Thursday, December 31, 2015

Be careful out there tonight.................



With a certain sense of style...........


Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians.............Happy New Year

Fabulous photos..................


.....................from the National Geographic 2015 contest.





Read this passage......................


......................................and immediately thought of Kurt:

       Robert glanced into his kitchen.  The dirty dishes were cleaned and stacked on the counter.  The sink was spotless, the tile floor shined, and the table was set for four.

      "When did you do all this?"  Robert asked the Professor.

      "Couldn't sleep,"  Brown Shoes said.

      "I usually can't sleep much either,"  Robert said realizing that this was the first night in years that he hadn't heard any voices.  "But that's way too...."

      "Since you are putting me up, it's the least I could do."

      As the men sat down at the table, Brown Shoes looked at Robert.  "Well, they called this morning from the garage.  They say it's going to take a week or so to get the parts, then probably take another two or three weeks to put her back together.  So I'm looking at almost a month."

      Robert tasted his orange juice.  Freshly squeezed, he thought.  He unfolded his omelet, the aroma of fresh green and red peppers, cheese and onions wafted to his face, and then the fragrance of lilacs hit him.  Brown Shoes had cleaned out a Dr. Hopps' beer bottle and used it as a vase for lilacs from his front yard.

      "This is a taste of heaven," James said, letting is omelet slowly dissolve in his mouth.

      "Well, thank you, "Brown Shoes responded.  "Lin Yutang used to say, 'Our lives are not in the laps of the gods, but in the laps of our cooks.'"

-David Mutti Clark,  Professor Brown Shoes Teaches the Blues


Transitioning................................


















via

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


Beach Boys................................................Auld Lang Syne



Ed Note:  Off the Beach Boys' Christmas Album, which was released in November, 1964

Welcome in the new...................



Say goodbye to the old.....................















thanks hugh

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Every so often............................


................................................you just have to listen to this.

Jim Gomer Pyle Nabors...........................The Impossible Dream

Hugs are good..................................



Hmm.............................



The next fifty years will be very interesting........



Yep..............................



Sssh........................................



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


The Honeycombs...............................This Year, Next Year

Working at it, though.......................



Shelf envy................................


Don't they still have summers off......?



Hopefully it will arrive soon...........



Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Still in a doo-wop mood..........


Fred Parris & The Satins........................In the Still of the Night





Barry Mann.............................................Who Put The Bomp

Us wingless bipeds.............................





















      Not only is play a human cultural universal, but most animals are top-notch players too.  Whether  it a a pair of bear cubs splashing one another in a stream (where, judging by their mother's impatient reaction, they are supposed to be learning how to fish) or my dog, Snookers, running ever-expanding circles around the spruce tree in our yard back home - the animal instinct for aimless fun is clearly built in.  Ditto for us wingless bipeds, especially when we are still at that stage of life when notions of accomplishment and making something of ourselves have yet to put the damper on just plain fooling around.
      The transformation of pure play into competitive play - the ancient Greeks were Olympic champs at this - constituted one of the first such dampers.  We went from pointless play to keeping one eye on the scoreboard.  And our current dedication to sports as self-improvement, complete with personal trainers and strange garments made out of spandex, has virtually wiped out any lightheartedness remaining in play.  Even when taking a walk, distance and elapsed time are now often recorded, then measured against previous records as we compete with ourselves for our personal best.  Play is no longer something we do with our idle time, it is another ambitious activity crammed into our schedules.

-Daniel Klein,  Travels with Epicurus:  A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life



















cartoons via

Karma...............................


























via

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


"Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little."
-attributed to Epicurus

The case for optimism............


"Our mistakes are legion, but our talent is immeasurable."
-Diane Ackerman,  The Human Age:  The World Shaped by Us

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


The Rockin' Berries...................The Water Is Over My Head





















via

Rebelling..........................


People who are recognizably human have walked the earth for roughly two hundred thousand years.  During those millennia, we survived by continuously adapting to our fickle environment.  We braved harsh winters and punishing landscapes, and feared animals much fiercer than we were, bowing to nature, whose spell overwhelmed us, whose magnificence humbled us, and around which we anxiously rigged our lives.  After a passage of time too long to fully imagine, and too many impression-mad lives to tally, we began rebelling against the forces of nature.  We grew handy, resourceful, flexible, clever, cooperative.  We captured fire, chipped tools, hewed spears and needles, coined language and spent it everywhere we roamed.  And then we began multiplying at breathtaking speed.
-Diane Ackerman,  The Human Age:  The World Shaped By Us

Monday, December 28, 2015

It's a doo-wop kind of morning............


The Marcels........................................................Blue Moon




Gene Chandler.................................................The Duke of Earl




The Monotones................................................Book of Love

On guidelines............................


"Our philosophies aren’t rules; they’re guidelines. In every long-lasting business, the methods of conducting business may constantly change, but the values, the culture and the philosophies remain constant."
-Yvon Chouinard, as quoted by Ben Carlson and as excerpted from this A Wealth of Common Sense blog post

Learning through losing................


"If you win every time, you don't learn anything.  You don't learn anything about yourself.  You don't learn anything about the other person.  You don't learn anything about the game.  You don't learn anything about life."
-Jack Nicklaus, as excerpted from Michael Bamberger's essay in the latest Sports Illustrated

Wishing all the "settled science".............


.................................................folks would take this to heart:

Your learned friends are wrong.

They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
-Francis Church, as excerpted from his 1897 New York Sun "Yes, Virginia" editorial

"A century ago, most scientists believed the entire universe was deterministic, and that if you could only specify all the details at one instant of time, you could calculate what was going to happen, forever. As for God, many scientists believed that he just wound up the clock of the universe and set it in motion, and didn’t do anything after that. Time was considered an absolute quantity that nothing could affect… not even God.

"And then along came Albert Einstein, who realized that space and time are not absolute quantities, but are related to each other, forming a space-time continuum. The absolute-ness of time was abandoned, determinism was discarded, and scientists realized they hadn’t dug very deep after all."

"As editor Francis Church wrote in 1897, “Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.” That point has gradually sunk in with scientists. By accepting with humility that we don’t know it all, and that our scientific instruments only investigate a small slice of the universe, we realize that reality extends far beyond the boundaries of science. “Love and generosity and devotion exist, and we know that they give to life its highest beauty and joy.”
-last three quotes excerpted from this American Thinker post

via

Mysteries............................



























Enlargeable photo here and here.  As a bonus, explanations of sorts are included.

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


The Nashville Teens............................Whatcha Gonna Do?



On badgers and hedgehogs................


............................................................and the circle of life.

Fifty steps...................


.......................................along the path leading to the good life.

The wisdom of...................................


..............................................Milton Friedman, captured here.

Hot streak.................................


.....................................................................................declared.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Lost in the moment..........................


R.E.M..........................................................................Outsider

Hidden..............................





















"In every real man a child is hidden who wants to play."
-Friedrich Nietzsche

photo via

Rearrangers.............................


















      "Our shimmering cities tell all (including us) that Earth's inhabitants are thinkers, builders and rearrangers who like to bunch together into hivelike settlements, and for some reason - bad night vision, primal fear, sheer vanity, to scare predators, or as a form of group adornment - we bedeck them all with garlands of light."
-Diane Ackerman,  The Human Age:  The World Shaped By Us

image of Baltimore, and a bunch more cool earthy photos, via

All good questions.................


Epicurus grew up on another Aegean island, Samos, two hundred miles east of here, nearer to Anatolia, or Asia Minor.  He was born in 341 BCE, only eighty years after Plato, but was little influenced by him.  What Epicurus mainly had on his mind was the question of how to live the best possible life, especially considering that we only have one of them - Epicurus did not believe in an afterlife.  This seems like the most fundamental philosophical question, the question of all questions.  But students of the history of Western Philosophy are often disheartened to find that as the centuries went on that question began to take a backseat to philosophical questions that were considered more pressing, like Martin Heidegger's mindblower that used to make me laugh out loud with incomprehension.   "Why are there things that are rather than nothing?"  and the epistemological problem, "How do we know what is real?"  Epicurus certainly speculated about the nature of reality, but he dis so fundamentally in service of his ultimate question, "How does one make the most of one's life?"  Not a bad question.
      Epicurus's answer, after many years of deep thought, was that the best possible like one could life is a happy one, a life filled with pleasure.  At first look, this conclusion seems like a no-brainer, the sort of wisdom found on the side of a box of Celestial Seasonings tea.  But Epicurus knew this was only a starting point because it raised the more troublesome and perplexing questions of what constitutes a happy life, which pleasures are truly gratifying and enduring, and which are fleeting and lead to pain, plus the monumental questions of why and how we often thwart ourselves from attaining happiness.

-Daniel Klein,  Travels with Epicurus:  A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life

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


The Four Pennies...................................................Juliet

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


...................................................................Jeff is back!

Oops.............................























thanks craig

Santa..............................



Friday, December 25, 2015

Thank you......................................


















After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 

10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 

11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 

-Matthew 2:9-11
The Holy Bible
New International Version

Wishing you and yours the Merriest Christmas



Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wishing you a Merry and a Happy..........


Trans-Siberian Orchestra....................Christmas Eve/Sarajevo

Peace, good will.......................


















14  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
-Luke 2:14
The Holy Bible
King James Version

Well, okay...............................



Art mimicking life............................




Are we really talking about the...............


..................................tax code on Christmas Eve?   Yep.

John Cochrane talks common-sense governing.   Wishing the attempt all the luck in the world.  Post here.   Excerpt here:

We need to move from the equilibrium of, I have my subsidy/deduction/credit/special deal, so I won't complain about yours, to the equilibrium of, I gave up my subsidy/deduction/credit special deal, so I'll make darn sure you give up yours too.




















this post was really just an excuse to post my favorite hugh macleod cartoon.

4 Stages..................................



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


Maurice Chevalier..............................................Silent Night

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



























thanks doug

Saul Alinsky.............................


..........................would probably approve.  John Kay suggests "the characteristics of organisational failure are timeless" and then he sets out the field manual.   A wee excerpt:

 "The wide exercise of power without responsibility, often in the name of democracy or participation, is at best a recipe for organisational paralysis and at worst a mechanism for actual sabotage, as is the substitution of procedural rules for individual judgment."

Timeless.............................


...............Michael Wade posts 21 Things I Wish I Knew In My Twenties.  Some of us sixty-somethings still have a lot of work to do.  Thanks Michael.

Game changers.............................


................here are 14 events that have dramatically altered the way us humans live.  You might notice that the pace of these events is quickening.  Apparently these 14 were culled from this broader picture.  Pondering using The Wonder That Is Amazon to acquire it,  if only to see if Amazon made the cut.  Surely it must have.



Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Sing in exultation.................................


Martina McBride.................................O Come All Ye Faithful

Ah.....................................the fine print


...................or, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.

Fun with Federal Omnibus bills: Part One.  Story here.

thanks craig

Try these at home...............




thanks Warren

Ah, science. We hardly knew you.........


...........................................................or, fuddling with the data.

I, like any clever scienticist, could fuddle with the data till my eyes crossed, then shrug and postulate various “events within the event” — weaves, turns, sprints, wrinkles, leaps, bobbles — plus an unknown number of additional “whatevers.” But I wouldn’t go on television until I’d found hard evidence of my purely speculative play-by-play. Smoking guns are all very well, but a coroner requires a one-to-one pairing between bullets and wounds.

-David Warren, as excerpted from this post

Artistry...............................


.......................or, painting pictures with words:

      She was cool, superior, and slightly snotty.  A male friend, if she had time for one, would have a hard body, a great tan, a gold chain, a two-seater Mercedes-Benz, and no sense of humor.  A commoner had little chance of peeling off her shorts.  Should it happen, she'd do it purely for the experience, like shopping at Kmart or sniffing glue.
     She knew what I was thinking, of course.  And she knew she was reaching me, with her information, money, and long athletic legs.  All management tools, properly deployed, well under control.  It was mildly irritating.
     Letting it percolate for a moment, I looked down at the battered, grass-green fiberglass hull of my boat, the brilliant white D'Arches paper, the black handles of the watercolor brushes.  It was all I really wanted to do;  I didn't want to fool with some rich guy's computers.   But a bigger boat would be nice, and money would buy more time to paint.  And New Orleans is a pleasurable place.
      "It sounds illegal," I said after a while.

-John Sandford, as excerpted from The Fool's Run

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


The Sonics..........................................................Santa Claus



lyrics here

"May I buy your groceries?"...............


I was one of those people who made fun of the “people of Walmart”.  And I’m an idiot.  I don’t know anyone’s story, their background, their pain or their journey in this world.  I judge the badly dressed, the overweight, the sloppy, the ignorant, the ill-mannered.  The same ones, yesterday, who cried when someone offered them a small kindness.  The ones who, when they figured out what my husband and I were doing hiding in the jewelry section across from the check-out lanes, came running over, looked us right in the eye, thanked us and complimented on our wonderful girls.  There’s MY gift, right there.  I haven’t gotten anything as precious as that. 
-Walmart as a Holy Land.  The full tale is told here 
thanks Glenn

Well, yeah..............................



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



Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hear the angels' voices.......................


Not sure who she is, but it's really good.............O Holy Night

You may have noticed.......................


.............that we have posted more than several excerpts from Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals here of late.  Noticing the curious nature of  our readers, you are undoubtedly wondering when we are going to post said rules.  Wonder no longer:

      Always remember the first rule of power tactics:
     
Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
      The second rule is:  Never go outside of the experience of your people.  When an action or tactic is outside the experience of the people, the result is confusion, fear, and retreat.  It also means a collapse of communication, as we have noted.
      The third rule is:  Whenever possible go outside the experience of the enemy.  Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat. (Alinsky now includes a very long paragraph - too long for the allotted typing time - on Sherman's march through The South).
      The fourth rule is:   Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.  You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.
      The fourth rule carries within it the fifth rule:  Ridicule is man's most potent weapon.  It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule.  Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.
      The sixth rule is:  A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.  If your people are not having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic.
      The seventh rule is:  A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.  Man can sustain militant interest in any issue for only a limited time, after which it becomes a ritualistic commitment, like going to church on Sunday mornings.  New issues and crises are always developing, and one's reaction becomes, "Well, my heart bleeds for those people and I'm all for the boycott, but after all there are other important things in life" - and there it goes.
      The eighth rule:  Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.
      The ninth rule:  The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
      The tenth rule:  The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.  It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign.  It should be remembered not only that the action is in the reaction but that action is itself the consequence of reaction and of reaction to the reaction, ad infinitum.  The pressure produces the reaction, and constant pressure sustains action.
      The eleventh rule:  If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through to its counterside;  this is based on the principle that every positive has its negative.  We have already seen the conversion of the negative into the positive, in Mahatma Gandhi's development of the tactic of passive resistance.
(Alinsky now offers several long paragraphs, also too long for inclusion,  supporting the eleventh rule.)
      The twelfth rule: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.  You cannot risk being trapped by the enemy in his sudden agreement with your demand and saying "You're right - we don't know what to do about this issue.  Now you tell us."
      The thirteenth rule:  Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
   

A happy and a merry to you.............................























via

Questions..............................



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


The Vince Guaraldi Trio...........................What Child Is This

Chuckling to myself...............................


I've played in a monthly poker game with the same group of guys for more than thirty years now.  Over the past few winters it has gotten progressively more difficult to get a quorum.  Over half the group now winters in Florida - but not me.   So, it was with great interest that I viewed this weather prediction chart:














Enjoy yourselves.

source  via

Almost time....................................


























via

On the Paris climate conference, or..................


.............Why multilateral negotiation is so difficult

"What world leaders have actually signed us up to is: voluntary emission limits with no enforcement mechanism, voluntary progress reviews and voluntary contributions to a trillion-dollar green climate fund. Nothing is binding except that each country must resubmit its voluntary national goal every five years and even that does not apply to the G77 developing nations."

"World leaders essentially solved the problem of where to go to dinner by changing the topic of conversation to how much they would all like to go to dinner. On this they were all triumphantly agreed. For the poor people of the world, the vagueness of the Paris agreement is good news: it means development can continue, making them less vulnerable to all harms, including weather. Those who think climate change is a huge threat should be worried, but those of us who think climate change is not such a big threat should still be concerned about just how bad the world would be at responding when a really big collective-action problem comes along: mega-volcano, alien invasion, etc."

as excerpted from this Matt Ridley post

Monday, December 21, 2015


Susan Boyle.........................................................O Holy Night




So, I was reading...................


......................my Emerson, and came across this passage:

The most attractive class of people are those who are powerful obliquely, and not by the direct stroke: men of genius, but not yet accredited: one gets the cheer of their light, without paying too great a tax. Theirs is the beauty of the bird, or the morning light, and not of art. In the thought of genius there is always a surprise; and the moral sentiment is well called "the newness," for it is never other; as new to the oldest intelligence as to the young child, — "the kingdom that cometh without observation."

I think he is describing the bloggers that I have the good fortune to follow.  Thank you all!

Dreaming.................................


























“Some people see things that are and ask, Why?  Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not?  Some people have to go to work and don't have time for all that.”
-George Carlin (added bonus:  Carlin's rant on "The American Dream" here)

“I used to think as I looked out on the Hollywood night — there must be thousands of girls sitting alone like me, dreaming of becoming a movie star. But I'm not going to worry about them. I'm dreaming the hardest.” 
-Marilyn Monroe

“There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” 
-Hamlet, as channeled by William Shakespeare

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”
-T. E. Lawrence

“I'll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours” 
-Bob Dylan

Dreaming, continued.........................


"I learned this, at least, by my experiment:  that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws will be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.  In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." 

-Henry David Thoreau, Walden, from the chapter Conclusion

Ed. Note:  Page for page, Walden has to be one of the all-time most quotable books.  And to think, you can own it for free by following the link to Amazon (and having Kindle).  We live in a most bounteous universe.

Speaking of..............................


..........................................................Susan Boyle and dreams

Susan Boyle..............................................I Dreamed A Dream

Ghosts................................



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


The Ventures................................................Blue Christmas

It's beginning................................

.........................................................to look a lot like Christmas