Saturday, January 18, 2014

Channeling his inner John Lennon......

Dave Mathews..........................................In My Life

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

When Vivek Ranadive decided to coach his daughter Anjali's basketball team, he settled on two principles.  The first was that he would never raise his voice.  This was the National Junior Basketball - the Little League of basketball.  The team was made up mostly of twelve-year olds, and twelve-year olds, he knew from experience, did not respond well to shouting.  He would conduct business on the basketball court, he decided, the same way he conducted business at his software firm.  He would speak calmly and softly, and he would persuade the girls of the wisdom of his approach with appeals to reason and common sense.
-
Malcolm Gladwell,   David and Goliath:  Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

Interesting tidbits about David and Goliath, or, who did you think was really the underdog............?
























"Slinging took and extraordinary amount of skill and practice.  But in experienced hands, the sling was a devastating weapon.  Paintings from medieval times show slingers hitting birds in midflight."

"The historian Baruch Halpern argues that the sling was of such importance in ancient warfare that the three kinds of warriors balanced one another, like each gesture in the game of rock, paper, scissors.  With their long pikes and armor, infantry could stand up to cavalry.  Cavalry could, in turn, defeat projectile warriors, because the horses moved too quickly for artillery to take proper aim.  And projectile warriors were deadly against infantry, because a big lumbering soldier, weighed down with armor, was a sitting duck for a slinger who was launching projectiles from a hundred yards away."

"Eitian Hirsch, a ballistics expert with the Israeli Defense Forces, recently did a series of calculations showing that a typical sized stone hurled by an expert slinger at a distance of thirty-five meters would have hit Goliath's head at a velocity of thirty-four meters per second - more than enough to penetrate his skull and render him unconscious or dead.  In terms of stopping power, that is equivalent to a fair sized modern handgun."

"Goliath had as much chance against David," the historian Robert Dohrenwend writes, "as any Bronze Age warrior with a sword would have had against an opponent armed with gun."

-all excerpts from Malcolm Gladwell's David and Goliath:  Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

A likely contributor to climate change...................

From It's Okay To Be Smart:

Fact: This is what the sun looked like back before The Wizard of Oz was released in theaters, which, we all know, was when the Earth became colorized

.

Ever have one of those days...............?













via

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

Design plans for the World Trade Center, prepared by Minoru Yamasaki, were unveiled on January 18, 1964.  Full NYT article can be found here.


Uh-oh..............................

Going to need some more book shelves..............................

The Seattle retailer in December gained a patent for what it calls “anticipatory shipping,” a method to start delivering packages even before customers click “buy.” 

Amazon continues its relentless ways.  Story here.

Black and white....................

animal photography at its finest...............................






















more images from Lukas Holas can be found here

Hmmm...........................






















via the Business Wisdom blog

Friday, January 17, 2014

Doesn't have a point of view................................

The Beatles........................................Nowhere Man

One of those days...................................


This seems to be in the news lately...........................


You are getting very sleepy.....................














via

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

Dusty Springfield...............................Wishin' and Hopin'

My apologies.......................

According the the countie thing Blogger provides, this blog has now hit 10,000 posts.  We have clearly opted for the quantity over quality model and have littered all over the Intertunnel floor.  Mea culpa, but..... it has been fun and your friendly neighborhood blogger considers himself well amused.  Hopefully you too have occasionally found something of value among the clutter.

Traffic is down.....................

Well, it was never really traffic to begin with.  Google seems determined to make life difficult for spammers and other assorted bots clogging up the passageways of the Intertunnel.  Good for Google.  Long version of the tale is here.  Wee excerpt here:

"They now spend their lives on the run, Google nipping at their heels."

Driven by curiosity........................

Penn State researchers study parasites, in this case  Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, that seize control over what passes for the "mind" of an ant.  Fascinating stuff.



thanks mungo

What could possibly go wrong.............?

Given their role in the 2008 meltdown, and their subsequent branding as toxic sludge, it is not surprising that "securitised" financial products have had a quiet few years.  Yet the transformation of mortgages, credit-card debt and other recurring cash flows into new marketable securities is enjoying something of a resurgence.
-as excerpted from this The Economist article

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Phil and Don twofer..............................

The Everly Brothers....All I Have To Do Is Dream/Cathy's Clown

Outside the box............................

Arnold Kling thinks about the future, features, and bugs: 

Schools keep your kids around all day, and thereby waste most of the day. For parents, that is as much a feature as a bug, because they need schools to supervise their kids. But if you were to re-organize schooling into a day-care component and a tutoring component, you might find benefits in getting rid of the enterprise that we call a school.

Welcome to the club........................

The Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) interviewed 163 Capitol Hill staffers in November and December, and found 91 percent said they were worried about possible changes to their healthcare benefits under the Affordable Care Act.
In addition, 87 percent said they were worried about the cost of their new health insurance, and 82 percent said they had concerns about access to local healthcare providers.
A Republican amendment to the 2010 law requires members of Congress and their staffs to buy insurance though the health insurance exchanges. 

Full article here.

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

I like our Constitution.  Ratified in 1791, it has provided the framework for one of the dynamic and successful countries in the history of countries.  It is true that it has been amended 27 times, and stretched and fiddled with a bit here and there over the years by the Courts, but that should be expected, as things are more than a little different today than they were in 1791.  Still, I like it and wish only that we pay closer attention to it.  Having said all that, may I go strongly on record as being in favor of the following as the 28th Amendment?

"Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States."

On getting regulations right....................

Casual visitors might get the idea that this blog is anti-governmental regulations. That is really not the case, but we are fervent believers in The Law of Unintended Consequences, and we are afraid that many  well-meaning governmental actions create more unanticipated problems than they solve.  Big City banking confuses us.  We like to think we're kind of smart, so we suspect Big City banking confuses the regulators as well. Vernon Vogelsong has weighed in on the subject - here.  Excerpt here:

The Volcker Rule has been a public battleground for opponents and proponents of financial reform, but for the wrong reasons. It’s exciting to talk about personalities like the London Whale or Kweku Adoboli who made large directional commitments and lost big. It’s also provocative to imagine that a cabal of adrenaline junkies is causing the world economy to teeter on the brink of disaster. In truth, the real problems are much more entrenched and far quieter. It is politically popular and frequently financially profitable to extend credit. We lost control of the incentives that would ensure prudent loan origination, and we had insufficient limits on leverage.

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

Gene Pitney................................It Hurts To Be In Love

Small acts...................................

"We don't change markets, or populations, we change people. One person at a time, at a human level. And often, that change comes from small acts that move us, not from grand pronouncements."
-Seth Godin, as excerpted from here

Why blog................................?

Ponder that question, and other truths, with Nan at the Jade Page Press:

"This blog helps me experience my life the way I want to view it. It gives me a platform to express myself, in a fairly safe (and ironically fairly private) way."

Weak points..........................
















"If the enemy is taking his ease, harass him;  if he is quietly encamped, force him to move;  if well supplied with food, starve him out."
-Sun Tzu, as channeled by James Clavell's The Art of War

Ed. Note:  This is another in Jessica Hagy's series run by Forbes Magazine

Break out of your rut......................

..............................................in seven easy steps.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Look in the mirror.............................

Aerosmith................................................Dream On

Free-wheeling spontaneity......................

The Connoisseur            Norman Rockwell      1961























"It was against this backdrop that Rockwell created his masterpiece, The Connoisseur.  It takes us inside and art museum, where an older gentleman is shown from the back as he holds his fedora in his and and contemplates a 'drip' painting by Jackson Pollock.  His gray hair, gray suit, and general air of quietude offer a sharp contract with the crackling intensity of the Pollack."

"...Pollack had died in 1956, in a car wreck in East Hampton, New York, and his death at age forty-four seemed to seal his reputation as a renegade.  In a way, Rockwell and Pollock represent opposite sides of the same coin.  Rockwell exemplified the American desire for safety and security as much as Pollack exemplifies the opposing need for flight and rebellion."

     "The Connoisseur required, among other things, that Rockwell paint a fake Pollack as part of his preparatory process.  He had seen the famous photographs in Life of Pollack in his denim jacket, tossing paint from a stick onto a sheet of canvass that had been laid on the floor.  Now Rockwell tried to duplicate Pollack's vaunted 'drip' technique.  As photographs reveal, he places his canvass on the floor and created an imitation Pollack.  He knew he was putting on a show and saw the inherent paradox of it - meticulously re-creating an image of free-wheeling spontaneity."

-Deborah Solomon, American Mirror:  The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell

Old dogs learning new tricks............

Norman Rockwell channels his inner Jackson Pollack.  He was quoted as saying, "If I were young, I would paint  that way myself."





















Pollock................................

"Abstract painting is abstract. It confronts you. There was a reviewer a while back who wrote that my pictures didn’t have any beginning or any end. He didn’t meant it as a compliment, but it was. It was a fine compliment. Only he didn’t know it."
- Jackson Pollock        Cliff Notes on Pollock here

Jackson Pollock         Number 8       1949

Jackson Pollock    Eyes In The Heat     1946

Jackson Pollock          Shimmering  Substance           1946





























































Jackson Pollock, the artist at work

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

Ennio Morricone................................A Fistful of Dollars

Building.......................................

"Your life is being built whether you know it or not.  Who's doing the building is up to you."
-a Wise Old Man

Ah, Grasshopper...........................


This one's on me...............................
















Althouse reports our brain cells are safer than we thought.  And:
"And shame on those who make stuff up or outright lie because they're so concerned that we can't enjoy life's pleasures in moderation that they think it's best to scare us into doing nothing at all."

art via

P.S.  Happy 10th Anniversary to Ann Althouse.  She has blogged EVERY day for ten years.  Yeow.  Lots of quantity, but even more quality.  Congratulations!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Gunners like me............................

Keith Urban............................................Days Go By



thanks maggie

Black or white....................?























How about black and white.................?

thanks e-man

A silver lining in every cloud................

With apologies to all my lobbyist friends.................

The political gridlock that has gripped Washington over the past few years may have one small upside: For the third year in a row, the lobbying industry profits are down. Most struggling companies are losing business due to the lingering effects of the recession, but with lobbyists the problem appears to stem from the inability of Congress to get anything done...

Read the full WRM blog post here.

At least it ought to be...............................


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

The Problem We All Live With       Norman Rockwell     1964























On January 14, 1964, Rockwell published his first illustration in Look.  The Problem We All Live With was spread over two pages inside the magazine.  It had a wonderful directness to it, in part, because it appeared without a caption, or a chunk of explanatory text.  True, it was introduced by a tan-colored page with minimal type:  "Painted for Look by Norman Rockwell."  As readers turned to page 21 and came upon the painting, they must have wondered, "What is this?"  There she was, an African-American girl - a six-year-old in a chaste white dress, a matching bow in her hair - walking to school.  She is escorted by four uniformed officers in lockstep.
     The background of the painting conveys the background of the story.  A defaced, dinged stucco wall is inscribed with a slur ("nigger") and, in the upper left, the initials KKK, the creepiest monogram in American history.  The girl, we can see, is a person of exemplary dignity.  She stares ahead as she walks, declining to acknowledge the graffiti or the still-dripping mess in the center of the wall, a tomato that was tossed by a demonstrator and which had thankfully missed the girl's head.
     Ruby Bridges was the first African-American to attend the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, as a result of court-ordered desegregation.  And Rockwell's painting chronicled that famous day.  On the morning of November 14, 1960, shortly before 9:00 a.m., federal marshals dispatched by the U. S. Justice Department drove Ruby and her mother to her new school, which was only five blocks from their house.  It was her first day of first grade and, according to news accounts, she had to walk by a crowd of crazy hecklers outside the school, most of them housewives and teenagers.  She did this every day for weeks, and then weeks became months.  In retaliation, white Louisiana parents withdrew their kids from school and only one teacher was willing to help Ruby, the sainted Barbara Henry of Boston.  So Ruby sat alone with Mrs. Henry in an empty classroom and learned how to read and how to add numbers.
-Deborah Solomon, as excerpted from American Mirror:  The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell

"Hard physical work is still a requisite for a sound outlook on an ever more crazy world."

Victor Davis Hanson ponders the societal meaning of the disappearance of the yeoman farmer:

"I worry though not about the way we look or talk, but rather about the use of the land. It no longer grows people, or produces for the nation a 5% minority of self-reliant, cranky and autonomous citizens, who do not worry much about things like tanning booths, plastic surgery, Botox, male jewelry, tattoos, rap music, waxed-off body hair, or social media. I think our impoverished society reflects that fact of agrarian loss, in the sense that never have so many had so much and complained that they had so little while being so dependent on government — and yet they are so whiney and angry over their lack of independence. The entitlement state is the flame, the recipients the moths. The latter zero in on the glow and then, transfixed by the buzz, are consumed by acquiring what they were hypnotized by."

His full essay can be read here.

Through the ages..........................

"The way to do is to be."
-Lao-tzu

“To do is to be.” 
-Socrates

“To be is to do.” 
-Plato

“To be or not to be.”

 -Shakespeare

"Do be do be do.” 
-Sinatra

Of bongs and bureaucrats..................

From The Economist:

"It is too early to judge whether the experiment is working, but the early signs are good.  The first American state to allow toking for fun has not been seized by reefer madness.  Its pot shops are more orderly than, say, a British pub at closing time."

Speaking of reefer madness..................................


Efforts.................................

"Having lost sight of our goals, we've decided to re-double our efforts.
-attributed to Mark Twain and some guy named anon

Monday, January 13, 2014

Softly falling..............................

Gordon Lightfoot.................Song For A Winter's Night

Confronted........................

















"We are confronted by insurmountable opportunities."
-Walt Kelly

Testing, always testing........................














thanks jessica

Some assembly required.......................


The Intertunnel was full of opportunity.................










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

Betty Everett and Jerry Butler..................Let It Be Me

Power..............................























"It is the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limits of our power to perceive is also the limit of all there is to perceive."
-C. W. Leadbeater

photo via mme scherzo

The instant gratification of the easy answer.....
















"But that isn’t what we want to hear. We want the instant gratification of an easy answer. We want to hear that character traits can be taught like algebra and geometry and that if you can resist eating a marshmallow at 4, you possess the secret to a successful life.  We want the world to be a big fluffy marshmallow, and we want to gobble it up. We want to eat the first marshmallow, but get the second one, too."
-As excerpted from this Michael Bourne essay found in the New York Times Magazine, in which he takes a closer look at the famous Walter Mischel  experiment with marshmallows, four year old's, and the choice of gratification - delayed, or not.  I loved this sentence:
"But science isn’t religion or philosophy; it’s science. And in this case, as remarkable as Mischel’s experiments were, our extrapolations from them leave plenty of room for skepticism."

thanks craig

Is he talking about us..........................?

Maybe this is why you don't see too many UFO's these days....
 


via

A worthy resolution....................

No matter what I think concerning difficult subjects, I will strive to be the lesser of two egos.
-Mme Scherzo

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Twin sons of different mothers..............

Dan Fogelberg/Tim Weisberg.............Twins Theme/Intimidation

And here I thought blogging was making me more idiosyncratic, not less.........

Over the last few decades, neuroscientists, psychologists and other researchers have carried out scores of studies on the mental effects of hypertext, multimedia, multitasking, interruption and distraction. The bulk of these studies point to the same conclusion: When we go online, we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking and superficial learning. It’s possible to think deeply while surfing the Net, but that’s not the type of thinking the technology encourages and rewards. … We’ve begun to sacrifice other modes of thinking, particularly those that require sustained attention and concentration, which involve contemplation, reflection, introspection. … It’s altering the balance of our thought.”
According to Carr, “We can be very efficient, very productive, without those modes of thought, but as human beings we become flatter, less interesting, less intellectually distinctive and adventurous. I think as well that our ideas and our decisions tend to become narrower, more derivative, as we lose the richness of deep, idiosyncratic thought.” 
The preceding (and the brain image for the following post) was excerpted from this blog post.

The brain................................














"It's powerful, but insecure.  It's fast, but error prone.  It's clever, but extremely lazy.  It sees a lot, but ignores infinitely more.  The brain, as Emily Dickinson so beautifully described it, 'is wider that the Sky,' and yet it also makes us feel like isolated egos inside bags of skin."
-Tom Asacker,  as excerpted from The Business of Belief:  How the World's Best Marketers, Designers, Salespeople, Coaches, Fundraisers, Educators, Entrepreneurs and Others Get Us To Believe

Secrets..................................

















via

Honey....................................

"Like the bee gathering honey from different flowers, the wise man accepts the essence of different Scriptures and sees only the good in all religions."
-from the Srimad Bhagavatam

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

The Honeycombs.............................Have I The Right

It could happen............................
















via

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

                                   The Tao is empty
                                   but inexhaustible,
                                       bottomless,
                                the ancestor of it all.

                Within it, the sharp edges become smooth;
                             the twisted knots loosen;
                        the sun is softened by a cloud;
                           the dust settles into place.

                       It is hidden but always present.
                    I do not know who gave birth to it.
It seems to be the common ancestor of all, the father of all things.

-4th Verse
Tao Te Ching
as channeled by Wayne Dyer

Other than that...........................

........................................how was the fishing trip?








Bear........................................