Saturday, July 4, 2015

John Williams conducts...................Born on the Fourth of July

Let's celebrate..................................

















The land of the free....................................


A few thoughts about freedom................

“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.” 

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” 
-Nelson Mandela

“Freedom is not something that anybody can be given. Freedom is something people take, and people are as free as they want to be” 
-James Baldwin


“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” 
-Mahatma Gandhi

“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.”
-Thomas Paine

“America is the greatest engine of innovation that has ever existed, and it can't be duplicated anytime soon, because it is the product of a multitude of factors: extreme freedom of thought, an emphasis on independent thinking, a steady immigration of new minds, a risk-taking culture with no stigma attached to trying and failing, a noncorrupt bureaucracy, and financial markets and a venture capital system that are unrivaled at taking new ideas and turning them into global products.” 
-Thomas L. Friedman


“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” 
-Gloria Steinem


“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can't be any large-scale revolution until there's a personal revolution, on an individual level. It's got to happen inside first.” 
-Jim Morrison

A few thoughts about liberty.....................

“Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty.” 
-Thomas Jefferson


“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” 
-Benjamin Franklin


“Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.” 
-George Bernard Shaw


“The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.” 
-James Madison


“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.” 
-Benjamin Franklin


“Liberty is never unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it always vanishes. Of all the so-called natural human rights that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost.” 
-Robert A. Heinlein


“There can be no liberty for a community which lacks the means by which to detect lies.” 
-Walter Lippmann


“Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."
-Louis D. Brandeis

Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy Fourth of July..............................

Open up.............................................

Blessid Union of Souls.............................................I Believe

Yes there is............................................


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

     None of it would have happened if Spider Barnes hadn't tied one on at Eddy's two nights before the Aurora was due to set sail.  Spider was regarded as the finest waterborne chef in the entire Caribbean, irascible but altogether irreplaceable, a mad genius in a starched white jacket and apron.  Spider, you see, was classically trained.  Spider had done stints in Paris.  Spider had done London.  Spider had done New York, San Francisco, and an unhappy layover in Miami before leaving the restaurant biz for good and taking to the freedom of the sea.  He worked the big charters now, the kind of boats the film stars, rappers, moguls, and poseurs rented whenever they wanted to impress.  And when Spider wasn't behind his stove, he was invariably propped atop one of the better bar stools on dry land.  Eddy's was in his top five in the Caribbean Basin, perhaps his top five worldwide.  He started at seven o'clock that evening with a few beers, blew a reefer in the shadowed garden at nine, and at ten was contemplating his first glass of vanilla rum.  All seemed right with the world.  Spider Barnes was buzzed and in paradise.
     But then he spotted Veronica, and the evening took a dangerous turn.  She was new to the island, a lost girl, a European of uncertain provenance who served drinks to day-trippers at the dive bar next door.  She was pretty, though - pretty as a floral garnish, Spider remarked to his nameless drinking companion - and he lost his heart to her in ten seconds flat.  He proposed marriage, which was Spider's favorite approach, and when she turned him down he suggested a roll in the sheets instead.  Somehow it worked, and the two were seen teetering into a torrential downpour at midnight.  And that was the last time anyone laid eyes on him, at 12:03 a.m. on a wet night in Gustavia, soaked to the skin, drunk and in love yet again.

-Daniel Silva,  The English Spy

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

The Four Tops......................................Since You've Been Gone

Endless.....................................................

Personal change is, of course, incremental.  As all "grown-ups" come to understand, we wrestle with and learn how to manage our gifts and flaws over a lifetime.  It's an endless growth process.  And yet it's not as if we become wholly different people.
-Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, as excerpted from Becoming Steve Jobs:  The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader

That makes sense...............................























“The world doesn't make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do?” 
-Pablo Picasso

Look what followed me home. Can we keep him...?

thanks sam

Thursday, July 2, 2015

A little Beverly Hills Cop anyone...................?

Harold Faltermeyer............................................................Axel F

An now a few words from Russell Baker........

Life seemed to be an educator's practical joke in which you spent the first half learning and the second half learning that everything you learned in the first half was wrong.

This is the ever-popular myth of a golden age which persuades so many generations that there was once a wonderful moment in the past when the world was sound and good people ruled and evil was justly punished.

While it is very sturdy of comfortable men to point out that life is unfair, the people it is unfair to are not apt to be morally or philosophically elevated by the announcement.   If you are going to preach that unfairness is inescapable for some, good sense suggests that you also accept the inevitability of beastly behavior by people who have to carry the burden.

A solved problem creates two new problems, and the best prescription for happy living is not to solve any more problems than you have to.

Inanimate objects can be classified scientifically into three major categories: those that don't work, those that break down and those that get lost.  The goal of all inanimate objects is to resist man and ultimately to defeat him, and the three major classifications are based on the method each object uses to achieve its purpose. As a general rule, any object capable of breaking down at the moment when it is most needed will do so.

Usually, terrible things that are done with the excuse that progress requires them are not really progress at all, but just terrible things.

-Russell Baker

About all those rules and regulations................

The source of overregulation is the delegation of lawmaking power to agencies by Congress. Requiring expedited votes on economically significant or controversial agency rules before they become binding would reestablish congressional accountability and help affirm the principle of “no regulation without representation.” 
-as excerpted from here
thanks craig

Priceless 101..............................

........................................................from Nicholas Bate:

30   A good night's sleep

31   Books

32   Good teaching

33   Money saved

34   Knowing what you have to do

35   Knowing what you need to do

36   Being willing to be different

37   Letting go of OK for something magic

38   A new notebook

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


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

Mel Carter.................................Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me

On "injustice collection"..........................

     We need to be aware that we have unwittingly become "injustice collectors."  The media reports are full of this form of chronic resentment.  We see "injustice collecting" in international relations where making the other nation "wrong" is actually a primary objective.  We are unconsciously programmed to believe that "injustice collecting" is "normal."  In contrast to this habitual pattern, which is destructive and weakening, the letting go technique frees us from keeping close account of the "wrongs" made against us.  Our time and attention are freed up to see the beauty and opportunity around us.

     Anger is binding, not freeing.  It connects us to another person and holds them in our life pattern.  We are stuck in the negative pattern until we let go of the energy of anger and its little payoffs of righteous indignation, feeling wronged, and the desire for revenge.  

     Relinquishing anger brings us many benefits.  We are free to experience emotional comfort and ease, gratitude for the daily opportunities to grow and heal, mutual caring with another without subtle "strings attached," improvement in health, and more life energy.  These breakthroughs allow us to move up to a more effective and effortless state of inner freedom.

-David R. Hawkins,  Letting Go:  The Pathway of Surrender

Those who love good photography..............


.......................................might want to visit here.  A sample:

© James Smart / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest












Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Reach for you in the night........................

Bob Dylan......................................................Lay Lady Lay

George Will can still turn a phrase...........

The world, which owes much to ancient Athens’s legacy, including the idea of democracy, is indebted to today’s Athens for the reminder that reality does not respect a democracy’s delusions.
-as excerpted from here

A good reason.......................................


..................................................................not to play Chopin.

Does anyone else share the opinion...................


..............................that these really aren't random thoughts?

 When it comes to politics, let your default mode favor the side that is the least coercive. ... People who favor a "philosopher-king" assume that person would share their philosophy. ... My garage is a constant reproach. 

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

On the TV................................................I Dream of Jeannie

Ideally.................................................

Respect for the high ideals of Wilsonians too often tempers criticism of the many costly follies of the do-gooding set.   That is a grave error.   Smarter Wilsonians would be better for the world, but they won’t get smarter unless they are held responsible for the misery their well-intentioned but ill-considered meddling too often leaves in its wake.
-as excerpted from The American Interest

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



































Most of the blue heron hereabouts are shy.  This one let me get closer than they normally do.   Maybe he was curious too.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I run to the rock.........................................

Nina Simone...........................................................Sinnerman




music from the very excellent Thomas Crown Affair

Damn................................................

“The market is not a very accommodating machine; it won’t provide high returns just because you need them.” – Peter Bernstein

-as excerpted from this Ben Carlson post

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


What's the point........................

via

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

At the movies.................Clint.................For A  Few Dollars More

The time................................................
















“The time in your life can go by in the blink of an eye, so look for what lasts a lifetime.” 
-J.R. Rim

image via

Called............................................

I began to realize that hills and dales are equally impostors - like Kipling's triumph and disaster.  Success can't keep its promises and failure can't hold its ground.  One shouldn't be bamboozled by either state.  The important thing is not to be in a certain state, but to be a certain kind of person in whichever state you find yourself.  Sure, I think one has a duty to do as much as one can to fulfill one's potential, to strive for success, certainly to do good and avoid evil, but the outcome of one's efforts is of secondary importance.  To quote a certain wizard's advice to a Mr. Underhill who was lamenting he lived in dark days:  "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."  Or to paraphrase Mother Teresa:  We are not called to be successful;  we are called to be faithful.

-Michael Ward, as excerpted from this commencement address

Editors Note:  For those unaware of "Mr. Underhill,"  please go here.

Worth.............................................


Progress...............................................

Why are people so down on technological progress? Pope Francis complains in his new encyclical about “a blind confidence in technical solutions”, of “irrational confidence in progress” and the drawbacks of the “technocratic paradigm”. He is reflecting a popular view, held across the political spectrum, from the Unabomber to Russell Brand, that technology, consumerism and progress have been bad for people, by making them more selfish and unhappy.
But however thoroughly you search the papal encyclical (a document that does at least pay heed to science, and to evolutionary biology in particular), you will find no data to support the claim that as people have got richer they have got nastier and more miserable. That is because the data points the other way. The past five decades have seen people becoming on average wealthier, healthier, happier, better fed, cleverer, kinder, more peaceful and more equal.
Compared with 50 years ago, people now live 30 per cent longer; have 30 per cent more food to eat; spend longer in school; have better housing; bury 70 per cent fewer of their children; travel more; give more to charity as a proportion of income; are less likely to be murdered, raped or robbed; are much less likely to die in war; are less likely to die in a drought, flood or storm.
The data show a correlation between wealth and happiness both within and between countries and within lifetimes. Global inequality has been plummeting for years as people in poor countries get rich faster than people in rich countries. The vast preponderance of these improvements has come about as a result of innovation in technology and society.
So what precisely is the problem with technology that the Pope is complaining about? He cannot really think that life’s got worse for most people. He cannot surely believe that the dreadful suffering that still exists is caused by too much technology rather than too little, because surely he can see most of the suffering is in the countries with least technology, least energy, least economic growth, and most focus on ideology and superstition. Do Syria, North Korea, Congo and Venezuela have too much consumerism?

Monday, June 29, 2015

Anything is possible............................

Ryan Tennis & The Clubhouse Band......................I Can't Wait

Sound familiar.....................................?

You will be much more effective if you focus on diagnosis and design rather than jumping to solutions.  It is a very common mistake for people to move directly from identifying a tough problem to a proposed solution in a nanosecond without spending the hours required to properly diagnose the problem and design a solution.  This typically yields bad decisions that don't alleviate the problem.  Diagnosing and designing are what spark strategic thinking.
-Ray Dalio

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

On the pace of change.....................................

The typical path of how people respond to life-changing inventions is something like this:
  1. I've never heard of it. 
  2. I've heard of it but don't understand it.
  3. I understand it, but I don't see how it's useful.
  4. I see how it could be fun for rich people, but not me.
  5. I use it, but it's just a toy.
  6. It's becoming more useful for me. 
  7. I use it all the time.
  8. I could not imagine life without it. 
  9. Seriously, people lived without it?

As excerpted from this Morgan Housel essay on "Why It Feels Like We're Falling Behind."  Don't believe the pessimists Housel counsels.   Life changers have been invented.  We aren't aware of them yet. Just you wait.

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

Horst Jankowski...........................A Walk In The Black Forest

Agricultural efficiencies.......................

.........................................or, government is just another name of the way we distort markets together.  An interesting take of water and deserts and cotton - here.

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


On thinking for yourself...........................




 "Skepticism is the best default setting in life."
-Bird Dog, as excerpted from here

Sunday, June 28, 2015

All the circles widen..............................

Mountain...............................................Boys In The Band

Evoke..................................................

There is no one method for attaining
realization of the Tao.
To regard any method as the method is to
create a duality, which can only delay
your understanding of
the subtle truth.
The mature person perceives the
fruitlessness of rigid
external methodologies;
remembering this, he keeps his attitude
unstructured at all times and thus is
always free to pursue
the Integral Way.

He studies the teachings of the masters.
He dissolves all concepts of duality.
He pours himself out in service to others.
He performs his inner cleansing and
does not disturb his teacher with
unnecessary entanglements, thus
preserving the subtle spiritual
connection with the teacher's
divine energy.

Gently eliminating all obstacles to
his own understanding, he constantly
maintains his unconditional sincerity.
His humility, perseverance, and 
adaptability evoke the response
of the universe and fill him
with divine light.

-Brian Browne Walker,  Hua Hu Ching:  The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu
Verse 18

Well, ok...........................................


Most problems are potential improvements screaming at you."
-Ray Dalio

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


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

via

Did you say something...........................?

via

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

On Broadway......................On A Clear Day You Can See Forever

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


















      Alfred Hitchcock was born a few years after the advent of cinema and just before the twentieth century began, on August 13, 1899.  He grew up in East London, the child of a hard-working, serious Catholic family.  His father owned and ran a greengrocer's shop and the family lived above it;  the father, with his brothers, also had an interest in a wholesale fruit and vegetable business.  The Hitchcocks were not rich, not poor;  they were rising in the world, but there wasn't far for them to rise.  Their class had dignity and self-respect, but it didn't have the privileges of the upper orders and the haute bourgeoisie, and it didn't have the solidarity and burgeoning energy of the newly self-conscious working classes (the British Labour Party would be founded in 1900).  Margaret Thatcher, born a quarter century later and decidedly not a member of the Labour Party, belonged to much the same class as the Hitchcocks and could be said never to have left it in her manners, dress, and assumptions - only her (diligently acquired) accent and pitch of voice suggested a personality accustomed to command.  I don't want to claim that class, even in England, determines everything or even most things, but it's worth noting that members of the Hitchcock/Thatcher category are likely to have certain perspectives in common:  an eye for the market, a distrust of the state, a healthy disapproval of people who are too posh and people who are too disreputable, and a firm conviction that if you want something done you should do it yourself.

-Michael Wood,  Hitchcock:  The Man Who Knew Too Much

image via

Become................................

"What matters most is not the accomplishments you achieve;  what matters most is the person you become."
-Dallas Willard

Subtle...............................................























"Somebody said a long time ago that if the Devil can't make you sin, he will make you busy, because either way your soul will shrivel.  Our world will just divert your soul's attention because it is a cluttered world.  And clutter is maybe the most dangerous result, because it is so subtle."
-John Ortberg, Soul Keeping:  Caring For The Most Important Part of You

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

























The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty;
The Lord has clothed and girded Himself with strength;
Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.

2.  Thy throne is established from of old;
Thou are from everlasting.

3.  The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
The floods have lifted up their voice;
The floods lift up their pounding waves,

4.  More than the sounds of many waters,
Than the mighty breakers of the sea,
The Lord on high is mighty.

5.  Thy testimonies are fully confirmed;
Holiness befits Thy house,
O Lord, forevermore.

-The Holy Bible
Psalm 93
New American Standard