Saturday, November 7, 2015

Someday you'll understand...........


Creedence Clearwater Revival.................Someday Never Comes



First thing I remember was asking papa, why,
For there were many things I didn't know.
And daddy always smiled and took me by the hand,
Saying, someday you'll understand.
[Chorus] 
Well, I'm here to tell you now, each and every mother's son,
That you better learn it fast, you better learn it young,
'Cause someday never comes.
Well, time and tears went by and I collected dust.
For there were many things I didn't know.
When daddy went away, he said, try to be a man,
And someday you'll understand.
Well, I'm here to tell you now, each and every mother's son,
That you better learn it fast, you better learn it young,
'Cause someday never comes.
And then one day in April, I wasn't even there,
For there were many things I didn't know.
A son was born to me. Mama held his hand,
Sayin' someday you'll understand.
Well, I'm here to tell you now, each and every mother's son,
That you better learn it fast, you better learn it young,
'Cause someday never comes
Ooo someday never comes.
Think it was September, the year I went away,
For there were many things I didn't know.
And I still see him standing, tryin' to be a man,
I said, someday you'll understand.
Well, I'm here to tell you now, each and every mother's son,
That you better learn it fast, you better learn it young,
'Cause someday never comes
Ooo someday never comes.


God love George Will......................


Donald Trump is just one symptom of today’s cultural pathology of self-validating vehemence with blustery certitudes substituting for evidence. 
-So says George Will in his recent column eviscerating Bill O'Reilly for slandering Ronald Reagan in O'Reilly's latest "Killing" (This book is nonsensical history and execrable citizenship, and should come with a warning: “Caution — you are about to enter a no-facts zone.”book.

with perfect sweetness..................


     What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think.  This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness.  It is the harder because you will always find those who think they know what your duty is better than you know it.  It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion;  it is easy in solitude to live after our own;  but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

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


The Animals...........................Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

Life Its Ownself..............as it comes..........


 Life is, in fact, a battle. On this point optimists and pessimists agree. Evil is insolent and strong; beauty enchanting but rare; goodness very apt to be weak; folly very apt to be defiant; wickedness to carry the day; imbeciles to be in great places, people of sense in small, and mankind generally, unhappy. But the world as it stands is no illusion, no phantasm, no evil dream of a night; we wake up to it again for ever and ever; we can neither forget it nor deny it nor dispense with it. We can welcome experience as it comes, and give it what it demands, in exchange for something which it is idle to pause to call much or little so long as it contributes to swell the volume of consciousness.

-Henry James, as excerpted from The Sorrowful World of TurgĂ©nieff

Friday, November 6, 2015

A gift from the heavens...................


Santana (with Chad Kroeger?).....................Into The Night

Now you see me....................................



Ad-libbing....................................



Can I get an amen...................


So, opinions were sought about whether us humans past "the age of reproduction" were "evolutionarily useless."  One brave soul (not me, I promise) took a stab at it.  I'm liking his notion of "communal learning."  It's sort of how I feel about our wee corner of the Intertunnel, it's a place of "communal learning."   Thanks neighbor.


On belief................................




















"Alice laughed: "There's no use trying," she said; "one can't believe impossible things."
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.


-Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, Alice In Wonderland

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

The Beatles.........................................................Day Tripper

On turning.................................


























My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.
-Michael Jordan

Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.

-John Wooden

A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.

-Max Lucado

Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement.

-Henry Ford

Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.

-Unknown

A remedy..........................


























“Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter could be said to remedy anything.”
-Kurt Vonnegut

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Indian summer................................?


Linda Ronstadt......................................................Heat Wave

been running too long...............


Ryan Tennis....................................................Wake Me Up

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


     The writer Umberto Eco belongs to that small class of scholars who are encyclopedic, insightful, and nondull.  He is the owner of a large personal library (containing thirty thousand books), and separates visitors into two categories: those who react with "Wow!  Signore professore dottore Eco, what a library you have!  How many of these books have you read?" and the others - a very small minority - who get the point that a private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool.  Read books are far less valuable than unread ones.  The library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the currently tight real-estate market allows you to put there.  You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you  menacingly.  Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books.  Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary.

-Nassim Nicholas Taleb,  The Black Swan:  The Impact of the Highly Improbable

Always a good question..................



So, what do you think.......................?


"Reproduction is the central act in the life of every living thing.  Once an individual has survived past the age of reproduction, the individual is evolutionarily useless."
-Peter Bevelin

Perhaps it is true, but isn't he totally ignoring the evolutionary value of the growth of consciousness?  Also, what are we to make of the totally, and voluntarily, low birth rates in so many developed countries?  Seems like lots of folk are avoiding their "central act."  

If it didn't take so damn long, evolution might teach us a thing or two about taking the long view.

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


Four Tops...........................................................I'm Grateful

All things in balance....................

























"Happiness is the balance between your heart and mind"
-Kaninho

artwork courtesy of the Mighty E

Speaking of balance...................



Amen..................................



Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Worth the price of admission..........


R.E.M. and Neil Young?.............................Country Feedback

On stoic optimism................


"What Marcus was writing - reminding himself - is one of the core tenets of Stoicism. What it is prescribing is essentially this: in any and every situation - no matter how bad or seemingly undesirable it is - we have the opportunity to practice a virtue."
-more here on the subject from Ryan Holiday

Dilbert fans...............................


.....................might enjoy ten favorite strips as picked by Scott Adams hisownself.   This one (that did not make the cut) just seemed timely:


If it were only this easy...................


























thanks David

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


James Brown.....................................................I Got You

Just wondering if the onset of.....................


......................................eoncomic freedoms in the form of free enterprise or capitalism had anything to do with the trajectory change?   Just wondering.


Dana Carvey............................


..........................never wants to live in a world where Donald Trump is not running for President.  Can you blame him?

Command.............................


"If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free;  if our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed."
-Edmund Burke

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Would you have this dance with me..........


Joe Walsh...........................................................Slow Dancin'



from this list

Only 3,963 hours to go.....................


Remember Malcolm Gladwell's story about it taking 10,000 hours of practice to develop mastery?  Well, here's a 30-year-old guy willing to put it to a test.  Can he go from never having played golf to becoming a pro in 10,000 hours?

“The more he’s improved, the harder it’s gotten to get better. Going from bad to good is way easier than going from good to great. And going from great to world-class? That’s rare territory. The line is thin, but the gap is wide.”

My guess is that he can become a PGA professional and work at a country club somewhere.  I suspect being successful on tour is another story.  That game is as much mental (if not more) as it is physical.  Stay tuned though, I'm pretty much loving the experiment.

Remember..............................




But don't forget............................



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


Donovan..................................................To Try For The Sun

Creative destruction is waiting.........


............to be unleashed by "autonomous cars."  If you fancy yourself prescient, ponder on this for a while:

"Autonomous cars will be commonplace by 2025 and have a near monopoly by 2030, and the sweeping change they bring will eclipse every other innovation our society has experienced. They will cause unprecedented job loss and a fundamental restructuring of our economy, solve large portions of our environmental problems, prevent tens of thousands of deaths per year, save millions of hours with increased productivity, and create entire new industries that we cannot even imagine from our current vantage point."
-Zack Kanter, as excerpted from here.

Color me doubtful about many of the claims.  

     The author cites a Pricewaterhousecooper study that suggests the number of vehicles in the U. S. of A. will drop from 245 million (The Oracle Google pegs the number at 254 million) to 2.4 million.  Really?  How is that even remotely possible?   
     In 2014 the Big Three automobile companies sold 1.7 million pick-up trucks.  My guess is that a significant percentage of those sales went to people who use the truck as part of their day job.  Think they will give them up?
     I queried my young son on the issue.  He opined that having a car (that was solely his) provided an undeniable sense of freedom (he also mentioned something about the glory of "muscle" cars, but I really didn't want to hear about it).  Maybe big city folks will be willing to cede that, but out here in the hinterlands, freedom of movement is still considered pretty important.
     The author quotes a study done by UC-Berkeley that shows that among the ride-sharing cohort, car ownership was cut in half.  One wonders if the participants of the study were college students.
      But, I'm just nit-picking.   Change is coming.  The free enterprise system cannot function without "creative destruction."  It is an intergral part of the deal.  We would all do well to ponder the opportunites and consequences (intended or otherwise) of autonomous cars and trucks.  

thanks glenn

On self-parenting..................


"If there is something we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could be better changed in ourselves."
-Carl Jung

I will confess to being surprised............


Even though it’s more common to hear about folks working into their 70s, the median age for retirement in America is still 62, which — despite worker plans — hasn’t changed in more than 20 years.
-as excepted from this interesting blog post

I would have thought it would have been closer to 65.  Still, one has learned to doubt statistics.   Plus, one then realizes that it says "median" not average.  At our house, anyway, it is too late for us to retire at 62, so we will just keep chugging along.

Thinking I would double check the source of the median age of retirement, this scientific looking paper was found.  It says the average retirement age for men in 2013 was 64.  So,  I still have time to be average.   The scientific looking paper also offered this interesting quote at its conclusion:

"Monthly Social Security benefits claimed at age 70 are 76 percent higher than those claimed at 62. The fact that people are always amazed when presented with this information suggests that a major educational initiative may be warranted."

We did the math.  In rough numbers, between age 62.5 (takes them a while to get you started) and age 70, I could collect a tad more than $131,000.  If I waited until age 70 for the first check, it would take until age 80 for the advantage of collecting the early money (presuming it is spent, not re-invested) to disappear.  No major educational initiative is warranted.  It is just a choice.  My guess is that many of us citizens would rather have the money sooner (did I tell you we still have kids in college?) than getting a larger check later.  Reasonable people can disagree, and your mileage may vary, but that is the decision we made.

Monday, November 2, 2015

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


Duane Allman...................................................Little Martha

On reviewing the recent economic unpleasantness: 2005-2010......................


     What did Bernanke, Greenspan, Geithner and others think was really going on, as risk built up in the banking system?  Perhaps Upton Sinclair pad provided the answer:  it was more convenient, politically and ideologically, not to look or analyse too closely.  And even now politicians and the public are ready to believe that the bewilderingly complex transactions entered into by clever and very highly paid people are the product of profound understanding rather than ignorance and confusion.  Surely that sophisticated mathematics is being put to good use?
     Yet there was and is little justification for this confidence.  The affairs of large financial institutions were impenetrable;  the instruments being traded were hard to understand and impossible to value.  The risk models that were employed were essentially irrelevant to understanding the impact of extreme events (the situation, of course, for which risk models ought to be designed).  David Viniar, CFO of Goldman Sachs,  claimed as the global financial crisis broke in August 2007 that his bank had experienced "25 standard deviation events" several days in a row.  But anyone with knowledge of statistics (a group that must be presumed to include Viniar) knows that the occurrence of several "25 standard deviation events" within a short time is impossible.  What he meant to say was that the company's risk models failed to describe what had happened.  Extreme observations are generally the product of "off-model" events.  If you toss a coin a hundred times and all the tosses are heads, you may have encountered a once in a lifetime statistical freak;  but look first for a simpler explanation.  For all their superficial sophistication, the masters of the universe had no real understanding of what was going on before them.

-John Kay,  Other People's Money:  The Real Business of Finance

Multi-tasker.............................


























The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.
-Galileo Galilei

photo via

an idiosyncratic way..................


We tend to think of memories as monuments we once forged and may find intact beneath the weedy growth of years.  But, in a real sense, memories are tied to and describe the present.  Formed in an idiosyncratic way when they happened, they're also true to the moment of recall, including how you feel, all you've experienced, and new values, passions, and vulnerability.  One never steps into the same stream of consciousness twice.
-Diane Ackerman

Ah, Grasshopper............................



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


The Beatles............................................Dizzy Miss Lizzy

Just remember this.........................


"Homeschooling teaches people that learning is an approach, not a curriculum to be memorized. "

Now read this and watch and listen to this.

I asked him how it was possible for him to do all this. He said, "Well, I've had the program for almost a week now."

Oh.


Whenever I despair over the future of western civilization, I turn to Sippican Cottage and am comforted by the sure knowledge that the kids will be just fine.

On interdependence............................


      Confronted with the materialistic decadence of the status quo, one should not be surprised to find that all revolutionary movements are primarily generated from spiritual values and considerations of justice, equality, peace, and brotherhood.  History is a relay of revolutions;  the torch of idealism is carried by the revolutionary group until this group becomes an establishment, and then quietly the torch is put down to wait until a new revolutionary group picks it up for the next leg of the run.  Thus the revolutionary cycle goes on.
      A major revolution to be won in the immediate future is the dissipation of man's illusion that his own welfare can be separate from that of all others.  As long as man is shackled to this myth, so long will the human spirit languish.  Concern for our private, material well-being with disregard for the well-being of others is immoral according to the precepts of our Judaeo-Christian civilization, but worse, it is stupidity worthy of the lower animals.  It is man's foot still dragging in the primeval slime of his beginnings, in ignorance and mere animal cunning.  But those who know the interdependence of man to be his major strength in the struggle out of the muck have not been wise in their exhortations and moral pronouncements that man is his brother's keeper.  On that score the record of the past centuries has been a disaster, for it is wrong to assume that man would pursue morality on a level higher than his day-to-day living demanded and elevate it to a plane of altruism and self-sacrifice.  The fact is that it is not man's "better nature" but his self-interest that demands he be his brother's keeper.  We now live in a world where no man can have a loaf of bread while his neighbor has none.  If he does not share his bread, he dare not sleep, for his neighbor will kill him.  To eat and sleep in safety man must do the right thing, if for seemingly the wrong reasons, and be in practice his brother's keeper.

-Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals:  A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals

No you're NOT..........................




















via

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sweet dreams.............................


JJ Cale......................................................................Magnolia



Whippoorwill's singing
Soft summer breeze
Makes me think of my baby
I left down in New Orleans
I left down in New Orleans

Magnolia, you sweet thing
You're driving me mad
Got to get back to you, babe
You're the best I ever had
You're the best I ever had

You whisper "Good morning"
So gently in my ear
I'm coming home to you, babe
I'll soon be there
I'll soon be there


a big thanks to jetboy

See you in the dark.........................


Humble Pie.................................................Shine On

The Parable of the Ox.....................


................................and perhaps a parable for our times:

In 1906 the great statistician Francis Galton observed a competition to guess the weight of an ox at a country fair.  Eight hundred people entered.  Galton, being the kind of man he was, ran statistical tests on the numbers.  He discovered that the average guess was extremely close to the weight of the ox.  This story was told by James Surowiecki, in his entertaining book The Wisdom of Crowds.
     Not many people know the events that followed.  A few years later, the scales seemed to become less and less reliable.  Repairs would be expensive, but the fair organiser had a brilliant idea.  Since attendees were so good at guessing the weight of an oz, it was unnecessary to repair the scales.  The organiser would simple ask everyone to guess the weight, and take the average of their estimates.
      A new problem emerged, however.  Once weight-guessing competitions became the rage, some participants tried to cheat.  They even tried to get privileged information from the farmer who had bred the ox.  But there was fear that, if some people had an edge, others would be reluctant to enter the weight-guessing competition.  With few entrants, you could not rely on the wisdom of crowds.  The process of weight discovery would be damaged.
      So strict regulatory rules were introduced.  The farmer was asked to prepare three monthly bulletins on the development of his ox.  These bulletins were posted on the door of the market for everyone to read.  If the farmer gave his friends any information about the beast, that information was also to be posted on the market door.  And anyone who entered the competition who had knowledge about the ox that was not available to the world at large would be expelled from the market.  In this way the integrity of the weight-guessing process would be maintained.
      Professional analysts scrutinised the contents of these regulatory announcements and advised their clients on their implications.  They wined and dined farmers;  but once the farmers were required to be careful about the information they disclosed, these lunches became less useful.  Some smarter analysts realised that understanding the nutrition and health of the ox wasn't that useful anyway.  Since the ox was no longer being weighed - what mattered was the guesses of the bystanders - the key to success lay not in correctly assessing the weight of the ox but in correctly assessing what others would guess.  Or what other people would guess others would guess.  And so on.
      Some people - such as old Farmer Buffett - claimed that the results of this process were more and more divorced from the realities of ox-rearing.  But he was ignored.  True, Farmer Buffett's beasts did appear healthy and well fed, and his finances ever more prosperous;  but he was a countryman who didn't really understand how markets work.
      International bodies were established to define the rules for assessing the weight of the ox.  There were two competing standards - generally accepted ox-weighing principles, and international ox-weighing standards.  But both agreed on one fundamental principle, which followed from the need to eliminate the role of subjective assessment by any individual.  The weight of the ox was officially defined as the average of everyone's guesses.
      One difficulty was that sometimes there were few, or even no, guesses of the weight of the ox.  But that problem was soon overcome.  Mathematicians from the University of Chicago developed models from which it was possible to estimate what, if there had actually been many guesses as to the weight of the ox, the average of these guesses would have been.  No knowledge of animal husbandry was required, only a powerful computer.
      By this time, there was a large industry of professional weight-guessers, organisers of weight-guessing competitions and advisers helping people refine their guesses.  Some people suggested that it might be cheaper to repair the scales, but they were derided:  why go back to relying on the judgement of a single auctioneer when you could benefit from the aggregated wisdom of so many clever people?
      And then the ox died.  Amid all this activity, no one had remembered to feed it.

-John Kay, the Prologue to his book, Other People's Money:  The Real Business of Finance

So, while wandering through..............


............the Intertunnel yesterday, I found this:










Hmmm, wondering what I missed, The Oracle Google was consulted and this headline turned up:
World Health Organization: We're Not Telling People to Stop Eating Bacon







Good thing.

Part of the story is here.

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


The Beatles........................................................It's Only Love

The headline reads.......................


It’s hard to believe today, but 10 years ago Wikipedia was widely considered a doomed experiment run by utopian radicals.


Full blog post is here.  My favorite 2005 quote comes from "a former editor at the venerable Encyclopedia Britannica."

Faithful readers of this blog might think that we would just have to close up the shop if Wikipedia wasn't available.   They might be right.

Our boy................................


..........................is on another hot streak.  Do go visit him.

Just in case you forgot.........................