Friday, April 29, 2016

Back when............................


























via

fidelity................................


4.   Do not waste what remains of your life in speculating about your neighbors, unless with a view to some mutual benefit.  To wonder what so-and-so is doing and why, or what he is saying, or thinking, or scheming - in a word, anything that distracts you from fidelity to the Ruler within you - means a loss of opportunity for some other task.  See then that the flow of your thoughts is kept free from idle or random fancies, particularly those of an inquisitive or uncharitable nature.

-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, as excerpted from #4 in Book Three

Truly dangerous.............................


“What the hell time is it?" muttered the old man. He was always an aggressive sleeper. Sleep was one of the things he did best, and he loved it. Some look upon sleep as an unfortunate necessary interruption of life; but there are others who hold that sleep is life, or at least one of the more fulfilling aspects of it, like eating or sex. Any time my old man's sleep was interrupted, he became truly dangerous.” 
-Jean ShepherdWanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories: And Other Disasters


I've tried this at home....................
















via

Missing a straddle or two.........................



Getting at questions about the nature of reality, and disentangling the observer from the observed, is an endeavor that straddles the boundaries of neuroscience and fundamental physics. On one side you’ll find researchers scratching their chins raw trying to understand how a three-pound lump of gray matter obeying nothing more than the ordinary laws of physics can give rise to first-person conscious experience. This is the aptly named “hard problem.”


-Amanda Gefter, as excerpted from here

Blame..................................



     I surveyed over 20 great self-help books, starting with Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill, and ending with T. Harv Eker's The Millionaire MindThey all say that the greatest way to fail is to blame others for your situation.


-Marshall Reddick

possible........................



















“Nothing [...] will ever be attempted, if all possible objections must be first overcome.” 

-Samuel Johnson, source and interesting back story here

self-inflicted...........................


16.  For a human soul, the greatest of self-inflicted wrongs is to make itself (so far as it is able to do so) a kind of tumour or abscess on the universe; for to quarrel with circumstance is always a rebellion against Nature - and Nature includes the nature of each individual part.  Another wrong, again, is to reject a fellow-creature or oppose him with malicious intent, as men do when they are angry.  A third, to surrender to pleasure or pain.  A fourth, to dissemble and show insincerity or falsity in word or deed.  A fifth, for the soul to direct its acts and endeavours to no particular object, and waste its energies purposelessly and without due thought; for even the least of our activities ought to have some end in view - and for creatures with reason, that end is conformity with the reason and law of the primordial City and Commonwealth.

-Marcus Aurelius,  Meditations,  Book Two

The Pride of Cleveland......................


Joe Walsh & The James Gang..............................Walk Away

distracted by faction............................


In a nation distracted by faction, there are, no doubt, always a few, though commonly but a very few, who preserve their judgment untainted by the general contagion. They seldom amount to more than, here and there, a solitary individual, without any influence, excluded, by his own candour, from the confidence of either party, and who, though he may be one of the wisest, is necessarily, upon that very account, one of the most insignificant men in the society.  All such people are held in contempt and derision, and frequently in detestation, by the zealots of both parties.

-Adam Smith,  The Theory of Moral Sentiments

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


Blues Magoos................................Sometimes I Think About

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Yes, it can............................





















via

A course to steer....................




















"Give a man health and a course to steer, and he'll never stop to trouble about whether he's happy or not." 
-George Bernard Shaw

It's complicated.........................






















“All you really need to know for the moment is that the universe is a lot more complicated than you might think, even if you start from a position of thinking it's pretty damn complicated in the first place.” 
-Douglas Adams


enlargeable photo and description here

Somedays..........................


........................................you just can't make anybody happy.

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



Fred Reed's latest rant:


"I love it: Donald Trump’s campaign reveals the establishment for what it is, a swamp of corruption  as fetid as those of Latin America. It is better entertainment than Vaudeville. The frantic scramble to rig the primaries, change the rules, and thwart the voters–anything to defend their cozy entanglement of political tapeworms–makes absurd any pretense of democracy."


And if that is not enough for you, try this on for size:


"It’s wonderful. The GOP is looking for someone that Hillary can beat. She would squash Kasich or Cruz like stepping on bugs. Trump might actually win. This the Republicans strive to avoid. What could make more sense?


"But it does make sense. The Republicans try desperately to ditch the only Republican candidate who could win the Presidency because…Hillary is one of them. Because, as every sentient being has by now noticed, the Republicans and Democrats are members of the same corrupt club of blood-sucking parasites, the action arm of the corporations, Wall Street, the Israeli lobby, and those who want the US to control the world at any cost–except, of course, to them. They are panicked at the rise of someone who might put first the interests of America. Better Hillary, a fellow parasite, than Trump, who isn’t."


And this is just Fred getting started.


The "elites" have struggled to understand the Trump phenomenon.  One doesn't have to agree with Fred Reed to sense that there are an awful lot of people who relish the opportunity to poke a finger or two in the collective eyes of the Washington D.C./New York City axis.

Reverence...........................


13.  Nothing is more melancholy that to compass the whole creation, 'probing into the deeps of earth', as the poet says, and peering curiously into the secrets of others' souls, without once understanding that to hold fast to the divine spirit within, and serve it loyally, is all that is needful.  Such service involves keeping it pure from passion, and from aimlessness, and from discontent with the works of gods or men;  for the former of these works deserves our reverence, for their excellence;  the latter our goodwill, for fraternity's sake, and at times perhaps our pity too, because of men's ignorance of good and evil - and infirmity as crippling as the inability to distinguish black from white.

-Marcus Aurelius,   Meditations,  Book Two

Focus..........................


     "The situation in which you find yourself is fraught with difficulty, yes.  It is also piled high with benefits."  Jones paused to ponder a thought, narrowed his eyes, then said, "Here, for you, young man, is a law of the universe - one of many, to be sure, but one that is especially applicable to your life at present.  Remember, whatever you focus upon, increases."

-Andy Andrews,  The Noticer:  Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective

Models..............................


     For four decades, since my time as a graduate student, I have been preoccupied by these kinds of stories about the myriad ways in which people depart from the fictional people that populate economic models.  It has never been my point to say that there is something wrong with people;  we are all just human beings - homo sapiens.  Rather, the problem is with the model being used by economists, a model that replaces homo sapiens with a fictional creature called homo economicus, which I like to call an Econ for short.  Humans do a lot of misbehaving, and that means that economic models make a lot of bad predictions, predictions that can have much more serious consequences than upsetting a group of students.  Virtually no economists saw the financial crisis of 2007-2008 coming, and worse, many thought that both the crash and its aftermath were things that simply could not happen.

-Richard H. Thaler,  Misbehaving:  The Making of Behavioral Economics

The un-dismal science...................


     It is difficult to change people's minds about what they eat for breakfast, let alone problems that they have worked on all their lives.  For years, many economists strongly resisted the call to base their models on more accurate characterizations of human behavior.  But thanks to an influx of creative young economists who have been willing to take some risks and break with the traditional ways of doing economics, the dream of an enriched version of economic theory is being realized.  The field has become known as "behavioral economics."  It is not a different discipline:  it is still economics, but it is economics done with strong injections of good psychology and other social sciences.
      The primary reason for adding Humans to economic theories is to improve the accuracy of the predictions made with those theories.  But there is another benefit that comes with including real people in the mix.  Behavioral economics is more interesting and more fun than regular economics.  It is the un-dismal science.
     ...Not surprisingly, there have been numerous squabbles with traditionalists who defended the usual way of doing economics.  Those squabbles were not always fun at the time, but like a bad travel experience, they make for good stories after the fact, and the necessity of fighting those battles has made the field stronger.

-Richard H. Thaler,  Misbehaving:  The Making of Behavioral Economics

if they could..............................?


     Jones paused a moment to let the truth of my last realization sink in.  Then he offered a plan of action.  "So how does one become a person whom other people want to be around?   Let me make a suggestion.  Ask yourself this question every day:  'What is it about me that other people would change if they could?"'

-Andy Andrews,  The Noticer:  Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective

Three for Thursday

Soul Man........................................

the movie version.....................................



the TV knock-off............................



and the original, Issac Hayes written, tune..............

Let's make a deal....................................



      I got out of high school - notice I don't say "graduated" - on a plea deal.  I had reasonable SATs, and I  went to my principal in the beginning of my senior year and said that I wanted to pass, because it was important to my family that I actually finished high school.  But I wasn't going to come to school any more, because I was sick of that, and I said that if he did not graduate me at the end of my senior year, I would give an impassioned speech to the school board that they were not dealing well with their gifted students.  He said to me, "Are you threatening me?" and I said "Yes."   And we made a deal.


-Penn Jillette, as excerpted from this season's Cato's Letter

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


Blues Magoos..................................................Tobacco Road


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wondering what PETA's position is on this....


Despite what you may have heard, organic foods are not pesticide-free. They just eschew synthetic pesticides for “organic” pesticides, whose ingredients occur naturally. Copper and sulfur, for instance. No matter the ingredients, though, all pesticides are used for the same thing: to commit pesticide. Which is to say, to kill small, hungry animals. Animals like aphids, caterpillars, moths, worms, flies, locusts - even birds, and some mice and rats who’ve escaped pharmaceutical labs. 

As a rule, if you can’t control pests, you can’t produce produce on a profitable scale. So next time you go to buy fruit and vegetables  -  or bread or beer or tofu or sugar - remember that many, many lives were lost bringing them to market.

-As excerpted from this post:  Vegans have no idea how much animal cruelty they’re responsible for.

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


.......................................................Seriously, this has to sting:

"Ted Cruz is Mathematically Eliminated from winning the GOP nomination outright and has fewer wins than Bernie Sanders."

via

Privilege and adventure...........


























      I cannot pretend I am without fear.  But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude.  I have loved and been loved;  I have been given much and I have given something in return;  I have read and traveled and thought and written.  I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers.
      Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.

-Oliver Sacks,  as excerpted from Gratitude

Like this blog.............................?


7.  Are you distracted by outward cares?  Then allow yourself a space of quiet, wherein you can add to your knowledge of the Good and learn to curb your restlessness.  Guard also against another kind of error:  the folly of those who weary their days in much business, but lack any aim on which their whole effort, nay, their whole thought, is focused.

-Marcus Aurelius,  Meditations,  Book Two

Now or never........................


“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.” 

-Henry David Thoreau

via

The kids are going to be just fine...........


...............check out this blog highlighting K-12 art lessons.




Just for today.........................


..........................................................I'm going to pretend that...

Worth remembering....................


“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.”

-Attributed to Harry S. Truman


Why not....................................?


M. C. Hammer..........................................U Can't Touch This



Over 223,349,030 views according to YouTube.  Not bad.

On straightening accounts................


      Over the last few days, I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts.  This does not mean I am finished with life.  On the contrary, I feel intensely alive, and I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight.
      This will involve audacity, clarity, and plain speaking; trying to straighten my accounts with the world.  But there will be time, too, for some fun (and even some silliness, as well).
      I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective.  There is no time for anything inessential.  I must focus on myself, my work, and my friends.  I shall no longer look at NewsHour every night.  I shall no longer pay any attention to politics or arguments about global warming.

-Oliver Sacks,  as excerpted from Gratitude

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


On the television................................................The Rat Patrol

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

It's hard to believe.................


.......but we almost missed celebrating one of our household's high holy days -  today is National Pretzel Day.  May all your pretzels be salty.


to advance your enlightenment.............


4.  Think of your many years of procrastination;  how the gods have repeatedly granted you further periods of grace, of which you have taken no advantage.  It is time now to realize the nature of the universe to which you belong, and of that controlling Power whose offspring you are; and to understand that your time has a limit set to it.  Use it, then, to advance your enlightenment; or it will be gone, and never in your power again.

-Marcus Aurelius,   Meditations, Book Two

One reason why.................


.........................not many people are like Warren Buffett:

In fact, when Warren Buffett was once asked about the key to success,he pointed to a stack of nearby books and said, “Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”

Buffett takes this habit to the extreme — he read between 600 and 1000 pages per day when he was beginning his investing career, and still devotes about 80% of each day to reading.
As excerpted from here (with links to recommended books).

Life Lesson #14........................
















..............................Except when your Sweetie is talking with you.  This learning and growing business is slow going.

quote  via

Oops.........................


...................A cautionary tale for those who believe in "settled science."  Forty years ago, there was a dietary fork in the road:  who would be the villain - sugar or saturated fat.  It is a longish and very interesting tale. It is told here.  The fruit of this bad science is our current obesity epidemic.  And it didn't have to be  this way.  An excerpt to set the stage:

In 1980, after long consultation with some of America’s most senior nutrition scientists, the US government issued its first Dietary Guidelines. The guidelines shaped the diets of hundreds of millions of people. Doctors base their advice on them, food companies develop products to comply with them. Their influence extends beyond the US. In 1983, the UK government issued advice that closely followed the American example.
The most prominent recommendation of both governments was to cut back on saturated fats and cholesterol (this was the first time that the public had been advised to eat less of something, rather than enough of everything). Consumers dutifully obeyed. We replaced steak and sausages with pasta and rice, butter with margarine and vegetable oils, eggs with muesli, and milk with low-fat milk or orange juice. But instead of becoming healthier, we grew fatter and sicker.

Trump's appeal.................................................?















“Incestuous, homogeneous fiefdoms of self-proclaimed expertise are always rank-closing and mutually self-defending, above all else.”   


-Glenn Greenwald


cartoon via

Intent.............................................





“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.”  
-Lao Tzu


End of an era........................?


A one-way trip to Mars?   Say it ain't so............................



Read more about the Most Interesting Man in the World in this Rolling Stone "final interview".  A wee excerpt:

What's the most important piece of advice you've ever received?

Someone once told me this sage piece of wisdom: the "sudden death" round in High Andean Competitive Tobogganing has a decidedly different meaning than sudden death in, let's say, hockey. I was informed of this fact in the nick of time.

thank Rob

how slowly we evolve..................


      I have to believe that a real higher power is struggling in this as much as we are.  But horribly, if healing and care are going to get done, it will be love working through us.  Us!  In our current condition, not down the road, when we are in the fullness of our restoration, in wholeness, compassionate detachment, patient amusement.  Us, now.  It has taken years for me to get this well, which is to say, half as reactive and a third less obsessed with my own neurotic disappointing self.  I don't agree with the pace of how slowly we evolve toward patience, wisdom, forgiveness.  Anyone would understand if we gave up and settled, the way people settle into terrible marriages.  But these are our lives.  Se we try, we do the work of becoming saner and more authentic, which is hard enough without truly monstrous people crashing our lives, often - not always - through marriage, although I am not going to name names.  Well, maybe just one...

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

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


Taxing non-profits......................?


Connecticut, in a pinch these days for cash, is considering ways to tax Yale's ginormous endowment.  Is that, should that be, fair game?  Not sure how you feel about that?  How about taxing family foundations wherein comfortable stipends are paid to family members?  Hmmm.  the Anonymous Banker gives the issue some thought - here.   A few wee excerpts (and one great line);

"Here’s where reasonable people can have different instinctual reactions. It seems to me personally that creating a tax-shelter that simultaneously employs your children and allows them to reap private social status in perpetuity could have some societal downsides. Or at least rubs up against my admittedly naïve notions of what aristocracy and democracy look like. Maybe that’s just my own aesthetic preferences for a “social good.”
"But even if you don’t share my suspicion of aristocracy, at some point these little family charitable foundations might even start to violate Warren Buffett’s maxim that 'One should leave enough money to your kids so they can do anything, but not enough so they can do nothing.'"
And  my favorite line:
" I feel a natural protectiveness toward educational institutions and their endowments. “You can’t touch this,” as the renowned African-American poet Stanley Kirk Burrell (aka MC Hammer) once said, in an entirely different context."

So easy to begin..............................


Uriah Heep........................................................Lady In Black



She came to me one morning
One lonely Sunday morning
H
er long hair flowing in the midwinter wind
I know not how she found me
For in darkness I was walking
And destruction lay around me
From a fight I could not win

Ahh Ahh Ahh, Ahh Ahh Ahh Ahh

She asked me name my foe then
I said the need within some men
To fight and kill their brothers
Without thought of love or God
And I begged her give me horses
To trample down my enemies
So eager was my passion
To devour this waste of life

Ahh Ahh Ahh, Ahh Ahh Ahh Ahh

But she wouldn't think of battle that
Reduces men to animals
So easy to begin
And yet impossible to end
For she's the mother of all men
Who counselled me so wisely then
I feared to walk alone again
And asked if she would stay

Oh lady lend your hand outright
And let me rest here at your side
Have faith and trust in peace she said
And filled my heart with life

There's no strength in numbers
Have no such misconception
But when you need me
Be assured I won't be far away

Ahh Ahh Ahh, Ahh Ahh Ahh Ahh

Thus having spoke she turned away
And though I found no words to say
I stood and watched until I saw
Her black cloak disappear
My labour is no easier
But now I know I'm not alone
I'll find new heart
Each time I think upon that windy day

And if one day she comes to you
Drink deeply from her words so wise
Take courage from her as your prize
And say hello from me

Fun with conspiracies...............


























"History is much more the product of chaos than of conspiracy”
-Zbigniew Brzeziński


“In a world of full of manipulation, half-truths and lies, the conspiracy theory is often a safer bet than the official story.” 
-Gary Hopkins


"The main thing that I learned about conspiracy theory, is that conspiracy theorists believe in a conspiracy because that is more comforting. The truth of the world is that it is actually chaotic. The truth is that it is not The Iluminati, or The Jewish Banking Conspiracy, or the Gray Alien Theory. The truth is far more frightening.   Nobody is in control.   The world is rudderless...” 
-Alan Moore


“Conspiracy theory is the ultimate refuge of the powerless. If you cannot change your own life, it must be that some greater force controls the world.” 
-Roger Cohen


“Culture, religion, and education, are conspiracies to standardize worldviews.” 
-Mokokoma Mokhonoana


“Why do we love the idea that people might be secretly working together to control and organise the world? Because we don't like to face the fact that our world runs on a combination of chaos, incompetence and confusion.” 
-Jonathan Cainer


“The world is big conspiracy to make you happy.” 
-Santosh Kalwar


“Sometimes you just gotta wear the tinfoil hat.” 
-Gary Hopkins


cartoon via

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





















The Royal Guardsmen......................Snoopy vs. The Red Baron

Monday, April 25, 2016

Abstract...............................

Have you ever glanced skeptically at abstract art and thought:
“Are you serious? My kid could have done that!”
Say, like a drip painting by Jackson Pollock?
If you have… you were wrong.
Here’s why.
In the study children were presented with unlabelled abstract art, like Pollock’s.
Paired with similar artwork by children (and monkeys and elephants).
It turns out that “even 4-7-year-olds can distinguish works by artists.”
Now here’s the funny, and interesting part.
The children preferred the children’s artwork.
Their aesthetic preferences, their feelings, seem to be self-reflective.
Even though their qualitative assessment, their thinking, leaned towards the artists.
In an August 1949 article, LIFE magazine asked readers about Jackson Pollock:
“Is he the greatest living painter in the United States?”
Over 500 letters to the editor passionately concurred.
“No… he is not!”
But the few who did like his paintings were crazy about them.
They felt his mad genius.
And today a painting from Pollock’s drip period can fetch north of $100 million.

-Tom Asacker, as excerpted from here

















Above is Pollock's 1948 oil painting, 17a, which recently sold for $200,000,000.  

Below is Pollock's 1948 (it was a very good year) oil painting, No. 5 1948, which sold for $140,000,000.





































Of course faithful readers will know that my favorite "Pollock", The Connoisseur, was actually painted by Norman Rockwell.


For all of the ills......................


..............attributed to the free market (as opposed to the cronyistic) capitalistic system, it works a whole lot better than any other system designed by man.  We should be taking better care of the goose that lays the golden eggs.  Just saying.

















via

Is this a great country, or what................?


We do value our authenticity:


























via

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


Our involvement in South Vietnam was heating up.   Life Magazine actually focused quite a bit on the Vietnam war.  It would be worth your while (for a small amount of time) to scroll through some of their back issues - here.  Sort of a pictorial reveiw.


When you think about it...................


..........from a certain point of view, this is a real accomplishment:

circa 2008

circa  2015






























If you really want to make your mind reel, go here.


Fun with science......................


.......................from the NeuroLogica Blog comes this:

"Second, there are few clean answers in science. Some things, obviously, are well established to the point that we can treat them as facts, but many more things than we might naively suppose are controversial on some level. The evidence is mixed, imperfect, and incomplete and there remain various opinions about how to interpret the data."

Sounds a lot like the study of history.  Actually, it sounds a lot like life its ownself.  Perhaps Rilke knew best when he suggested living the questions rather than seeking the answers.

When you write stuff like this...........


....................no one complains that you've named your blog, A Wealth of Common Sense:

Over the last 90 years or so the market have been in a bear market almost one-quarter of the time. Half the time you’re down 5% or worse. It’s difficult to appreciate this fact when looking at a long-term log scale stock chart that seems to only go up and to the right.
This is why stocks are constantly playing mind games with us. They generally go up but not every day, week, month or year.
No one can predict what the future returns will be in the market. No one knows what the future holds for economic growth. And we certainly can’t predict how investors will decide to price corporate cash flows at any given point in time out into the future.
But predicting future risk is fairly easy — markets will continue to fluctuate and experience losses on a regular basis. As an investor in stocks you will spend a lot of time second-guessing yourself because your portfolio has fallen in value from a previously seen higher level.
In a sense risk is easier to predict than returns.
Market losses are the one constant that don’t change over time — get used to it.

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



equal to what would be required.........


      Though tractors draw them now, not horses and mules, there is something to the sound of the wagons going out that is the same as always.  Now there is the alien commotion of iron and fire, but within it or under it there is the old rattling and pounding of the empty wagon beds against the bolsters, hurrying out over the rough farm roads in the cool of the morning.  As he listened there passed and passed again across the gaze of his memory a team of good mare mules that he bought as three-year-olds from Graham Foresee in the September of 1888.
      They were a team of black, mealy-nosed mare mules with plenty of size and depth of body, with a lot of lift in their motion, matched well in every way.  Beck and Kate.  As though  the reins are still in his hands, and he stands again on the rattling wagon, they are carrying him to the field.  The sun is just coming up.  It is the fall of the year.  The mules are in good flesh, the hair glossy on them, and they are fresh from the night.  They step together in the harness with an eager lightness that for a moment shortens his breath.
      They were the first team of their quality that he ever owned.  They were, maybe, an extravagance.  He bought them because he needed a team, no question about that.  But he bought as carefully as he did, and paid the price he paid, in a kind of celebration of himself.  He had owned his place then - or owned the debt his father had left on it - for three years.  And thought he had not yet cleared the farm of debt, he was clearing it.  There was no longer any doubt in him about his ability to do that.  It had become plain to him that he was equal to what would be required of him, and to what he would require of himself.
      And so he bought the mules.  He hunted until he found a pair that he could look at and use with the satisfaction of a fulfilled judgment, and he paid what was necessary.   He went on horseback to get them one Saturday evening after work, and led them home in the dark of the night.  He missed a dance to go get them, and when something reminded him of it two or three days later, he added that to the price.

-Wendell Berry,   The Memory of Old Jack

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


    Since before sunup Old Jack had been standing at the edge of the hotel porch, gazing out into the empty street of the town of Port Williams, and now the sun has risen and covered him  from head to foot with light.  But not yet with warmth, and in spite of his heavy sheepskin coat he has grown cold.  He pays that no mind.  When he came out and stopped there at the top of the steps, mindful of the way the weight of his body is taking him, he propped it carefully with his cane and, in the way that has lately grown upon him, left it.
      From the barn whose vaned cupola was visible over the house roof against the pale sky, Mat Feltner was calling his cows.  Old Jack listened with and eagerness that carried him away from himself;  for all his consciousness of where he was, he might have been asleep and dreaming.  Mat waited and called again.  And then from the quietening of Mat's voice, Old Jack knew that the cows had come near and that Mat could see them moving up deliberative and shadowy out of the mists and thinning darkness.  And then he heard the barn doors slide open.
      Except for the crowing now and then of roosters, the town and its outskirts were quiet.  Old Jack's mind was with Mat there in the barn, stirring about the lives of animals.  He knew the solitude that Mat had entered at the beginning of every workday since his son was killed in the war.  He knew the stiffness and pain that the tobacco cutting had placed in Mat's back and shoulders and hands.  He was aware of the deep somnolence of the hayricks in the loft of the barn.
     Alert, absent in what he knew, the old man stood on the porch in the chill whitening of the dawn, empty of himself as a public statue, while all in him that had kept most alive lived there in the waking barn with Mat.

-Wendell Berry,  The Memory of Old Jack

There's more to the picture.................


Neil Young...............................Hey, Hey, My, My, Into the Black

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


Beach Boys.....................................Let's Go Away For A While

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Purpose..........................


The Bubble Nebula  via APOD





















“In the beginning, God created the earth, and he looked upon it in His cosmic loneliness.

And God said, "Let Us make living creatures out of mud, so the mud can see what We have done." And God created every living creature that now moveth, and one was man. Mud as man alone could speak. God leaned close to mud as man sat up, looked around, and spoke. Man blinked. "What is the purpose of all this?" he asked politely.

"Everything must have a purpose?" asked God.

"Certainly," said man.

"Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this," said God.

And He went away.” 


-Kurt Vonnegut, as extracted from Cat's Cradle