Saturday, February 18, 2017

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


Oscar Peterson..............................................................C Jam Blues

The most important thing.............



...........................................................................is to pass it on.





thanks greg

Fun with pie charts....................


You may have seen the chart below floating around the Intertunnel.  I suspect the floaters are trying to make a point about military spending.  As they should.  For that amount of money (and as near as I can tell, the chart reflects spending in 2015 - well before you know who became president), this quote will hopefully be true: “We’re going to make our military so big, so strong and so great, so powerful that we’re never going to have to use it."






















Before we get all exercised, though, perhaps we should look at a chart showing ALL federal government spending:














So, while Military spending accounts for 54% of "discretionary" federal spending, Defense/Homeland accounts for 16.2% of all federal spending (still a really big percentage).

A stray thought:  Wouldn't it be more honest to include "Veterans" spending with the Military or Defense?  Strikes me that it is the use of the military that creates most of the veteran expense.  


charts (easier to read) from here and here

The Way......................................


“I am more and more convinced that our happiness or unhappiness depends more on the way we meet the events of life than on the nature of those events themselves.
 
-Alexander von Humboldt


Not sure if.....................................


..................................................this is good news or bad news:

In this as in other things, only a reality-based community can reform America. 

-source of quote, with a whole bunch of context, is here

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


The Young Rascals........................................................Groovin'

Friday, February 17, 2017

Gone...............................


............................................................................but not forgotten:

“During the next hundred years, the question for those who love liberty is whether we can survive the most insidious and duplicitous attacks from within, from those who undermine the virtues of our people, doing in advance the work of the Father of Lies. “There is no such thing as truth,” they teach even the little ones. “Truth is bondage. Believe what seems right to you. There are as many truths as there are individuals. Follow your feelings. Do as you please. Get in touch with your self. Do what feels comfortable.” Those who speak in this way prepare the jails of the twenty-first century. They do the work of tyrants.” 

-Michael Novak

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


Hughie Thomasson...............................................Once An Outlaw

There is an ancient......................


..............Chinese curse that goes something like:  "May you live in interesting times."  I'm thinking we should update it to:  "May you live when Scott Adams is the smartest guy in the room."

The Rules............................


Rule 2:    You need to be before you can do before you have

The seven rules of life, from Nicholas Bate, are here.

A peaceful easy feelin'................


Winslow Homer      Sailing By Moonlight        c. 1880

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


The Easybeats.....................................................Friday On My Mind

Thursday, February 16, 2017

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


Gene Pitney.................................................24 Hours From Tulsa

Tryin'.......................................





























via

On graciousness.........................


     The key to painless growth is humility, which amounts to merely dropping pridefulness and pretense and accepting fallibility as a normal human characteristic of self and others.  Lower mind sees relationships as competitive; higher mind sees them as cooperative.  Lower mind gets involved with others; higher mind becomes aligned with others.  The simple words "I'm sorry" put out most fires painlessly.  To win in life means to give up the obsession of "who's at fault."  Graciousness is far more powerful than belligerence.

-David Hawkins

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


Herman's Hermits.......................................There's A Kind Of Hush

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Interesting.............................

























Mencken, one of the most prolific of all American writers, may be an acquired taste.  My first exposure to him came from reading Inherit the Wind in high school, a time when one can have a rebellious frame of mind without having to really be a rebel.  Until the invention of the Intertunnel, most of my experience with him was second hand.  Most of his wordsmithing was for the benefit of newspapers as first a reporter, then a columnist/pundit, and so not readily available.  The onset of The Oracle Google has made his writing accessible. Mencken's words appear in more than thirty entries on this blog.

As the sub-title to the book implies, the author comes at Mencken from a different angle.  While not thoroughly grounded in all things Mencken, I think the approach works.  The man's humanity is on display.  Not sure what more a subject could want from a biographer.

If you are interested in Mencken, or America in the early parts of the 20th century, I recommend this book.

Acceptance...........................


     Not to turn Mencken into a sage, which is the wrong way to read him, but contemporary readers, especially the combatants on both sides of the culture wars, could well learn from the Aristotle of Baltimore the virtue of not taking themselves too seriously. ... Like Solomon, Mencken recognized the follies and pleasures of life.  He understood the appeal of religion as one of "man's bold efforts ... to penetrate the unknowable, to put down the intolerable, to refashion the universe nearer to his heart's desire."  But in the end, religion was as much a testament to human "imbecility" as it was to man's "high striving."  That left Mencken, like Solomon, with the consolation of work, food and drink, and friends.  He did not try to inflate his own capacity to "put down the intolerable," his ability to go on with life in the face of its meaninglessness, into a program for psychological well-being, let alone a movement.

-D. G. Hart,  Damning Words: the life and religious times of H. L. Mencken

Checking in with Mencken..............


He explained that he lived in America for the same reason that people went to zoos.

     Here the general average of intelligence, of knowledge, of 
     competence, of integrity, of self-respect, of honor is so low that
     any man who knows his trade, does not fear ghosts, has read 
     fifty good books, and practices the common decencies stands 
     out as brilliantly as a wart on a bald head, and is thrown willy- 
     nilly into a meager and exclusive aristocracy.  And here, more
     than anywhere else that I know of have heard of , the daily
     panorama of human existence, of private and communal folly -
     the unending procession of governmental extortions and
     chicaneries, of commercial brigandages and throat-slittings,
     of theological buffooneries, of aesthetic ribaldries, of legal
     swindles and harlotries, of miscellaneous rogueries, villainies,
     imbecilities, grotesqueries, and extravagances - is so
     inordinately gross and preposterous, so perfectly brought up
     to the highest conceivable amperage, so steadily enriched
     with an almost fabulous daring and originality, that only the
     man who was born with a petrified diaphragm can fail to 
     laugh himself to sleep every night, and to wake every morning
     with the eager, unflagging expectation of a Sunday-school
     superintendent touring the Paris peep-shows.

-H. L. Mencken, as quoted in D. G. Hart's Damning Words:  the life and religious times of H. L. Mencken

Checking in with Mencken, again.......


     That sort of candor was also evident in Mencken's assessment of George Washington, another American statesman that Christians in the United States have turned into a model of sanctity:

     If George Washington were alive today, what a shining mark he
     would be for the whole camorrra of uplifters, forward-lookers
     and professional patriots!  He was the Rockefeller of his time,
     the richest man in the United States, a promoter of stock
     companies, a land-grabber, an exploiter of mines and timber.
     He was a bitter opponent of foreign entanglements, and 
     denounced their evils in harsh, specific terms.  He had a liking
     for all forthright and pugnacious men, and a contempt for
     lawyers, schoolmasters and all other such obscurantists.
     He was not pious.  He drank whiskey whenever he felt chilly,
     and kept a jug of it handy.  He knew far more profanity than
     scripture, and used and enjoyed it more.  He had no belief in
     the infallible wisdom of the common people, but regarded them
     as inflammatory dolts, and tried to save the Republic from them.
     He advocated no sure cure for all the sorrows of the world, and
     doubted that such a panacea existed.  He took no interest in the
     private morals of his neighbors.

-H. L. Mencken, as quoted in D. G. Hart's Damning Words:  the life and religious times of H. L. Mencken

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


Lou Rawls..................You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine

On languaging.......................


.........................................................and other "human constructs."

-an interesting post from the always interesting David Warren.

Faults, I have a few.....................


“If anyone tells you that a certain person speaks ill of you, do not make excuses about what is said of you but answer, "He was ignorant of my other faults, else he would not have mentioned these alone.” 

-Epictetus

Kaleidoscope glasses......................?


................at only $35, I'm sure these will be a big hit.























"The glass crystals in this classic black frame utilize Rainbow Spectrum Technology (RST) to create a different array of colors at every angle. The Edge Cut crystal allows for more clarity while maintaining an intense kaleidoscopic effect and deep pallet of colors. You'll be in an alternate dimension as soon as you put them on! Made in the USA."

via

Understanding.........................




“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

-George Orwell 

cartoon via

Lessons....................................


“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.” 

-Aldous Huxley

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


Aretha Franklin..........................................................Baby I Love You

Monday, February 13, 2017

Can we agree that this is true.....?


“If I do not believe as you believe, it proves that you do not believe as I believe, and that is all that it proves.”

-Thomas Paine

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


Barry White..............You Are My First, My Last, My Everything

Knowing..............................


"Knowing stuff others don't know is most effective when others don't know you know stuff they don't know."

-Nassim Nicholas Taleb

A few suggestions..........................




Ripples.................................



     Freedom is an independent inner state, whereas liberty is a consequence of collective social judgments and subject to restriction in order to serve the common good.  It is a serious error to confuse the two as all actions and choices have consequences.
     We eventually have to accept responsibility for our choices, decisions, and their consequences.  Every act, though, and choice adds to a permanent mosaic;  our decisions ripple through the universe of consciousness to affect the lives of all.  Every act or decision made that supports life supports all life, including one's own.  The ripples we create return to us.


-David Hawkins

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


Blues Magoos........................................We Ain't Got Nothin' Yet




Sunday, February 12, 2017

When developments turn..............

..........................revolting, the only sensible thing to do is to look to P. J. O'Rourke for the explanation.  Full essay here.  A wee excerpt here:
The elites fail and don't suffer any consequences from their failures. As it is with elite carelessness about refugees, so it is with elite carelessness about immigration. To elites immigration means nannies, household staff, and fun new ethnic restaurants. Elites don't see any similarity between Trump's border wall and the gated communities where they live.
To be fair to elites, quick changes in social mores, economic norms, and political givens confuse everyone, especially those who thought they were leading the Mores, Norms, and Givens Parade.

We don't have to march in lockstep anymore. People are becoming persons, not masses. This is progress. But difficulties arise after the stride is broken. When the band breaks up, it can leave the tubas to be turned into beer bongs; the fellow with the bass drum sitting on the curb playing the solo from "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"; the trombonist using his slide to goose the cornet player; and nobody left who can spell "glockenspiel." Meanwhile, the elite drum major is just some dork standing in the middle of the street wearing a goofy hat and waving a stick.

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


Edwin Starr...........................................................................War

On pursuing horrendous monsters, most of them imaginary............


     Aside from noting the formal similarities between Christianity and democracy, Mencken also used Christianity to explain the appeal of popular sovereignty.  Democracy relied upon the premise that human beings were created in the image of God.  This contention placed democracy on the same footing as the Genesis accounts of human origins and with the same leverage that the "sacred faculty" used to argue that without a divine aspect to human nature men and women would be no better than brutes.  Democracy, then, was a form of theology, and the antidemocratic was 'not merely mistaken; he [was] also wicked."  Modern defenders of democracy were "full of Christian juices," fundamentalists "by instinct."  The specific human instincts that fueled democracy were fear and envy.  Human beings entered life with a collective sense of fear - "Make a loud noise behind an infant just born, and it will shake like a Sunday-school superintendent taken in adultery."  Properly executed, an education would rid many humans of such native or "phylogenic" fears.  The trouble was that all men were not equal.  Intelligence, for Mencken, was largely responsible for sorting the superior out from the inferior.  This inequality made democracy inherently susceptible to demagoguery.  Such Christian politicians as Wilson and Bryan obtained office by alarming the mob against their superiors.  Instead of Christian statesmen, they became merely "witch-hunters,"  politicians who promoted "melodramatic pursuits of horrendous monsters, most of them imaginary."  This concoction of fear and envy led Mencken inevitably back to his main point that democracy thrived on the inferior man's jealousy of his superiors, which was remarkably similar to his view of Puritanism - the haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy.  "In precisely the same way democratic man hates the fellow who is having a better time of it in this world," he wrote, "Such, indeed, is the origin of democracy," and "such is the origin of its twin, Puritanism."

-D. G. Ward,  Damning Words:  the life and religious times of H. L. Mencken

Some context:  this paragraph was taken from a chapter largely dealing with Mencken and Prohibition, a slice of Americana to which he was greatly opposed.

Relief.........................


The only relief for thoughtful Christians reading Mencken was his hopeful contention that Protestant politics was 'the complete antithesis of any recognizable form of Christianity.'

-D. G. Ward,  Damning Words:  the life and religious times of H. L. Mencken

The professoriate....................


"Mencken thought Springarn's approach had merit except that it required critics to be 'civilized and tolerant,' qualities he believed to be in short supply among the professoriate."

-D. G. Hart,  Damning Words:  the life and religious time of H. L. Mencken

Nobody knows anything..............


We are three weeks into the presidency of Donald J. Trump, the most unusual and unconventional man to inhabit the White House in a century, possibly ever, and the New York Times is already naming the frontrunner to replace him? The same media and consultant class that assumed Hillary Clinton would win the presidency in 2008 and again in 2016 presumes to declare how a Senate kerfuffle in February 2017 will affect Iowa caucus-goers in 2020? Who are these people? Where did they come from? What makes them so obtuse, so beholden to gossip, so given to wish-casting, so certain that their momentary impressions of trivial matters carry cosmic weight? Was it college that inflated their sense of self-worth? Is that what $50k a year buys you—a degree in smug? We may never know.

-Matthew Contenetti, as excerpted from here.  Read the whole thing.

via

Darwin's birthday...........................




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


The Bar-Kays.................................................................Soul Finger