Saturday, February 15, 2014

Fifty years in the making..........................

Sir Paul and The Boss play a few old favorites

Enter.................................














“Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts. Each time we drop our complaints and allow everyday good fortune to inspire us, we enter the warrior’s world.”
-Pema Chodron  

Forget this at your own peril..........................























"Not everyone who gives financial advice in the US has a duty to actually help those who have no sense of their financial best interests."

"When most of us go looking for help with our investments, whether we go to the bank or the friendly professional we first heard about via a commercial on CNBC, we encounter people who call themselves financial advisers. That's a fancy word for a salesman."

quotes from here

thanks david : cartoon via

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

Al Martino....................I Love You More and More Every Day

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

A beautiful fall night in Glen Burnie, a Thursday, autumn leaves kicking along the streets.  A bicycle with a flickering headlamp, a dog running alongside, a sense of quiet.  A good night for a cashmere sportcoat or small black pearls at an intimate restaurant down in the District;  maybe white Notre Dame-style tapers and a rich controversial senator eating trout with a pretty woman not his wife.  Like That.
-John Sanford,  The Devil's Code

Love...................................


























"The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves."
-William Hazlitt

cartoon via

Yawn..............................................


Illumination......................

Ange-Louis Janet        La France illuminant le Monde.























“Maybe there is another who sees life not as a flickering candle but as a torch that can illuminate an undiscovered world.” 
― Jimmy BuffettA Salty Piece of Land

Friday, February 14, 2014

Favorite work of art............................

Frank Sinatra.....................................My Funny Valentine

And yet, here we are.....................

"I cannot believe that God plays dice with the world."
-Albert Einstein
















image via

Doesn't...................................

It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.
-Richard Feynman

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

60's Dancing at The Whiskey A Go-Go    "Free Style"

Happy Valentine's Day..............................


























all not-easily-identifiable cartoons came from here

At least it should be...............

"Science is not a catalogue of known facts; it is the discovery of new forms of ignorance."
-Matt the "Rational Optimist" Ridley, as excerpted from this blog post about science doing what science does best.  

He concludes with this paragraph:   "About the only safe conclusion about human prehistory — as revealed in genes, stone tools and bones — is that some gigantic new surprises are in store for us. And that is the beauty of science: the more you find out, the more you realise what you did not know. The story of human prehistory is not special in this regard. You can tell the same tale of expanding new mysteries in cosmology, neuroscience, the history of climate, the workings of the immune system. On the voyage of science we are perpetually sighting great continents of ignorance that we did not even know were there."

Yep...............................................


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

      I had become president of Texas A & M University in August 2002, and by October 2006 I was well into my fifth year.  I was very happy there, and many - but not all - Aggies believed I was making significant improvements in nearly all aspects of the university (except football).  I had originally committed to staying five years but agreed to extend that to seven years - summer 2009.  Then my wife, Becky, and I would finally return to our home in the Pacific Northwest.
     The week of October 15, 2006, the week that would change my life, started out routinely with several meetings.  Then I took to the road, ending up in Des Moines, Iowa, where I was to give a speech on Friday, the twentieth.
     Just past one p. m. that day I received an e-mail from my secretary, Sandy Crawford, saying that President Bush's national security adviser, Steve Hadley, wanted to speak to me on the phone within  an hour or two.  Hadley's assistant was "quite insistent" that the message be passed to me.  It told Sandy to inform the assistant that I would return Steve's call on Saturday morning.  I had no idea why Steve was calling, but I had spent nearly nine years at the White House on the National Security Council (NSC) staff under four presidents, and I knew that the West Wing often demanded instant responses that were rarely necessary.
-Robert M. Gates,  Duty:  Memoirs of a Secretary At War

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Having fun while prancing...............

The Gentrys.......................................Keep On Dancing




1960's TV star cameos galore.  Enjoy.................

Hey Kurt.........................

If this snow ever melts, lets go have a beer.......


Kicking the can..................................














thanks jessica

You mean it isn't................................?

At least the miserable winter weather, whatever it turns out to be, gives ignorant dumbasses who don't understand science a chance to squawk that "global warming" is a godless liberal commie plot to destroy America.
-Bilbo, as excerpted from this blog post

Now, I like friend Bilbo and his blog, even though we've never met.  I suspect that if we ever set down over beers we would find many avenues of both agreement and disagreement.  Just how it should be.

One area where we probably disagree is the role of the sun in the variations of climate on earth.  I'm a big proponent of the sun being in charge.  Reading his blog, I'm guessing Bilbo believes that man's behavior is the driving factor.  It is very possible that neither one of us is correct.

Being a history major in school, your faithful correspondent claims only a passing knowledge of science.  Having lived a few years, however, I am pretty sure that "computer modeling" is not science.  If those who were aggressively pushing man-made climate change would spend more time trying to improve our complete understanding of the systems, mechanics and variations of this planet we call home, and less time defending their existing models, I might be more open to their arguments.



















chart via

More often than not.................


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

The Trashmen..................................Surfin' Bird



While this dandy was released in 1963, it ended 1964 at #75 on Billboards's Hot 100 Singles chart.  Plus, how can you argue with a re-play?  It's just too good.

Forget this at your own peril..........Part One


Forget this at your own peril...................Part Two

For most organizations, people are a means and medium to an end.   They’re not hiring employees, they’re hiring value creation.
-Michael Schrage, as excerpted from here

Why most crystal balls are cloudy............................
























Big data can help us understand the past and the present but it can help us understand the future only to the extent that the future is, in some relevant way, contained in the present. That requires a constancy of underlying structure that is true of some physical processes but can never be true of a world that contains Hitler and Napoleon, Henry Ford and Steve Jobs; a world in which important decisions or discoveries are made by processes that are inherently unpredictable and not susceptible to quantitative description.
-John Kay, as excerpted from here

cartoon via

Like my first car for instance...........................









Kind of an ironic tweet coming from people who have made vast fortunes packaging and selling debt.

via

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A warm fire, a glass of wine, and..........

Stan Getz.....................................................Misty

Stan Getz.............................Trains and Boats and Planes

Good for them...............................

"Most of us will never see $1 billion in our lives. But that’s just about how much Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, donated in 2013, topping the list of the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s latest compilation of America’s most generous donors."

"Zuckerberg and Chan gave their gift, in the form of 18 million Facebook shares valued at about $990 million at the time of donation, to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Over the past two years, the couple has donated about $1.5 billion in shares to the organization."

As excerpted from here.

Great moments in bloggery....................

 "...I'd rather swallow a dozen toads than have anyone confuse my thinking with theirs..."

full post from whence that was extracted is here

thanks gene

Meeting............................



































"We meet our destiny on the road we take to avoid it."

-quote from here, photo from here

On judgment..........................
















thanks todd

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

Jan and Dean....................Little Old Lady from Pasadena

Late to the party...........................

Turns out that our friend David Kanigan is also doing the Tumblr thing.  Check out Thrive.  Well done, David.


About those Winter Olympics.......................
















"Rich people from rich countries compete with each other at absurdly dangerous activities. I am often baffled as to why or even how some of these sports came to be invented, but they sure are fun to watch."
-as excerpted from here

photo via

And abundant too......................






















via

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Did I mention my preference for global warming over global cooling?

Just another routine double digit below zero morning.


Because he can................................

Louis Armstrong......................................Indiana

The tale of two cities.........................

How did Pittsburgh avoid the current messiness that now characterizes Detroit?  One city highly dependent on the steel industry, the other on the automotive industry.  Both industries went through wrenching change.  Pittsburgh is now a growing and vibrant city.  Detroit not so much.  What happened?   A better football team is the easy answer, but there is more too it than that.  Read about it here and here.

Oblige it.............................

"But what is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?  If men were angels, no government would be necessary.  If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.  In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this:  you must first enable the government to controul the governed; and in the next place oblige it to controul itself.  A dependence of the people is not doubt the primary controul on the government;  but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.
-Publius (James Madison),  The Federalist No. 51

On why us humans have so much trouble distinguishing between truth and falsehood.......

                    The Six Filters for Truth

1.  Personal experience (Human perceptions are iffy.)

2.  Expertise of people you know (Even more unreliable.)

3.  Experts   (They work for money, not truth.)

4.  Scientific studies (Correlation is not causation.)

5.  Common sense (A good way to be mistaken with complete confidence.)

6.  Pattern recognition  (Patterns, coincidence, and personal bias look alike.)

-Scott Adams, as excerpted from How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big:  Kind of the Story of My Life

Exordium.......................................
















This terror, then, this darkness of the mind,
Not sunrise with its flaring spokes of light.
Nor glittering arrows of morning can disperse,
But only Nature's aspect and her law,
Which, teaching us, hath this exordium:
Nothing from nothing ever yet was born.

-Lucretius,  The Nature of Things

image via

Word for the day................................


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

Dave Clark Five................................She's All Mine

Just to clarify.................................

This blog has occasionally pined for the return of inflation (here and here for instance).  Mind you, it was expressed as a preference over deflation, but still, as an investor in real estate a wee bit of inflation might be useful.  Just to be clear, I was NOT asking for this.

Speaking of lists..............................

Our friends at Amazon have posted a list of 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime. It's actually a fairly interesting list (translated:  I've read at least twenty of them and another dozen or so are shelved somewhere around the house).  There must be something about human nature that won't let us look at a list without feeling the need to add to it.  Goodreads went so far as to add another 100 (although there appears to be a few overlaps). Here is a start on my additions to the two lists:

Killer Angels, Michael Shaara

Trinity, Leon Uris

The Memory of Old Jack,  Wendell Berry

The Prince of Tides,  Pat Conroy

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

One Summer:  America, 1927,  Bill Bryson

The Poetry of Robert Frost

Red Storm Rising,  Tom Clancy

The Road Less Traveled,  M. Scott Peck

The Little World of Don Camillo,  Giovanni Guareschi

The Map That Changed the World,  Simon Winchester

thanks bilbo

Talking Beatles........................................

and, playing some too, with the house band at Sippican Cottage.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Feeling Olympian...........................

Vangelis..................................................Chariots of Fire

Beware the Music.............................

Venture to guess I'm suffering "selective hearing impairment."   How about you?























via

Family Reunion......................

The week in August you come home,
adult, professional, aloof,
we roast and carve the fatted calf
—in our case home-grown pig, the chine
garlicked and crisped, the applesauce
hand-pressed. Hand-pressed the greengage wine.

Nothing is cost-effective here.
The peas, the beets, the lettuces
hand sown, are raised to stand apart.
The electric fence ticks like the slow heart
of something we fed and bedded for a year,
then killed with kindness’s one bullet
and paid Jake Mott to do the butchering.

In winter we lure the birds with suet,
thaw lungs and kidneys for the cat.
Darlings, it’s all a circle from the ring
of wire that keeps the raccoons from the corn
to the gouged pine table that we lounge around,
distressed before any of you was born.

Benign and dozy from our gluttonies,
the candles down to stubs, defenses down,
love leaking out unguarded the way
juice dribbles from the fence when grounded
by grass stalks or a forgotten hoe,
how eloquent, how beautiful you seem!

Wearing our gestures, how wise you grow,
ballooning to overfill our space,
the almost-parents of your parents now.
So briefly having you back to measure us
is harder than having let you go.


Three of our four kids were home this weekend.  
Feeling the truth of the last five lines.

Genius.................................



















via

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

Highlight reel from the 1964 Winter Olympics

On Selfishness.............................

“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live. And unselfishness is letting other people’s lives alone, not interfering with them. Selfishness always aims at creating around it an absolute uniformity of type. Unselfishness recognises infinite variety of type as a delightful thing, accepts it, acquiesces in it, enjoys it. It is not selfish to think for oneself. A man who does not think for himself does not think at all. It is grossly selfish to require of one’s neighbour that he should think in the same way, and hold the same opinions. Why should he? If he can think, he will probably think differently. If he cannot think, it is monstrous to require thought of any kind from him. A red rose is not selfish because it wants to be a red rose. It would be horribly selfish if it wanted all the other flowers in the garden to be both red and roses.”
-Oscar Wilde

thanks Todd

Just a reminder.........................

Lest we forget, the Execupundit suggests that the veneer of civilization (which we all tend to take for granted) is just that, a veneer.  His post on the subject is here.






















cartoon via

Politicians - what are you going to do with them?

In his post on "contridictoration," Mungo tries to understand our marijuana and tobacco policies.  Good luck with that:

The point being that if they are equally dangerous, then why has Obama cracked down hard on legal prescription marijuana, advocated for legal recreational marijuana, and smoked tobacco while pushing to make tobacco illegal, or at least unavailable?

Bedtime stories.........................

History is not a bedtime story.  It is a comprehensive engagement with often obscure documents and books no longer read - books shelved in old archives, and fragile pamphlets contemporaneous with the subject under study - all of which reflect a world view not ours.  We cannot make eighteenth-century men and women "familiar" by endowing them and their families with emotions we prefer to universalize; not should we try to equate their politics with politics we understand.  But this is what popular biographers do, and as a result, everything we know about Aaron Burr is untrue.  It is time to start over.
-Nancy Isenberg, from the Preface to Fallen Founder:  The Life of Aaron Burr

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Everything you need............................

The Beatles.......................................Magical Mystery Tour

When he is right, he is right..................

A few excerpts from President Obama's remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast (full transcription here):

"So each time we gather, it’s a chance to set aside the rush of our daily lives; to pause with humility before an Almighty God; to seek His grace; and, mindful of our own imperfections, to remember the admonition from the Book of Romans, which is especially fitting for those of us in Washington:  'Do not claim to be wiser than you are.' "

"Yet even as our faith sustains us, it’s also clear that around the world freedom of religion is under threat.  And that is what I want to reflect on this morning.  We see governments engaging in discrimination and violence against the faithful.  We sometimes see religion twisted in an attempt to justify hatred and persecution against other people just because of who they are, or how they pray or who they love.  Old tensions are stoked, fueling conflicts along religious lines, as we’ve seen in the Central African Republic recently, even though to harm anyone in the name of faith is to diminish our own relationship with God.  Extremists succumb to an ignorant nihilism that shows they don’t understand the faiths they claim to profess -- for the killing of the innocent is never fulfilling God’s will; in fact, it’s the ultimate betrayal of God’s will."

Investing.................................

"This is the great philosophy that is at the heart of transforming your life.  Invest in yourself, invest in your own self-education and then take that knowledge and use it to help others get what they want and need out of life.  In the process you will acquire power and financial freedom."
-Jim Rohn

Connection........................

You want to learn to catch a mouse?
Don't try to learn from a pampered cat.
If you want to learn the nature of the world,
don't study from fine bound books.
The True Jewel's in a coarse bag.
Buddha-nature stops at huts.
The whole herd of folks who clutch at looks of things
never seem to make the connection.
-Shih Te, as translated by J. P. Seaton

Serenity.........................






















via

Fifty years ago...................Part The First

If you tuned in to watch The Beatles on Ed Sullivan, you were first subjected to some corporate fundraising.  To wit:

Fifty years ago....................Part The Second

The Beatles...................Live TV from the Ed Sullivan Show

Ed. Note:   Apparently there are some spoil sports out there in the Intertunnel that just don't want to let us have fun.  I've watched this video three or four times over the years.  It is an amazing slice of Americana.  Oh well.  If you are still interested, go here and look around.  Something similar might be found.

Within.....................................

"The complete teachings of all Buddhas - past, present and future - are to be found within the essence of every human being."
-Hui Neng






















cartoon via

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

Do you wish to attain pure Tao?
Then you must understand and integrate
within yourself the three main
energies of the universe.

The first is the earth energy.
Centered in the belly, it expresses itself
as sexuality.
Those who cultivate and master the
physical energy attain partial purity.

The second is the heaven energy.
Centered in the mind, it expresses itself
as knowledge and wisdom.
Those whose minds merge with the
Universal Mind also
attain partial purity.

The third is the harmonized energy.
Centered in the heart, it expresses itself 
as spiritual insight.
Those who develop spiritual insight also
attain partial purity.

Only when you achieve all three -
mastery of the physical energy,
universal mindedness, and
spiritual insight - and 
express them in a 
virtuous integrated life,
can you attain pure Tao.

-Verse 62
Hua Hu Ching:  The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu
Brian Browne Walker

Who wouldn't be.................?

























"God must have been very pleased"

via