Saturday, August 2, 2014

Good morning....................................

Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O'Connor.......Fun

Here today...................................

Mason Proffit.........................................Hard Luck Woman

Notice the pattern...............................



































via

Milton Friedman...................


















.....would have turned 102 this week.   To honor the occasion, Mark J. Perry posted a few of his favorite Friedman quotes.  Here are a few:

"The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem."

"I’m in favor of legalizing drugs. According to my values system, if people want to kill themselves, they have every right to do so. Most of the harm that comes from drugs is because they are illegal."

"With some notable exceptions, businessmen favor free enterprise in general but are opposed to it when it comes to themselves."

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

     Each in their own way, the Puritans, Presbyterians, Diggers, Levelers, Anabaptists, Lutherans, and Calvinists were working to rebase English or Scottish life on the Bible.  They disagreed among themselves over many things, but they generally agreed that they weren't looking for what we would now call an open or liberal approach to life.  They attacked the old, Catholic certainties - but they believed that these could and would be replaced with biblical ones.
     One of those who took this logic furthest was John Milton, the poet and Puritan who rose to high office in Cromwell's Commonwealth.  Milton, one of the most intelligent and learned men of his time, and perhaps the most respected Puritan scholar in the land, was convinced that a thoughtful reader, using the best manuscripts and limiting himself to simple methods of explication and interpretation, could develop a systematic theology out of the Bible that would provide political and dogmatic certainty in the storms of the age.
     With great goodwill he set out to work, but the manuscript he produced - in Latin known as De Doctrina Christiana (On Christian Doctrine) - was, by most standards, appallingly heterodox.  Earnestly and carefully following what he believed to be the clear meaning of undoubtedly authoritative passages, Milton denied the homoousion, the classic definition of Christ's relationship to God the Father that had been the centerpiece of orthodox Christianity since the Nicene Creed.  In an age when wars were quickly started by theological controversy and Milton's reputation stood as high as any scholar in Europe, this heretical manuscript must have seemed explosive.  It was placed under lock and key for safekeeping, and wasn't published until the reign of George IV, by which time the 
English-speaking world had less to fear from doctrinal controversies.
     What doomed Milton's quest for biblically based certainty was what doomed that quest generally in seventeenth century England:  people simply did not agree about what the Bible meant.
-Walter Russell Mead, as excerpted from God and Gold

Milton...........................................
















Information on John Milton (1608-1674) is here or here or here.  Some of his works are here.  Cherry-picked quotes are here:

"None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license."

"I will not deny but that the best apology against false accusers is silence and sufferance, and honest deeds set against dishonest words."


"Men of most renowned virtue have sometimes by transgressing most truly kept the law."


"I neither oblige the belief of other person, nor over hastily subscribe mine own."


“Yet he who reigns within himself, and rules
Passions, desires, and fears, is more a king.” 


“Such sweet compulsion doth in music lie.” 

“A mind not to be changed by place or time.
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heav'n of hell, a hell of heav'n.”


“What is strength without a double share of wisdom?”

“Gratitude bestows reverence.....changing forever how we experience life and the world.”

Pretty much..............................


















“If the music is amazing, you can get away with anything.” 
-Brian Logan Dales

image via

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

The Gulf of Tonkin incident.  A significant misjudgment?  Provoking a provocation?  Any old excuse will do? Careful what you wish for? Truth?  Fiction?  Regardless, a tangled web started being weaved.  If history allowed "do overs,"  lots of folk might sign up for this one.

Utopia..........................






















"Nearly all creators of Utopia have resembled the man who has toothache, and therefore thinks happiness consists in not having toothache. They wanted to produce a perfect society by an endless continuation of something that had only been valuable because it was temporary. The wider course would be to say that there are certain lines along which humanity must move, the grand strategy is mapped out, but detailed prophecy is not our business. Whoever tries to imagine perfection simply reveals his own emptiness."
-George Orwell

When the man is right...................................

.................................(which is, like, all the time) all you can do is agree with him.

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

     I approached the witness stand with a warm and welcoming smile.  This, of course, belied my true intent, which was to destroy the woman who sat there with her eyes fixed on me.  Claire Welton has just identified my client as the man who had forced her out of her Mercedes E60 at gunpoint on Christmas Eve last year.  She said he was the one who then shoved her to the ground before taking off with the car, her purse, and all the shopping bags she had loaded into the backseat at the mall.  As she had just told the prosecutor who questioned her, he had also made off with her sense of security and self-confidence, even though for these more personal thefts he had not been charged.
-Michael Connelly,  The Gods of Guilt

The problem with making lists......................

.......like the Ten Most Overrated Destinations in the Midwest, is that if you get #1 wrong, it casts doubt on your whole list.  Some people believe, like me for instance, that there is a little glimpse of perfection in a carefully tended baseball diamond just before the game starts.  Wrigley Field, for all its age, is a whole lot of perfection.  It is, if you don't mind me saying so, proof that God exists.  The author of this list further documents his lack of understanding when he complains about the parking near Wrigley.  My goodness, any traveler worth their salt knows the ONLY way to get to Wrigley is to take the Red Line El to Addison.  In case you haven't figured it out, I believe a pilgrimage to Wrigley should be on every baseball fan's bucket list.  For the full experience, sit in the left field bleachers.  Just saying.


Relax........................................













image via APOD

Friday, August 1, 2014

Don't know what to do with all this freedom...

Travis Meadows...............................Learning To Live Alone

On paying a fair share...........................

Scott weighs in with a ghost story.  Those pesky ghosts.......

Leadership, by George.............................

"Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of the men who follow and of the man who leads that gains the victory."
-George S. Patton

"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity."

-George S. Patton

"Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all."

-George Washington

"Example, whether it be good or bad, has a powerful influence."

-George Washington

"My method is to take the utmost trouble to find the right thing to say, and then to say it with the utmost levity."

-George Bernard Shaw

"Political necessities sometimes turn out to be political mistakes."

-George Bernard Shaw

"Men are from Earth, women are from Earth.  Deal with it.
-George Carlin

"The thing that strikes me more and more—and it strikes a lot of other people, too—is the extraordinary viciousness and dishonesty of political controversy in our time.  I don't mean merely that controversies are acrimonious.  They ought to be that when they are on serious subjects.  I mean that almost nobody seems to feel that an opponent deserves a fair hearing or that the objective truth matters as long as you can score a neat debating point."
-George Orwell (1944)

"Being in Washington is more fictional than being in Hollywood."
-George Lucas

“Start where you are, with what you have. Make something of it and never be satisfied.” 
-George Washington Carver


Doing, just for the sake of doing....................

Seth Godin riffs on trading favors......................here.

Commit.....................................


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

The Beach Boys.................................Dance, Dance, Dance

You knew this was coming................................

The first International Drone Photography Awards..............


A common lament these days.....................

"The book would have also benefited from better editing."
-as excerpted from this book review

Hard to change, too....................................

"In the modern state there now exist only two parties: citizens and bureaucracy."
-Don Colacho, aphorism #2,973

Can we all agree on this.............................?

“The True Republic:  men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less.” 
-Susan B. Anthony

This is pretty harsh.......................

........................U. S. Middle Eastern diplomacy:  malice or incompetence?  Full rant is here.  Interesting side note nugget here:
"...suffice it to say that competitive intra-administration leaking, that venerable Washington political sport, is alive and well—which is why I often tell out-of-town audiences that Washington is one of the few cities in the world where sound travels faster than light."

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A few of my favorite things...........................

After a brief time out, Kelly.Hartland is back with the aphorisms.  Ponder this for a while.

Anxiellation.  "I agree that it isn’t easy to force yourself to relax – there’s something a bit oxymoronic about that."

Ah, the importance of passwords...............................

This is going to get confusing.....................................

Salute the light..........................................................

One more silver dollar............................

The Allman Brothers Band...........................Midnight Rider

First step...........................

...........................in improving your survival skills - here.

Checking in with Aesop.........................

                                      The Bald Knight

A bald knight, who wore a wig, went out to hunt.  A sudden puff of wind blew off his hat and wig, at which a loud laugh rang forth from his companions.  He pulled up his horse, and with great glee joined in the joke by saying, "What marvel it is that hairs which are not mine should fly from me, when they have forsaken even the man on whose head they grew."

-Aesop, as channeled by George Fyler Townsend

Remember: Context always matters............


Things your father should have taught you...























Biblo's shortened list is here.  Original list of 45 things is here.

Essential Mixes......................................

.......The school doors are open, listening and learning is going on.  The depth and breadth is astonishing. (Almost) All things musical are here.  Do visit often.


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

The Beatles.....................................................Tell Me Why

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

     Step back two centuries and through the front door of George Riebau's bookbindery at 2 Blandford Street Near Manchester Square in London.  Smell the pungent aroma of leather, glue, and varnish.  Hear the murmurous drumbeat of the binder's mallet tamping gathered pages.  Books are everywhere - on shelves, on tables, even wedged into the cubbylike window frames, where they eclipse the light struggling to enter.  In this dim paper-and-leather universe of long ago, Riebau and his three apprentices stand at their benches, plying the bookbinder's craft.  Around them line the accoutrements of their trade:  needles, thread, Jaconette cloth, engraving tools, standing press, cutting boards.  The room buzzes with conversation, for Riebau is a genial man who likes to keep his workers and his customers happy.  Yet for all the chatter, the binding and selling of books appears to be the sole order of business here.  In short, George Riebau's modest establishment is the last place one would suspect as an incubator for a would-be scientist - especially in 1812.
-Alan Hirshfield,  The Electric Life of Michael Faraday

Michael Faraday..........................

Michael Faraday      oil painting by Thomas Phillips    1842                        

































Michael Faraday (1791-1867) is credited with helping create the science of electromagnetism and electrochemistry.  Mostly self taught, Faraday made himself into a scientist's scientist. From our friends at Wikipedia comes this, "At fourteen he became the apprentice to George Riebau, a local bookbinder and bookseller in Blandford Street.[10] During his seven-year apprenticeship he read many books, including Isaac WattsThe Improvement of the Mind, and he enthusiastically implemented the principles and suggestions contained therein. At this time he also developed an interest in science, especially in electricity. Faraday was particularly inspired by the book Conversations on Chemistry by Jane Marcet.[11][12] 
 Read more about him here and here and here.  A few quotes follow, just to give you a glimpse at the man:

"Bacon in his instruction tells us that the scientific student ought not to be as the ant, who gathers merely, nor as the spider who spins from her own bowels, but rather as the bee who both gathers and produces."

“It is right that we should stand by and act on our principles; but not right to hold them in obstinate blindness, or retain them when proved to be erroneous.” 

"The secret is comprised in three words — Work, finish, publish."

"Among those points of self-education which take up the form of mental discipline, there is one of great importance, and, moreover, difficult to deal with, because it involves an internal conflict, and equally touches our vanity and our ease. It consists in the tendency to deceive ourselves regarding all we wish for, and the necessity of resistance to these desires."

"Occasionally and frequently the exercise of the judgment ought to end in absolute reservation. It may be very distasteful, and great fatigue, to suspend a conclusion; but as we are not infallible, so we ought to be cautious; we shall eventually find our advantage, for the man who rests in his position is not so far from right as he who, proceeding in a wrong direction, is ever increasing his distance."

"But still try, for who knows what is possible..."

"I have far more confidence in the one man who works mentally and bodily at a matter than in the six who merely talk about it — and I therefore hope and am fully persuaded that you are working."

“There’s nothing quite as frightening as someone who knows they are right.”

"It is the great beauty of our science, chemistry, that advancement in it, whether in a degree great or small, instead of exhausting the subjects of research, opens the doors to further and more abundant knowledge, overflowing with beauty and utility."

The usefulness test....................................


Back in the old days..............................

...............like fifth and sixth grade, we spent months, and months, and months on the multiplication tables.  Drill, drill, and drill some more.   The test was up at the blackboard, with no place to hide - quick, do the 8's, now the 9's, now the 6's.  I hated the eights.  I hated the drills.  But, fifty-two years later, having forgotten vast amounts of what I have been taught, I can still rattle off the multiplication tables.
     Flash forward to about ten years ago, my kids spent two days on the multiplication tables.  What?  I grant you that calculators have changed many things, but being able to do basic numbers in your head is a serious advantage in this world.  No way you can gain mastery, or basic competency, on such a subject in TWO days.  For the only time in their lives, my kids got home schooled.  Dad Xeroxed about 200 copies of blank tables, and every night for a month they filled in three or four tables. Improving speed and accuracy was all I asked.   Haven't checked on them lately, but my guess is that they can tell you right off that 8 x 7 is 56 and 8 x 9 is 72.
     What brought all this to mind is the latest post from our friend Greg at Sippican Cottage.  His kids appear to be living evidence of the goodness that flows from both parental attention and the mantra - Drill, Drill, Drill.  See for yourself.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A few of my favorite things.........................


Got this one covered.....................

I'll be turning right.........................

Realization..................................

The Heartbreakers.....................

That  fast...................................?

Every once in a while you just have to watch this...

The world welcomes Susan Boyle........................

On growing up...................................


Challenges..........................................

     "Each of us, as the hero of our own life, faces different earthly and spiritual challenges from which we learn lessons that allow us to evolve different, increasingly higher, qualities of power.  All problems, all stresses present an opportunity for spiritual learning in which you can gain insight into the use, misuse, or misdirection of your personal power."
Caroline Myss, as excerpted from Invisible Acts of Power:  Personal Choices That Create Miracles

Miracles........................................

"There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as if everything is."
-Albert Einstein

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

......................................moving down the check list.

From the Heartland....................

John E. Smith offers his thoughts on losing and winning - here.  A bit of excerpting here:

"The fatal mistake is to confuse the temporary state of winning with the permanent state of being human."

"Negative feelings are understandable, especially those related to disappointment and regret.  However, the tenure of those emotions should be short.  After all, the rest of your life is waiting without predestined outcomes."

"Trying to operate in a perpetual state that relies on winning will not suffice.   Life does not work that way.  We don’t always win, winning is not everything, and even winners sometimes quit."

"Above all, be gracious, generous, and humble."

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

The Four Seasons.................................Silence is Golden

Are you listening to me.............................?



































via

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

     We were half a mile high in a bright Everglades sky, on the trail of five Navy torpedo bombers that vanished in 1945, yet my friend Tomlinson remained fixated on the fate of our marina's cat, which had gone missing only two days earlier.
     The curse of obsession is one of the few qualities my hipster neighbor and I share.
-Randy Wayne White,  Night Moves

Truth............................................

"A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is 'merely relative,' is asking you not to believe him. So don't."
-Roger Scruton

Want........................................

“Those people cannot enjoy comfortably what God has given them because they see and covet what He has not given them. All of our discontents for what we want appear to me to spring from want of thankfulness for what we have.” 
-Daniel Defoe

How can you tell..................................?




















"Men and melons are hard to know."
-Ben Franklin

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Four friends having fun......................

Frank, Dean, Sammy, & Johnny doing what they do best

... the wind, the sun, or the rain...........

Blue Oyster Cult............................Don't Fear The Reaper

Dreams.......................................


Trying........................................

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” 
-Henry Ford

The Forge..............................
















All I know is a door into the dark.
Outside, old axles and iron hoops rusting;
Inside, the hammered anvil’s short-pitched ring,
The unpredictable fantail of sparks
Or hiss when a new shoe toughens in water.
The anvil must be somewhere in the centre,
Horned as a unicorn, at one end and square,
Set there immoveable: an altar
Where he expends himself in shape and music. 
Sometimes, leather-aproned, hairs in his nose,
He leans out on the jamb, recalls a clatter
Of hoofs where traffic is flashing in rows;
Then grunts and goes in, with a slam and flick
To beat real iron out, to work the bellows. 

-Seamus Heaney

artwork via

It's the unlearning part that's difficult.................

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. ”

-Alvin Toffler

Beware the unintended consequence..................

"Nobody in politics can foresee the consequences either of what he destroys, or of what he constructs."
-Don Colacho, aphorism 2,978

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

The Beatles......................I'm Happy Just To Dance With You

The Execupundit.................................

.....................................................cuts to the chase.

Stray.....................................

“Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these.”
-Susan B. Anthony

The helping hand........................................

"Be ready to help people when they need it most. Get ready to yank them out of a hole. The glad hand is alright in sunshine, but it’s the helping hand on a dark day that folks remember to the end of time."
-A. P. Giannini

On impulses..........................

"The best life is the one in which the creative impulses play the largest part and the possessive impulses the smallest."

Winning.....................................



































This artwork was borrowed from this The Epicurean Dealmaker post about Higher Education, The Ivy League, and recent criticism of both from William Deriesiewicz.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Vintage...............................

Dean Martin........................Everybody Loves Somebody

Aging like a fine wine...........................

Eric Burdon and the Animals..............House of the Rising Sun




version from fifty years ago is here

Seriously, now..................................

“Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.” 
-G.K. Chesterton

Flat tax anyone..............................?


A miscalculation nonetheless..........................

"That is silly. World War I did not occur because the European powers miscalculated, but because they each believed rationally that their interests were best served by fighting."
-David Goldman, channeling Spengler, as excerpted from here

Escape..............................




























"The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from the old ones."
-John Maynard Keynes

On the proper use of time.........................
















“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.   Have you used one to say thank you?” 
-William Arthur Ward

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

The Beatles.............................................Please Please Me



studio (mono) version is here

Ruckert's Law......................................

"There is nothing so small that it can't be blown out of proportion."

It's a puzzle........................................


















"There's something in the human personality which resents things that are clear, and conversely, something which is attracted to puzzles, enigmas, and allegories."
-Stanley Kubrick

art via     quote via

Who..........................................

"Who has deceiv'd thee so oft as thy self?"
-Benjamin Franklin

Noticing the difference................

...................Walter Russell Mead opines on "smart diplomacy" and the news media.

"But luckily for Team Obama, the mainstream press would rather die than subject liberal Democrats to the critiques it reserves for the GOP. So instead, as Libya writhes in agony, reputations and careers move on."

No wonder they get paid so much......................

"The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality."
-Max Depree

Sunday, July 27, 2014