Saturday, December 6, 2014

Tidings of comfort and joy..........................

August Burns Red..................God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Does this look like $47,500,000 to you...........:?


Back story and enlargeable photo of J, M. W. Turner's Rome, from Mount Aventine can be found here.

Too many laws......................................

Ignorance of the law has long been held to not be a sustainable defense, but given the passage of some 40,000 new laws in 2014, how is one supposed to keep up with the criminalization of our daily lives?  Police Departments (and Grand Juries) around our fair land have been taking a metaphorical beating lately.  Maybe the answer is that we should ask them to enforce fewer laws.  One of my favorite blogs takes a look at the issue here.  Wee excerpt here:

This kind of race-based law enforcement is given the stink-eye by our friends on the left, but they can't seem to draw the obvious inference:  the answer is not better police.  The answer is fewer laws.  Decriminalize normal nonviolent daily activity, and the police will have a lot fewer excuses to harass people they don't like and who can't fight back.

The virtues..............................................

................................................of people who get things done.

















Inspiration, discipline, risk, and humility.  Back story here.

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

The Rolling Stones...........................................Not Fade Away

The business side of Santa............


Ten creative sculptures..............................


















Nine more can be found here.   These are great.  Do go look.  #7 has appeared on this blog before.

via

Need a list......................................

..................to help jump-start your 2015 New Year's resolutions?

This re-run may be just the ticket.

Choose...............................................























via

Not so sure about this one......................

From The Economist's The World in 2015 issue comes the prediction of The return of nine-to-five.  Apparently, when in comes to the workplace, less will become more in 2015. No more late nights,  no more early mornings, no more weekends, no more working vacations.   Hmmm.  Maybe, but all that technology that has both vastly changed the nature of time and, theoretically anyway, made us more efficient, has demands of its own.  The essayist says:

"In the best companies Parkinson's Law will operate perfectly and work will contract to fit the time available."

Color me doubtful.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Spirits..................................................


The cold never bothered me anyway..........

From Frozen...................................................Let It Go

The hidden cost of.....................................

...............................................................light pollution:

















"Stars can't shine without darkness."
-anonymous

more (and full screen) photos here

What listening brings out..........................


Stringing words together in a most interesting fashion.......................................................

I don't know James Wolcott and had never heard of James Wolcott before reading this post by Ben Casnocha.  I don't know Lena Dunham and had never heard of Lena Dunham until various intertunnel locales I visit started mentioning her recently.  Something about a book she wrote.  Anyway, Casnocha points to this Wolcott review of Dunham's book, and offers this excerpt:

Callow, grating, and glibly nattering as much of the rest of Not That Kind of Girl is, its impact is a series of glancing blows. The self-revelations and gnarly disclosures are stowed alongside the psycho-twaddle, affirmational platitudes, and show-offy candor of someone avid to be liked and acceptedon her own terms, of course, for who she is in all her flawed, bountiful faux pas glory. Can’t blame her for that. It’s what most talented exhibitionists crave and strive for beneath the light of the silvery moon and the mystic ministrations of Oprah, and Dunham’s ability to put it over is as impressive in its way as Madonna’s wire-muscled will-to-power and James Franco’s iron-butterfly dilettantism. Beneath the surface slop and ditzy tics, Dunham possesses an unimpeachable work ethic, a knowledgeable respect for senior artists (as evidenced by her friendship and collaboration with the Eloise illustrator Hilary Knight and her endorsement of the memoirs of Diana Athill), and a canny knack for converting her personal piques, plights, bellyflops, hamster-wheel OCD compulsions, and body-image issues into serial dramedy. That professional nasal drips such as Times columnist Ross Douthat interpret this as symptomatic of an entire generation’s narcissistic disorder says more about them than her. (Douthat probably would have disapproved of James Dean too, told him to stand up straight.)

Think I might be reading  more from James Wolcott.

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

The Hollies.........................................................Just One Look

The one percent solution......................

...........................................the improvement of everything.

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

      The horror was in the waiting - the unknown, the insomnia, the ulcers.  Co-workers ignored each other and hid behind locked doors.  Secretaries and paralegals passed along the rumors and refused eye contact.  Everyone was on edge, wondering, "Who might be next?"  The partners, the big boys, appeared shell-shocked and wanted no contact with their underlings.  They might soon be ordered to slaughter them.
-John Grisham,  Gray Mountain

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

















courtesy of mme scherzo

Sieve................................................











Ever since I didn't die on a trolley in the Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, and a surgeon made an inspired guess, drilled into my head to let the pressure out and my squashed brain began to re-expand, my memory isn't so good.
     "Like a sieve" is apt - most of the events, faces and details of the day just run through it.  What catches and sticks is ordinary, and precious.  Glimpses of the day - two squirrels pursuing each other round a tree in a glimmering grey double helix, Leo flipping his trilby up along his arm onto his head and flashing a grin before setting off to school, the bone-white new moon in a blue-black permanent sky when I lock up the shed - they remain, glittering flakes in the bottom of the sieve.
     Songs and their words, those I can remember without effort.  Even the ones I don't like stick.  Poems, likewise.  And there are some holes on some golf courses that I can still walk myself through any time.  A strikingly high proportion of those holes are on Shiskane.

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


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Help me now.............................................

The Staple Singers................................I'll Take You There



#17 on this list

Volume up...............................................!

August Burns Red......................................Carol of the Bells

Angels......................................................

You might see an angel anytime
and anywhere. Of course you have
to open your eyes to a kind of
second level, but it's not really
hard. The whole business of
what's reality and what isn't has
never been solved and probably
never will be. So I don't care to
be too definite about anything.
I have a lot of edges called Perhaps
and almost nothing you can call
Certainty. For myself, but not
for other people. That's a place
you just can't get into, not
entirely anyway, other people's
heads.

I'll just leave you with this.
I don't care how many angels can
dance on the head of a pin. It's
enough to know that for some people
they exist, and that they dance.

-Mary Oliver

Finding your inner jolliness......................


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

.......................................................isn't it time to have a beer?


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

Jim Reeves............................................I Love You Because

Equanimity...........................................




















Was this a day to play golf?  Maybe not, but I was stuck with it.  I watched Colin Bannatyne creakily approach his ball, pause, calmly hit it with his corkscrew swing over the grassy mound in the general direction of the hidden green.  I called, "Good shot!" but my words were whipped away.  I could have sworn I saw a hint of a smile.
      He was right, of course.  Can't change the course, so adjust to the conditions.  Can't hit into this gale, so play with it.  It's absurd to get angry at rain, or old age for that matter.  Mr. Bannatyne seemed possessed of unshakeable equanimity as he addressed his putt on the first green, the ball quivering in the wind.
      As we both holed out for 6, he handed me back my ball and murmured, "Grand day."
      As we tacked towards the next tee, I was picturing the annoyance, the air of being put-upon, of many major golfers when the wind really blows in a British Open.  In a wet gale, yardage becomes irrelevant, it's all down to instinct and feel - who can best adjust, improvise, who really has golf in their bones.
      My boyhood hero-worship of Arnold Palmer stemmed from a photo of him on the way to winning the Open in a force 8 gale at Birkdale, 1961.  He's in full foul-weather gear, windcheater dark with rain, trousers whipped tight around his legs by the wind as he crouches at the top of his back swing, the light of battle in his eye, and the caption read:  Arnold Palmer about to drill another 1 iron into the gale.  Who would not warm to such a man?

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

Eyenology.................................................



















“Pictures, regardless of how they are created and recreated, are intended to be looked at. This brings to the forefront not the technology of imaging, which of course is important, but rather what we might call the eyenology (seeing).”
 -Henri Cartier-Bresson

image via kaching

Curious..................................................






















"No one is dumb who is curious. The people who don't ask questions remain clueless throughout their lives."
-Neil deGrasse Tyson

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Payin' anything to roll the dice.....................

Journey......................................................Don't Stop Believin'



#40 on this list

Public Service Announcement.................

Every so often this needs to be posted, just as a reminder.  


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

As serious as a heart attack.  Maybe those were Ken Kramer's last words, like a final explosion of panic in his mind as he stopped breathing and dropped into the abyss.  He was out of line, in every way there was, and he knew it.  He was where he shouldn't have been, with someone he shouldn't have been with, carrying something he should have kept in a safer place.  But he was getting away with it.  He was playing and winning.  He was on top of his game.  He was probably smiling.  Until the sudden thump deep inside his chest betrayed him.  Then everything turned around.  Success became instant catastrophe.  He had no time to put anything right.

-Lee Child,  The Enemy

Unfortunately, there is some truth to this......


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

Malcolm X/"Old Patrick Henry said 'Liberty or death', that's extreme"

Good to remember...........................................


Let's debate..................................

Slate.com generously offers us an alternative to political arguments at family gatherings.  Rather than fight about the glories of  Obamacare or the fecklessness of our 43rd President,  families can now politely debate questions like these:

  • If you were condemned to be a tree or a fish which would be better?
  • If all music were replaced by the works of one of the following artists, which would be better: Billy Joel or Beethoven?
  • Humans have destroyed the planet, and we are all now under the thumb of animal overlords. Would it be better to be ruled by dolphins or bumblebees?
  • Would you rather live by an ocean or in the mountains?
  • If you were granted the godlike power to do one but not both of these, would you choose to end global warming or cure cancer?
  • If Lex Luthor finally defeated Superman and condemned all productive Americans to communicate either by email or conference call, which would be better?
  • Would you rather meet your ancestors or your great-great-grandchildren?
  • Would you rather fight a horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?
  • Who would win a battle between a nearsighted Mr. Rogers armed with a baguette, and Mr. Peanut riding a unicycle who had the ability to see 3 seconds into the future? (This question courtesy of Superfight!)
  • Would you rather play the world's instruments expertly or speak the world's languages fluently?
  • If you had to give up coffee or alcohol for the rest of your life, which would it be? (And I don't just mean for breakfast.)
  • Which is more valuable: $100 donated to charity or three hours spent in a soup kitchen?
My favorite would be the godlike powers scenario. Lots of room for continuing arguments there.  If we were to end global warming, does that mean that global cooling (not a favorable outcome) ensues, or does it mean that for the first time in four point five billion years conditions on Earth would not be in flux?  Just asking.

The Buddha says........................................















via

Seriously...........................................


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The North Pole I have charted....................

Bunny Berrigan.......................................I Can't Get Started



#16 on this list

It's a gettin' closer...............................

Buddy Holly....................................................,,,,Everyday



#19 on this list

On faith................................................

"Faith is not just a theological principle;  it is a mental and emotional muscle."
-Marianne Williamson

As we've said here before.......................

.......................normalcy is just the psychosis of the majority.
“The truth is, we don’t know what’s normal,” 
-as excerpted from this The New Yorker essay, "Is Internet Addiction a Real Thing?"

Re-reading it...........................................

"What's this you're writing?" asked Pooh, climbing onto the writing table.

     "The Tao of Pooh,"  I replied.

      "The how of Pooh?" asked Pooh, smudging one of the words I had just written.

      "The Tao of Pooh, I replied, poking his paw away with my pencil.

      "It seems more like the ow! of Pooh," said Pooh, rubbing his paw.

      "Well, it's not,"  I replied huffily.

      "What's it about?" asked Pooh, leaning forward and smudging another word.

      "It's about how to stay happy and calm under all circumstances!"  I yelled.

      "Have you read it?" asked Pooh.

-Benjamin Hoff,  The Tao of Pooh

Chris Rock...............................

..........................................talks humor and race in America.

"Here’s the thing. When we talk about race relations in America or racial progress, it’s all nonsense. There are no race relations. White people were crazy. Now they’re not as crazy. To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before."

"Comedians kill themselves. Talk to 100 comedians this week, everybody knows somebody who killed themselves. I mean, we always say ignorance is bliss. Well, if so, what’s the opposite? Some form of misery. Being a comedian, 80 percent of the job is just you notice shit, which is a trait of schizophrenics too. You notice things people don’t notice."

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

The Berkeley Free Speech Movement.   Mario Savio:  "Put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers..."

A nourishing pie..............................
















thanks jessica

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

The cop climbed out of his car exactly four minutes before he got shot.  He moved like he knew his fate in advance.  He pushed the door against the resistance of a stiff hinge and swiveled slowly on the worn vinyl seat and planted both feet flat on the road.  Then he grasped the door frame with both hands and heaved himself up and out.  He stood in the cold clear air for a second and then turned and pushed the door shut again behind him.  Held still for a second longer.  Then he stepped forward and leaned against the side of the hood up near the headlight.

-Lee Child,  Persuader

The continuing saga...............................

.........................of Michael Wade's Random Thoughts:

No matter how sociable one may be, everyone needs a hideaway. Opportunities are often disguised as problems. The reverse is also true. There should always be at least one book in your car.  Every day we can see an art show in the sky. People who argue against the existence of miracles are surrounded by them. 

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


Monday, December 1, 2014

When the morning comes..............................

Grover Washington Jr..........................Just the Two of Us



#6 on this list

It may be a while before you hear...............

..........another band include the word "chicane" in its lyrics.

Electric Light Orchestra.............Can't Get It Out Of My Head




#80 on this list.   Lyrics here.

Museum Piece.......................................
















The good grey guardians of art
Patrol the halls on spongy shoes,
Impartially protective, though
Perhaps suspicious of Toulouse.

Here dozes one against the wall,
Disposed upon a funeral chair.
A Degas dancer pirouettes
Upon the parting of his hair.

See how she spins! The grace is there,
But strain as well is plain to see.
Degas loved the two together:
Beauty joined to energy.

Edgar Degas purchased once
A fine El Greco, which he kept
Against the wall beside his bed
To hang his pants on while he slept.


-Richard Wilbur

On reflection...........................................


















"To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions;  both dispense with the necessity of reflection."
-Jules Henri Poincare

And the list of things................................

...............................you actually have control over is incredibly small.  It only has one word on it:  You























via

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

At the movies........................The Fall of The Roman Empire

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

...................................................according to Austin Kleon

























the full post is here

So, you're looking through the Hubble..................

................................................Telescope and what do you see?



















It seems a bit of a stretch, but here is what NASA thinks they saw:

"It could be perceived as a superhero flying through a cloud, arm up, with a saved person in tow below."

Not everybody sees it that way.

thanks craig

So, the family went to the 10:00 PM........

.............showing of Interstellar on Saturday night.  A good movie, an interesting movie, providing lots of grist for the thought mill.   While the family slept in Sunday morning, I caught up on some blog reading and found this appropriate beauty:

"On this day we keep in mind that the universe need not support human life. It need not feed us. It need not provide the conditions under which we can thrive and prosper.

"For that we all give thanks."

-Stuart Schneiderman, as excerpted from here

On black holes and.................................

.................the whole space-time bending paradoxes - here.

via

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Baby......................................................

BB King.............................................How Blue Can You Get?



one version of #84 on this list

Pondering.......................................

"God is like a mirror.  The mirror never changes but everybody who looks at it sees something different."
-Rabbi Harold Kushner

"Truth is one;  the sages call it by many names."
-Hindu saying

"God has no religion."
-Gandhi

“Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God.” 
-Lenny Bruce

“I think God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.” 
-Oscar Wilde

Egotist..................................................

Megaceph, chosen to serve the State
In the halls of legislative debate,
One day with all his credentials came
To the capitol's door and announced his name.
The doorkeeper looked, with a comical twist
Of the face, at the eminent egotist,
And said: "Go away, for we settle here
All manner of questions, knotty and queer,
And we cannot have, when the speaker demands
To know how every member stands,
A man who to all things under the sky
Assents by eternally voting 'I.''' 

-Ambrose Bierce

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

Allan Sherman and Herman & The Hermits messing around

One more reason................................

........................why I prefer real estate to the stock market:

"One of the reasons the past couple of years have frustrated so many professional investors is because of the lack of volatility. For most investors, volatility is a four letter word that should be avoided at all costs. But for others, volatility acts as a form of opportunity."

-Ben Carlson

On the cutting edge of creative destruction.....

We often forget that, by historical standards, prosperity and abundance are not the default conditions of humankind.  Systems and philosophies matter - a lot.  Capitalism is not the perfect system, it just works way better, and brings more prosperity and abundance to more folk,  than anything else.  Unless, that is, you are on the cutting edge of "creative destruction," like those who have been hoarding taxi medallions in New York City.  Via Meadia has the back story -here.

It was that kind of time................................
















via

The thankfulness of memories.....................

Oddly, I suddenly thought of my father, walking easy down the block, a day-old newspaper tucked under his arm, his workman’s cap tilted slight back on his head, one hand in his pocket and in the other carrying a small cloth bag.
Who says you can’t go home again…

Is it that obvious........................................?

























via