Saturday, December 9, 2017

Peace on earth......................?



“What kind of Christmas present would Jesus ask Santa for?” 

-Salman Rushdie

Shower him with love love love........


Dave Matthews with Tim Reynolds.............................Christmas Song

 

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


     When the name Hilary Clinton popped up on my phone in February 2017, I realized hers was a call I'd stopped waiting to receive.  On Election Day, the tradition in politics is that candidates personally thank the people who helped most in the campaign.  Win or lose, in the days that follow, the candidate extends that circle of gratitude to members of the party and the donors.  Bernie Sanders called me on November 9, 2016, and Joe Biden, too.  The vice president even came to our staff holiday party.  But I never heard from Hilary.

-Donna Brazile,  from her introduction to Hacks:  The Inside Story of the Break-Ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House

Friday, December 8, 2017

On trusting people.......................


..............................................................................over thirty

Wait,..............................what?


... not telling people what's really going on so as to protect them from the worries of life is like letting your kids grow into adulthood believing in the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus.

-Ray Dalio,  Principles

Realities...................


8.   How you wish to be in five years starts today.

-from a list of eleven, courtesy of Nicholas Bate

Recommended..............




     Your faithful blogger grew up in Philadelphia, the son of the manager of the Union League of Philadelphia.  The League was founded in 1862 to raise money and support both the Union cause and the policies of President Abraham Lincoln.  In many ways, over the years, the League became a shrine to Lincoln.  So, it shouldn't come as a surprise that, to my young eyes, Lincoln was a martyred hero and the Union cause just.  Apparently, that opinion was not held by all.
      Decimus et Ultimus (tenth and last) Barziza, born a Virginian, but raised a Texan, had a different outlook.  We all benefit from reading different outlooks.
      Barziza enlisted in the Confederate army as part of Hood's Brigade in 1861.  He was wounded and captured at Gettysburg, spent a spell as a prisoner of war, escaped captivity by jumping from moving train, wandered around the North while making his way to Canada, eventually finding passage from Halifax to the Bermudas, and then finally back to the South.  He wrote a narrative of his experiences.   It is an entertaining tale and I recommend it to you.  Interspersed with his story, he vents a bit and shares his feelings about the war and the North (the story was written and published before the war ended.  The copy pictured above came from our library system).  He had no idea that the Union cause was just.  To wit:

     The desire for power and influence is so strong and influential an incentive, that we need not go beyond this to account for the intense hostility of the democrats of the Administration. The truth is that they all affect a fanatical glorification for the "old flag," and cry out "Union."  And the Southern people would have been much wiser and better off at the outset, if they had made up their minds that neither foreign intervention nor Northern sympathy would ever aid them in their struggle for independence, but upon their own strong arms and stout hearts depended entirely their success.  Resistance, fierce and bloody, has been and ever will be the means of a nation's regeneration from vassalage; and he who lulls himself into inactivity in these vain hopes, will find too late that national and political sympathy and aid are the offsprings of policy and interest.  In this world the strong are ever willing to help the strong;  the rich make the rich richer; and with this feeling of self-interest so intimately blended with our individual selves, we may expect it to be the chief spring of action amongst nations.  There is one other power, however, when it takes possession of the breast, displaces all others, and that is fanaticism;  it raised a Cromwell and deluged a kingdom in blood;  it erected the guillotine and was made drunk with gore;  it pervaded the Northern mind and brought forth war, and is now reveling in a bloody carnival.  Time was when we wished no harm to these Northern people, when all we asked was non-interference with us;  their future prosperity and glory would not even have been displeasing to us.  But for more than three years we have been the objects of their persecution and resentment.  They have at last extinguished every feeling of friendship;  they have provoked our entire population to desperation;  every tie is forever severed, and they have succeeded in turning us into mortal and irreconcilable foes.  There will be no need to make the Southern boy, like Hannibal, swear eternal enmity to the Yankee race.  The blood of their murdered fathers, and the tears of their outraged mothers, will call aloud for vengeance; and whether in our own  national armies or in the ranks of foreigners, defending out own homes or carrying the fires of war in their midst, coming years will yet witness the fruits of the seed they have sown.  Hereafter their honor will be our shame, their prosperity our loss, and in every condition of life, generations yet to come will keep alive those fires of hate they have taken so much pains to kindle.  If we must eventually fall, let us pull down that country and that people in the general wreck.  If ruin must come, let it be universal as regards that nation - loyalist and rebel, friend and foe, "in one red burial blent."    Better, far better sell ourselves to foreign despots, than be conquered provinces of these people.  Let us welcome the bonds of French Empire, or the chains of the Russian Autocrat, rather than bow our necks to the bigoted descendants of the Puritans.  If we fall, America shall fall with us, and rivers of blood shall smoke upon the red altar of Mars.  Let no people have a name and existence who shall stand up and call themselves our conquerors.  And when the worst comes to the worst, welcome destruction, so our foe be strangled in our death-grapple!
   But to my narrative.   During my stay...

The minor fall and the major lift...........


Jennifer Nettles..........................................O Holy Night/Hallelujah

    

 O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;
Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices!
O night divine! O night when Christ was born.
O night divine, O night, O night divine.

 Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is Love and His gospel is Peace;
All chains shall he break, everyone is our brother,
And in his name all oppression shall cease,
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful Chorus raise we;
With all our hearts we praise his Holy name!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

On "common sense"........


     People are irrational.  If something feels like it should work, most of us conclude that it does.  We don't have the time or resources to do scientific inquiry on every choice we make.  So we use our "common sense" and our "gut feeling" to get by.  That's the typical worldview.  But the Persuasion Filter says your common sense and gut feelings are little more than magical thinking.
     Most of us believe we have common sense.  And yet we disagree with one another about what that looks like.  That's all you need to know about common sense.  The illusion is that you have this thing called common sense and many others do not.  The Persuasion Filter takes it one step further and says that no one has common sense.  According to the filter, sometimes we make good choices and sometimes we don't.  When things go wrong, we blame the environment or bad luck, or we imagine it was a rare misfire by our common sense.  When things turn our in our favor, we believe it is because we have common sense and it served us well.  In both cases it is no more than rationalization after the fact.

-Scott Adams, as excepted from Win Bigly:  Persuasion In A World Where Facts Don't Matter

Every mother's child.......................


Nat King Cole..................................................The Christmas Song

 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Walt...................................


“The difference between winning and losing is often not quitting.” 

-Walt Disney

Yesterday would have been Walt Disney's 116th birthday.  Friend Sean offers a tribute.

Never quite fits....................




“The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled. Each evening we see the sun set. We know that the earth is turning away from it. Yet the knowledge, the explanation, never quite fits the sight.” 

-John Berger, Ways of Seeing

photo via

Just start blogging....................




“If you're lonely when you're alone, you're in bad company.” 

-Jean-Paul Sartre

Since we have no place to go..........


Frank Sinatra...............................................................Let It Snow

 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

This may explain a lot.................










-as cut and pasted from here

The complex art...............................


..............................................................of neighborliness.

Am I the only one.....................


..............................bothered by the notion of a "ruling class"?

Perhaps the single most destabilizing political development since the WW2 has been the destruction of ruling class prestige by the Internet.

-quote via

Times have changed...................


     With the powers separated, then, Washington judged it better to contain all the main factions within his administration.   In practice, with Adams as vice-president, speaking for New England, this meant he balanced Hamilton (New York) and War Secretary Henry Knox (1750-1806), a vast, happy, fat man who had started out as a Boston bookseller but had become Washington's most reliable and trustworthy general - both of them ardent federalists - against Jefferson, Secretary of State, and Edmund Randolph (1753-1813), also from Virginia, who were both states' rights men.  These were the six men who met to decide government policy.  These gatherings were called Cabinet meetings, as in England, though, as in England, they had no legal or constitutional standing.  They took place in Washington's house, 39 Broadway, just around the corner from Wall Street.  It would be hard to overemphasize the informality and small scale of this first administration.  Washington had to create it from scratch.  That did not worry him, because he had had to do exactly the same thing with the army in 1776.  The scale of the job was nothing:  until the second half of the 1790s he employed more people on his Mount Vernon estate than in the whole of the central executive of his government.

-Paul Johnson, A History of the American People

Strive.............................


“We shall never achieve harmony with the land, anymore than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations the important thing is not to achieve but to strive.”

-Aldo Leopold

Constitutive..................





     Our relative powerlessness before the ocean and its waves is not just a fact of the human condition.  It is a fact we must firmly accept, even embrace, in order to surf.  An attitude of acceptance is constitutive, if you will, of the mentality needed for the very possibility of performing the surfing activity:  without that sensibility, you can't surf a wave.
     Surfing is less a matter of asserting one's will than of transcending it, by standing ready to revise one's best-laid plans, according to what the ocean is offering.  And unless one surfs from a sense of one's relative powerlessness, one simple can't attunedly adapt to each coming moment of wave.  One won't be ready to respond immediately, at the right times, in the right places, in the right ways, ...

-Aaron James,  Surfing With Sartre:  An Aquatic Inquiry Into A Life Of Meaning



...an adaptive relationship...............




Even manly "power surfing" isn't remotely like the delusional dreams of men who go on about "making your own weather" in politics or "creating your own luck" in business.  The powerful surfer lays into a turn or carve, pushing through the rotation, with unusual force and command, but he could never pull this off in a less attuned state.  "Power surfing" comes not from willpower, or mere force, but from perspective, intuition, and anticipation - for one's sense that the ocean and its waves are to be not controlled but respected, and so read and answered, in an adaptive relationship.

-Aaron James,  Surfing With Sartre:  An Aquatic Inquiry Into A Life Of Meaning

Oh raise, raise a song on high................


Lindsey Stirling......................................What Child Is This

 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Skeptical scrutiny................




"Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense."

-attributed to Carl Sagan

What would happen if....................


 ...................................................the next all hands meeting got cancelled and instead the organization had an all hands-on read instead?

Suggested reading list here.

Most things are..........................


"Prosperity is more than an economic condition: it is a state of mind."

-Frederick Lewis Allen, as quoted here

Sort of like..............................


............................................................................life its ownself.

"Markets don’t have hard and fast rules that you can follow where the future will always look like the past."

-Ben Carlson, as culled from here

Rejoice, Rejoice......................


The Piano Guys..............................O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Unfortunately........................


..............figuring out the right questions is pretty hard work:

     "Asking great questions is a perfect way to build a relationship.  But the key word here is "great" questions.  Never ask a mentor a question Google can easily answer for you.  Carve this in stone.  Scrawl it in blood above your desk.  Get a tattoo of it. ..."

-Eric Barker,  as excerpted from Barking Up The Wrong Tree:  The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong

Schooling............................


“Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.” 
-Plato

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” 
-Plutarch

“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.” 
-Margaret Mead

“Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.” 
-E.M. Forster

“I'm sorry to say that the subject I most disliked was mathematics. I have thought about it. I think the reason was that mathematics leaves no room for argument. If you made a mistake, that was all there was to it.” 
-Malcolm X

“The principle goal of education in the schools should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done; men and women who are creative, inventive and discoverers, who can be critical and verify, and not accept, everything they are offered.” 
-Jean Piaget


"Never let book-learning get in the way of your education."
-unofficial motto of our fraternity, 1970-73

What a wonderful time of year.......




Always good to remember..........


12   Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

-John 14:12,  The Holy Bible, New International Version

Always a favorite..............


Mannheim Steamroller....................................Pat A Pan

 

From his lips..................


.........................................................................to God's ears.

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


"As contemporary Native Americans, we live in the space between Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren, between the stereotypes that were created to excuse the wholesale slaughter of our people and the stereotypes that were created to excuse the wholesale appropriation of our identity and cultures. The Trumps and Warrens of the world leave very little space for us to exist — which, when you understand the history of the United States, makes perfect sense."

-Rebecca Nagle, as excerpted from this essay (which you ought to read).  I believe in the greatness of the United States of America.  One of the reasons to study history is to know that even greatness is capable of abominable behavior.