Saturday, June 16, 2018
1910 Fruitgum Co......................................................1-2-3 Red Light
Bubblegum music at its finest. Hard to believe that this is from the same year that gave us Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles' White Album. Ah, diversity.
We gaze with perplexity at the highest part of the spiral of force that governs the Universe. And we call it God.
We could give it any other name: Abyss, Mystery, Absolute Darkness, Total Light, Matter, Spirit, Supreme Hope, Supreme Despair, Silence. But we call it God, because only this name – for some mysterious reason – is capable of making our heart tremble with vigor.
And let there be no doubt that this trembling is absolutely indispensable for us to be in contact with the basic emotions of the human being.
Friday, June 15, 2018
……….An insider's take on Richard Nixon's 1971 "War on Drugs":
“You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or blacks, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
-full post is here. Read the whole thing
“As he once wrote of Kipling, his own enduring influence can be measured by a number of terms and phrases—doublethink, thought police, 'Some animals are more equal than others'—that he embedded in our language and in our minds. In Orwell's own mind there was an inextricable connection between language and truth, a conviction that by using plain and unambiguous words one could forbid oneself the comfort of certain falsehoods and delusions. Every time you hear a piece of psychobabble or propaganda—'people's princess,' say, or 'collateral damage,' or 'peace initiative'—it is good to have a well-thumbed collection of his essays nearby. His main enemy in discourse was euphemism, just as his main enemy in practice was the abuse of power, and (more important) the slavish willingness of people to submit to it.”
-Christopher Hitchens, as culled from this essay
Ohio Express.........................................Yummy Yummy Yummy
Ohio Express hit #4 on the pop charts with this song in June of 1968. What an interesting time to be alive.
Hesiod, the poet, said that "the best treasure is a sparing tongue." Robert Greene considers it a law of power: Always Say Less Than Necessary.
We talk because we think it's helping, whereas in reality it's making things hard for us. If our spouse is venting, we want to tell them what they should do. In fact, all they actually want us to do is hear them. In other situations, the world is trying to give us feedback or input, but we try to talk ourselves out of the problem - only to make it worse.
So today, will you be part of the problem or part of the solution? Will you hear the wisdom of the world or drown it out with more noise?
-Ryan Holiday, from today's entry in The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations On Wisdom, Perseverance, And The Art Of Living
Thursday, June 14, 2018
It's easy to make fun of our penchant for taking selfies, but in fact there is a long and storied tradition behind that form of self-expression. Some of the most revered works of art from the Renaissance and early modernism are self-portraits; from Durer to Leonardo, to Rembrandt, all the way to van Gogh with his bandaged ear, painters have been obsessed with capturing detailed and varied images of themselves on canvas. Rembrandt, for instance, painted around forty self-portraits over the course of his life. But the interesting thing about self-portraiture is that it effectively doesn't exist as an artistic convention in Europe before 1400. People painted landscapes and royalty and religious scenes and a thousand other subjects. But they didn't paint themselves.
The explosion of interest in self-portraiture was the direct result of yet another technological breakthrough in our ability to manipulate glass. Back in Murano, the glassmakers had figured out a way to combine their crystal-clear glass with a new innovation in metallurgy, coating the back of the glass with an amalgam of tin and mercury to create a shiny and highly reflective surface. For the first time, mirrors became part of the fabric of everyday life. This was a revelation on the most intimate of levels: before mirrors came along, the average person went through life without ever seeing a truly accurate representation of his or her face, just fragmentary, distorted glances in pools of water or polished metals.
-Steven Johnson, How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World
|Rembrandt c. 1628|
|Rembrandt Self-portrait with two circles c. 1666|
.......................................with a machine gun:
“If you cannot read all your books ... fondle them - peer into them, let them fall open where they will, read from the first sentence that arrests the eye, set them back on the shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so that you at least know where they are. Let them be your friends; let them, at any rate, be your acquaintances.”
Iron Butterfly....................................................In A Gadda Da Vida
Iron Butterfly's second album was released this day in 1968. In A Gadda Da Vida was the lead song. If you want to get a full taste of 1969, scroll down the band's wiki and read about their aborted Woodstock appearance.
If the Left could see themselves through the eyes of neoliberalism, they would see people whose motives might be laudable, but whose methodology is not. They are seen not only as economic illiterates, but as ones with no sense of history, no knowledge, or even concern, with what has happened before. They appear as people whose fixation with theory lifts them above the practicalities of the world as it is. Their proposals are just as impractical, error-strewn and doomed to failure as they were the last time they were tried. Human nature as it is, not as it might be, often thwarts their intent.
-Dr. Madsen Pirie, as culled from this essay published on the Adam Smith Institute blog
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
“There is no reality except the one contained within us. That is why so many people live such an unreal life. They take the images outside of them for reality and never allow the world within to assert itself.”
“A wild longing for strong emotions and sensations seethes in me, a rage against this toneless, flat, normal and sterile life.”
I like smoke and lightning
Heavy metal thunder
Racin' with the wind
And the feelin' that I'm under
Yeah Darlin' go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space
-Mars Bonfire, from lyrics to Steppenwolf's Born To Be Wild
Think about it this way, too. It’s not sufficient to just be closely acquainted with the scientific research on a given topic. What good does a hundred scientific studies do you, if they are all confounded and misleading? Simply pointing to studies that support your arguments puts you in the minor league of opinion holders. You must cultivate a deeper knowledge by also being capable of articulating lurking factors that might render an association between any two variables spurious. Doing this requires more effort than reading a newspaper article or magazine column; including this one.
-Brian Boutwell, full post, and interesting conclusion, is here
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
SOMEONE FOUND A USE FOR TWITTER: For every time this tweet is retweeted, Country Time will add a dollar to its Lemon-Ade (ha!) legal defense fund for young entrepreneurs harassed by busybodies and bureaucrats:
Did you know that these here United States have had a recession every decade since California achieved statehood? According to these statistics, that's the truth. So, is a recession lurking around the corner?
Ben Carlson, in his A Wealth of Common Sense blog, says, "Someone who thinks correlation implies causation in these things would assume that means we’re due for a recession in the next couple of years before the new decade hits."
Carlson, wiser than most, confesses not knowing. He concludes his post on the subject like this:
|Sculpted bust found in the Trinity College Dublin Library|
"The easiest thing in the world is self-deceit; for every man believes what he wishes, though the reality is often different."
|The Entry of the Crusaders in Constantinople Eugene Delacroix Oil on canvass 1840|
The sacking of Constantinople in 1204 was one of those historical quakes that send tremors of influence rippling across the globe. Dynasties fall, armies surge and retreat, the map of the world is redrawn. But the fall of Constantinople also triggered a seemingly minor event, lost in the midst of that vast reorganization of religious and geopolitical dominance and ignored by most historians of the time. A small community of glassmakers from Turkey sailed westward across the Mediterranean and settled in Venice, where they began practicing their trade in the prosperous new city growing out of the marshes on the shores of the Adriatic Sea.
It was one of a thousand migrations set in motion by Constantinople's fall, but looking back over the centuries, it turned out to be one of the most significant. As they settled into the canals and crooked streets of Venice, at that point arguably the most important hub of commercial trade in the world, their skills at blowing glass quickly created a new luxury good for the merchants of the city to sell around the globe. But lucrative as it was, glassmaking was not without its liabilities. The melting point of silicon dioxide required furnaces burning at temperatures near 1,000 degrees, and Venice was a city build almost entirely out of wooden structures. (The classic stone Venetian palaces would not be built for another few centuries.) The glassmakers had brought a new source of wealth to Venice, but they also brought the less appealing habit of burning down the neighborhood.
In 1291, in an effort to both retain the skills of the glassmakers and protect public safety, the city government sent the glassmakers into exile once again, only this time their journey was a short one - one mile across the Venetian Lagoon tot he island of Murano. Unwittingly, the Venetian doges had created an innovation hub: by concentrating the glassmakers on a single island the size of a small city neighborhood, they triggered a surge of creativity, giving birth to an environment that possessed what economists call "information spillover." The density of Murano meant that new ideas were quick to flow through the entire population. The glassmakers were in part competitors, but their family lineages were healthily intertwined. There were individual masters in the group that had more talent or expertise than others, but in general the genius of Murano was a collective affair: something created by sharing as much as by competitive pressures.
-Steven Johnson, How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World
Monday, June 11, 2018
Sonny Rollins with Thelonious Monk......The Way You Look Tonight
This is not bad -
ambling along 44th Street
with Sonny Rollins for company,
his music flowing through the soft calipers
of these earphones,
as if he were right beside me
on this clear day in March,
the pavement sparkling with sunlight,
pigeons fluttering off the curb,
nodding over a profusion of bread crumbs.
In fact, I would say
my delight at being suffused
with phrases from his saxophone -
some like honey, some like vinegar -
is surpassed only by my gratitude
to Tommy Potter for taking the time
to join us on this breezy afternoon
with his most unwieldy bass
and to the esteemed Arthur Taylor
who is somehow managing to navigate
this crowd with his cumbersome drums.
And I bow deeply to Thelonious Monk
for figuring out a way
to motorize - or whatever - his huge piano
so he could be with us today.
This music is loud yet so confidential.
I cannot help feeling even more
like the center of the universe
than usual as I walk along to a rapid
little version of "The Way You Look Tonight,"
and all I can say to my fellow pedestrians,
to the woman in the white sweater,
the man in the tan raincoat and the heavy glasses,
who mistake themselves for the center of the universe -
all I can say is watch your step,
because the five of us, instruments and all,
are about to angle over
to the south side of the street
and then, in our own tightly knit way,
turn the corner at Sixth Avenue.
And if any of you are curious
about where this aggregation,
this whole battery-powered crew,
is headed, let us just say
that the real center of the universe,
the only true point of view,
is full of hope that he,
the hub of the cosmos
with his hair blown sideways,
will eventually make it all the way downtown.
-Billy Collins, Man Listening to Disc
"But the Money Gods do not look highly upon those who seek a reward without paying the price.
"One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard goes something like this: If you want success, figure out the price, then pay it. It sounds trivial and obvious, but if you unpack the idea it has extraordinary power.”
"Nature cannot be tricked or cheated. She will give up to you the object of your struggles only after you have paid her price, which is continuous, unyielding, persistent effort."
"Give yourself fully to your endeavors. Decide to construct your character through excellent actions and determine to pay the price of a worthy goal. The trials you encounter will introduce you to your strengths. Remain steadfast...and one day you will build something that endures: something worthy of your potential.”
-attributed to Epictetus
To put the matter bluntly, those on the right side of history are those who live good and virtuous lives in the service of objective truth, thereby making the world a better and more beautiful place. Those who treat the past with contempt, refusing to learn its lessons and worshiping the imaginary machine of “progress,” will be the tools of tyranny today as they have been the tools of tyranny in the past. They are not only on the wrong side of history, they are on the wrong side of humanity.
-Joseph Pearce, as he concludes this post
Sunday, June 10, 2018
" ... investing is not the study of finance. . And behavior is hard to teach, even to really smart people. You can’t sum up behavior with formulas to memorize or spreadsheet models to follow. Behavior is inborn, varies by person, is hard to measure, changes over time, and people are prone to deny its existence, especially when describing themselves."
-Morgan Housel, from this read-worthy essay, The Psychology of Money