Saturday, April 23, 2016

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



Provocative companions..................




Wisdom from the Chipotle cup:

Back in college, filled with anxious questions about what to do with my life, I read a little book called Letters to a Young Poet by Ranier Rilke.  I wanted answers straightaway.  I wanted a plane to fly overhead pulling a sign that spelled it out.  The book, however, advised me not to seek answers, but to love the questions.   Furthermore, it suggested I live the questions and perhaps one day I would live right into the answers.  Skeptical, I embarked on a youthful experiment, distilling my angst-fueled questions down to these:  What makes me happy?  How do I serve the world?   One was apologetically about my selfish self.  The other, I'm relieved to report, was larger than myself.
      I had no idea how to love and live these questions.  Gradually though, I figured out the obvious, that doing so meant investing quality time with the questions themselves - listening, tending, wondering, contemplating, gestating, waiting.  Such lovely old-fashioned things.  Employing them, I came to discover the passionate, half-buried pull to write, realizing that writing brought me alive, caused me to lose all sense of time, and made me reach for excellence - all of which translated into happiness.  And I was surprised by the awareness that doing what made me happy could become one of the best ways I could serve the world, that in fact one of the more powerful outbreaks of meaning in life occurs when one's passion addresses what the world needs most.
      The two questions I chose to focus on so many years ago are still revealing possibilities to me.  They've been the kind of provocative companions one can spend a lifetime loving and living.

-Sue Monk Kidd

The elitists and their smugness...............


.....................as detailed in this longish VOX essay.  Excerpt here:

The smug style resists empathy for the unknowing. It denies the possibility of a politics whereby those who do not share knowing culture, who do not like the right things or know the Good Facts or recognize the intellectual bankruptcy of their own ideas can be worked with, in spite of these differences, toward a common goal.
It is this attitude that has driven the dispossessed into the arms of a candidate who shares their fury. It is this attitude that may deliver him the White House, a "serious" threat, a threat to be mocked and called out and hated, but not to be taken seriously.
The wages of smug is Trump

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


     It was a Friday  morning and the smart people had already taken off for the weekend.  This made traffic into downtown a breeze and Harry Bosch got to the courthouse early.  Rather than wait for Mickey Haller on the front steps, where they had agreed to meet, he decided to look for his lawyer inside the monolithic structure that covered half a block of space nineteen floors in the air.  But the search for Haller would not be as difficult as the size of the building suggested.  After clearing the lobby metal detector - a new experience for him - Bosch took an elevator up to fifteen and started checking courtrooms and using the stairs to work his way down.  Most of the courtrooms assigned to criminal cases were on floors nine through fifteen.  Bosch know this because of the time he'd spent in those courtrooms over the past thirty years.

-Michael Connelly,   The Crossing

Forgiveness...................................


     "Years ago I came across Dag Hammarkskjold's line 'Forgiveness is the answer to the child's dream of a miracle by which that is broken is made whole again, that which is soiled is made clean again,' and knew that this could not happen for us, that our parents were gone and John was just John.  Take it or leave it.  Life on life's terms."

-Anne Lamott,  Small Victories:  Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace

Hey, wait a minute..................


























..........................They're going to want to take my "Roundup" away from me?   Say, it ain't so.

"Science, humanity’s greatest intellectual achievement, has always been vulnerable to infection by pseudoscience, which pretends to use the methods of science, but actually subverts them in pursuit of an obsession. Instead of evidence-based policymaking, pseudoscience specialises in policy-based evidence making. Today, this infection is spreading."

My favorite optimist rails against bad science being used for political purposes.

"Pseudoscience is bad enough when it infects astrologers, 9/11 truthers and crop-circle makers. But when its symptoms show up in mainstream bodies, such as the World Health Organisation, it’s time to be worried."

Is this a great time to be alive, or what.......


So, I'm reading James Traub's John Quincy Adams, and a book published in 1768 is mentioned prominently.  Intrigued, the Leviathan Amazon was consulted.  Viola!  Not only was the book available, it was free to be downloaded on my Kindle.  I'm telling you, this stuff is magical.  Since the book only just arrived, the best I can do is quote you from the Preface:

     The study of profane history would little deserve to have a serious attention, and a considerable length of time bestowed upon it, if it were confined to the bare knowledge of ancient transactions, and an uninteresting inquiry into the aeras when each of them happened.  It little concerns us to know, that there were once men such as Alexander, Caesar, Aristides, or Cato, and that they lived in this or that period; and that the empire of the Assyrians made way for that of the Babylonians, and the latter fro the empire of the Medes and Persians, who were themselves subjected by the Macedonians, as these were afterwards by the Romans.

     But it highly concern us to know, by what methods those empires were founded; by what steps they rose to that exalted pitch of grandeur which we so much admire;  what it was that constituted their true glory and felicity; and what were the causes of their declension and fall.

     It is of no less importance to study attentively the manners of different nations;  their genius, laws, and customs;  and especially to acquaint ourselves with the character and disposition, the talents, virtues, and even vices of those by whom they were governed; and whose good or bad qualities contributed to the grandeur or decay of the states over which the presided.

-Charles Rollins,  The Ancient History of the Egyptians, Carthaginians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Medes and Persians, Macedonians and Grecians

More to come..........................

Parenting.........................


      Abigail spent long hours reading to her son as he sat at her feet before the hearth.  But Abigail would never have thought that loving attention, from either mother or son, was enough.  She expected Johnny to read aloud to her, so that she could critique him and help him along.  She reported to her husband that she had gotten the seven-year-old boy to read to her every day from Charles Rollins' Ancient History of the Egyptians, Carthaginians, Assyrians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Medes, and Persians, Macedonians and Grecians, a best seller published six years early that, one scholar points out, "seamlessly melded classical themes with Christian ends."  It was, of course, written for adults.  And she encouraged the boy to write.  In his first letter to his father, October 13, 1774, the seven-year-old boy wrote, "Sir - I have been trying ever since you went away to lern to write you a Letter."  He apologized for his meager effort - an exaggerated sense of his own insufficiency which a lifetime of achievements would barely make a dent it - and concluded, "I hope I grow to be a better boy and that you will have no occasion to be ashamed of me when you return."

-James Traub,  John Quincy Adams:  Militant Spirit

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


Beach Boys..................................................................Pet Sounds

Friday, April 22, 2016

Kindness in the hard crowd..............


Cream...................................................................White Room

Seriously...................Happy Earth Day



Saving the planet.....................


..................an Earth Day tradition.  Never fails to make me laugh.

Only three...................................?


The purpose of a good education is to show you that there are three sides to a two-sided story.”
-Stanley Fish

The Strategic Learner takes a look-see at viewpoints and his "learning path."   Good idea.

The Jumping Competition...............


The flea, the grasshopper, and the jumping jack decided to hold a competition to see which of them could jump the highest.  They invited the whole world, and anyone else who wanted to come, to look at it.  Each of them felt sure that he would become the champion.
      "I will give my daughter to the one who jumps the highest," declared the king.  "Honor is too paltry a reward."
       The flea was the first to introduce himself.  He had excellent manners; but then he had the blood of young maidens in him and he was accustomed to human society, and that had left its mark on him.
      Then came the grasshopper.  He was stout but not without grace and dressed in a green uniform, which he had acquired at birth.  He said he was of ancient family and that his ancestors came from Egypt.  He claimed that he was so highly esteemed in this country that he had been brought directly from the fields and given a card house.  It was three stories high and all made of picture cards.  It had both doors and windows.
      "I sing so well," he boasted, "that sixteen native crickets, who have been cheeping since birth - but never have been honored with a card house - grew so thin from envy, when they heard me sing, that they almost disappeared."
       Both the flea and the grasshopper gave a full account of their merits.  Each of them thought it only fitting that he should marry a princess.
      Now came the jumping jack.  He was made from the wishbone of a goose, two rubber bands, some sealing wax, and a little stick that was mahogany.   He didn't say a word, which made the whole court certain that he was a genius.  The royal dog sniffed at him and said that he came of a good family.  The old councilor, who had received three decorations as a reward for keeping his mouth shut, declared that the jumping jack was endowed with the gift of prophecy.  One could tell from looking at its back whether we would have a mild winter or not, and that was more than one could tell from the back of the fellow who wrote the almanac.
       The old king merely said, "I don't talk much, but I have my own opinion about everything."
     The competition began.  the flea jumped so high that one could not see him; and then everyone said he hadn't jumped at all, which was most unfair!  The grasshopper only jumped half as high as the flea but landed right in the face of the king and that did not please His Majesty, who said it was repulsive.
      Now it was the jumping jack's turn; he sat so still and appeared so pensive that everyone decided that he wouldn't jump at all.
      "I hope he hasn't got sick," said the royal hound, and sniffed at him; but just at that moment he jumped.  It was a little, slanted jump, but high enough so that he landed in the lap of the princesses, who was sitting on a golden stool.
      "The highest jump is into my daughter's lap," declared the king.  "The jumping jack has shown both intelligence and taste;  she shall  marry him."  And the jumping jack got the princess.
      "I jumped the highest," said the flea.  "But it is of no importance;  she can keep him:  wishbone, rubber bands, sealing wax, mahogany stick, and all!  I don't care!  I know I jumped the highest, but in this world it's only appearance that counts."
      The flea enlisted in a foreign army and it was rumored that he was killed in battle.
   The grasshopper sat down in the ditch and thought about the injustice of the world.  "It's appearance that counts!  It's appearance that counts!" he said.  And then he sang his own sad song.  It's from him that we have the story, which, even though it has been printed, may still be a lie.

You gotta love Abigail.................


"O!  Save my Country Heaven if we are to receive a President from the French nation."

-Abigail Adams, from a letter to her husband John, written during the run-up to the 1796 presidential election between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (with Thomas Pinckney and Aaron Burr also participating).

The history major in me still believes the greatest historical event in our country was the election of 1800, in which Jefferson defeated Adams.  My reason for believing this is that it may have been the first time in human history when a country freely replaced an existing leader who held one set of political beliefs with a new leader who held very different view on the nature of government.  All this happened without upheaval or violence.  Seems normal today.  In 1800, not so much.

Letters home.................................


     "I laugh at myself twenty times a Day for my feelings, and meditations and Speculations in which I find myself engaged.  Vanity suffers.  Cold feelings of Unpopularity.  Humble reflections.  Mortifications.  Humiliation.  Plans of Future Life.  Economy.  Retrenching of Expenses.  Farming.  Return to the Bar.  Drawing Writs, arguing causes, taking Clerks.  Humiliations of my Country under foreign Bribes, Measures to counteract them.  All this miserable Nonsense will come and go like evil into the Thoughts of God or Men, approved or unapproved."

-John Adams, from a letter to wife Abigail, December 7, 1796, as the nation awaited the results of the first presidential election not featuring George Washington

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


      On the morning of June 17, 1775, John Quincy Adams walked with his mother, Abigail, to an orchard atop Penn's Hill, the highest point near their home in Braintree.  The air was filled with the roar and crash of artillery, for at dawn British forces had begun their cannonade of Bunker Hill, which stood at the crown of a peninsula immediately north of Boston.  Abigail and her four children had been cowering at home; her husband, John Adams, was three hundred miles away, at the second Continental Congress in Philadelphia.  But so much turned on this long-awaited battle that Abigail felt she had to see it for herself.  Perhaps she felt that her eldest son, then not quite eight years old, should see for himself the mortal consequences of the fight his father and his fellow colonists had undertaken, or perhaps she was simply very frightened and needed company.  It was a clear, hot day, and even from ten miles away Johnny, as his parents called him, could see the flash of cannon fire from British ships in the harbor, the smoke from the colonists' muskets, and the great wall of flame as the wooden houses and churches of Charleston, at the very tip of the peninsula, burned beneath a hail of British incendiary shells.  The noise was deafening, and the panorama of destruction must have been even more terrifying to the boy than his mother.

-James Traub,  John Quincy Adams:  Militant Spirit

After almost forty.....................


............years of selling and developing real estate in Licking County, Ohio, I have never come across a deal like this.  Have to admire the creativity though.


True, that.............................


It’s hard to be too angry at consumers. To be sure, they probably should have known that you couldn’t really buy organic, locally sourced food year-round at just a smidge more than you’d pay for a regular meal. After all, the average American spent half their income on food in 1900, while the modern American now spends a paltry 12 percent, even including a lavish helping of restaurant meals. That should give us some sign that local, artisanal food is not going to be cheap. But most Americans are not economic historians.

-Megan McArdle, as excerpted from her post "Dining Out on Empty Virtue"

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


Beach Boys.........................I Just Wasn't Made For These Times

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Fantasy will set you free....................


Steppenwolf...............................................Magic Carpet Ride



I like to dream yes, yes, right between my sound machine
On a cloud of sound I drift in the night
Any place it goes is right
Goes far, flies near, to the stars away from here

Well, you don't know what we can find
Why don't you come with me little girl
On a magic carpet ride
You don't know what we can see
Why don't you tell your dreams to me
Fantasy will set you free
Close your eyes girl
Look inside girl
Let the sound take you away

Last night I held Aladdin's lamp
And so I wished that I could stay
Before the thing could answer me
Well, someone came and took the lamp away
I looked around, a lousy candle's all I found

Well, you don't know what we can find
Why don't you come with me little girl
On a magic carpet ride
Well, you don't know what we can see
Why don't you tell your dreams to me
Fantasy will set you free
Close your eyes girl
Look inside girl
Let the sound take you away.

Ouch..................................Part 4


Beware the Trumpkins..........................................

"The hoi polloi scare the foie gras out of the hoity-toity who run this nation."

About time.

Ouch.......................................Part 3


"Our immigration system is a mess... apparently. If you want open borders, it is terrible that so many people who could be working legally instead have to be here illegally. If you want tighter controls, it is terrible that so many people our law should have excluded instead are here, with apparently no intention of doing anything about it. So from both sides of the debate, the situation looks terrible...

"But what if there is a third side? What if there is a side that wants lots and lots of immigrants in the country, but wants them here with as little legal standing as possible, so they are always fearful of being turned in and deported? So they will work lots of hours for low pay and no benefits and not complain?

"When you have an apparent mess on your hands that won't clear up, year after year after year, it is often useful to ask, "Is there someone for whom this is not a mess at all, but the ideal situation?"

"Our screwy tax code is another case where this applies."

-Gene Callahan, this post titled Why Can't Immigration Be "Fixed"?

Ouch..................................Part 2


"There is of course much hypocrisy in the theoretical edifice. For example, businessmen argue that the minimum wage constitutes intolerable interference by the government in the conduct of business—meanwhile sending armies of lobbyists to Washington to make the government interfere in the conduct of business. In fact capitalists have no objection to federal meddling. They just want it to be such meddling as puts more money in their pockets. Nothing more. Ever."

"The quest for cheap labor has perhaps caused less misery than war—itself a most profitable business, war—but it is neck and neck. Businessmen imported blacks as slaves to have cheap labor, with disastrous results continuing to this day. Businessmen encourage illegal immigration from the Latin lands so as to have cheap labor. They sent America’s factories to China to have cheap labor.  And now they peer with wet lips and avid gaze at…robots."

-Fred Reed, as extracted from this post worrying about where will people find work, and how will they live when they find it.

Can I comment that the first paragraph probably describes cronyism, more than capitalism?

Ouch...........................


"My political observation is that the great majority, except perhaps among the hardier folk in the mountains, do not care much for civic freedom, and never did. It is not a comfortable thing. They want to be taken care of; they want someone looking out for them; they want to feel part of something; they would like to avoid hard work and intelligent thinking.
"All these are legitimate desires, in their proper contexts. But a man with the rat cunning of, say, a Trump, or an Obama, knows how to exploit these desires, with sparkledust dreams and empty promises. Those who care little for freedom they enslave."
-David Warren, as culled from here

The anti-GMO crowd gets smacked down.....



"You might think that anti-GMO activists would have nothing to complain about, that they might accept this GMO as an exception to their usual complaints. That would be underestimating human ingenuity when it comes to rationalizing their ideological positions."


-as extracted from this NeuroLogica blog post about GMO bananas and the Ugandans.  Read it all, including the comments.

Beauty and the beast....................


Our azaleas are having a happy Spring......................






































Proof that God loves life: this fungus looks like a mushroom on steroids


We have the choice.........................?























via

Aspirational..................


      "To awaken each morning with a smile brightening my face, to great the day with reverence, for the opportunities it contains;  to approach my work with a clean mind;  to hold ever before me, even in the doing of little things, the Ultimate Purpose toward which I am working;  to meet men and women with laughter on my lips and love in my heart;  to be gentle, kind and courteous through all hours;  to appreciate the night with weariness that ever woes sleep and the joy that comes from work well done - this is how I desire to waste wisely my days."  

-Thomas Dreier

Some are more equal than others..........


     This enormous demographic denomination can fry Western sensibilities about wealth and poverty.  China is now, by some measures, the world's largest economy, and will be so by a measures soon.  Divide this wealth by the population, however, and China lags.  Its GDP per capita is 20 percent below the world average, putting it on par with Tunisia and the Dominican Republic.  Its neighbor South Korea has nearly triple the per capita annual national income, while Japan, the U. S., and most of northwestern Europe have quadruple.  China is rich, but the Chinese are poor.
      Or at least poor on average.  The fateful moment for the Chinese economy, crippled by central planning and collectivized production, was when Deng Xiaoping, China's long-term leader after Mao's death, announced that the country would pursue "Socialism with Chinese characteristics," which is to say a market economy under authoritarian technocracy.  This was in 1977, as good a year as any for marking the birth of modern China.  Deng and his associates undertook a job akin to that of a political bomb squad, laboriously dismantling most of the economic ideology installed by Mao without blowing up political continuity at the same time.  That they succeeded is in many ways the single most important political fact of contemporary China.
      It was also Deng who said, "It is OK for some people to get rich first."  Communist orthodoxy had made general advancement of the rural population their stated goal since the revolution.  For Deng to say otherwise was a near-total break with previous economic theory.  Since then, and especially in recent years, some people have indeed gotten rich first.  China's growth has been accompanied by the creation of such vast, concentrated fortunes that its income inequality now tops that of even the U. S.  China's previous two periods of rising inequality were both brief, and the result of collapses in the incomes of the poor, during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.  Today it is different - the incomes of the poor, even the rural poor, have been rising, but the incomes of the urban rich have been rising faster.
      Income inequality and the urban-rural divide are also mutually reinforcing.  The big cities are increasingly where the money is.

-Clay Shirky,  Little Rice:  Smartphones, Xiaomi, and the Chinese Dream

Subtract a billion................


There are a lot of people in China.  This fact can seem like a bit of local color, a background association like France and cheese or Thailand and beaches.  For people who live there, though, and especially for people who work here, population is a force like gravity, affecting almost everything else....The idea of a billion and a third citizens of any one place is such an abstract number it's hard to grasp - to get to the population of the U. S., take China's and subtract a billion.

-Clay Shirky,  Little Rice:  Smartphones, Xiaomi, and the Chinese Dream

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


Beach Boys..............................................................Here Today

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Where oh where could I be................


Ryan Tennis and the Clubhouse Band...........Classic Overshare

On distraction and productivity...........


....................................and a book review by Ben Carlson.

“Being busy is a form of laziness–lazy thinking and indiscriminate action. Being busy is most often used as a guise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions.”
-Tim Ferriss

“Productivity, put simply, is the name we give our attempts to figure out the best uses of our energy, intellect, and time as we try to seize the most meaningful rewards with the least wasted effort.”
-Charles Duhigg

If you don't check in periodically with Carlson's blog, A Wealth of Common Sense, well, shame on you.  It is worth the effort.   The book he reviews above is Duhigg's  Smarter, Better, Faster: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business.   The nice people from Amazon delivered my very own copy on Monday.  It is currently located about midway in the queue.  I'll advise when it reaches the top.

Not that you care............................


...............................................but Piers Morgan places a bet.

He cracks my head up..................


...if you haven't already, check out the Mighty E's bug collection.

Harriet Tubman in.....................












"So it was wid me. I had crossed de line of which I had so long been dreaming. I was free; but dere was no one to welcome me to de land of freedom, I was a stranger in a strange land, and my home after all was down in de old cabin quarter, wid de ole folks, and my brudders and sisters. But to dis solemn resolution I came; I was free, and dey should be free also; I would make a home for dem in de North, and de Lord helping me, I would bring dem all dere. Oh, how I prayed den, lying all alone on de cold, damp ground; 'Oh, dear Lord,' I said, 'I haint got no friend but you. Come to my help, Lord, for I'm in trouble!'"

-Harriet Tubman

Andrew Jackson gets relegated to the back of the $20 bill.  Personally, I have had a hard time with Jackson ever since college when I read this quote:  "John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!"  The issue before the Supreme Court had to do with the Cherokee Tribe and the State of Georgia.  It is an open question as to whether Jackson actually said that, but regardless, it was an ugly time in American history.  If story of the Trail of Tears doesn't affect you, well, I'm sorry, it should.  Put me in the column of people who are OK with this currency exchange.

Amoris Laetitia............................


The post-synodal apostolic exhortation by Pope Francis, released in early April.  Full text here.  Wee sample here:


The path to good ideas.................................



Bezos, an unrepentant believer in the power of brainstorming, says, “Working together with other smart people in front of a whiteboard, we can come up with a lot of very bad ideas.”


As culled from this very interesting Fortune.com article about Amazon's Jeff Bezos


thanks craig



Actions...........................


"You cannot be, I know, nor do I wish to see you, an inactive spectator...We have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them."

-Abigail Adams, from a letter to husband John

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


In the cold, nearly colorless light of a New England winter, two men on horseback traveled the coast road below Boston, heading north.  A foot or more of snow covered the landscape, the remnants of a Christmas storm that had blanketed Massachusetts from one end of the province to the other.  Beneath the snow, after weeks of severe cold, the ground was frozen solid to a depth of two feet.  Packed ice in the road, ruts as hard as iron, made the going hazardous, and the riders, mindful of the horses, kept at a walk.

-David McCullough,  John Adams

thanks for the reminder Michael

On teaching.........................


      Second, my father had taught English and writing at San Quentin during the 1950s and 1960s.  He published stories in The New Yorker about his students and then wrote a biography of San Quentin.   I grew up hearing and reading about his students and the place itself.  He did not bog down in complex moral and ethical matters - victim's rights, recidivism.  He just taught the prisoners to read good books, to speak good English, and to write.  My father treated them with respect and kindness, his main philosophical and spiritual position being:  Don't be an asshole.

-Anne Lamott,  Small Victories:  Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace

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




Chrism.............................


.....................................................knows a thing or two.

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


On the television......................................Mission: Impossible




Dan Briggs ran the team in season 1.  Music intro here

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Really....................................?


The screen said:  "One thing is for certain"............then:















The short video (found here) proposes that it was more than just a giant asteroid that extinguished the dinosaurs (after a very successful 165 million year run).  They just don't know what.  Such candor is refreshing, considering we don't know nearly as much about yesterday as we think we do.  Regardless, here are two popular potential causes for their demise:



Reprise.........................


Chubby Checker..........................................Let's Twist Again

Twofer Tuesday......................




one touch............................


















“If I can put one touch of rosy sunset into the life of any man or woman, I shall feel that I have worked with God.” 


- attributed to Gilbert Keith Chesterton

Pierce..............................


Grooving with the Mother Ship..............................



“Music, uniquely among the arts, is both completely abstract and profoundly emotional. It has no power to represent anything particular or external, but it has a unique power to express inner states or feelings. Music can pierce the heart directly; it needs no mediation.” 


-Oliver SacksMusicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain

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


     Last night I dreamed about mercury - huge, shining globules of quicksilver rising and falling.  Mercury is element number 80, and my dream is a reminder that on Tuesday, I will be eighty myself.

-Oliver Sacks,  Gratitude

Uncertain................................


You are doing the finest possible thing and acting in your best interests if, as you say in your letter, you are persevering in your efforts to acquire a sound understanding.  This is something it is foolish to pray for when you can win it for your own self.  There is no need to raise our hands to heaven;  there is no need to implore the temple warden to allow us close to the ear of some graven image, as though this increased the chance of our being heard.  God is near you, is with you, is inside you.  Yes, Lucilius, there resides within us a divine spirit, which guards us and watches us in the evil and the good we do.  As we treat him, so will he treat us.  No man, indeed, is good without God - is any one capable of rising above fortune unless he has help from God?  He it is that prompts us to noble and exalted endeavors.  In each and every good man "A god (what god we are uncertain) dwells."*
* Virgil, Aenid, VIII:353

-Seneca,  as excerpted fro Letter XLI,  Letters from a Stoic

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




the hardest work.......................


      No one can prove that God does or doesn't exist, but tough acts of forgiveness are pretty convincing for me.  It is so not my strong suit, and I naturally prefer the company of people who hold grudges, as long as they are not held against me.  Forgiveness is the hardest work we do.  When, against all odds, over time, your heart softens toward truly heinous behavior on the part of parents, children, siblings, and everyone's exes, you almost have to believe that something not of this earth snuck into your stone-cold heart.

-Anne Lamott,  Small Victories:  Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace

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


Beach Boys.............................................I Know There's An Answer

Monday, April 18, 2016

Reach out...........................


William Bell......................................I Forgot To Be Your Lover



Have I told you lately that I love you?
Well, if I didn't, darlin', I'm sorry
Did I reach out and hold you in my loving arms
Oh, when you needed me?

Now I realize that you need love too
And I'll spend my life making love to you

Oh, I forgot to be your lover
And I'm sorry, I'm so sorry

Have I taken the time to share with you
All the burden that love will fare?
And have I done the little simple things to show you
Just how much I care?

Oh, I've been workin' for you doin' all I can
To work all the time didn't make me a man

Oh, I forgot to be your lover
And I'm sorry, I'll make it up to you somehow, baby

I forgot to be your lover
Gonna make it up to you somehow
Oh, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, baby
I forgot to be your lover

a kind of prison..................























“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

-attributed (perhaps with partial accuracy) to Albert Einstein

portrait via

to set a prisoner free.................


      Forgiving people doesn't necessarily mean you want to meet them for lunch.  It means you try to undo the Velcro hook.  Lewis Smedes said it best:  "To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you."

-Anne Lamott,  Small Victories:  Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace

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


A couple of years ago, while I was doing some work at NYU's Shanghai campus, I got lost on the subway.  As a New Yorker, it takes a lot to make me feel like a country mouse, but at triple the population of my hometown,  Shanghai does it.  Even though the Shanghai subway system is amazingly well-provisioned with directions in English, I got out at the wrong stop.  I didn't figure this out right away, because the subway exited into a mall, just like at my stop, and Shanghai has so many malls - 36 million square feet of retail space will be built this year - it can be hard to tell one from another.
      Walking in a daze through a vast collection of hallways and shops, I did the very thing people who build confusing malls wanted me to do:  I slowed down and started looking around, whereupon I noticed a booth selling mobile phones, a thing I happened to need at the time.  I saw a particularly nice one, all black, rounded sides, quite stylish, whose logo read Mi3.  I decided that a Mi3 would be as good a phone as any, so the vendor and I did that curious pointing and gesturing thing people do when transacting with no common language except money, and ten minutes later, I had my phone.
      There is not much a middle-aged guy can do to seem au courant to eighteen-year-olds, but that phone did it.  For the next several days on campus, whenever I needed to do anything on my phone, one of the Chinese students would ask, "Where did you get that?"  Not, "What kind of phone is that?" - they all recognized it.  The Mi3 was a huge hit for Xiaomi, the startup that made it, selling faster than the company could produce them.  I had managed to get my hands on a phone so popular, the company couldn't always keep up with demand, making me briefly the envy of teenagers (not a familiar feeling, before or since).

-Clay Shirky,  Little Rice:  Smartphones, Xiaomi, and the Chinese Dream

Why would it.................................................?




Nothing a few drinks couldn't improve......

Chubby Checker....................................................The Twist

On ambition...............................




















"Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition."
-attributed to her


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





































via

Hey, wait a minute................................


Suppose you were reading a generally thoughtful and well-written essay about "click-bait" and the era of Intertunnel news, and you came across this outlier sentence:

"We still has the National Inquirer, but everyone new it was a grocery store tabloid."


What would you think?





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




The silly season rolls on.......................




Everything.......................................?



Way down inside......................


Led Zeppelin................................................Whole Lotta Love

Control what you can....................



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


Beach Boys..........................................................Sloop John B

All the world really needs.............


........................is a whole bunch more of these magical plates:


















thanks Craig

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Just enough.............................
























"As a human being, one has been endowed with just enough intelligence to be able to see clearly how utterly inadequate that intelligence is when confronted with what exists."
-Albert Einstein

This would explain a lot...........................


      Examination of the mind structure shows that its function is comparable to the hardware of a computer and the software represents the programming by society as well as by inherited influences.  The fundamental innocence of mankind is based on the reality that the human mind is incapable of discerning truth from falsehood.  It has no innate defense against the utilization of its hardware to play any introduced software program without prior approval, discernment, or options of the will (e. g., the impact of the media).

-David Hawkins,  Discovery of the Presence of God:  Devotional Nonduality

Pretty happy tonight.......................
















"The simple act of opening a bottle of wine brought more happiness to the human race than all the collective governments in the history of earth."

-Jim Harrison

thanks rob

Well, I guess we will just wait and see........




















as extracted from this blog post

acceptance....................







































via

Unrehearsed................................




Let's Dance.............................


Jose Cuervo,.........................


............a family business for more than 200 years, opting to go public?  I might want to buy a share or two to give to a friend or two.

“Now tequila may be the favored beverage of outlaws but that doesn't mean it gives them preferential treatment. In fact, tequila probably has betrayed as many outlaws as has the central nervous system and dissatisfied wives. Tequila, scorpion honey, harsh dew of the doglands, essence of Aztec, crema de cacti; tequila, oily and thermal like the sun in solution; tequila, liquid geometry of passion; Tequila, the buzzard god who copulates in midair with the ascending souls of dying virgins; tequila, firebug in the house of good taste; O tequila, savage water of sorcery, what confusion and mischief your sly, rebellious drops do generate!” 

-Tom Robbins, Still Life with Woodpecker