Friday, December 25, 2015

Thank you......................................


















After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 

10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 

11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 

-Matthew 2:9-11
The Holy Bible
New International Version

Wishing you and yours the Merriest Christmas



Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wishing you a Merry and a Happy..........


Trans-Siberian Orchestra....................Christmas Eve/Sarajevo

Peace, good will.......................


















14  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
-Luke 2:14
The Holy Bible
King James Version

Well, okay...............................



Art mimicking life............................




Are we really talking about the...............


..................................tax code on Christmas Eve?   Yep.

John Cochrane talks common-sense governing.   Wishing the attempt all the luck in the world.  Post here.   Excerpt here:

We need to move from the equilibrium of, I have my subsidy/deduction/credit/special deal, so I won't complain about yours, to the equilibrium of, I gave up my subsidy/deduction/credit special deal, so I'll make darn sure you give up yours too.




















this post was really just an excuse to post my favorite hugh macleod cartoon.

4 Stages..................................



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


Maurice Chevalier..............................................Silent Night

Ho-ho-ho..............................



























thanks doug

Saul Alinsky.............................


..........................would probably approve.  John Kay suggests "the characteristics of organisational failure are timeless" and then he sets out the field manual.   A wee excerpt:

 "The wide exercise of power without responsibility, often in the name of democracy or participation, is at best a recipe for organisational paralysis and at worst a mechanism for actual sabotage, as is the substitution of procedural rules for individual judgment."

Timeless.............................


...............Michael Wade posts 21 Things I Wish I Knew In My Twenties.  Some of us sixty-somethings still have a lot of work to do.  Thanks Michael.

Game changers.............................


................here are 14 events that have dramatically altered the way us humans live.  You might notice that the pace of these events is quickening.  Apparently these 14 were culled from this broader picture.  Pondering using The Wonder That Is Amazon to acquire it,  if only to see if Amazon made the cut.  Surely it must have.



Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Sing in exultation.................................


Martina McBride.................................O Come All Ye Faithful

Ah.....................................the fine print


...................or, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.

Fun with Federal Omnibus bills: Part One.  Story here.

thanks craig

Try these at home...............




thanks Warren

Ah, science. We hardly knew you.........


...........................................................or, fuddling with the data.

I, like any clever scienticist, could fuddle with the data till my eyes crossed, then shrug and postulate various “events within the event” — weaves, turns, sprints, wrinkles, leaps, bobbles — plus an unknown number of additional “whatevers.” But I wouldn’t go on television until I’d found hard evidence of my purely speculative play-by-play. Smoking guns are all very well, but a coroner requires a one-to-one pairing between bullets and wounds.

-David Warren, as excerpted from this post

Artistry...............................


.......................or, painting pictures with words:

      She was cool, superior, and slightly snotty.  A male friend, if she had time for one, would have a hard body, a great tan, a gold chain, a two-seater Mercedes-Benz, and no sense of humor.  A commoner had little chance of peeling off her shorts.  Should it happen, she'd do it purely for the experience, like shopping at Kmart or sniffing glue.
     She knew what I was thinking, of course.  And she knew she was reaching me, with her information, money, and long athletic legs.  All management tools, properly deployed, well under control.  It was mildly irritating.
     Letting it percolate for a moment, I looked down at the battered, grass-green fiberglass hull of my boat, the brilliant white D'Arches paper, the black handles of the watercolor brushes.  It was all I really wanted to do;  I didn't want to fool with some rich guy's computers.   But a bigger boat would be nice, and money would buy more time to paint.  And New Orleans is a pleasurable place.
      "It sounds illegal," I said after a while.

-John Sandford, as excerpted from The Fool's Run

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


The Sonics..........................................................Santa Claus



lyrics here

"May I buy your groceries?"...............


I was one of those people who made fun of the “people of Walmart”.  And I’m an idiot.  I don’t know anyone’s story, their background, their pain or their journey in this world.  I judge the badly dressed, the overweight, the sloppy, the ignorant, the ill-mannered.  The same ones, yesterday, who cried when someone offered them a small kindness.  The ones who, when they figured out what my husband and I were doing hiding in the jewelry section across from the check-out lanes, came running over, looked us right in the eye, thanked us and complimented on our wonderful girls.  There’s MY gift, right there.  I haven’t gotten anything as precious as that. 
-Walmart as a Holy Land.  The full tale is told here 
thanks Glenn

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



Truth..............................



Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hear the angels' voices.......................


Not sure who she is, but it's really good.............O Holy Night

You may have noticed.......................


.............that we have posted more than several excerpts from Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals here of late.  Noticing the curious nature of  our readers, you are undoubtedly wondering when we are going to post said rules.  Wonder no longer:

      Always remember the first rule of power tactics:
     
Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
      The second rule is:  Never go outside of the experience of your people.  When an action or tactic is outside the experience of the people, the result is confusion, fear, and retreat.  It also means a collapse of communication, as we have noted.
      The third rule is:  Whenever possible go outside the experience of the enemy.  Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat. (Alinsky now includes a very long paragraph - too long for the allotted typing time - on Sherman's march through The South).
      The fourth rule is:   Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.  You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.
      The fourth rule carries within it the fifth rule:  Ridicule is man's most potent weapon.  It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule.  Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.
      The sixth rule is:  A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.  If your people are not having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic.
      The seventh rule is:  A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.  Man can sustain militant interest in any issue for only a limited time, after which it becomes a ritualistic commitment, like going to church on Sunday mornings.  New issues and crises are always developing, and one's reaction becomes, "Well, my heart bleeds for those people and I'm all for the boycott, but after all there are other important things in life" - and there it goes.
      The eighth rule:  Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.
      The ninth rule:  The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
      The tenth rule:  The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.  It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign.  It should be remembered not only that the action is in the reaction but that action is itself the consequence of reaction and of reaction to the reaction, ad infinitum.  The pressure produces the reaction, and constant pressure sustains action.
      The eleventh rule:  If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through to its counterside;  this is based on the principle that every positive has its negative.  We have already seen the conversion of the negative into the positive, in Mahatma Gandhi's development of the tactic of passive resistance.
(Alinsky now offers several long paragraphs, also too long for inclusion,  supporting the eleventh rule.)
      The twelfth rule: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.  You cannot risk being trapped by the enemy in his sudden agreement with your demand and saying "You're right - we don't know what to do about this issue.  Now you tell us."
      The thirteenth rule:  Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
   

A happy and a merry to you.............................























via

Questions..............................



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


The Vince Guaraldi Trio...........................What Child Is This

Chuckling to myself...............................


I've played in a monthly poker game with the same group of guys for more than thirty years now.  Over the past few winters it has gotten progressively more difficult to get a quorum.  Over half the group now winters in Florida - but not me.   So, it was with great interest that I viewed this weather prediction chart:














Enjoy yourselves.

source  via

Almost time....................................


























via

On the Paris climate conference, or..................


.............Why multilateral negotiation is so difficult

"What world leaders have actually signed us up to is: voluntary emission limits with no enforcement mechanism, voluntary progress reviews and voluntary contributions to a trillion-dollar green climate fund. Nothing is binding except that each country must resubmit its voluntary national goal every five years and even that does not apply to the G77 developing nations."

"World leaders essentially solved the problem of where to go to dinner by changing the topic of conversation to how much they would all like to go to dinner. On this they were all triumphantly agreed. For the poor people of the world, the vagueness of the Paris agreement is good news: it means development can continue, making them less vulnerable to all harms, including weather. Those who think climate change is a huge threat should be worried, but those of us who think climate change is not such a big threat should still be concerned about just how bad the world would be at responding when a really big collective-action problem comes along: mega-volcano, alien invasion, etc."

as excerpted from this Matt Ridley post

Monday, December 21, 2015


Susan Boyle.........................................................O Holy Night




So, I was reading...................


......................my Emerson, and came across this passage:

The most attractive class of people are those who are powerful obliquely, and not by the direct stroke: men of genius, but not yet accredited: one gets the cheer of their light, without paying too great a tax. Theirs is the beauty of the bird, or the morning light, and not of art. In the thought of genius there is always a surprise; and the moral sentiment is well called "the newness," for it is never other; as new to the oldest intelligence as to the young child, — "the kingdom that cometh without observation."

I think he is describing the bloggers that I have the good fortune to follow.  Thank you all!

Dreaming.................................


























“Some people see things that are and ask, Why?  Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not?  Some people have to go to work and don't have time for all that.”
-George Carlin (added bonus:  Carlin's rant on "The American Dream" here)

“I used to think as I looked out on the Hollywood night — there must be thousands of girls sitting alone like me, dreaming of becoming a movie star. But I'm not going to worry about them. I'm dreaming the hardest.” 
-Marilyn Monroe

“There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” 
-Hamlet, as channeled by William Shakespeare

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”
-T. E. Lawrence

“I'll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours” 
-Bob Dylan

Dreaming, continued.........................


"I learned this, at least, by my experiment:  that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws will be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.  In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." 

-Henry David Thoreau, Walden, from the chapter Conclusion

Ed. Note:  Page for page, Walden has to be one of the all-time most quotable books.  And to think, you can own it for free by following the link to Amazon (and having Kindle).  We live in a most bounteous universe.

Speaking of..............................


..........................................................Susan Boyle and dreams

Susan Boyle..............................................I Dreamed A Dream

Ghosts................................



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


The Ventures................................................Blue Christmas

It's beginning................................

.........................................................to look a lot like Christmas











Worthy of the risk.........................




A list of................................


...............New Year's Resolutions that actually make sense.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A twofer.............................


Pentatonix.............................Joy To The World/Hark the Herald

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


If you can’t work yourself into a nice and foolish frenzy in college, what’s the point of being 19 years old?

So asks this The American Interest post.

Our old friend Marcus Tullius Cicero seems to agree:

"For 'tis a Truth but too well known, that Rashness attends Youth, as Prudence does Old Age."

Good questions.........................



A simple truth.............................


















"Art is the signature of man"
-G. K. Chesterton

photo via

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


Johnny Mathis.............................................A Christmas Medley

Self-financing...........................


........................................................a campaign is pretty easy when you are willing to say about anything to generate free media coverage.  But, will that be enough to win a national election?   Here is a voice that reasons probably not:

Jenkins thinks that DT will not be able to stay the course:

We could be wrong but the Trump effort is probably self-liquidating. Expect a glorious, “I’ve got better things to do than hang around with you losers” exit just about the time he would have to start spending real money to keep going.

Never forget..........................


The world around us is uneven, unfair and yes, absolutely, over-the-top amazing. 

-Seth Godin, as extracted from here

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


2015: The Best Year in History for the Average Human Being


While life its ownself isn't perfect (and wasn't designed to be so), it is always a good thing to honor exactly how far we have come.  Back story here.