Saturday, February 22, 2014

This Byrd could fly..................................

Gene Clark.............................................No Other
 

Perhaps best known as the creative energy behind the Byrds, Clark soloed on this album in 1974.  Back story is here.

On Newton, apples, insights and science..........

"The offending phrase is of course saw an apple fall to the ground, and, in a flash of insight, came to understand the workings of gravity. This is not what happened and it also creates a completely false impression of the scientific process of discovery.  Nobody, not even Newton, understands a complex scientific theory such as the theory of universal gravity in a flash of inspiration and claims that they do misinform non-scientists about how science works."

Full read-worthy blog post is here.

thanks gene

Doorways............................

























“If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door” 
-Milton Berle


via

Assumptions..............................

























“We have lived by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. And this has been based on the even flimsier assumption that we could know with any certainty what was good even for us."
-Wendell Berry

via

I know I did...............................

















via

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

Dionne Warwick..........................................Walk On By

Why not split up California while we're at it....?

Spengler, who knows way more interesting things than your faithful blogger, suggests breaking up the Ukraine.  Full essay is here.

Real learning vs. Book learning.....

By writing amusing if vulgar notes to my classmates, I was learning to write -- not learning to write in a way that would please English teachers, but learning to write in a way that would hold the interest of people who had no reason to read the note, other than the expectation that they would enjoy reading it. That’s much, much closer to writing books than writing insipid research papers to please bored English teachers. The adults in charge thought they knew what was important, but in retrospect they were just completely wrong.
-Bill James, as excerpted from Megan McArdle's blog post, "Go Ahead, Let Your Kids Fail"

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

Like an earthquake, the stock market crash of October 1929 cracked startlingly across the United States, the herald of a crisis that was to shake the American way of life to its foundations.  The events of the ensuing decade opened a fissure across the landscape of American history no less gaping that that opened by the volley on Lexington Common in April 1775 or by the bombardment of Sumter on another April four score and six years later.
-David M. Kennedy,  Freedom From Fear:  The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945

Probably just as true today................

"We in America today are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of any land."
-Herbert Hoover, August 11, 1928

Friday, February 21, 2014

Dues we've got to pay.......................

Traffic.................Shouldn't Have Took More Than You Gave

What kind of person.........................?























This kind of person.  Interesting to read that the full quote wasn't written for almost forty years after it was spoken.   Hmm.  Here is the full quote attributed to Pat Henry:

"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, Give me Liberty, or give me Death!"

cartoon via

Why I don't watch the news.........................


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

The Impressions.................................Keep On Pushing

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

I spotted the girl even before she knocked on my door.  I was gazing out my second-floor office window down at Berkeley Street, eating a cinnamon donut and drinking coffee with a little milk and sugar.  The girl looked lost among the businesspeople and tourists hustling along the icy sidewalks.  She wore a pink Boston Red Sox cap and an oversized down parka with a fur collar, and stared up at the number on the office building where Berkeley intersects Boylston.
-Ace Atkins, Lullaby:  A Spenser Novel

Courtesies.............................


Some cool Americans having fun........................



Somewhere around the 2:00 mark, Dean Martin starts flicking his cigarette ashes into George Gobel's drink.

Nope, it wouldn't...............................


Thursday, February 20, 2014

The eyes of age........................

David Bromberg....................................Mr. Bojangles

On constructive criticism............................

Matt Walsh, who has figured out how to make a living out of blogging, offers a few suggestions on how to give, and receive, criticism.   Full post is here.  Excerpt here:

I ask that you try an experiment. Just do this for a day. Just one day. Try to go about your day under the following four pretenses: 1) You are not perfect. 2) You could stand to improve in every single facet of your life. 3) People who point out your flaws or critique your actions aren’t necessarily motivated by cruelty, hatred, and animosity. 4) Some people know how to do certain things better than you know how to do them, and you should be grateful if they take the time to offer you guidance and insight into their areas of expertise.

It doesn't............................























"The Slippery Slope" from xkcd

Doesn't our wee corner of the blogosphere count as a tribe...............?

“Copious scientific data proves that loneliness is a greater risk to your health than smoking or lack of exercise, and finding your tribe is better than any vitamin, diet, or exercise regimen.” 

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

Dave Clark Five....................................Do You Love Me



better audio here

In defense of research..............................

"The philistine fixation with temporary utility is swamped in the long run by the enduring power of ideas. And just one discovery such as calculus, gravity or democracy will pay for a lot of research.

"Of course, there is a lot of bad and useless research. But as the Polish example illustrates, it is difficult to decide which research is useless or how research will influence our lives."

Vision..............................

















"The eyes of the soul of the multitudes are unable to endure the vision of the divine."
-Plato


cartoon via

The Eye................................


An Eye..................................


















































"Monet is only an eye, but my God, what an eye"
-Paul Cezanne

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Just a little impaired................

Matchbox Twenty..........................................Unwell

Mere flashes....................................






















“Our lives are mere flashes of light in an infinitely empty universe. In 12 years of education the most important lesson I have learned is that what we see as “normal” living is truly a travesty of our potential. In a society so governed by superficiality, appearances, and petty economics, dreams are more real than anything anything in the “real world”.   Refuse normalcy.   Beauty is everywhere, love is endless, and joy bleeds from our everyday existence. Embrace it.
-Dominic Owen Mallary

cartoon via

A notion...................................

























“There's a notion I'd like to see buried:  the ordinary person. Ridiculous. There is no ordinary person.” 
-Alan Moore

cartoon via

A peek.....................................






















“Sometimes Pierce watched soap operas for a peek at normalcy.” 
-Selena Illyria


cartoon via

Hiding...........................................

























“We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that's all.” 
-John Hughes


cartoon via

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

The Marketts.........................................Out of Limits




Some fun wiki facts (not to be confused with real facts):  First pressings were issued as "Outer Limits", named after the television program of the same name. The song was a surf variation of that show's theme song. However,Rod Serling sued the Marketts for quoting the four note motif from his television show,The Twilight Zone, without his approval, which resulted in the change of the title to "Out of Limits".[3][4] The record has been described as "an intriguing up-beat disc with a galloping rhythm".[1]

Released in 1963, this song peaked at #3 in February of 1964.   It sits at #60 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles for 1964.

Quite........................................






















“The normal is that which nobody quite is. If you listen to seemingly dull people very closely, you'll see that they're all mad in different and interesting ways, and are merely struggling to hide it.” 
-Robert Anton Wilson


cartoon via

"Normal"..................................









As has been said here before, normalcy is just the psychosis of the majority.

Handprints........................................

















Now, if familiar patterns bore you, if normalcy passes before you unnoticed, if you want to create your own footsteps in the earth and leave your own handprints on the skies, if you are the one who doesn't mind the lines in the coloring book as much as others do, and perchance you do not cling to a flock for you to identify with, then you must be ready for adversity.
-C. JoyBell C.

cartoon via

Invention..................................

















“No one's family is normal. Normalcy is a lie invented by advertising agencies to make the rest of us feel inferior.” 
-Claire LaZebnik


cartoon via

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Hey now................................

Crowded House........................Don't Dream It's Over



thanks Kurt

On modeling......................................

Your faithful correspondent recently questioned the "science" of computer modeling as it relates to climate change.  Arnold Kling weighs in on modeling as it relates to economics.  This one is worth quoting directly:

"A model is not all-or-nothing, right-or-wrong. A model is like a pair of binoculars. It helps you see some things more clearly, at the expense of not seeing other things at all. If you do not have that understanding of the modeling process, then you are missing what I see as a fundamental methodological truth."

The end of "climate change"........................

................................for now, anyway.  Full story is here.

Trophic cascades..........................




George Monbiot brings us an entertaining and educational video on what happens when you stop messing with the natural order of things.  Do watch,

Honest graft..............................................?

The honest pursuit of money, power, and politics.  What could possibly go wrong?

"How do you think these things work? These guys [FCC staffers] have been around. You don't have to spell things out for them."

A more detailed story can be found here.  Original source here.

thanks alex

I never liked Buchanan much either.....................

The Execupundit is not thrilled with "Presidents' Day."   Full post is here.  Conclusion here:

"Structure matters but character and competence matter far more. My feelings on this day can be summed up as follows: Cut the staff, change the day, honor Washington and Lincoln only, and don't feel compelled to put a picture of James Buchanan (or his modern-day equivalent) on your piano."

For those of you not interested in following the link on Buchanan, it goes to J. B.'s wiki, where this classic line is to be found:

Buchanan's view of record was that secession was illegal, but that going to war to stop it was also illegal. Buchanan, an attorney, was noted for his mantra, "I acknowledge no master but the law."[1]

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

Diane Renay..........................................Navy Blue



Co-written and produced by Bob Crewe, this song was released in late 1963 and got as high as #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February of 1964.  Crewe may be best known for his partnership with Bob Gaudio and their string of hits for the Four Seasons.

Interesting paragraphs..................

In trench warfare five things are important:  firewood, food, tobacco, candles, and the enemy.  In winter on the Zaragoza front they were important in that order, with the enemy a bad last.  Except at night, when a surprise-attack was always conceivable, nobody bothered about the enemy.  They were simply remote black insects whom one occasionally saw hopping to and fro.  The real preoccupation of both armies was trying to keep warm.
-George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia

Ed. Note:  The war was the Spanish Civil War.  The time was 1936ish.  Where Orwell was reporting from, neither side had artillery. 

On reasoning about "inequality"...............

The short answer is "don't try."  Longer answer here.  Wee excerpt here:

"Being correct rarely, if ever, wins a political debate. Most people’s feelings about inequality are not swayed by reason. It’s an emotional issue. They see others having more as a fundamental problem."

Hmmmmmmm...................


Monday, February 17, 2014

Will The Circle Be Unbroken........

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and a few of their Friends..................

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

There was a time when I assumed that becoming a master craftsman would be a process of enlightenment.  My hands were still ignorant then, and I was searching for an occupation in which I could forge an adult self.  Eager for competence, I thought that having one's craft together would mean having one's life together.  Today, having become reasonable competent as a furniture maker, I know better.  Spiritual enlightenment is not on the table.  Still, the notions that drew me to the workshop forty years ago were not without consequence.  The footing on which I started my journey has shaped my choices, concerns, and experiences throughout, and my transcendent expectations for a life in craft were rewarded in more palpable ways.
-Peter Korn,  Why We Make Things and Why It Matters:  The Education of a Craftsman

Choices.................................

"Multiple iterations almost always beats single-minded focus around a single idea."
-Peter Skillman

The genius of kindergarteners....

Peter Skillman's lessons from designing marshmallow towers:

On falling..............................

"The metaphor for our age is the disappearance of high monkey bars from playgrounds across the country.  We have made it impossible for children to fall very far - and in so doing, we have robbed them of the joys of climbing high."
-Megan McCardle, as excerpted from here

Is this correct..................?

From Seth Godin's wonderful blog comes this sentence:

"We write history about people who were brave enough to lead, not those that figured out how to pander to the crowd."

Just wondering if he has his history right.  

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

Johnny Rivers........................................Memphis

Chasing, but not catching................

"Very few investors are rational businessmen, estimating likely returns over their funding horizon.  Rather they chase past success, and flee past failures."
-David Merkel, as excerpted from here

The Southland.........................

........................discovers winter.  Here and here.

The inscrutability of fortune cookies..................


Dream.................................























"Let us dream of evanescence and linger in the beautiful foolishness of things."
-Okakura Kakuzo,  The Book of Tea

image via

When synonyms are useful...............


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Just because.............................

Flatt & Scruggs....................Foggy Mountain Breakdown

A few real estate quotes.......................

"There is no such thing as 'bad real estate,' there are only wrong owners."
-Furman Tinon

"In an approximate way, the logic of commons has been understood for a long time, perhaps since the discovery of agriculture or the invention of private property in real estate."
-Garrett Hardin

"Patriotism, as I see it, is often an arbitrary veneration of real estate above principles."
-George Jean Nathan

"It's tangible, it's solid, it's beautiful. It's artistic, from my standpoint, and I just love real estate."
-Donald Trump

"Real estate doesn't interest me. It's no doubt a great flaw in my personality, but I can't think in terms of boundaries. Those imaginary lines are as unreal to me as elves and pixies. I can't believe that they mark the end or the beginning of anything of real concern to the human soul."
-Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

   “The only difference between a cult and a religion is the amount of real estate they own."
-Frank Zappa

“I'm very harsh on real estate agents. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because of how the call every small house 'charming' and every run-down house a 'great fixer-upper'. Just once, I'd like them to show me a house and declare, 'This one's a piece of crap'.”
-Stephen Pastis

"To my real estate agent, Chernobyl is a fixer-upper."
-Yakov Smirnoff

Speaking of Yakov Smirnoff...................

Here are a few of his thoughts on love and laughter:

Falling in love is a chemical reaction. But it wears off in a year. That's why you need a strong line of communication... which includes laughter.

I believe that laughter is a language of God and that we can all live happily ever laughter.

In today's society we sometimes forget to balance our hearts and our heads; this is the reason we stop laughing.

We may have forgotten how to feel. Nobody is teaching us how to live happily ever after, as we've heard in fairy tales.

I believe there is a direct correlation between love and laughter.

I believe that love and laughter can only happen when one person takes the time to think about what would cause the other person to feel good.

If love is the treasure, laughter is the key.

America's Heart.............................

America's Heart              Yakov Smirnov     2002






















"The human spirit is not measured by the size of the act, but by the size of the heart."
-Yakov Smirnov

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

Jumpin' Gene Simmons.............................Haunted House

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

11.  He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.

-Proverbs 12:11
The Holy Bible
King James Version

Aspire........................................

The world is full of half-enlightened masters. 
Overly clever, too "sensitive" to live in the real world, 
they surround themselves with selfish pleasures 
and bestow their grandiose teaching upon the unwary. 
Prematurely publicizing themselves, 
intent upon reaching some spiritual climax, 
they constantly sacrifice the truth and deviate from the Tao. 
What they really offer the world is their own confusion. 

The true master understands that enlightenment is not the end, 

but the means. 
Realizing that virtue is her goal, 

she accepts the long and often arduous cultivation 
that is necessary to attain it. 
She doesn't scheme to become a leader, 

but quietly shoulders whatever responsibilities fall to her. 

Unattached to her accomplishments, 

taking credit for nothing at all, 
she guides the whole world 
by guiding the individuals who come to her. 
She shares her divine energy with her students, 

encouraging them, creating trials to strengthen them, 
scolding them to awaken them, 
directing the streams of their lives 
toward the infinite ocean of the Tao. 

If you aspire to this sort of master, 

then root yourself in the Tao. 
Relinquish your negative habits and attitudes. 
Strengthen your sincerity. 
Live in the real world, 

and extend your virtue to it 
without discrimination in the daily round. 
Be the truest father or mother, 

the truest brother or sister, the truest friend, 
and the truest disciple. 
Humbly respect and serve your teacher,

 and dedicate your entire being 
unwaveringly to self-cultivation. 
Then you will surely achieve self-mastery 

and be able to help others in doing the same. 

-Verse 80
Hua Hu Ching:  The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu
Brian Browne Walker

Is this true.........................................?


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

When you tell people you're writing a book, everyone tends to ask the same question:  What's it about?  And when you tell them you're writing a book about failure, most of them want to know why.  For two years, I've been giving the same answer:  "Write what you know."
-Megan McCardle,  from the preface to The Up Side of Down:  Why Failing Well is the Key to Success