Saturday, June 20, 2015

Thursday, June 18, 2015

How redundant the future...................

John Mellencamp..................................Sweet Evening Breeze

Requirement....................................

God requires a faithful fulfilment of the merest trifle given us to do, rather than the most ardent aspiration to things to which we are not called.
-St. Francois de Sales

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

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.  In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them.  They're quite touchy about anything like that, especially my father.  They're nice and all - I'm not saying that - but they're touchy as hell.  Besides, I'm not going to tell you my whole goddam autobiography or anything.  I'll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me around last Christmas just before I got pretty run-down and had to come here and take it easy.  I mean that's all I told D. B. about, and he's my brother and all.  He's in Hollywood.  That isn't too far from this crumby place, and he comes over and visits me practically every week end.  He's going to drive me home when I go home next month maybe.  He just got a Jaguar.  One of those little English jobs that can do around two hundred miles an hour.  It cost him damn near four thousand bucks.  He's got a lot of dough, now.  He didn't use to.  He used to be just a regular writer, when he was home.  He wrote this terrific book of short stories, The Secret Goldfish, in case you never heard of him.  The best on in it was "The Secret Goldfish."  It was about this little kid that wouldn't let anybody look at his goldfish because he'd bought it with his own money.  It killed me.  Now he's out in Hollywood, D. B., being a prostitute.  If there is one thing I hate, it's the movies.  Don't even mention them to me.

-J. D. Salinger,  The Catcher In The Rye

A very good question.....................................




















via

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

The Beach Boys....................................................Alley Oop

The History Blog...........................

.........................studies the early distribution of the Magna Carta:

“We now know, therefore, that three of the four surviving originals of the charter went to cathedrals: Lincoln, Salisbury and Canterbury. Probably cathedrals were the destination for the great majority of the other original charters issued in 1215.
“This overturns the old view that the charters were sent to the sheriffs in charge of the counties. That would have been fatal since the sheriffs were the very people under attack in the charter. They would have quickly consigned Magna Carta to their castle furnaces.
“The church, therefore, was central to the production, preservation and proclamation of Magna Carta. The cathedrals were like a beacon from which the light of the charter shone round the country, thus beginning the process by which it became central to national life.”

Influences.........................................

When Prince Wen Wang was on a tour of inspection in Tsang, he saw an old man fishing.  But his fishing was not real fishing, for he did not fish in order to catch fish, but to amuse himself.  So Wen Wang wished to employ him in the administration of government, but feared lest his own ministers, uncles and brothers might object.  On the other hand, if he let the old man go, he could not bear to think of the people being deprived of such an influence.
-Chuang Tzu

Recapturing....................................

.................................a sense of the importance of playfulness:

Playfulness is somewhat of a lost art in many families, organizations, and groups.  When one deals with Serious Subjects, like making money, saving endangered species, or fighting off threats to my campaign to make everyone agree with me, one sometimes loses one’s sense of play.

More thoughts on the subject from John E. Smith here.

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


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Forever a favorite.........................................

Booker T & The MGs.......................................Green Onions

Lessons learned along the way..................

I learned that failure is by and large due to not accepting and successfully dealing with the realities of life, and that achieving success is simply a matter of accepting and successfully dealing with all my realities.
-----------------------------------------------------------
I learned that everyone makes mistakes and has weaknesses and that one of the most important things that differentiates people is their approach to handling them. I learned that there is an incredible beauty to mistakes, because embedded in each mistake is a puzzle, and a gem that I could get if I solved it, i.e., a principle that I could use to reduce my mistakes in the future. I learned that each mistake was probably a reflection of something that I was (or others were) doing wrong, so if I could figure out what that was, I could learn how to be more effective. I learned that wrestling with my problems, mistakes, and weaknesses was the training that strengthened me. Also, I learned that it was the pain of this wrestling that made me and those around me appreciate our successes.

-Ray Dalio, as excerpted from Principles

Lessons learned along the way.............Part 2

Most of us are born with attributes that both help us and hurt us, depending on their applications, and the more extreme the attribute, the more extreme the potential good and bad outcomes these attributes are likely to produce. For example, highly creative, goal-oriented people who are good at imagining the big picture often can easily get tripped up on the details of daily life, while highly pragmatic, task-oriented people who are great with the details might not be creative. That is because the ways their minds work make it difficult for them to see both ways of thinking. In nature everything was made for a purpose, and so too were these different ways of thinking. They just have different purposes. It is extremely important to one’s happiness and success to know oneself—most importantly to understand one’s own values and abilities—and then to find the right fits. We all have things that we value that we want and we all have strengths and weaknesses that affect our paths for getting them. The most important quality that differentiates successful people from unsuccessful people is our capacity to learn and adapt to these things. 

 Unlike any other species, man is capable of reflecting on himself and the things around him to learn and adapt in order to improve. He has this capability because, in the evolution of species man’s brain developed a part that no other species has—the prefrontal cortex. It is the part of the human brain that gives us the ability to reflect and conduct other cognitive thinking. Because of this, people who can objectively reflect on themselves and others —most importantly on their weaknesses are—can figure out how to get around these weaknesses, can evolve fastest and come closer to realizing their potentials than those who can’t.

-Ray Dalio, as excerpted from Principles

Lessons learned along the way.................Part 3

I have never met a great person who did not earn and learn their greatness.  They have weaknesses like everyone else—they have just learned how to deal with them so that they aren’t impediments to getting what they want. In addition, the amounts of knowledge and the capabilities that anyone does not have, and that could be used to make the best possible decisions, are vastly greater than that which anyone (no matter how great) could have within them.

This explains why people who are interested in making the best possible decisions rarely are confident that they have the best possible answers. So they seek to learn more (often by exploring the thinking of other believable people, especially those who disagree with them) and they are eager to identify their weaknesses so that they don’t let these weaknesses stand in the way of them achieving their goals. 

-Ray Dalio, as excerpted from Principles

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

Bob Dylan................................................Highway 61 Revisited

A few of my favorite things.............................


Nan's musing on the fragrance of nature.

Sipp on "Not Homeschooled."  Including a classic photo.

.Hartland. aphorises about "distractions."

Friend Bilbo reminds us Sunday was Flag Day.

Craig Newmark points to a Kevin Williamson essay.

John Cox on surveilling to the nth degree.

The Coyote considers a "bizarre turn of events".

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























from the wide wide world of xkcd

Monday, June 15, 2015

Once.............................................

My Sweetie and I ventured to the big city to watch the matinee performance of the play Once at the wonderful Palace Theatre.  If you ever get the chance, do see this interesting, enjoyable and creative stage play, adapted from this film.

Intellectual indigestion..............................

Rafael Sabatini sure can turn a phrase.............................

     Andre-Louis, on his side, had made the most of his opportunities.  You behold him at the age of four-and-twenty stuffed with learning enough to produce an intellectual indigestion in an ordinary mind.  Out of his zestful study of Man, from Thucydides to the Encylopaedists, from Seneca to Rousseau, he had confirmed into unassailable conviction his earliest conscious impressions of the general insanity of his species.  Nor can I discover that anything in his eventful life ever afterwards caused him to waiver in that opinion.

-as excerpted from Scaramouche

boldly moved........................................























“In general, the men of lower intelligence won out. Afraid of their own shortcomings and of the intelligence of their opponents, so that they would not lose out in reasoned argument or be taken by surprise by their quick-witted opponents, they boldly moved into action. Their enemies,on the contrary, contemptuous and confident in their ability to anticipate, thought there was no need to take by action what they could win by their brains.” 
-Thucydides

without anxious dependence...........................


“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.” 
-Seneca

photo via

prefer.............................................























“I prefer liberty with danger than peace with slavery.” 
-Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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

At the movies..................The Duke.................In Harm's Way

Composting....................................

................................Lord knows, I have some flames to cool.

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


GoooooooooooooooooooooooooOAL..........

We played a lot of foosball back in college.  This is a first:

Sunday, June 14, 2015

For the drum lovers amongst us.........................

Santana.................................................Toussaint L'Overture

Trade-offs....................................................

"Climate change and other global ecological challenges are not the most important immediate concerns for the majority of the world’s people. Nor should they be. A new coal-fired power station in Bangladesh may bring air pollution and rising carbon dioxide emissions but will also save lives. For millions living without light and forced to burn dung to cook their food, electricity and modern fuels, no matter the source, offer a pathway to a better life, even as they also bring new environmental challenges."
-as excerpted from An Ecomodernist Manifesto

thanks matt

"In the everyday task at hand, for woman or man, happiness lurks."............................


Roger Cohen opines about happiness.  

The founders were not wrong. It is a self-evident truth that people, whether in creating a new nation or simply beginning a new relationship, seek happiness. That they often go about it in the wrong way does not detract from the sincerity of their quest. Sure as there are acorns beneath the oak tree, people keep rekindling their hopes.

I think he has it right (except for the mowing part).  Just saying.

thanks stuart

A temporary blip...................................

.......................................or a major structural change?    Faithful readers of this blog will recognize that change is a topic of conversation that interests me.  About the only thing we can count on is that things will change.  One of the constants in our economy over the past fifty years has been that national single-family housing starts "average" about 1,000,000 per year.  Will we ever get there again?  It's a puzzle.



















On this chart the single-family housing starts are represented by the blue line.  Total starts include multi-family construction.  The construction industry represents a significant part of our economy.  It got hollowed out (people left the business, very few entered the business) during the recent unpleasantness.  The construction industry has yet to recover.  I am looking forward to that day when it does.

Source, and enlargeable chart, here

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

On the TV.......................................................The Avengers



Fans of  The Avengers will realize two important facts.  First, 1965 was the first year this British show hit the American airwaves.  Second, and most important, 1965 was the debut of  Mrs Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) as Mr. Steed's partner in spying.

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














via

Skipping..........................................























via

Color me doubtful..................................


..............................The most craved food in Ohio is pierogies?   Really?  I had to resort to Google to figure out what a pierogi was, but then, I don't get out much.

thanks craig

Hubris.........................................

“I think more money was spent on risk management in the early 2000s than in the rest of history combined and yet we experienced the worst financial crisis in 80 years,” said Marks. “There’s little evidence that they add value,” he said of the statistical models.
-as excerpted from this Ben Carlson blog post trying to decipher risk.