much about these ideas and many schools don’t teach them as part of a general cultural curriculum; unfortunately this means that young people will have to pick up their knowledge of core religious ideas from disreputable bloggers like yours truly."

It is an essay well worth reading.

Recycling for the New Year................































Remorseless............................

"Life is a checkerboard, and the player opposite you is time.  If you hesitate before moving, or neglect to move promptly, your men will be wiped off the board by time.  You are playing against a partner who will not tolerate indecision."
-Elbert Hubbard

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

Marvin Gaye...................................You're A Wonderful One

About those resolutions....................

"The first and best victory is to conquer self.  To be conquered by self is, of all things, the most shameful and vile."
-Plato

Bootstrapping.........................

Debt is serfdom, capital in all its forms is freedom.

So says this guest post at the Zero Hedge blog.  The title to the essay is The Only Leverage We Have is Extreme Frugality.  Based on his example, the writer should add to his leverage list the following:  worthy goals, determination, focus, discipline, and hard work.

thanks maggie's

It's not Guy Lombardo with The Royal Canadians, and it's certainly not Auld Lang Syne, but it is a great way to get the New Year started...

Fred and Ginger dancing the Carioca from Flying Down to Rio



thanks

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Having read the book.....................

The Beatles...................................A Day In The Life

We've been comrades..................

       The Passing of the Year

My glass is filled, my pipe is lit,
     My den is all a cosy glow;
And snug before the fire I sit,
     And wait to feel the old year go.
I dedicate to solemn thought
     Amid my too-unthinking days,
This sober moment, sadly fraught
     With much of blame, with little praise.

Old Year! upon the Stage of Time
     You stand to bow your last adieu;
A moment, and the prompter's chime
     Will ring the curtain down on you.
Your mien is sad, your step is slow;
     You falter as a Sage in pain;
Yet turn, Old Year, before you go,
     And face your audience again.

That sphinx-like face, remote, austere,
     Let us all read, whate'er the cost:
O Maiden! why that bitter tear?
     Is it for dear one you have lost?
Is it for fond illusion gone?
     For trusted lover proved untrue?
O sweet girl-face, so sad, so wan
     What hath the Old Year meant to you?

And you, O neighbour on my right
     So sleek, so prosperously clad!
What see you in that aged wight
     That makes your smile so gay and glad?
What opportunity unmissed?
     What golden gain, what pride of place?
What splendid hope? O Optimist!
     What read you in that withered face?

And You, deep shrinking in the gloom,
     What find you in that filmy gaze?
What menace of a tragic doom?
     What dark, condemning yesterdays?
What urge to crime, what evil done?
     What cold, confronting shape of fear?
O haggard, haunted, hidden One
     What see you in the dying year?

And so from face to face I flit,
     The countless eyes that stare and stare;
Some are with approbation lit,
     And some are shadowed with despair.
Some show a smile and some a frown;
     Some joy and hope, some pain and woe:
Enough! Oh, ring the curtain down!
     Old weary year! it's time to go.

My pipe is out, my glass is dry;
     My fire is almost ashes too;
But once again, before you go,
     And I prepare to meet the New:
Old Year! a parting word that's true,
     For we've been comrades, you and I --
I thank God for each day of you;
     There! bless you now! Old Year, good-bye! 


-Robert W. Service

...............You don't need a weather man ...............To know which way the wind blows.

With apologies to Bob Dylan, you do need these handy maps:













For the real, watch the wind blow across the USA, map...visit here























To watch the wind circulate around the globe (and you can spin the globe on its axis), visit here

thanks warren

Doodles + stuff found sitting around = Art

Thirteen examples found here.  Samples here:
























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

The Jaynells..........................................I'll Stay Home

A note from your friendly editor.............

As we say goodbye to 2013, this wee blog is also saying goodbye to the music and images of 1963.  According to the scorecard on the right, there were at least 360 "Fifty Years Ago" posts dedicated to 1963. Some were classics that deserve savoring.  Some of them were an absolute stretch, for which apologies are offered.  Since this blog exists solely for the amusement of this blogger and his faithful readers, starting tomorrow, the "Fifty Years Ago" feature will move into the fertile hunting grounds of 1964.  If memory serves, it was a very good year.  Stay tuned.

And he is doing a damn fine job of it....

Making like a well-designed lighthouse in the Heartland

If you don't follow John E. Smith's blog, well, do.

Seeds.....................................

"Every adversity, every failure, and every heartache carries with it the Seed of an equivalent or greater Benefit."
-Napoleon Hill

Merry New Year's Eve..............
















via and via

Monday, December 30, 2013

No pressure at all..........................

Blake Shelton..............................Sure Be Cool If You Did

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

Debt takes its toll.
      To no one had this ever seemed clearer than to the sixty-one-year-old farmer named Oliver Coolidge who languished in Woodstock Common Jail in Windsor County, Vermont, in the spring of 1949.  Coolidge was behind bars because he owed a neighbor, Frederick Wheeler, $24.23.  He had not honored a contract because he lacked the money to honor it.  Now his debts had climbed to $29.48 because the justice of the peace had ruled that he had to carry the  costs of the creditor, $5, and a fine of 25 cents for the serving of papers.
-Amity Shlaes, from the Introduction to Coolidge

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

They were the ones who stayed.
      They told themselves this as they trudged past the houses up the road to the old lot in the spring snow.  The lot itself was a challenge.  Farming there was especially difficult because the soil was too rocky; the hill curved up too steeply.  For a period the family had burned lime there, but the railroad had not chosen to come to Plymouth and no one could get the lime out.  Now, in the 1870's, they found themselves returning to the limekiln for humbler, simpler harvest:  wood or sugar.  The logs could be sold by the cord.  The lot lay above their farm, to the west, and sugar maples were plentiful there.  In April, they tapped the trees.  Their family fashioned the wooden buckets themselves, sometimes branding the bottom with their name in capital letters.  They carried the buckets of sap to a sugarhouse, where it was heated and made into syrup.  Each year eight hundred to two thousand pounds of maple syrup and hard sugar were produced this way.  They liked the trees, which grew up with them, like siblings or children.  Others, even relatives, had deemed such harvests paltry.  Those others had headed west to the Great Plains, where your prosperity unfurled before you, flat and vast, like a yellow carpet.
-Amity Shlaes,  Coolidge

Silent Cal......................................

















Turns out that our thirtieth president (1923-1929), far from being silent, said some very interesting things.  Coolidge seemed to spend most of his time as president saying "No" to requests for the government to do something.  Based on many of his quotes, those "Noes" were principle driven.  Here is a smattering of words attributed to him:

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.

The Constitution is the sole source and guaranty of national freedom.

I believe in the American Constitution. I favor the American system of individual enterprise, and I am opposed to any general extension of government ownership, and control. I believe not only in advocating economy in public expenditure, but in its practical application and actual accomplishment. I believe in a reduction and reform of taxation, and shall continue my efforts in that direction.

It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.

To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.

I favor the policy of economy, not because I wish to save money, but because I wish to save people. The men and women of this country who toil are the ones who bear the cost of the Government. Every dollar that we carelessly waste means that their life will be so much the more meager. Every dollar that we prudently save means that their life will be so much the more abundant. Economy is idealism in its most practical form.

Don’t expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong

I sometimes wish that people would put a little more emphasis on the observance of the law than they do on its enforcement. It is a maxim of our institutions, that the government does not make the people, but the people make the government

We live in an age of science and abounding accumulation of material things. These did not create the Declaration. Our Declaration created them. The things of the spirit come first. Unless we cling to that, all of our material prosperity, overwhelming though it may appear, will turn to a barren scepter in our grasp. If we are to maintain the great heritage bequeathed to us, we must be like minded as the Founders who created. We must not sink into a pagan materialism. We must cultivate the reverence which they had and for the things that are holy. We must follow the spiritual and moral leadership which they showed. We must keep replenished, that they may glow with a more compelling flame, the altar fires before which they worshipped.

It is not industry, but idleness, that is degrading

Workmen’s compensation, hours and conditions of labor are cold consolations, if there be no employment

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

I have noticed that nothing I have never said ever did me any harm.

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

At the movies............Vincent Price, et. al., in The Raven

Hate it when that happens...................



































via

On knowledge and money.......................

There are two kinds of knowledge.  One is general, the other is specialized.  General knowledge, no matter how great in quantity or variety it may be, is of but little use in the accumulation of money.  The faculties of the great universities possess, in the aggregate, practically every form of general knowledge known to civilization.  Most of the professors have but little money.   They specialize on teaching knowledge but the do not specialize on the organization, or the use of knowledge.
     Knowledge will not attract money, unless it is organized, and intelligently directed, through practical plans of action, to the definite end of accumulation of money.  Lack of understanding of this fact has been the source of confusion to millions of people who falsely believe that "knowledge is power."  It is nothing of the sort!  Knowledge is only potential power.  It becomes power only when, and if, it is organized into definite plans of action and directed to a definite end.
-Napoleon Hill,  Think And Grow Rich

On wealth and nature...........................

15.   “The wealth required by nature is limited and is easy to procure; but the wealth required by vain ideals extends to infinity.” 
-Epicurus, as excerpted from his "Principal Doctrines"

Trifle..................................

God requires a faithful fulfilment of the merest trifle given us to do, rather than the most ardent aspiration to things to which we are not called.
-St. Francis de Sales

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Shadows...................................

Bodeans...........................................Fadeaway

Prescient..........................................

     "There's a guy I know only on the Internet.  He's apparently involved in some kind of hassle with Krause.  Anyway, he says that Krause has got a rat's-nest-inter-agency intelligence operation going, and one of the things that they're testing is called Deep Data Correlation.  The basic concept was supposed to be that they could look at an ocean of data and figure out from that who might be bad guys.  Terrorists."
     "Is that bad?"  The waiter came back with a martini, waited, with me, until Bob nodded.  The waiter went away and I continued.
     "Not if that was what was happening.  but there are some fundamental problems with that kind of data-mining," I said.  I explained the numbers problem.  "So essentially, what they were trying to do is impossible.  But - if you come at it from the other end, starting with a name, then going after associated data, you can develop some pretty powerful tools."
     "What a minute,"  Bob said.  "You're saying that instead of looking at the data, and finding suspects, they find a suspect, and then mine some data to support the suspicion."
     "Yeah.  Except, of course, that you've got to identify a target first.  With terrorists, identifying the target is the whole problem.  That's the hard part.  If they'd been a private company, say, hired to find techniques that would identify terrorists, they'd have concluded that data-mining was a waste of time.  But they're not in a private company.  They're with the government.  So they apparently said to themselves, "Well, data-mining doesn't work, but we've got this great research tool, let's just check it out on a few targets."
-John Sandford,  as excerpted from The Hanged Man's Song, published in 2003

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

          Whatever man gives me
           In true devotion:
           Fruit or water,
           A leaf, a flower:
           I will accept it.
           That gift is love,
           His heart's dedication.

           Whatever your action,
           Food or worship;
           Whatever the gift
           That you give to another;
           Whatever the vow
           To the work of the spirit:
           O Son of Kunti,
           Lay these also
           As offerings before me.

     Thus you will free yourself from both the good and the evil effects of your actions.  Offer up everything to me.  If your heart is united with me, you will be set free from karma even in this life, and come to me at the last.

-an excerpt from Chapter IX
The Song of God: Bhagavad-Gita
as translated by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood

TBDBITL..............................

The Strategic Learner highlights this performance by the wondrous The Ohio State University Marching Band, and asks if there are some lessons to be learned here:

"This is one excellent example of the payoff from organization and mindfulness.   Everyone knows what to do, when to do it, and does so flawlessly.   These folks are paying attention to both planning and execution."

My favorite performance by The Best Damn Band In The Land can be found here.

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

A two-minute Crest commercial that aired on Judy Garland's TV show on December 29, 1963.  What a difference fifty years makes!

Worthy...........................

From Sipp........................................

"I can't say I like the winter. I've always been cold. Poor people are often cold, and I have been poor in my life. I'm not a fool and I don't like misery. But I respect the winter here. It's a worthy adversary, and so, goddamn it, am I. Bring it on."

On friendship...........................

27. Of all the means which wisdom acquires to ensure happiness throughout the whole of life, by far the most important is friendship.
-Epicurus, as excerpted from his "Principal Doctrines"

Ten minutes of football fun............



thanks craig

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

"Jejune and barren speculations may unfold the plicatures of Truth's garments, but they cannot discover her lovely face."
-John Smith, the Platonist