Saturday, August 9, 2014

Listen......................................

The Buckinghams...................................Kind Of A Drag

Opening, and interesting, paragraphs............

     On the morning of January 27, 2009, my first full day as secretary of the Treasury, I met with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office.  The worst financial crisis since the Great Depression was still raging, and he wanted to put out the fire for good.  The banking system was broken.  The broader economy was contracting at a Depression-level rate.  Consumer confidence had sunk to an all-time low, and millions more Americans were in danger of losing their jobs.  The President looked calm and reasonably comfortable after a week in the White House, despite all the bad news he was getting.
     I was about to give him some more.
     First, I thanked him for coming to my swearing-in the night before, a nice gesture of personal confidence in me.  We had met just three months earlier, and I was in many ways an unorthodox choice to lead Treasury.  I wasn't a banker, an economist, a politician, or even a Democrat.  I was a registered independent without much of a public profile - and the profile I had didn't exactly signal Obama-style hope and change.  As head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, I had spent the past year working with a Republican Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke, and a Republican Treasury secretary, Henry Paulson, Jr., to design a series of spectacularly unpopular rescues of financial firms.  I didn't look like a Treasury secretary, either.  I was forty-seven.  I lacked gray-haired gravitas.  Barney Frank, one of my closest allies in Congress, later observed that when I spoke in public, I looked like I was at my own bar mitzvah.
     And I was already politically damaged goods.  I had been portrayed throughout my confirmation hearings as a tax cheat, a tool of Wall Street, an enemy of Main Street.  Even though I had spent the previous two decades in public service, I was routinely described as a venal investment banker.  Some thought I might be the first Treasury nominee rejected since before the Civil War, and I had considered withdrawing before the vote.  I was eventually confirmed, by the narrowest margin since World War II;  I already felt crushing guilt about the humiliation I was forcing on my family, and the political capital the President had to spend on me.
-Timothy F. Geithner,  Stress Test:  Reflections on Financial Crises

Some fun quotes attributed to Tim Geithner............
















Background and wiki on Geithner here and here:

The recognition that things that are not sustainable will eventually come to an end does not give us much of a guide to whether the transition will be calm or exciting.

Financial crises require governments.
(Ed note:  it is not clear whether he meant the governments are necessary to cause, or cure, said crises)

The choice is between which mistake is easier to correct: underdoing it or overdoing it.

Most consequential choices involve shades of gray, and some fog is often useful in getting things done.

Some think that by preparing to deal with crises you make them more likely. I think the wiser judgment is the contrary. In this area at least, if you want peace or stability, it's better to prepare for war or instability.

This crisis exposed very significant problems in the financial systems of the United States and some other major economies. Innovation got too far out in front of the knowledge of risk.

Getting lucky..................................

"My research revealed that lucky people generate good fortune via four basic principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good."

-As excerpted from here

Most things are.........................................

"But revolution is much easier than real governance and state-building"
-as excerpted from here

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

Bob Dylan..........................The Times They Are a-Changin'

Signs of the times................................



































more photography fun here

Never would have guessed...............................

" Reality is often more complex, and less immediately compelling, than the preferred media narrative."
-as excerpted from this Joel Kotkin post on the demographic fact that most "millennials" are NOT urban hipsters.

Possessed....................................

"The best part of every mind is not that which he knows, but that which hovers in gleams, suggestions, tantalizing, unpossessed, before him.  His firm recorded knowledge soon loses all interest for him.  But this dancing chorus of thought and hopes is the quarry of his future, is his possibility, and teaches him that his man's life is a ridiculous brevity and meanness.'
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

The best of intentions.........................


Begging the question..............................

.............................................or, fixing to fix my grammar.

via

Friday, August 8, 2014

No hard feelings.........................................

4 Jacks and a Jill............................................Master Jack

Josh Billings.........................................



Henry Wheeler Shaw  had a way with words.  You are apt to come across his one of his sayings about anywhere.  Born in 1818 and the son, and grandson, of a Congressman, Shaw got tossed out of college for prankish behavior.  As a writer and humorist, he rivaled Mark Twain in popularity in his day.  You can read more about him here.  He is perhaps best known by his alter ego, Josh Billings.  If you like phonetic English, you will love Josh Billings.  A whole host of his saying are here.  A few samples here:

The wealth ov a person should be estimated, not bi the amount he haz, but bi the use he makes ov it.

"Familiarity breeds kontempt." This only applies tew men, not tew hot bukwheat slapkakes, well buttered and sugared.

If we would all ov us take kare ov our own souls, and let our nabors alone, thare would be less time lost, and more souls saved.

As a gineral thing, when a woman wares the britches, she has a good rite tew them.

Mastered this one.......................................

Don't measure anything unless the data helps you make a better decision or change your actions.
If you're not prepared to change your diet or your workouts, don't get on the scale.

Developing a mantra..........................

From the View From the Ledge.....................

"Make some money, have some fun, leave some tracks…and leave things better than you found them."






















art via

Looks like there's no avoiding problems.....


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

The Beatles.................................................Matchbook

On expressions...................................























EXCEPTION, n.  A thing which takes the liberty to differ from other things of its class, as an honest man, a truthful woman, etc.  "The exception proves the rule" is an in expression constantly upon the lips of the ignorant, who parrot it from one another with never a thought of its absurdity.  In Latin, "Exceptio probat regulam" means the exception tests the rule, puts it to the proof, not confirms it.  The malefactor who drew the meaning from this excellent dictum and substituted a contrary one of his own exerted an evil power which appears to be immortal.
-Ambrose Bierce,  The Devil's Dictionary

cartoon via

Thanks, I needed that...............................














"Don't deny that a problem is a problem.  People who say, 'I don't have problems;  I only have opportunities' are idiots.  Some problems are not opportunities - they are problems.  Recognize them as problems and deal with them appropriately.  Denial is stupid, and it doesn't do anything but prolong the pain of the problem."
-Larry Winget

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

They found out about him in July and stayed angry all through August.  They tried to kill him in September.  It was way too soon.  They weren't ready.  The attempt was a failure.   It could have been a disaster, but it was actually a miracle.  Because nobody noticed.
-Lee Child,  Without Fail

Won't find it on the menu...................................






















via

#How to Dad..............................

Thursday, August 7, 2014

If I had a dollar.............................

...............for every time this happened.........................

Always had a problem with the "or nots"............

5. Make it a priority. Or not.
-Nicholas Bate, from his 27 Productivity Boosters

Worry..........................................

















via

It started out as a joke........................

The Electric Prunes....................I Had To Much To Dream

On management.....................

"Manage priorities, not time."
-Larry Winget

Simplicity and complexity...................

"I think there is a profound and enduring beauty in simplicity; in clarity, in efficiency. True simplicity is derived from so much more than just the absence of clutter and ornamentation. It's about bringing order to complexity." 
-Jony Ive

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

The door of the Drones Club swung open, and a young man in form-fitting tweeds came down the steps and started to walk westwards.  An observant passer-by, scanning his face, would have fancied that he discerned on it a keen, tense look, like that of an African hunter stalking a hippopotamus.  And he would have been right.  Pongo Twistleton - for it was he - was on his way to try to touch Horrace Pendlebury-Davenport for two hundred pounds.
-P. G. Wodehouse,  Uncle Fred in the Springtime

Act................................................

“Every act of perception, is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination.” 
-Oliver Sacks

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

The Beatles..................................................I'll Cry Instead

It's a blessing, although knowing Swift..........

.............he may have delivered it as a curse:

“May you live every day of your life.”
-Jonathan Swift

If you have the choice....................................

"Other things being equal, it is better to be smart than to be stupid."
-Carl Sagan

Dethronement....................................
























The most important scientific revolutions all include, as their only common feature, the dethronement of human arrogance from one pedestal after another of previous convictions about our centrality in the cosmos.
-attributed to Freud, as excerpted from here

image via

Remember...........................Smile...............


It will.........................................


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Move..........................................

Stan Getz and Bill Evans..................................But Beautiful



“Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears - it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear. But for many of my neurological patients, music is even more - it can provide access, even when no medication can, to movement, to speech, to life. For them, music is not a luxury, but a necessity.” 
-Oliver Sacks

I'll be there.......................................

The Yardbirds.......................................Heart Full of Soul

Fun with optical illusions.........................

and, unlike magicians, they show you how it is done........

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






















via

Monsterhood....................................























"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster."
-Friedrich Nietzsche

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

     
                            The Peacock and the Crane

A Peacock spreading its gorgeous tail mocked a Crane that passed by, ridiculing the ashen hue of its plumage and saying, "I am robed, like a kink, in gold and purple and all the colors of the rainbow;  while you have not a bit of color on your wings."  "True," replied the Crane;  "but I soar to the heights of heaven and lift up my voice to the stars, while you walk below, like a cock, among the birds of the dunghill."

Moral:  Fine feathers don't make fine birds

Acknowledging debts.............................

“We are social creatures to the inmost centre of our being. The notion that one can begin anything at all from scratch, free from the past, or unindebted to others, could not conceivably be more wrong.” 
-Karl Popper

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

The Beach Boys...............When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)

It's Five O'Clock somewhere..............................


Serenity prayer update.............................


Things....................................



















“I don't know where my ideas come from. I will admit, however, that one key ingredient is caffeine. I get a couple cups of coffee into me and weird things just start to happen.” 
-Gary Larson


image via

As books go, it does......................















via

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A little night music.................................

John Klemmer...................................Whisper To The Wind

Last night I caught a glimpse.......

Ryan Tennis.................................................Waking Dream

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

Jennifer Sheridan stood in the door to my office as if she were Fay Wray and I was King Kong and a bunch of black guys in sagebrush tutus were going to tie her down so that I could have my way.  It's a look I've seen before, on men as well as women.  "I'm a detective, Ms. Sheridan.  I'm not going to hurt you.  You may even find that you like me."  I gave her my best Dudley Do-Right smile.  The one with the twinkle.
-Robert Crais,  Free Fall:  An Elvis Cole Novel

The wonders of science............................























thanks kurt

a motivation...................

"Furthermore, by embracing “green” policies, the famously narcissistic Hollywood crowd also gets to feel good about themselves, a motivation not to be underestimated."

Quotation taken from this interesting essay from Joel Kotkin about growing tension between the  "liberal elite" and the Democrats' blue-collar "minority" base.

Sign of the times....................................


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

The Four Seasons...........................................Little Angel



Offended..........................................?

Aphorisms are vaguely mysterious sayings that you are just sure impart wisdom - if only you could figure out what they meant.  Kelly Hartland, one of my favorite aphorists, is taking no chances on this one.  She penned a brief essay of explanation.  It is well worth reading.
We must take full responsibility
for being offended
by another
.hartland.
"Taking responsibility for my own feelings has been one of my most freeing experiences."

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

Cultural Offering on the glories of attitude and work.

Another edition of Random Thoughts from Michael Wade.

Baseball at Bits and Pieces:  Take that, and that.

Dreaming with Pat Guanciale.

From Kids Prefer Cheese:  Monday's Child is full of links.

........the unknown friend......................

"Happy is he who looks only into his work to know if it will succeed, never into the times or the public opinion;  and who writes from the love of imparting certain thoughts and not from the necessity of sale - who writes always to the unknown friend."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Just to make things interesting,...................


Bolingbroke...................................



My favorite optimist notes this is the three hundredth anniversary of England's replacement of the House of Stuart  by George I and the Hanoverians.  He suggests that it was a "close run thing," and that the outcome mattered.  His post on the topic is here.  Henry St. John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke, was a key player in the drama.  His story can be found here and here.  A few quotes from Bolingbroke follow:

I have observed that in comedies the best actor plays the droll, while some scrub rogue is made the fine gentleman or hero. Thus it is in the farce of life. Wise men spend their time in mirth; it is only fools who are serious.

The shortest and surest way of arriving at real knowledge is to unlearn the lessons we have been taught, to mount the first principles, and take nobody's word about them.

It is a very easy thing to devise good laws; the difficulty is to make them effective. The great mistake is that of looking upon men as virtuous, or thinking that they can be made so by laws; and consequently the greatest art of a politician is to render vices serviceable to the cause of virtue.

Liberty is to the collective body what health is to every individual body. Without health no pleasure can be tasted by man; without liberty, no happiness can be enjoyed by society. 

The confirmed prejudices of a thoughtful life are as hard to change as the confirmed habits of an indolent life; and as some must trifle away age because they trifled away youth, others must labor on in a maze of error because they have wandered there too long to find their way out.

Sadness..................................

............................................Scott Blitstein says au revoir.

Monday, August 4, 2014

One for Jetboy (and Skip too)..........................

Wilson Pickett (with Duane Allman sitting in)............Hey Jude



thanks andrew

Very.......................................

"It’s very easy to be different, but very difficult to be better."
-Jony Ive

Equal-mindedness....................................

     When a man is under the sway of passion and prejudice he is spiritually blind.  Seeing nothing but good in his own side, and nothing but evil in the other, he cannot see anything as it really is, not even his own side; and not understanding himself, he cannot understand the hearts of others, and thinks it is right that he should condemn them.  Thus there grows up in his heart a dark hatred for those who refuse to see with him and who condemn him in return, he becomes separated from his fellow-men, and confines himself to a narrow torture chamber of his own making.
     Sweet and peaceful are the days of the equal-minded man, fruitful in good, and rich in manifold blessings.  Guided by wisdom, he avoids those pathways which lead down to hatred and sorrow and pain, and takes those which lead up to love and peace and bliss.  The occurrences of life do not trouble him, nor does he grieve over those things which are regarded by mankind as grievous, but which must befall all men in the ordinary course of nature.  He is neither elated by success nor cast down by failure.  He sees events of his life arrayed in their proper proportions, and can find no room for selfish wishes or vain regrets, for vain anticipations and childish disappointments.
     And how is this equal-mindedness - this blessed state of mind and life - acquired?  Only by overcoming one's self, only by purifying one's own heart, for the purification of the heart leads to unbiased comprehension, unbiased comprehension leads to equal-mindedness, and equal-mindedness leads to peace.  The impure mane is swept helplessly away on the waves of passion;  the pure man guides himself into the harbour of rest.  The fool says, "I have an opinion," the wise man goes about his business.
-James Allen (1864-1912),  as excerpted from The Selected Teachings of James Allen Vol. II

Ends and means and "me".......................


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

















I will begin the story of my adventures with a certain morning early in the month of June, the year of grace 1751, when I took the key for the last time out of the door of my father's house.  The sun began to shine upon the summit of the hills as I went down the road; and by the time I had come as far as the manse, the blackbirds were whistling in the garden lilacs, and the mist that hung around the valley in the time of the dawn was beginning to arise and die away.
-Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped

illustration by N.C. Wyeth

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

The Beatles...................................................Slow Down

Is that supposed to be a bad thing...........?

"Yep, you're addicted,"  says David Kanigan, proprietor of the wondrous Thrive tumblr.

Faithful readers will know that I have spent some time with the 12-Step movement.  Step 1:  We admitted we were powerless over _____________ - that our lives had become unmanageable.

Clearly some addictions are more problematic than others, but, as even casual observation will reveal, most of us are addicted to something(s).  I suspect my children would tell you that this is one of mine.  A few of the symptoms:

3. You plan whole afternoons around browsing bookstores.
4.  If you go too long without buying or reading a book you feel a huge sense of withdrawal and are thinking of the next time you can get away to a bookstore or library.


29. You buy more books even if you have a stack of books that haven’t been read yet.

30. And you feel sort of guilty that you haven’t read those books yet but you will! Someday!

If they every stopped talking and really listened...

... to each other, they'd probably find lots of common ground.

Life its ownself.........................

Life is a gift................
a gift to be received with gratitude.

Life is a task.............
a task to be pursued with courage.

via

The Execupundit, once again, asks..................

..........the hardest "simple" questions.  Re:  our daily routine:

"Is it making me stronger or weaker, better or worse?"

Full provocation is here.

Old fashioned fun......................

Some Thin Man clips with William Powell and Myrna Loy

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Singing you a slumber tune...................

The Mystics.........................................................Hushabye

Serve......................................

Willie Nelson................................Gotta Serve Somebody

Good to know......................................

 “The seventy-five years and twenty million dollars expended on the Grant Study points to a straightforward five-word conclusion: Happiness is love.  Full stop.”  
-as excerpted from here

thanks

Serve........................................

























"Serving God is doing good to Man, but praying is thought an easier Service, and therefore more generally chosen."
-Benjamin Franklin

cartoon via

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




















“You are what you do, not what you say you'll do.” 
-Carl Jung

cartoon via

Incentives..............................

"To take from anyone the incentive to work is a questionable service."
-A. P. Giannini

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

Bob Dylan..........................................Mr. Tambourine Man

Serve...................................

"So long as we love we serve; so long as we are loved by others, I would almost say that we are indispensable; and no man is useless while he has a friend."
-Robert Louis Stevenson

Ironies.............................................

“The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.” 
-Gordon B. Hinckley

Seems like......................................




















“We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.” 
-Jonathan Swift

cartoon via

Coincidence........................................

“I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.” 
-Susan B. Anthony

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

The choice before human beings, is not, as a rule, between good and evil but between two evils. You can let the Nazis rule the world: that is evil; or you can overthrow them by war, which is also evil. There is no other choice before you, and whichever you choose you will not come out with clean hands.
-George Orwell