Saturday, May 16, 2015

Gone but not forgotten............................

B.B. King....................................................Live from Sing Sing

...the beauty of being young.....

As we've said here before, "the kids are going to be just fine."  If you doubt that, read this.

Bet you a nickel you didn't know this............

















via

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

B.B. King...................................................Sweet Little Angel



from the 1965 album, Live at The Regal

Preaching to the choir.............................

















via

Beauty....................................


An equal sense................................



























































thanks michael

Friday, May 15, 2015

I've got nothing to say but it's OK.................

The Beatles...............................Good Morning Good Morning

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

It is fashionable for the left to say we need big government to deal with big business. The opposite is true. Only big business can survive big government.
-Carly Fiorina

Here's an idea.............................

"So if you want to make better decisions, start by working out how you can make fewer of them."
-Robert Seawright, as excerpted from here
thanks

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

At the movies.....................................The Beatles.......Help!

Opening paragraphs

In as strong a photograph as any taken of the brothers together, they sit side by side on the back porch steps of the Wright family home on a small side street on the west end of Dayton, Ohio.  The year was 1909, the peak of their fame.  Wilbur was forty-two, Orville thirty-eight.  Wilbur, with a long poker face, looks off to one side, as though his mind were on other things, which most likely it was.  He is lean, almost gaunt, long of nose and chin, clean-shaven, and bald.  He wears a plain dark suit and high-laced shoes, much in the manner of their preacher father.
-David McCullough,  The Wright Brothers


This art of equilibrium................................








"The person who merely watches the flight of a bird gathers the impression that the bird has nothing to think of but the flapping of its wings. As a matter of fact this is a very small part of its mental labor. To even mention all the things the bird must constantly keep in mind in order to fly securely through the air would take a considerable part of the evening.If I take this piece of paper, and after placing it parallel with the ground, quickly let it fall, it will not settle steadily down as a staid, sensible piece of paper ought to do, but it insists on contravening every recognized rule of decorum, turning over and darting hither and thither in the most erratic manner, much after the style of an untrained horse. Yet this is the style of steed that men must learn to manage before flying can become an everyday sport. The bird has learned this art of equilibrium, and learned it so thoroughly that its skill is not apparent to our sight. We only learn to appreciate it when we try to imitate it."
-Wilbur Wright

Reasonable.......................................

"Things which seemed reasonable were often found to be untrue, and things which seemed unreasonable were sometimes true."
-Orville Wright

Unfolding beauty......................................


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Heartache school.....................................

Joan Baez.......................................................Fountain of Sorrow

In search of the perfect...................................

"Long ago Joan Baez sang, 'You go running off in search of the perfect stranger...'  The name of the song was 'Fountain of Sorrow.' "
-Gordon Livingston,  Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart:  Thirty True Things You Need To Know Now

Surely you jest.......................................

Here is an essay advocating doing away with cash and having all of our money reside in individual savings accounts electronically held in a government bank.   What could possibly go wrong?   A wee excerpt:

Apart from the control over the economy, there would be many other advantages of a cashless society. Such a system is much cheaper to run than one based on banknotes and coins. Forgery is impossible, as are robberies.

God save us.

Opening new doors........................

...............................it's just what Jetboy & Skip naturally do.

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

Cher......................................................All I Really Want To Do

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

The day that Harry Mapes selected to win fame for his new dog was the same one designated by the Commonwealth for the trial of David Mackin.  It was also a day on which Channel 8's remote broadcast crew decided to park the news van so that it blocked the crosswalk in front of the Norfolk Superior Courthouse in Dedham.  David Mackin and I knew nothing about Harry Mapes and his new dog when we met there that morning, and that was just as well - I might not have showed up to defend David in court if I had known Harry Mapes would be there too, and David was all upset anyway.  He stood there with the shoulders of his Burberry raincoat all hunched up around his ears and with his hands jammed down deep into the pockets, and he pressed his chin down against his neck so that his jowls bloomed out around his jaws - the position made him gargle slightly when he talked, and since he was shaking his head while he was doing that he sounded as thought he had been partly underwater.  "I don't like it," he said, "just the same.  I don't like it at all.  Can't you do something about this?"  His horn-rimmed glasses skidded slightly on the bridge of his nose, from all the head fakes he was putting in the conversation, and he had to fish a gloved hand out to nudge them back in place.
-George V. Higgins,  Penance for Jerry Kennedy

On non-toothaches...........................

      The foundation of happiness is mindfulness.  The basic condition for being happy is our consciousness of being happy.  If we are not aware that we are happy, we are not really happy.  When we have a toothache, we know that not having a toothache is a wonderful thing.  But when we do not have a toothache, we are still not happy.  A non-toothache is very pleasant.  There are so many things that are enjoyable, but when we don't practice mindfulness, we don't appreciate them.  When we practice mindfulness, we come to cherish these things and we learn how to protect them.  By taking good care of the present moment, we take good care of the future.  Working for peace in the future is to work for peace in the present moment.
-Thich Nhat Hanh,  Peace Is Every Step:  The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

Unintended consequences..........................

"To remedy the frequent distresses of the common people, the poor laws of England have been instituted; but it is to be feared that though they may have alleviated a little the intensity of individual misfortune, they have spread the general evil over a much larger surface."
-Thomas Malthus (1766-1834)

Ed. Note:  While we have had some fun at Malthus's expense over his inability to conceive that us humans could increase food production at exponential, instead of arithmetical,  rates, he still was a pretty smart guy who said some interesting things.

8 seconds is a long time......................

Humans have become so obsessed with portable devices and overwhelmed by content that we now have attention spans shorter than that of the previously jokingly juxtaposed goldfish.
-as excerpted from here

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Volume way up.................................

Dave Mason........................................Look At You Look At Me



There's many ways to reach you
Though you're far away
All the little things we do
The little things we say
I miss you like I miss the sun
I need you every day
As I turn around to look at you
And you look back my way


rest of the lyrics here

$179.36 million.............................................

story here

Sense...........................................








thanks David

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

Bad Company............................................Feel Like Makin' Love

Could be a bucket shortage....................


Tolkien, Lewis and friends..........................

"... their sympathies were mythological, medieval, and monarchical, and their great hope was to restore Western culture to its religious roots, to unleash the powers of the imagination, to re-enchant the world through Christian faith and pagan beauty."

An interesting essay on Oxford in the mid-20th century, here.

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

Shirley Ellis......................................................The Clapping Song

Just wondering..........................................


















“The only thing I know for sure is how much I do not know.”
-Dean Koontz,  Brother Odd


source and description here

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

Sarah Vaughan..............................................Whatever Lola Wants

Storms.............................................

“Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes.” 
-Edmond, as channeled by Alexandre Dumas in The Count of Monte Cristo

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Heartbreaker...........................................

Edwin Starr.................................................................War

On war.................................................

"Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."
-James Madison

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

     Alexander Hamilton's hardscrabble youth was unique among America's founders, and not at all like Madison's upbringing.  Born on the island of Nevis, a flyspeck in the Caribbean, Hamilton knew turbulence and squalor.  His parents, who lived together but never married, struggled financially.  His father was the wastrel son of a landed Scottish family.  He left when Hamilton was ten.  Hamilton's mother died of  fever not long after, leaving two sons in the care of a cousin who soon committed suicide.
-Part One, Madison's Gift

     Madison's partnership with George Washington was no accident.  In the late summer of 1783, Madison began an assiduous courtship of America's first citizen.  The general had moved his headquarters to be near Congress's temporary home in Princeton.  With the war against the British winding down, Washington wanted to influence the nation's postwar defenses.  As a member of the congressional committee on that subject, Madison, met with the general professionally.  As a Virginian who shared a room with one of Washington's old friends, Madison saw him socially.  It was a start.
-Part Two, Madison's Gift

     They were the long and short of it - Jefferson a lanky six feet two inches, and Madison at least eight inches shorter.  They were best friends who held the presidency in turns, each serving for eight years from 1801 to 1817.  Through their forty-year partnership, they transformed American politics.  Which was exactly what they intended to do.
-Part Three,  Madison's Gift

     When Madison's term in the Confederation Congress expired at the end of 1783, he already knew about the twenty-five-year-old James Monroe, a former Continental Army officer who was one of the new delegates from Virginia.  Madison's closest congressional colleague was Monroe's uncle and mentor, Joseph Jones.  Madison and Jones lodged together in Philadelphia and Princeton, while Jones was working to smooth his nephew's entry into the world of politics and government.
-Part Four, Madison's Gift

     By the spring of 1794, when Aaron Burr introduced James Madison to her, Dolley Payne Todd had endured as many reversals in fortune as a Dickens heroine.  She was the second of eight children, the oldest girl.  Born to Quaker parents in North Carolina and related to several eminent Virginia clans, she spent her early years on plantations owned or leased by her father.  Though rural Virginia afforded few intellectual opportunities for your females, Dolley developed a taste for reading and always placed a high value on education.  In a will prepared while her son was an infant, she directed that "no expense be spared" on his education, which was "to him and to me the most interesting go all earthly concerns."
-Part Five,  Madison's Gift

-all paragraphs from David O. Stewart,  Madison's Gift:  Five Partnerships That Built America

On knowledge and wisdom......................

 "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit............... Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad."




















quote from this list of paraprosdokians

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

On the television...........................................................F Troop

Self-compassion..........................................

Who is the only person in your life who is available 24/7 to provide you with care and kindness? You.
Source and back story is here.

Pirate treasure...............................?


The History Blog points to this 110 pound silver bar, found at an old shipwreck site off of the east coast of Madagascar.  Was it Captain Kidd's?  If not, who did it belong to?  Isn't history fun!













Captain Keitt                  Howard Pyle
























Buried Treasure    Howard Pyle






































Both images from Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates

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

There are the so-called inert gases in the air we breathe.  They bear curious Greek names of erudite derivation which mean "the New," "the Hidden," "the Inactive," and "the Alien."  They are indeed so inert, so satisfied with their condition, that they do not interfere in any chemical reaction, do not combine with any other element, and for precisely this reason have gone undetected for centuries.  As late as 1962 a diligent chemist after long and ingenious efforts succeeded in forcing the Alien (xenon) to combine fleetingly with extremely avid and lively fluorine, and the feat seemed so extraordinary that he was given a Nobel prize.  They are also called the noble gases - and here there is room for discussion as to whether all noble gases are really inert and all inert gases noble.  And finally, they are also called rare gases, even though one of them, argon (the Inactive), is present in the air in the considerable proportion of 1 percent, that is, twenty or thirty times more abundant than carbon dioxide, without which there would not be a trace of life on this planet.
     The little that I know about my ancestors presents many similarities to these gases...

-Primo Levi,  The Periodic Table

More fun with the periodic table...................





Monday, May 11, 2015

Earth and sky.................................

Kansas..........................................................Dust In The Wind

Saturday night: Kansas at the Midland..................





















The backdrop...............................................

























For a bunch of old guys, they can still rock.   Playing to a sold-out house (+/-1,100), they delivered the goods.  Formed in 1973, only two of the six (the drummer and lead guitarist) were original members.  Still, they owned the auditorium Saturday night.

Meanings.............................................

                                                      72

A sublime religion inevitably generates a strong feeling of guilt.  There is an unavoidable contrast between the loftiness of profession and imperfection of practice.  And, as one would expect, the feeling of guilt promotes hate and brazenness.  Thus it seems them more sublime the faith the more virulent the hatred it breeds.

-Eric Hoffer,  The True Believer:  Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements

It has been a while since I've used "sublime" in a sentence.  It's one of those words that you know the meaning of until someone asks you to define it.  I looked it up - just checking, mind you.  Allow me:



Finding beauty in the back yard..................



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

The Moody Blues...................................................Let Me Go

Thinking about the future.......................

The Huffington Post asked ten science fiction writers to offer their thoughts about the future (with a scope of ten years!).  Some of them are pretty interesting - read it for your ownself here.   Of course, I do have a bone of two to pick.  For instance:

So what might be new and different in the next 10 years? We can start by asking what’s already beginning to feel old. And what feels old (to me) is our political and economic discourse. Here we stand, on the brink of a global climate catastrophe and embedded in an emerging oligarchy armed with a surveillance apparatus of unprecedented reach and power, discussing politics in terms Victorian philosophers would have recognized. There is a tinderbox of unmet expectations and frustrated idealism out there, and a genuinely captivating new political or economic idea -- good or bad -- could start a global conflagration.
Mind you, I believe the climate is changing.  That is what it does.  Only us human types, having inhabited this lovely planet for only a few eye-blinks of its existence, get offended if the weather is not exactly like it was when we were teenagers.  Have we forgotten that the ever lovely Licking County, Ohio has been visited by glaciers twice in the past 100,000 years?  (Information on the most recent one can be found here.) The odds are excellent that another one will eventually visit, and there is nothing we can do to stop it - no matter how much carbon dioxide we put in the air or what the computer models say.  My whole problem with the "climate change" folks is their contention that warming will be a catastrophe.  It may well be a boon, allowing our shared planet to support  much more life.  Their  reliance upon computer models discounts the adaptability and cleverness of us pesky humans.  We should remember that friend Darwin never really talked about the "survival of the fittest," but rather the survival of the most adaptable.  For recent history, that has been us.  

SIFs.....................................................

Who knew?  SIFs (Supposedly Irrelevant Factors - also known as lifeitsownself) may begin to impact the study of economics.  About time.  The story is here.

thanks

Paths....................................























thanks michael

Sunday, May 10, 2015

What have I done..................................?

X Ambassadors.........................................................Litost

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

John Marshall took the oath of office as chief justice of the United States on February 4, 1801.  The forty-five years of age, he had had a varied career as a soldier, state legislator and executive councillor, lawyer, commissioner to France, member of Congress, and secretary of state.  An autobiographical sketch drawn late in life portrays Marshall some what misleadingly as an accidental statesman who never aspired to a place in the highest councils of the American republic.  In truth, his public career did owe as much to fortuitous circumstances as to conscious design.  Although the American Revolution was a powerful attractive force that drew talented and ambitious men into public life, Marshall until the lat 1790's largely resisted the call of politics in the face of a more compelling need to make his fortune.  Unlike Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, whose inherited wealth allowed them to make statecraft their profession from an early age, the future chief justice first had to concentrate on the mundane business of providing financial security for himself and a growing family.  Intermittent though it was prior to 1801, Marshall's participation in public life occurred at times and places that in retrospect appear to have been nicely calculated to prepare him for his high judicial station.
-Charles F. Hobson,  The Great Chief Justice:  John Marshall and the Rule of Law

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

"The people made the Constitution, and the people can unmake it. It is the creature of their own will, and lives only by their will."
-John Marshall (1755-1835), from Cohens v. Virginia

On theory v. practice................................













How strange it seems that education, in practice, so often means suppression: that instead of leading the mind outward to the light of day it crowds things in upon it that darken and weary it. Yet evidently the true object of education, now as ever, is to develop the capabilities of the head and of the heart.

Ed. Note:  Late in his career, Sullivan (1856-1924) designed a series of "jewel box" banks, all located in obscure Midwest towns, like Newark, Ohio.  If you ever visit our fair city, do not miss the opportunity to tour this gem.

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

Freddy (Boom Boom) Cannon....................................Action

Me too................................................


On closing the book and thinking................

Dear Mr. Lewis:
     Thank you for your nice letter.  It makes me feel good to hear that you liked my colloquium so much.  Don't despair of standard dull textbooks.  Just close the book once in a while and think what they just said in your own terms as a revelation of the spirit and wonder of nature.  The books give you facts but your imagination can supply life.
     My father taught me to do that when I was a little boy on his knee and he read the Encyclopedia Britannica to me!  He would stop every once in a while and say - now what does that really mean.  For example, "the head of tyrannosaurus rex was four feet wide, etc." - it means if he stood on the lawn outside, his head would look in at your bedroom the second floor, and if he poked it in the window it would break the casement on both sides.  Then when I was a little older when we would read that again he would remind me of how strong the neck muscles had to be - of rations of weight and muscle area - and why land animals can't become the size of whales - and why grasshoppers can jump just about as high as a horse can jump.  All this, by thinking about the size of a dinosaur's head!
      Yours, Sincerely,
      Richard P. Feynman

-from a letter dated 8/10/81 from Perfectly Reasonable Deviations From The Beaten Track:  The Letters of Richard P. Feynman

Good thing............................

“I am not apt to follow blindly the lead of other men” 
-Charles Darwin


















More about HMS Beagle can be found here.

Waiting...........................................























Without getting too technical:
"It was a struggle for Darwin to decide whether or not to include his thoughts on human evolution in his publications. He knew they would be controversial and while he had some superficial evidence and a great deal of intuition about the subject, he at first shied away from explaining how humans had evolved. Eventually, he did write The Descent of Man and explained his hypothesis of how humans evolved. However, he never said that humans evolved from monkeys and this statement shows an overall misunderstanding of the concept of evolution. Humans are related to primates, like apes, on the tree of life. Humans are not direct descendants of apes or monkeys, however, and belong to a different branch of the family tree. It would be more accurate to say that humans and apes are cousins to put it in familiar terms."
-quote taken from here