Saturday, December 24, 2016

Beauty everywhere..........................


David Benoit/Michael Franks..................Christmas Time Is Here

The complexity of life its ownself......


After several star footballers opted not to participate in their team's bowl games, the talking heads erupted. How dare they?   Here is one pundit's letter of support for their decision.

"Folks with interests based solely on principal (financial gain), want players to base actions solely on principle (fundamental values)."

Street corner conservatism....................


Who knew there were so many types of conservatism?

...the idea of Trump as a conservative is not oxymoronic. Trump is a conservative—of a particular type that is rare in intellectual circles. His conservatism is ignored or dismissed or opposed because, while it often reaches the same conclusions as more prevalent versions of conservatism, its impulses, emphases, and forms are different from those of traditionalism, anti-Communism, classical liberalism, Leo Strauss conservatism in its East and West Coast varieties, the neoconservatism of Irving Kristol as well as the neoconservatism of William Kristol, religious conservatism, paleo-conservatism, compassionate conservatism, constitutional conservatism, and all the other shaggy inhabitants of the conservative zoo.

Matthew Continetti offers one man's guess at the president-elect's underlying political philosophy.  An interesting read for a quiet Christmas eve day.  Here is a second wee excerpt:

Trump’s politics are grounded not in metaphysics but in what he understands to be the linguistic root of the term conservative. “I view the word conservative as a derivative of the word conserve,” he has said. “We want to conserve our money. We want to conserve our wealth. We want to conserve. We want to be smart. We want to be smart where we go, where we spend, how we spend. We want to conserve our country. We want to save our country.”
The conservatism of Donald Trump is not the conservatism of ideas but of things. His politics do not derive from the works of Burke or Disraeli or Newman, nor is he a follower of Mill or Berlin or Moynihan. There is no theory of natural rights or small government or international relations that claims his loyalty. When he says he wants to “conserve our country,” he does not mean conserve the idea of countries, or a league of countries, or the slogans of democracy or equality or freedom, but this country, right now, as it exists in the real world of space and time

via

Be of good cheer..................



Only one shopping day till Christmas.......




Kurt.........................


...........this may require another trip to the liquor store.  Good luck.

Time will tell.........................


A sense of perspective from Jonathan Clements:

5.  Our life may be important to us and to those around us. But let’s keep things in perspective: There are seven billion of us, so any sense of self-importance is a tad ridiculous. We should strive to squelch our inner self-absorbed teenager sooner rather than later—and approach the world with a shrunken sense of entitlement and a greater appreciation of others.

Friday, December 23, 2016

hear the angel voices...................


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

“We live in this complex world of gray areas. Life is so much easier if it could be black and white, good and evil.”


“The truly civilized man is marked by empathy,” Malcolm Kerr wrote in a foreword to a collection of essays called “The Arab-Israeli Confrontation of June 1967: An Arab Perspective.” “By his recognition that the thought and understanding of men of other cultures may differ sharply from his own, that what seems natural to him may appear grotesque to others.”

-John Branch, extracted from this essay, Tragedy Made Steve Kerr See The World Beyond The Court

Bourbon, Scotch, and Beer......


George Thorogood....................................Merry Christmas Baby

Please...........................



Pretty lights on the tree..............


R.E.M....................................Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

Cosmology...........................




I never put any stock in that image of the earth
resting on the backs of four elephants
who are standing on a giant sea turtle,
who is in turn supported by an infinite regression
of turtles disappearing into a bottomless forever.
I mean who in their right mind would?

But now that we are on the subject,
my substitute picture would have the earth
with its entire population of people and things
resting on the head of Keith Richards,
who is holding a Marlboro in one hand
and a bottle of Jack Daniel's in the other.

As long as Keith keeps talking about
the influence of the blues on the Rolling Stones,
the earth will continue to spin merrily
and revolve in a timely manner around the sun.
But if he changes the subject  or even pauses
too long, its pretty much curtains for us all.

Unless, of course, one person somehow survives
being hurled into the frigidity of outer space,
then we would have a movie on our hands -
but wait, there wouldn't be any hands
to write the script or make the movie.
and no theatres either, no buttered popcorn, no giant Pepsi.

So we may as well see Keith standing
on the shoulders of the other Rolling Stones,
who are in turn standing on the shoulders of Muddy Waters.
who, were it not for that endless stack of turtles,
one on top of the other all the way down,
would find himself standing on nothing at all.

-Billy Collins, Cosmology, as published in The Rain In Portugal

image via

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


...............................of the economic and technological variety:

Measured in terms of the “time cost” of purchasing household and electronic items working at the average wage, there’s a huge difference between 1964 and today. To purchase the $750 Sears TV in 1964 would have required 293 hours of work for the average American at the average hourly wage of $2.56 in November 1964 — that’s 7.33 weeks, or almost two full months of work to earn the income required to purchase the TV. Today, the average American need only work about 23 hours at the average wage of $21.73 to earn enough to purchase a $500 Samsung Smart HDTV. A $400 laptop would have a “time cost” of only about 18 hours of work today (2.25 days), and a iPod touch would require only 13 hours of work (1.63 days). And isn’t it an amazing sign of the economic progress achieved over the last half century that even a billionaire in 1964 wouldn’t have been able to purchase most of the items above that even a teenager working at the minimum wage can afford today like a laptop computer, iPhone, iPod and Smart TV.

-Mark J. Perry

Even without coconut juice............


...............................................Nicholas Bate is a treasure:

4.  Every single problem commentators list for 2017 from Brexit to Trump to Asteroid Collision, you will ask: Can I fix this? If yes, do so. If no, execute your plan B. But stay resourceful, walk tall and love planet Earth: consistently voted the greatest planet in the known universe with great coffee, awesome rock 'n roll and mountains, beaches and deserts to make you want to settle here. And books. Oh, man the books.....Oh and fresh coconut juice...

-as extracted from his growing list of  22 Reasons Your 2017 Is Going To Be Awesome

The beauty of the system.............


..........................................where nobody REALLY knows:

"Since no one is sure, since no one can guarantee that it's going to work (or not), all we can do is our best work. All we can do is share our ideas with generosity, speak up and shine a light."

-Seth Godin, as culled from here

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Traverse afar..........................


The Piano Guys.................................................We Three Kings

The rise and fall.............................


..............................of Harvey's Bristol Cream.  An interesting tale.  My parents had a dusty bottle of the stuff in their liquor cabinet.  I never remember them actually drinking any of it.

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


On winter days when she was a child, Jane's grandmother told her, they'd skate on the canal, along twenty miles of it frozen solid near their house.  Back in the 1850s, before the railroad finally won out against it, the canal was how you got clean-burning anthracite coal from the mines of central Pennsylvania to big-city markets.  It would be loaded on shallow draft boats, maybe fifteen tons at a time, then towed down the canal that ran alongside the North Branch of the Susquehanna River, by mules on an adjacent tow path.  A dollar a ton, you could figure, from Wilkes-Barre, in the heart of anthracite country, to Philadelphia.  Making the boats, and repairing them, was its own little industry.  And since the 1830s a key center of it was Espy, a town of a few hundred drawn out along the north bank of the canal, home to lock tenders and canal maintenance workers, as well as a tannery, pottery, and a brickyard.  From early spring, when the ice melted, until late fall, according to a 1936 memoir, the locals "set the tempo of their lives to the tireless plodding hoof beats of the mules."  Boys in town looked with envy at those their own age driving the mules or else lolling on the decks of the passing boats.

-Robert Kanigel,  Eyes On The Street:  The Life of Jane Jacobs

One of these days I'm going to finish reading The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York.  Kanigels's book will have to wait its turn to be next in the queue.  Jacobs's claim to fame as a community organizer came in the mid-1950s when she was able to thwart Moses's plan to run a highway through Greenwich Village.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Anthems sweet.........................


Lindsay Sterling................................................What Child Is This?

Observations from the cheap seats.....


... but I still love to watch the financial markets. They’re great theater—and, if you can resist the urge to trade, free entertainment. Here are five random observations from the cheap seats:

-from this Jonathan Clements post

Floormats not included............?




via

The history of the Universe............


......................in 200 words or less.   Original here.  Easier to read posting here.  A daunting task.  Hard to find fault with his list.  Perhaps he left out the Deity and Life Its Ownself, but maybe they are hidden within the other words.

This blogger has been.....................


..............a big fan of Ray Dalio ever since stumbling across his Principles.   He recently published a LinkedIn essay, Reflections on the Trump Presidency, One Month after the Election.  It is not the typical essay on Trump, and you will likely find it well worth the reading.

Victor Davis Hanson..................


..............................sure can string words together:

Trump instinctively saw a different demographic. And even among minority groups, he detected a rising distaste for being patronized, especially by white, nasal-droning, elite pajama-boy nerds whose loud progressivism did not disguise their grating condescension.

-full essay is here

One more bit from.....................


................................................Hanson about Trump:

Key is his emperor-has-no-clothes instinct that what is normal and customary in Washington was long ago neither sane nor necessary. And so far, his candidacy has not only redefined American politics but also recalibrated the nature of insight itself — leaving the wise to privately wonder whether they were ever all that wise after all.

Might as well......................


...............................................it's here anyway.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Volume up, please.................


Trans-Siberian Orchestra...........................A Mad Russian's Christmas

 

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


For the better part of seven centuries, to be Irish in Ireland was to live in a land not your own.  You called a lake next to your family home by one name, and the occupiers gave it another.  You knew a town had been built by the hands of your ancestors, the quarry of origin for the stones pressed into those streets, and you were forbidden from inhabiting it.  You could not enter a court of law as anything but a criminal or a snitch.  You could not worship your God, in a church open to the public, without risking prison or public flogging.  You could not attend school, at any level, even at home.  And if your parents sent you out of the country to be educated, you could not return.  You could not marry, conduct trade or go into business with a Christian Protestant.  You could not have a foster child.  If orphaned, you were forced into a home full of people who rejected your faith.  You could not play your favorite sports - hurling was specifically prohibited.  You could not own land in more than 80 percent of your country, the bogs, barrens and highlands were your haunts.  You could not own a horse worth more than £5 sterling.  If you married and Englishman, you would lose everything upon his death.  You could not speak your language outside your home.  You would not think in Irish, so the logic went, if you were not allowed to speak in Irish.

-Timothy Egan,  Immortal Irishman:  The Irish Revolutionary Who Became An American Hero

Traffic..................


A child on a silver bicycle,
a young mother pushing a stroller,
and a runner who looked like he was running to Patagonia

have all passed my car, jammed
into a traffic jam on a summer weekend.
And now an elderly couple gradually

overtakes me as does a family of snails -
me stalled as if in a pit of tar
far from any beach and its salty air.

Why even Buddha has risen
from his habitual sitting
and is now walking serenely past my car,

holding his robes to his chest with one hand.
I watch him from the patch of shade
I have inched into as he begins to grow smaller

over my steering wheel then sits down again
up ahead, unfurling his palms
as if he were only a tiny figurine affixed to the dash.

-Billy Collins, as published in The Rain In Portugal

As role models go...................


When Arnold Schwarzenegger was asked "who do you think of when you hear the word successful?", he gave a non-traditional answer:

     "Cincinnatus.  He was an emperor in the Roman Empire.  Cincinnati, the city, by the way, is named after him because he was a big idol of George Washington's.  He is a great example of success because he was asked to reluctantly step into power and become the emperor and to help, because Rome was about to get annihilated by all the wars and battles.  He was a farmer.  Powerful guy.  He went and took on the challenge, took over Rome, took over the army, and won the war.  After they won the war, he felt he'd done his mission and was asked to go and be the emperor, and he gave the ring back and went back to farming.  He didn't only do this once.  He did it twice.  When they tried to overthrow the empire from within, they asked him back and he came back.  He cleaned up the mess through great, great leadership.  He had tremendous leadership quality in bringing people together.  And again, he gave the ring back and went back farming."

-as copied from here

Wiki on Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus (519-430 BC) may be found here

Monday, December 19, 2016

Delicious and welcome................


Love, may God honor you, is a serious illness, one
whose treatment must be in proportion to the
affliction.  It's a delicious disease, a welcome malady.
Those who are free of it want not to be immune, and
those who are stricken want not to be cured.

-Ibn Hazm, excerpted from The Ring of the Dove, as offered via

Children listen...............................


Frank Sinatra......................................................White Christmas

Maybe a "relative lack..............


..........of experience in traditional politics" is whole point:

The most striking feature of many of the selections is their relative lack of experience in traditional politics.

Tyler Cowen opines on the President-Elect's first round of cabinet picks.  Cowen concludes:

I’m not suggesting you should agree with the Trump agenda (whatever that might turn out to be), and I am especially worried about his selection of Michael Flynn as national security adviser. But I interpret Trump’s nominations as a sign of an intelligent and strategic process, and his choices may prove surprisingly effective in getting things done. Whether you like it or not.

It has been one of those......................




via

Color me skeptical.......................


Because I am an activist skeptic I am often asked specific questions about how to be a better skeptic. This is obviously a complex question, and I view skepticism (like all knowledge) as a journey not a destination. I am still trying to work out how to be a better skeptic.

-Steven Novella, as extracted from this post from the always interesting NeuroLogica blog

On theories....................................



"In theory, there is no difference between practice and theory. In practice, there is."


-Yogi Berra


Back story on the quote is here.


via

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Goodness and light.............................


Carrie Underwood..........................Do You Hear What I Hear?

Sustained..........................


There’s some satisfaction to be found in the adulation of others. But it’s fleeting at best. Instead, sustained happiness lies in doing meaningful work day after day, week after week, no matter how loud the applause is.

-Jonathan Clements, as he concludes this post

Self.................................



































via

Who Am I ?......................


My head knocks against the stars. 
My feet are on the hilltops. 
My finger-tips are in the valleys and shores of universal life. 
Down in the sounding foam of primal things I reach my hands 
     and play with pebbles of destiny. 
I have been to hell and back many times. 
I know all about heaven, for I have talked with God. 
I dabble in the blood and guts of the terrible. 
I know the passionate seizure of beauty 
And the marvelous rebellion of man at all signs reading "Keep Off." 

My name is Truth and I am the most elusive captive in the universe. 

Say it's not so..............................


..............If you are a fan of Napoleon Hill, author of the classic Think And Grow Rich, you may not want to read this essay on the "Untold Story."  Paints a fairly sorry picture of Hill's life.  Us humans can be quite complicated creatures.

via

As we pack up 2016................


....................................................this list sets the tone for 2017.

After a brief hiatus.........................


.................Scott returns in a big way with a bucket full of music, most of which is new to me (but then  I don't get out much).  Got some exploring to do.  Check it out for your ownself.  He did throw a bone to us old guys with this 1968 classic:

Decisions............................