Saturday, December 27, 2014

The stars were bright above....................

Fred Parris and the Satins...............In The Still Of The Night

Wishful thinking..................................

      By the 1750's the Enlightenment had become the continent's child as well, but it had been Britain's baby.  Issac Newton's revelation in Principia Mathematica (1687) that the universe is rational, obeying fixed and predictable laws, had changed the way that people perceived the universe.  God was no longer the interfering, jealous God of the Old Testament nor the loving God of the New, but God the Clockmaker, setting the universe of a course governed forever after by mathematically perfect immutable laws.  If only mortals had enough data, they could predict everything that happened, and the tool whereby they could do this in a clocklike universe was reason.  Reason, sweet and infallible, should be brought to bear on hoary traditions that governed the pursuit of knowledge, relationships between the sexes and the social classes, standards of art and music, and the exercise of political power.
-Charles Murray, Human Accomplishment:  The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950

Stuff you almost never think of................

"Without a massive planet like Jupiter nearby, whose gravity will draw away asteroids, a thousand times as many would hit Earth’s surface."
-thanks David

On leadership..................................

3.  The Master said, Govern the people by regulations, keep order among them by chastisements, and they will flee from you, and lose all self-respect.  Govern them by moral force, keep order among them by ritual and they will keep their self-respect and come to you of their own accord.
-Book II, The Analects of Confucius


6.  The Master said, If the ruler himself is upright, all will go well even though he does not give orders.  But if he himself is not upright, even though he gives orders, they will not be obeyed.
-Book XIII, The Analects of Confucius

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

A long time between drinks......................................

Playing with matches........................
















“There are men running governments who shouldn't be allowed to play with matches.”
-attributed to Will Rogers

Worth remembering................................

      Famines subsided along with the plague.  It is hard to realize today, but famine was a common European phenomenon through 18C.  France, for example, among the richest of the European countries, experienced 13 general famines in 16C, 11 in 17C, and 16 in 18C, plus hundreds of local famines that affected a single town or region.  The explanation for the famines was simple.  The yields from cereal grains were low and the capacity to store reserves primitive.  Two bad harvests in a row, and people starved.  It was during 18C that technological progress in agriculture began to break the grip of that brutal arithmetic.
-Charles Murray,  Human Accomplishments:  The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950

If you like photography..........................

....................................................this post from Business Insider may interest you.  A few samples:





The bile of Seneca...........................

From then onwards no mansion would be complete without its library of shelves or cupboards for collection of many-coloured rolls.  Then, as now, rich men with not real literary interests bought libraries for show, only to incur the scorn of philosophers like Seneca, who, himself a millionaire, preached modesty and restraint to others, denouncing those who 'lacking the most elementary culture, possess books not for study but as decorations for their dining-rooms'.  No house of any pretentions, he said, lacked 'its library with shelves of rare cedar wood and ivory from floor to ceiling as well as its hot and cold bathing rooms'.  It stirred his bile to see 'the works of divine genius bought merely for show to decorate a wall'.  Despite such lashing, the newly rich continued the practice and thereby kept many an honest bookseller active from whose industry real scholars were also able to benefit.
-F. R. Cowell, Life in Ancient Rome

About role models................................

12.   The Financial Times wrote, "In 2008 the three most admired personalities in sport were probably Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong and Oscar Pistorius." The same falls from grace happen in investing. Chose your role models carefully. 
-from this list of 122 Things Everyone Should Know About Investing and The Economy

Friday, December 26, 2014

Love the technology...................................

The Diamonds...................................................Little Darlin'

Thanks......................................

"If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is 'Thank you,'  that would suffice."
-attributed to Meister Eckhart

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

All he could see, in every direction, was water.
      It was late June 1943.  Somewhere on the endless expanse of the Pacific Ocean, Army Air Forces bombardier and Olympic runner Louie Zamperini lay across a small raft, drifting westward.  Slumped alongside him was a sergeant, one of his plane's gunners.  On a separate raft, tethered to the first, lay another crewman, a gash zigzagging across his forehead.  Their bodies, burned by the sun and stained yellow from the raft dye, had withered down to skeletons.  Sharks glided in lazy loops around them, dragging their backs along the rafts, waiting.
-Laura Hillenbrand, from the Preface to Unbroken

My sweetie and I took the family to see the movie Unbroken last evening.  We suggest you see it.  After you do, if you are curious what post-traumatic stress can look like, read the book.  Powerful stuff.  A trailer for the movie is here.

Hmmm..............................................























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

Bobby Vee............................The Night Has A Thousand Eyes

Home is.............................................

...............................................................where the hearth is.


Let me paint.............................................

...........................................you a picture of true leadership.

I wonder if...............................................

..................I can use this as an excuse to get out of jury duty.

Fun stuff to remember...............................

     The most striking difference for a modern observer visiting -8000 would have been the scarcity of humans.  People lived just about everywhere, from the farthest southern reaches of today's Chile to the Norse tundra, but they would have been hard to find, living in small and isolated bands.  They had to be scattered, because the human animal is a carnivore by preference, and large carnivores surviving off the land require a large range - about 5,000 acres per person, in the case of carnivore Homo sapiens.  Depending on local conditions, a band of just 25 hunter-gatherers could require more than a thousand square miles.  The world of -8000 probably supported fewer than 4 million human beings, roughly the population of contemporary Kentucky.
-Charles Murray,  Human Accomplishments, The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950

Extreme playing.....................................



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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas


















11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord

-The Holy Bible, Luke 2:11
King James Version

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Loves pure light................................

Sarah McLachlan................................................Silent Night

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

18  Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19  Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
20  But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22  Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23  Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24  Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25   And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.
-The Holy Bible, King James Version,  Matthew 1:18-25

It is the direction that's most important.....

"We will never have a perfect world, but it's not romantic or naive to work toward a better one."
-Steven Pinker, as quoted off the back of a Chipotle bag

Well, maybe not..............................


Probably should start using it................


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

Christmas with Andy Williams and The Young Americans

Christmas spirit........................................

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” 
-Calvin Coolidge


“Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we're here for something else besides ourselves.” 
-Eric Sevareid


“What kind of Christmas present would Jesus ask Santa for?” 
-Salman Rushdie

'Tis the season.......................................


What if.................................................?

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!” 
-Dr. Seuss

A brief warm-up....................................


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

About to find out.....................................


Let's dance............................................

Vince Guaraldi Trio.................Charlie Brown Christmas Dance

Althouse.....................................

....notices (in a good way) the passing of the legendary Joe Cocker.

Risk-aversion.............................................



“Risk-aversion is one of those behaviours that may not seem all that rational in terms of building wealth, or increasing the number of offspring,” he says. “But  . . . if you engage in more conservative behaviour, it’s much less likely that nature will eliminate you.”
-Andrew Lo, as excerpted from here. (via)
video via the Borderline Sociopathic Blog for Boys

This is a pretty neat Christmas present.....


Just for grins................................

......................check out what you could buy today for the (inflation adjusted) price of a Sear's Silvertone Entertainment Center (a color TV) in 1964.  Pictures, prices and details here.  Wee excerpt here:

As much as we might complain about a slow economic recovery, the decline of the middle class, stagnant median household income, rising income inequality and a dysfunctional Congress, we have a lot to be thankful for, and we’ve made a lot of economic progress in the last 50 years as the example above illustrates, thanks to the “magic and miracle of the marketplace.”

Optimism from a Chipotle bag............

























Full Steven Pinker section here.  Excerpt here:

"As it happens, the numbers tell a surprisingly happy story.  Violent crime has fallen by half since 1992, and fiftyfold since the Middle Ages.  Over the past 60 years the number of wars and number of people killed in wars have plummeted.  Worldwide, fewer babies die, more children go to school, more people live in democracies, more can afford simple luxuries, fewer get sick, and more live to old age."

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

Bing Crosby...............................It's Christmas Time Again

Only as a public service......................

....................would we point you to this Vox  post on flatulence.

This feels about right.................................

6. If you think that the media likes bad news, then they are bound to like either stagnation story (or both simultaneously, even though they contradict one another). The media deck is stacked against optimists. I would say that it is even stacked against realists.
-As excerpted from this Arnold Kling post

Traffic concerns.....................................
















via

Our loss..............................................

 “Today’s Democrats have no more in common with Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson,” notes author Michael Lind, “than today’s Republicans have in common with Abraham Lincoln or Dwight Eisenhower. “
-As excerpted from this post by Joel Kotkin

Monday, December 22, 2014

Pour yourself a smooth one......................

David Sanborn.........................................Rain on Christmas

Christmas fun.......................................

Straight No Chaser...........................12 Days and a bit more

...standing in belief he scarcely can believe...

Remembering that it happened once,
We cannot turn away the thought,
As we go out, cold, to our barns
Toward the long night’s end, that we
Ourselves are living in the world
It happened in when it first happened,
That we ourselves, opening a stall
(A latch thrown open countless times
Before), might find them breathing there,
Foreknown: the Child bedded in straw,
The mother kneeling over Him,
The husband standing in belief
He scarcely can believe, in light
That lights them from no source we see,
An April morning’s light, the air
Around them joyful as a choir.
We stand with one hand on the door,
Looking into another world
That is this world, the pale daylight
Coming just as before, our chores
To do, the cattle all awake,
Our own frozen breath hanging
In front of us; and we are here
As we have never been before,
Sighted as not before, our place
Holy, although we knew it not.


-Wendell Berry
Sabbaths, 1987  VI

Listen more and talk less..........................

Rearrange the letters in the word "listen," and you get "silent," Branson points out. The only way to listen to the other person is to be silent, without interrupting them or planning what you want to say before they're done.
Branson never goes anywhere without a physical notebook so that he can write down things that other people say and remember them. It's his secret business weapon, he says, as it also leads to new business ideas as he goes.
-One of 23 bits of business wisdom from Richard Branson

I don't always agree with........................

.............our President.  But when I do, it's because he has done something like this.

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

Jose Gonzales-Gonzales................................Pancho Claus

Commonalities................................


A few random signs found in the Intertunnel...






















































Billie..............................................

































From Shorpy.  Billie Holiday, Teddy Wilson, and Milt Hinton

Listen to several Holiday/Wilson collaborations, here and here

Sunday, December 21, 2014

What a wonderful world...................................

Elvis Presley.....................If Every Day Was Like Christmas

Jesus Christ Superstar..........................

Last night my sweetie and I went to the Weathervane Playhouse to experience Jesus Christ Superstar on stage.  It was a take-your-breath-away kind of performance.  The staging, the voices, the choreography were all superb.  The quality of the shows at Weathervane continues to amaze.  Since most of you were not there, feel free to listen two of the songs from the show:  I Don't Know How To Love Him, and Everything's Alright.

Real life...........................................

We religious types, even those who detest organized religion, pray for deeper faith and a greater sense of oneness with God.  Once when I was about to fly to the other side of the world and asked my church for prayers, my pastor said, "By the time you get on the plane, it's too late for beggy prayers.  It's time for trust and surrender."  These two things are almost all I want, but unfortunately, neither is my strong suit.  I am very strong on blame, and wish this were one of God's values, but trust, surrender?  Letting go, forgiveness?  Maybe just after a period of prayer, but then when the mood passes and real life rears its ugly head again?  Not so much.  I hate this, the fact that life is usually Chutes and Ladders, with no guaranteed gains.
-Anne Lamott,  Help  Thanks  Wow:  The Three Essential Prayers

Careful what you wish for..........................























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Walking to School, 1964

Blurring the window, the snowflakes' numb white lanterns.   
She's brewed her coffee, in the bathroom sprays cologne   
And sets her lipstick upright on the sink.   
The door ajar, I glimpse the yellow slip,   


The rose-colored birthmark on her shoulder.   
Then she's dressed—the pillbox hat and ersatz fur,   
And I'm dressed too, mummified in stocking cap   
And scarves, and I walk her to the bus stop   


Where she'll leave me for my own walk to school,   
Where she'll board the bus that zigzags to St. Paul   
As I watch her at the window, the paperback   


Romance already open on her lap,   
The bus laboring off into snow, her good-bye kiss   
Still startling my cheek with lipstick trace.

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

Jerry Vale..................................I'll Be Home For Christmas

Ho-ho-ho..................................


near-vacant state.............................

      It was the 18th hole at Lundin Links, the end of my round with the "Fairway to Heaven" people.  Tim said nothing when he offered me his driver because this was our elected Silent Hole, when no one would speak from stepping onto the tee till we left the green.
      I noticed how silence intensified awareness - of my partners, of the light, the course gleaming like a reflective surface, so dried out it was, lying under a vast sky, by an impossible bright Firth of Forth.  Despite being brought up only ten miles away, I'd not played Lundin Links before.  It had been a revelation, a true championship course.  I knew again the sheer spacious naturalness of a links course, and the release and uplift that arises there.
      The 18th green shimmered palely in the distance by the clubhouse as I took out my driver for the last time.  Tired now, sore back, knees, legs, but I'd entered that happy, near-vacant state where there are no nerves and few thoughts left, and the golf flows easily.  A pleasing run of birdie and four pars;  I wanted just one more, then into the cool dim clubhouse to rest and talk with these interesting people.
-Andrew Greig,  Preferred Lies:  A Journey to the Heart of Scottish Golf

A behavior modification technique...........



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