Saturday, October 4, 2014

Beatles/Zombies sound-alike.................................

The Beau Brummels..............................................Laugh Laugh

A few things to ponder..............................

"Every great civilization reaches a point of prosperity where it is possible to live your entire life as a pacifist without any serious consequences."
-Scott Locklin

"...Philip Jenkins, a prolific religious historian, who argues that the decline in 'the number and scale of controversial fringe sects' is both 'genuine and epochal,'and something that should worry more mainstream religious believers rather than comfort them. A wild fringe, he suggests, is often a sign of a healthy, vital center, and a religious culture that lacks for charismatic weirdos may lack 'a solid core of spiritual activism and inquiry' as well.
-Ross Douthat

"The human tendency for wishful thinking and the desire to avoid hard trade-offs are so common that it is dangerous for a prominent institution like the IMF to encourage free-lunch thinking."
-Greg Mankiw

“Things rarely turn out the way we expect. We never have everything covered. Life happens. Act accordingly. You have been warned.” 
-Robert Seawright

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

The attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, dramatically changed the face of war.  Suddenly war ceased to be primarily an enterprise employing military weapons against expectant armies, and changed to include lethal blows with civilian devices against innocent people.
-Bevin Alexander,  from the Introduction to How Wars Are Won:  The 13 Rules of War From Ancient Greece To The War On Terror

Two unrelated developments have fused to produce a true revolution in warfare.  The first is highly accurate and extremely powerful weapons.  The second is the discovery that modern conventional armies can be defeated by guerrilla methods.
-Bevin Alexander,  How Wars Are Won:  The 13 Rules of War From Ancient Greece To The War On Terror

Oh look, .........................................an eagle

Man versus Bear............................................the advertisement

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

The Zombies.............................................She's Not There

Faithful readers might remember............................

..................that I am a big fan of  Bill McBride and the Calculated Risk blog.  Haven't posted many of his charts lately;  the really slow pace of recovery of new single-family housing construction depresses me, and I tend to avoid depressants.  Anyway, here is an interesting interview with McBride (a bit dated but still relevant).  Money quote:

"Why do I change my views? I don’t know, I just go where the data leads me. I think it’s better question for some of the other people is why they didn’t change theirs?"

Connections.......................

Missouri born Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975), painter and muralist, was considered one of America's  "Regionalist" artists.  The Midwest was his forte.
He observed everything he could about ordinary American life during the 1920s and 1930s and recorded what he saw in his sketches.  He then used his sketches as the basis for his paintings and murals. Benton built small clay models, or maquettes, for each painting. Then he painted his scenes while looking at his clay models. (via)
 You can read more about him here.  

Here are a few of his paintings:
The Wreck of The Ole '97                  1943

The Yankee Driver            1920
Cradling Wheat                        1938

Sugar Cane                 1943










































































Self Portrait         1972 

The Ballad of the Jealous Lover of Lone Green Valley      1934





















The model for the young harmonica player in the foreground above was Jackson Pollock (1912-1956).  From Pollock's wiki:

In 1930, following his older brother Charles Pollock, he moved to New York City, where they both studied under Thomas Hart Benton at the Art Students LeagueBenton's rural American subject matter had little influence on Pollock's work, but his rhythmic use of paint and his fierce independence were more lasting.[4] In the early 1930s Pollock spent a summer touring the Western United States together with Glen Rounds, a fellow art student, and Benton, their teacher.[8][9]

From Benton's wiki:  "Pollock often said that Benton's traditional teachings gave him something to rebel against."

Lest you think their relationship was unimportant, take a peek at this book.

More on Pollock

Here a few of Jackson Pollock's works:


Going West              c 1934-38















Naked Man with a Knife            c 1938

Frieze                c.    1953-55

Jean Vanier on love..................................

“The word love has been so abused by publicity and advertisements that we no longer know really what it means.”

“Love doesn't mean doing extraordinary or heroic things. It means knowing how to do ordinary things with tenderness.” 

"To love someone is to show to them their beauty, their worth and their importance.” 

“When we love and respect people, revealing to them their value, they can begin to come out from behind the walls that protect them.” 

“We are not called by God to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things with extraordinary love. ”

“When people love each other, they are content with very little. When we have light and joy in our hearts, we don't need material wealth. The most loving communities are often the poorest. If our own life is luxurious and wasteful, we can't approach poor people. If we love people, we want to identify with them and share with them.” 

“Peace is the fruit of love, a love that is also justice. But to grow in love requires work -- hard work. And it can bring pain because it implies loss -- loss of the certitudes, comforts, and hurts that shelter and define us.” 

“A Christian community should do as Jesus did: propose and not impose. Its attraction must lie in the radiance cast by the love of brothers.” 

Jean Vanier's wiki is here.

The Moon over my alma mater......................



source, and larger image, here

Friday, October 3, 2014

Sweet dreams...................................................

David Sanborn...............................................The Dream

A pretty fair Beatle sound-alike...............

The Knickerbockers......................................................Lies

A pretty good reason to choose happiness.....


















via

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

....................................on display at View From The Ledge

All weather...............................................

.............................................................investment advice.

Know yourself and your limits, and be willing to hold or add when others are panicking, and hold or sell when others are too optimistic.  If you can’t do that, maybe hand it over to a financial advisor who stays calm when markets are not calm.
-David Merkel

Kindness...........................................























source of quote is up for discussion.              image via

If you don't.............................................

.................................take a daily scroll through David Kanigan's wondrous Thrive tumblr - well, you should.

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

The Applejacks....................................Like Dreamers Do




note the Lennon, McCartney credit.....................................

Fun with shapes.......................................

......................................................at Geometry Daily.

Acute.....................................................






















cut and pasted from

A core competancy......................................


On retirement.......................................

Friend Bilbo has been giving some thought to the question of "where we want to live out our remaining allotted years."  It's either that or he is just having some fun with stereotypes.  Apparently Ohio is not on his list, but we do sound a bit like Nebraska:

or ...

We could retire to the Nebraska where ...

1. You never meet any celebrities, but the mayor knows your name.
2. Your idea of a traffic jam is three cars waiting to pass a tractor.
3. You've had to switch from "heat" to "A/C" on the same day.
4. You end sentences with a preposition: "Where's my coat at?"

or ...


Full list of retirement locales is here.

It is easier when you are willing................

..............................to just litter all over the Intertunnel floor.

Michael Wade posts his writing process.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The time to hesitate is through...............................


















The Doors........................................................Light My Fire



photo via

Come and join us now.........................

Genesis.................................Where the Sour Turns to Sweet

Golf........................................



















     It's absurd but even here, alone and unobserved, I really want to do well.  That second shot, the misjudged pitch, irritated me.  Already I am erecting targets, expectations, aspirations.  Though this is just an exploratory round on a sort of golf course, and no one's watching, I've already invested in outcomes.  And that, sure as golf is golf, will bring frustration and disappointment.
     Call it human nature.  Call it the karmic wheel, the hoop of fire, attachment, the source of suffering.  Or just call it Golf.

-Andrew Greig,  Preferred Lies:  A Journey to the Heart of Scottish Golf

image via

Please...........................................................


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

My Mother says I reopened Uncle Jake's private investigation agency because I'm always losing men, so it's natural for me to search for things that are missing.  This would offend some women my age, but she had a stroke two years back and now her damaged brain relies on honesty instead of good manners, so I've no choice but to take it in stride.  One thing I've learned is, don't argue with the truth in those scarce occasions when you're lucky enough to know what the truth is.
-Randy Wayne White, Gone

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

Gerry and the Pacemakers..........................I'm The One

How To Be More Intelligent 101.................

Full list here.  Wee parts of the process here:

4.  Reduce TV watching drastically. Talk, write, cook, listen to music, walk, shoot ball, hold hands...instead.

11.  Play with scale. Go smaller; consider the minutiae; go bigger: consider the landscape.

25.  Read the history of the Periodic Table.

50.  Struggle with the problem. Don’t give up. Clarify the problem. Research the problem. Then allow the problem to incubate for a while before returning to it. When you get that breakthrough you will have become smarter

60.  Switch off your phone in queues and watch, observe and think.

74.  Write down five stupid things you do. Go cold turkey and stop doing them now.

88.  Sharpen ten pencils. Now write on the issue until all need re-sharpening.

101.  Decide to be more intelligent at dusk than you were at dawn. Every day.

Existence..................................................

"We are each free to believe what we want and it is my view that the simplest explanation is there is no God. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realization. There is probably no heaven, and no afterlife either. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe, and for that, I am extremely grateful."
-Stephen Hawking



A few things to ponder..............................

"The most serious mistakes are not being made as a result of wrong answers.  The truly dangerous thing is asking the wrong question."
-Peter Drucker

"There is no man living who isn't capable of doing more than he thinks he can do."
-Henry Ford

"Every organization should tolerate rebels who tell the emperor he has no clothes."
-Colin Powell

"Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value."
-Albert Einstein

On limits..........................................

History's littered with tales of once-rare resources made plentiful by innovation.  The reason is pretty straightforward:  scarcity if often contextual.  Imagine a giant orange tree packed with fruit.  If I pluck all the oranges from the lower branches, I am effectively out of accessible fruit.  From my limited perspective, oranges are now scarce.  But once someone invents a piece of technology called a ladder, I've suddenly got new reach.  Problem solved.  Technology is a resource-liberating mechanism.  It can make the once scarce the now abundant.
-Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler,  Abundance:  The Future Is Better Than You Think

For a more recent application of "technology is a resource-liberating mechanism," think about horizontal drilling and the liberation of shale oil.  One take on the subject is here.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

There wasn't a chair........................................

The Beatles.................................................Norwegian Wood

My favorite optimist..................................

...............reviews Steven Johnson's new book.  An excerpt:
And compared with political and military history, the history of innovation is not just “one damned thing after another”; it chronicles genuine, irreversible and magnificent changes in society. Take the story of a New Jersey doctor named John Leal who got a job managing water supplies for Jersey City and set out to do something to make them safe. In secret, without permission and against the law, he decided to try adding a strong poison called calcium hyperchlorite, a procedure known as “chlorination” today. When dilute, it killed bacteria but not people. Fortunately he got the dose right and nobody died. Interrogated in court, he adamantly insisted that his experiment had worked, that Jersey City’s water was now the safest in the world and that he was not in it for the money: his refusal to patent it led to the adoption of chlorination all over the world. The court agreed and exonerated him of wrongdoing.
The impact of Leal’s innovation was extraordinary. Between 1900 and 1930 chlorination cut total mortality in the average American city by 43 per cent and infant mortality by 74 per cent. Almost nothing has done more to reduce misery. Chlorination went on to make swimming pools safe and popular which led, Johnson argues, to changes in fashion, reinventing attitudes towards how much of the shape of the female body could be revealed in polite society. A hummingbird effect.

On Scottish Presbyterian Buddhist stuff......

     How quickly one's moods shift on a golf course, buoyancy followed by irritation at the shortcomings of the course and self.  As I walk after the ball, keeping my eye on where I think it ended up among the wool and gull feathers, I can watch my mind churning away.
     In golf, with its many pauses, its often lengthy walks between one shot and the next, there's time to watch thoughts and emotions shift, merge and succeed each other with all the inevitability and impersonality of thin clouds across the boundless sky.  It's a meditation of sorts.  Instead of watching my breath, mindfulness of breathing, this is mindfulness of golfing.
     Figuring out what to do with this awareness - of how desire creates anxiety creates tension that leads to poor shot which makes for irritation, which is silly because it's only a golf ball for God's sake and the day is beautiful - well, that's Scottish Presbyterian Buddhist stuff and it's going to take a lifetime to work it out.

-Andrew Greig, Preferred Lies:  A Journey to the Heart of Scottish Golf

I find this surprising.......................................

"One consequence is that the heaviest drinkers are of greatly disproportionate importance to the sales and profitability of the alcoholic-beverage industry," he writes writes. "If the top decile somehow could be induced to curb their consumption level to that of the next lower group (the ninth decile), then total ethanol sales would fall by 60 percent."

All those beer and booze advertisements sure don't seem to be targeted at the top decile. Wonder why?   Full post and mind-boggling chart on alcohol consumption can be found here.

And it's a good thing..................................

"No one else can look out for your inner life but yourself."
-John O'Donohue

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

The Swans..............................The Boy With The Beatle Hair



Hey, listening once won't kill you..................................

But where's the fun in that...........................?

"Since the financial crisis, it has become commonplace to argue that banks should be run as utilities, not casinos."
-as excerpted from this The Economist leader

In the absence of faith....................................

Educated Europeans look with distain on the boorishness and bumptiousness of the United States, which continues to maintain a military that actually can fight wars.  The prevalence of religious faith in America fills Europeans with revulsion, especially the enthusiastic devotion of the evangelicals, who constitute almost 30 percent of America's population.  Faith in a personal God is prima facie proof of mental defect to most educated Europeans, and so America is by definition a giant madhouse.  Yet the countries that have abandoned nationalism, religion, and ideology in favor of the milquetoast administration of daily affairs - for example, the Europeans - suffer from the most dreadful psychic symptom of all.  They fail to have children.  The triumph of secularism in Europe recalls the proverbial operation that was a success except for the death of the patient.

     There is one problem with the enlightened view:  In the absence of faith, human beings show little interest in living.  Humankind cannot bear the burden of mortality without the promise of immortality.  We know of countries destroyed by war or plague but of not a single nation that simply willed itself out of existence.  Today the majority of the industrial nations are heading toward a demographic death, and some have passed the point of no return...Rather than pave the way for universal peace, loss of faith has turned important parts of the world into a nursing home, an then a cemetery.

-Spengler, channeled by David P. Goldman, It's Not the End of the World, It's Just the End of You:  The Great Extinctions Of The Nations

The inequality police are worried...............

"I live in the same city as Donald Trump, so the existence of rich people with toxic taste is not exactly a Muppet News Flash for me.    But poor people are not poor because rich people are rich, nor vice versa.   Very poor people are generally poor because they do not have jobs, and taking away Thurston Howell III’s second yacht is not going to secure work for them.    Nobody has ever been able to satisfactorily answer the question for me: How would making Donald Trump less rich make anybody else better off?"
-Kevin Williamson, as excerpted from this essay

Stretch...................................................

















"Success is due to our stretching to the challenges of life.   Failure comes when we shrink from them."
-John C. Maxwell

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Go ahead. You know you want to.................

Iron Butterfly......................................In A Gadda Da Vida

At home....................................


Sweet surrender...........................................

Dire Straits.......................................Down To The Waterline

Clarity.................................................

"The people who look like they have everything they want are actually the people who are most clear on what they are willing to give up."
-Penelope Trunk, as excerpted from here

The ancients had a huge advantage over us....

...in their relationship with the heavens.  Here is a view of the night sky that gets obliterated for most of us by ambient city lights.
















photo (larger and many more) from here

The abuse of science continues...............

Am I the only one who longs for the days when science was in full, and honorable, pursuit of the unknown, with no political agenda attached?   Just wondering.


From the Archives...................................


















watch this one for a minute and the train will change direction

















































From the Archives

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

The Zombies....................................................Tell Her No



Might be true, but I'd be the last to know......


Aware............................................

“The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware. In this state of god-like awareness one sings; in this realm the world exists as poem.”

Playing with the moon...........................





































more fun with the moon here

On responsibility........................

 "But in fact, if you don’t start with responsible, virtuous individuals, social mechanisms will not work. The miracle of this country is not our institutions but that we have citizens 'generally capable of using their freedom well.'"
-Arnold Kling on Yuval Levin

Monday, September 29, 2014

Your blues will fade away.................................

Firefall.......................................Just Remember I Love You

Mr. Harden's Neighorhood.........................

................................is a mighty fine place - and so is his blog.  Why don't you take a scroll?

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

A Stag overpowered by heat came to a spring to drink.  Seeing his own shadow reflected in the water, he greatly admired the size and variety of horns, but felt angry with himself for having such slender and weak feet.  While he was thus contemplating himself, a Lion appeared at the pool and crouched to spring upon him.  The Stag immediately took to flight, and exerting his utmost speed, as long as the plain was smooth and open kept himself easily at a safe distance from the Lion.  But entering a wood he became entangled by his horns, and the Lion quickly came up to him and caught him.  When too late, he thus reproached himself:  "Woe is me!  How I have deceived myself!  These feet which would have saved me I despised, and I gloried in these antlers which have proved my destruction."

Moral:  What is most truly valuable is often underrated.

via

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

This story is about time and memories.  The time was 1965, a different kind of year, a watershed year when one era was ending in America and another beginning.  We felt it then, in the many ways our lives changed so suddenly, so dramatically, and looking back on it from a quarter-century gone, we are left in no doubt.  It was the year America decided to directly intervene in the Byzantine affairs of obscure and distant Vietnam.  It was the year we went to war.  In the broad, traditional sense, that "we" who went to war was all of us, all Americans, though in truth at that time the larger majority had little knowledge of, less interest in, and no great concern with what was beginning so far away.
-Joseph L. Galloway and Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore (Ret.), from the Prologue to We Were Soldiers Once...And Young:  Ia Drang - the Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam

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

The Zombies..............................................Leave Me Be

Unintended consequence.............................

"The desire for security is an addiction.  The more security one obtains, the less secure one feels."
-David Goldman

A few things to ponder.................................

"Excellence demands competition"
-Ronald Reagan

"The measure of success is not whether you have tough problems to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year."
-John Foster Dulles

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock;  in matters of taste, swim with the current."
-Thomas Jefferson

"Be different, stand out, and work your butt off."
-Reba McEntire

When you wipe out an entire industry.........

...............it takes a while for it to recover.   I don't believe anyone anticipated it would take this long for the single-family residential construction business to bounce back.

















For a longer view:

















source of first chart
source of second chart with enlargement

Mission Impossible:............................

............picking the twenty best films of a particular decade.  Here is one list trying to capture the 1960's.  It is a good list, but to show just how difficult the job is, here is another list of twenty:

It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
The Great Escape
Zorba The Greek
My Fair Lady 
Days Of Wine And Roses
Bullitt
The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming
Easy Rider
One Hundred And One Dalmatians
Where Eagles Dare
In The Heat Of The Night
The Pink Panther
Cat Ballou
The Longest Day
Midnight Cowboy
The Guns of Navarone
Z
Funny Girl
The Producers
Georgy Girl

Left off the lists are James Bond, the three Beatle movies, and a host of mighty fine musicals.  Clint  Eastwood, Frank Sinatra, and John Wayne are vastly under represented.   Truly an impossible mission.

Sometimes it does get lonely.....................


Sunday, September 28, 2014

as free as the night breeze............................

Bon Jovi............................................................Wildflower

Got my work cut out for me......................











Thanks Kurt

It is still volitional....................................









thanks walker

ten thousand days.........................................

Whatever is foreseen in joy
Must be lived out from day to day,
Vision held open in the dark
By our ten thousand days of work.
Harvest will fill the barn;  for that
The hand must ache, the face must sweat.

And yet no leaf or grain is filled
By work of ours;  the field is tilled
And left to grace.  That we may reap,
Great work is done while we're asleep.

When we work well, a Sabbath mood
Rests on our day, and finds it good.

-Wendell Berry
Sabbaths, 1979 X

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

The Dixie Cups.............................................Chapel of Love

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

12.   This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.

-John 15:12
The Holy Bible
New American Standard Version

This only seems true.................................

"The more serious its problems, the greater the number of inept men democracy calls forth to solve them."
-Don Colacho

(Except when the Great Man steps forth)

Respect..............................................















                     However you want to honor God
                                is okay with me.
                         In return, I expect you
                       to have the same respect
                      of my customs and beliefs
                  for in the end, there is only One
                       and we are part of the All.

via here and here

Already over my allotted time..................























via