Saturday, April 4, 2015

Silence is golden................................

Mark Twain hanging out, as filmed by T. Edison's camera in 1909



Sorry, please go here to see the digitally restored film

Progressions......................................























“What is Man? Man is a noisome bacillus whom Our Heavenly Father created because he was disappointed in the monkey.” 
-Mark Twain


Of course, a time like this calls for one of my favorites:



cartoon via

First things first.......................................



















“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” 
-Mark Twain

image via radiating blossom

True than ever..................................






















“Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned.” 
-Mark Twain

image and more thoughts on unlearning here

The serpent.......................................

























“Adam was but human—this explains it all. He did not want the apple for the apple's sake, he wanted it only because it was forbidden. The mistake was in not forbidding the serpent; then he would have eaten the serpent.” 
-Mark Twain

cartoon via

Missing.......................................

















“Out of all the things I have lost, I miss my mind the most.”
-Mark Twain

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

Gary Lewis & The Playboys....................Everyone Loves A Clown

Travel..................................












“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” 
-Mark Twain

Absorbing..........................................


“In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.”
-Mark Twain

Loyalty...............................................






























“Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.” 
-Mark Twain

Owing nothing..........................................


“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” 
-Mark Twain

Focus...........................................


“You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” 
-Mark Twain

image via

Friday, April 3, 2015

Invitation............................................

The Beatles..............................................Carry That Weight

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

It seems fitting that my earliest childhood memory entails strife, conflict, and intense emotion.  It also seems appropriate that the Roman Catholic Church was involved.  I was 5 or 6 years old.  My family was out in Michigan visiting during a summer vacation.  I attended a day camp run by a Catholic order, a sort of Bible day camp.  I recall the presence of nuns.  Another little boy started teasing me.  He hit me with a vine, using it in the manner of  a whip.  This infuriated me.  I fought back with a ferocity far beyond the pain I'd absorbed and beyond the bounds of a little boy trying to defend himself.

     I jumped on the kid and started pounding him with my fists.  When he escaped my grasp, I chased the terrified boy around some picnic tables.  The nuns stopped me, but they couldn't staunch my rage, which kept flooding out of me, a deep volcanic upswelling at the injustice of the boy's attack.  I wept and thrashed and couldn't be consoled.  Eventually the  nuns, who despite their experience had never encountered this sort of emotional intensity from a child, had to call my mother to come get me.

      I remember that day:  the stinging thrash of the vine;  the deep green of the grass and trees; the startled white faces of the sisters under their habits; and my outpouring of rage that, even at that young age, I felt coming through me rather than from me.  I sensed that I was a conduit of forces beyond my understanding and perhaps beyond my control.

-Alberto Salazar and John Brant,  14 Minutes:  A Running Legend's Life and Death and Life

Forty years ago..............................................

The Blackbyrds.............................................Walking In Rhythm

Fortune's best gift.......................

A gentle wind fans the calm night:
A bright moon shines on the high tower.
A voice whispers, but no one answers when I call:
A shadow stirs, but no one comes when I beckon.
The kitchen-man brings in a dish of lentils:
Wine is there, but I do not fill my cup.
Contentment with poverty is Fortune's best gift:
Riches and Honour are the handmaids of Disaster.
Though gold and gems by the world are sought and prized,
To me they seem no more than weeds or chaff.

-Fu Hsuan  (translated by Arthur Waley)

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

The Toys.....................................................A Lover's Concerto



Maybe.............................................


I had never heard of John McCarthy..............

..............until I found the previous quote.  Turns out that John McCarthy was fairly quotable.  Below are selections culled from here:

Mankind will probably survive even if it doesn't take my advice.

Equality of the sexes is more important than equality of the genders.

During the second millenium, the Earthmen complained a lot.

When there's a will to fail, obstacles can be found.

You are eager to defend rationality against the creationists. Fine. Are you also willing to defend it against the environmentalists? 

Cynicism is a cheap substitute for sophistication. You don't actually have to learn anything. 

God did not design human beings in accordance with Christian principles, fascist principles, feminist principles, socialist principles, romantic principles, secular humanist principles, vegetarian principles, deep environmentalist principles, biocentric principles, or libertarian principles. Any of these groups could have told God a thing or two.

No-one has yet built a monument so high that a bird can't fly over and shit on it.

The peace movement is a great force for peace. Some of the world's most quarrelsome people act out their aggressions through the peace movement. 

Self-righteousness has killed more people than smoking. 

It is deplorable that many people think that the best way to improve the world is to forbid something. However, they're morally more advanced than the people who think the best way to improve the world is to kill somebody. 

Don't try to talk anyone out of concentrating his hatred on Ayn Rand or any other dead person. It can't harm the dead. Diverted to a living person, it might actually do harm.

Sixty years ago...............................

Bo Diddley...........................................................I Am A Man

Prized........................................















"When architects get prizes, the people suffer."
-John McCarthy

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Meanwhile, back in 1960..............................

Johnny Burnette.........................................................Dreamin'

Prefer........................................................


“To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.” 
-Robert Louis Stevenson

On the safety of aviation..........................

John Kay suggests, recent headlines notwithstanding, that flying is one of the safest things we do.............................

 Tyler Brûlé has described the fear of flying that led him to abandon a flight to London after hearing about last week’s Germanwings Airbus crash in the French Alps. The chances of a man of Mr Brulé’s age, 46, dying in any two-hour interval is about one in 1m. There is an additional one in 5m chance of being killed during a two-hour flight. On the other hand, sitting in an aircraft protects you from many more common causes of death, such as a car crash or a fall down stairs.

Full essay here.

Incompatible..............................................


“Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy - in fact, they are almost incompatible; one emotion hardly leaves room for the other.”
-Robert A. Heinlein

gif via Kenton Nelson

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

Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass..................A Taste of Honey

What do you see......................................?

















I suspect I've posted this before, but, if I can't remember, you probably won't either.  The source for this is here.  So what do you see?  Two possibilities below:



could be a parrot, more likely its a painted woman.

Effect....................................................


“No rational argument will have a rational effect on a man who does not want to adopt a rational attitude.” 
-Karl Popper

thanks for the reminder, and the gif, Kurt

How to save the oceans............................

My favorite optimist suggests we get serious about not over-fishing.  Two excerpts:

 "On land we wiped out the mammoths and sabre-tooths first, then bison, gazelles and rabbits and by the end were left eating grass seeds. In the sea, it was the same and in many areas we are now down to the prawns and shellfish. No other predator has the flexibility to do this “fishing down the food chain”, which is what makes our species so lethal."

"We tolerate the utter devastation of the seabed by nets and dredges, increasingly assisted by powerful engines, synthetic materials, sonar and electronics. Seabeds could be a veritable aquarium of reefs of water-cleansing shellfish and corals, even in the North Sea, instead of a waste of silt and rubble. We would not drag nets through forests."

And it should be continuous................

















“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."
-attributed to Mark Twain

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

He never seems to notice...............................

The Beatles..........................................The Fool On The Hill

This strange mixed affair..................................



“There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody's expense but his own.” 
-Herman Melville  

very cool photo courtesy of David Kanigan

My favorite poem.....................................


            Two Tramps In Mud Time


Out of the mud two strangers came
And caught me splitting wood in the yard,
And one of them put me off my aim
By hailing cheerily "Hit them hard!"
I knew pretty well why he had dropped behind
And let the other go on a way.
I knew pretty well what he had in mind:
He wanted to take my job for pay.


Good blocks of oak it was I split,
As large around as the chopping block;
And every piece I squarely hit
Fell splinterless as a cloven rock.
The blows that a life of self-control
Spares to strike for the common good,
That day, giving a loose my soul,
I spent on the unimportant wood.


The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You're one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you're two months back in the middle of March.


A bluebird comes tenderly up to alight
And turns to the wind to unruffle a plume,
His song so pitched as not to excite
A single flower as yet to bloom.
It is snowing a flake; and he half knew
Winter was only playing possum.
Except in color he isn't blue,
But he wouldn't advise a thing to blossom.


The water for which we may have to look
In summertime with a witching wand,
In every wheelrut's now a brook,
In every print of a hoof a pond.
Be glad of water, but don't forget
The lurking frost in the earth beneath
That will steal forth after the sun is set
And show on the water its crystal teeth.


The time when most I loved my task
The two must make me love it more
By coming with what they came to ask.
You'd think I never had felt before
The weight of an ax-head poised aloft,
The grip of earth on outspread feet,
The life of muscles rocking soft
And smooth and moist in vernal heat.


Out of the wood two hulking tramps
(From sleeping God knows where last night,
But not long since in the lumber camps).
They thought all chopping was theirs of right.
Men of the woods and lumberjacks,
The judged me by their appropriate tool.
Except as a fellow handled an ax
They had no way of knowing a fool.


Nothing on either side was said.
They knew they had but to stay their stay
And all their logic would fill my head:
As that I had no right to play
With what was another man's work for gain.
My right might be love but theirs was need.
And where the two exist in twain
Theirs was the better right--agreed.


But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future's sakes.


-Robert Frost

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

The human brain is not a computer.
Your mind is alive.
And it’s motivated.
Once you’ve come to terms with this mad reality.
Everything in life will suddenly become clear.


-Tom Asacker, as excerpted from here

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

The Ad Libs...............................The Boy From New York City

Me.......................................................


A moon.............................................

















“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.” 
-Mark Twain


photo source, and enlargeable image, is here

Bookish......................................


April 1st...............................................


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

An earlier version...................................

Neil Sedaka..........................................Stairway To Heaven

Mission Impossible................................

"I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, not to hate them, but to understand them."
-Baruch Spinoza

Can't wait to see how it all turns out...........

One of Sunday's posts linked to Walter Russell Mead opining on the "free fall" of American foreign policy in the Middle East.  On the surface, I have difficulty understanding our current foreign policy.  All I believe for certain is that our current president's predecessor's decision to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam will be looked at by historians fifty years from now as one of the all-time great blunders.  The execution of said decision certainly has led to the Mother of All Unintended Consequences.  What a mess.  The voices raised against the president's treatment with Iran are loud and persuasive.  But, I'm not convinced they offer a better suggestion.  Feel free to call me confused about the Middle East;   I won't be offended.  One of the reasons I just purchased The Fall of the Ottomans was to add some contextual knowledge.  I'll let you know how that turns out.  In the meantime, I'm just going to go along with Roger Cohen in his recent NYT op-ed:

"I like the current inconsistencies in President Obama’s Middle East policy."

A metaphor...........................................?















courtesy of

Reining..........................................

Some paragraphs just make you smile.  Really,  Bill?

We liberals always talk about how the right needs to rein in its crazies but the left has some crazy reining in to do too. Unless you think I am creating a false equivalency, I'm not. Because on the right, unlike the left, they have actually been able to carve out a place for their crazies; unfortunately, that place is elected government.
-Bill Maher, as excerpted from here.

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

The Shangri-Las......................I Can Never Go Home Anymore

A "feel-good tingle"..........................

..............we are in a sharing mood, out here in the Heartland.

Can I get an Amen..................................?

3. Media voices, politicians and others that create panic for a living need to own responsibility for the way their actions dramatically magnify the cost we all pay.

-As excerpted from Seth Godin's post, "The Panic Tax."

She is on a hot streak...................

.............................................................get your aphorisms here.

Speaking of finding a way out............................

....................the whys and wherefores of escape are right here.

stage setting here

On being careful what you wish for...............






















via

Monday, March 30, 2015

Circa 1957, with a dash of Dick Clark.................

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

the more....................................................























“The more I live, the more I regret how little I know”
-Claude Monet

"I think I've found a way out of here"............





























Understanding the secret formula starts here.

One page at a time....................................


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

Lovin' Spoonful.................................Do You Believe In Magic

The future looks bright.................................

















“Sometimes when I reflect on all the beer I drink, I feel ashamed. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn't drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. I think, 'It is better to drink this beer and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver.” 
-Attibuted to, but probably not said by, Babe Ruth

More than you might have wanted..................

........................to know about Rube Goldberg can be found here.


















Money quote here:
“I would never let the muddy waters of retirement swallow up my old carcass while my mind was still functioning and my hands were free of the stiffness of arthritis and inertia. I was only eighty years old. I had to keep busy.”

Sunday, March 29, 2015

No mountain so high.............................

The Sister Act.........................................I Will Follow Him

Something beautiful...................................





















Stained glass depiction of Jesus entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday

No, but....................................














Walter Russell Mead take a peek at the "free fall in the Middle East" and our "mainstream media."
It still doesn’t want to admit that the “smart diplomacy” crowd has been about as effective at making a foreign policy as the famous emperor’s smooth-talking tailors were at making a new suit of clothes. But it’s getting harder and harder to find anybody willing to gush about how snazzy the President looks in the sharp foreign policy outfit that he’s sporting around town.

Kill the wabbit! Kill the wabbit!........

The History Blog finds a treasure trove from 1957.  Bless their hearts!



The above artwork was part of the creation of this beauty..........


The right questions.............................

Questions, well-phrased and intentional, are golden arrows which fly to the heart of our goals and objectives.
When you ask the right question to the right person at the right time … well, things just seem to go more smoothly then, don’t they




















Oversupply.........................................









via

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

The Byrds....................................................Turn! Turn! Turn!




To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it's not too late!