Saturday, June 23, 2018

Dilly Dilly...........................


The wondrous Budweiser Clydesdales paraded through downtown Newark this weekend.  Since they were coming anyway, the City decided to throw a party.  While the weather was not ideal, a good time was had by all.  A big thanks to Jim Matesich and his lovely company for making it possible.























In the background.......................


George Shearing.............................................My Favorite Things

And it couldn't happen to a nicer group of people...


And I truly get the frustration of being a business cycle economist in the midst of what will almost certainly be a record-breaking expansion. Imagine a business cycle economist going year after year without a recession to ride. It’s like Tinkerbell without her wings.

-as lifted out of this Calculated Risk post


Actually, it's kind of a relief..............
















courtesy of Bilbo

On standards of living..................

Economics today is beset with a number of problems, not least of which is a fundamentally flawed approach toward measuring one of the most important features of the economy: the standard of living. Economists generally track this key measure using benchmarks such as real income per household, real GDP per capita, or the real wage (with the prefix "real" indicating that figures are expressed in terms of purchasing power). But calculating living standards in this way assumes that everyone purchases roughly the same mix of goods and services. That was true when a large share of income went toward traditional necessities like food, as well as mass-market durable goods like refrigerators. This is no longer the case.
Economic historian Robert Fogel studied changes in overall consumer budgets, including changes in the income that is "spent" on leisure — that is, time that could otherwise have been taken up with paid work — and found that, between 1875 and 1995, leisure increased from 18% of the consumer budget to 68%. By contrast, consumer spending on food, clothing, and housing went from 74% to just 12%.
-as culled from this interesting article from Arnold Kling.  From the view in the cheap seats, I'm not sure I understand, or believe, the last sentence.

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


Four Jacks And A Jill.................................................Master Jack



It's a strange, strange world we live in, Master Jack
You taught me all I know and I'll never look back
It's a very strange world and I thank you, Master Jack

You took a colored ribbon from out of the sky
And taught me how to use it as the years went by
To tie up all your problems and make them look neat
And then to sell them to the people in the street

It's a strange, strange world we live in, Master Jack
You taught me all I know and I'll never look back
It's a very strange world and I thank you, Master Jack

I saw right through the way you started teachin' me now
So some day soon you could get to use me somehow
I thank you very much and though you've been very kind
But I'd better move along before you change my mind

It's a strange, strange world we live in, Master Jack
You know how I feel as if I'll never come back
It's a very strange world and I thank you, Master Jack

You taught me all the things the way you'd like them to be
But I'd like to see if other people agree
It's all very int'resting the way you disguise
But I'd like to see the world through my own eyes


It's a strange, strange world we live in, Master Jack
No hard feelin's if I never come back
You're a very strange man and I thank you, Master Jack

Thursday, June 21, 2018

accidental genetic mutations.............


     The appearance of new ways of thinking and communicating, between 70,000 and 30,000 years ago, constitutes the Cognitive Revolution.  What caused it?  We're not sure.  The most commonly believed theory argues that accidental genetic mutations changed the inner wiring of the brains of Sapiens, enabling them to think in unprecedented ways and to communicate using an altogether new type of language.  We might call it the Tree of Knowledge mutation.  Why did it occur in Sapiens and not Neanderthals?  It was a matter of pure chance, as far as we can tell.  But it's more important to understand the consequences of the Tree of Knowledge mutation than its causes.  What was so special about the new Sapiens language that enabled us to conquer the world?

-Yuval Noah Harari,  Sapiens:  A Brief History of Humankind

The power of myths..................


Yet the truly unique feature of our language is not its ability to transmit information about men and lions.  Rather, it's the ability to transmit information about things that do not exist at all.  As far as we know, only Sapiens can talk about entire kinds of entities that they have never seen, touched, or smelled.
     Legends, myths, gods, and religions appeared for the first time with the Cognitive Revolution.  Many animals and human species could previously say, "Careful!  A lion!"  Thanks to the Cognitive Revolution, Homo Sapiens acquired the ability to say, "The lion is the guardian spirit of our tribe."  This ability to speak about fictions is the most unique feature of Sapiens language. ...
     But fiction has enabled us not merely to imagine things, but to do so collectively.  We can weave common myths such as the biblical creation story, the Dreamtime myths of Aboriginal Australians, and the nationalist myths of modern states.  Such myths give Sapiens the unprecedented ability to cooperate flexibly in large numbers.  Ants and bees can also work together in large numbers, but they do so in a very rigid manner and only with close relatives.  Wolves and chimpanzees cooperate far more flexibly than ants, but they can do so only with small numbers of other individuals that they know intimately.  Sapiens can cooperate in extremely flexible ways with countless numbers of strangers.  That's why Sapiens rule the world whereas ants eat our leftovers and chimps are locked up in zoos and research laboratories.

-Yuval Noah Harari,  Sapiens:  A Brief History of Humankind

Nuttiness..........................


Two wee excerpts from this post at the National Review:  Professor:  Learning Math Can Cause 'Collateral Damage' to Society

“Reasoning without meanings provides a training in ethics-free thought,” Paul Ernest writes in “The Ethics of Mathematics: Is Mathematics Harmful?” — a chapter of his book The Philosophy of Mathematics Education Today.

“Money and thus mathematics is the tool for the distribution of wealth,” he writes. “It can therefore be argued that as the key underpinning conceptual tool mathematics is implicated in the global disparities in wealth.”

If academics were as interested in the creation of wealth as they are in the distribution of wealth, the world could be a much nicer place.   Talk of wealth distribution without talk of wealth creation always reminds me of this line from my favorite Ten Years After song:

Tax the rich, feed the poor, till there are no rich no more

Then what?

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


On the magazine rack.......Time's cover story:  The Gun In America


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The end is in sight.....................


The countdown toward completion for the Old School project has started in earnest.  We are on schedule to have our "life-safety" inspection in less than a month.  Passing said inspection does not mean we are totally finished, but it will enable us to have some tenants move in.  There still is much to do, but at this point I am certain that the light at the end of the tunnel is not an on-coming train.  One sign we are getting close:  painting the lockers.

Lockers?, you ask.   It is an old school, you know

Each apartment will have sole access to 6-8 lockers

A good place for winter coats in the summertime

They started out pretty beat up, but a little TLC and paint does wonders

No one else was allowed on the third floor when the lockers were being
painted.  Truthfully, no one wanted to up there for about 24 hours.  Breathing
apparatuses were necessary.  

Unexpectedly..................................


Radio began its life as a two-way medium, a practice that continues to this day as ham radio:  individual hobbyists talking to one another over the airwaves, occasionally eavesdropping on other conversations.  But by the early 1920s, the broadcast model that would come to dominate the technology had evolved.  Professional stations began delivering packaged news and entertainment to consumers who listened on radio receivers in their homes.  Almost immediately, something entirely unexpected happened:  the existence of a mass medium for sound unleashed a new kind of music on the United States, a music that had until then belonged almost exclusively to New Orleans, to the river towns of the American South, and to African-American neighborhoods in New York and Chicago.  Almost overnight, radio mad jazz a national phenomenon.  Musicians such as Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong became household names.  Ellington's band performed weekly national broadcasts from the Cotton Club in Harlem starting in the late 1920s;  Armstrong became the first African-American to host his own national radio show shortly thereafter.
     All of this horrified Lee De Forest, who wrote a characteristically baroque denunciation to the National Association of Broadcasters:  "What have you done with my child, the radio broadcast?  You have debased this child, dressed him in rags of ragtime, tatters of jive and boogie-woogie."  In fact, the technology that De Forest had helped invent was intrinsically better suited to jazz that it was to classical performances.  Jazz punched through the compressed, tinny sound of early AM radio speakers;  the vast dynamic range of a symphony was largely lost in translation.  The blasts of Satchmo's trumpet played better on the radio than the subtleties of Shubert.
     The collision of jazz and radio created, in effect, the first surge of a series of cultural waves that would wash over twentieth-century society.  A new sound that had been slowly incubating in some smalls section of the world - New Orleans, in the case of jazz - finds its way onto the mass medium of radio, offending the grown-ups and electrifying the kids.

-Steven Johnson,  How We Got to Now:  Six Innovations That Made the Modern World

Blasts......................................

Louis Armstrong.....................................................West End Blues

 

The wisdom of Steve Martin...............




“I've heard lots of people lie to themselves but they never fool anyone.”

“I thought yesterday was the first day of the rest of my life but it turns out today is.” 

“I would assign every lie a color: yellow when they were innocent, pale blue when they sailed over you like the sky, red because I knew they drew blood. And then there was the black lie. That's the worst of all. A black lie was when I told you the truth. ” 

“I've got to keep breathing. It'll be my worst business mistake if I don't.” 

“It's so hard to believe in anything anymore. I mean, it's like, religion, you really can't take it seriously, because it seems so mythological, it seems so arbitrary...but, on the other hand, science is just pure empiricism, and by virtue of its method, it excludes metaphysics. I guess I wouldn't believe in anything anymore if it weren't for my lucky astrology mood watch.” 

“Despite a lack of natural ability, I did have the one element necessary to all early creativity: naïveté, that fabulous quality that keeps you from knowing just how unsuited you are for what you are about to do.” 

“I have found that-- just as in real life--imagination sometimes has to stand in for experience.”

-much, much more here

Blame Michael.  He started it.

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


Small Faces.......................................................Itchycoo Park

Monday, June 18, 2018

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


The Delfonics.......................................La-La Means I Love You

as Poor Richard says........................


" 'Friends,' says he, 'the taxes are, indeed, very heavy; and if those laid on by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us.  We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times as much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly;  and from these taxes the commissioners cannot ease of deliver us, by allowing an abatement.  However, let us hearken to good advice and something may be done for us; 'God helps them that helps themselves,' as Poor Richard says."

-Benjamin Franklin,  The Way To Wealth

On surrender................................


"Let Fate find us prepared and active.  Here is the great soul - the one who surrenders to Fate.  The opposite is the weak and degenerate one, who struggles with and had poor regard for the order of the world, and seeks to correct the faults of the gods rather than their own."

-Seneca, Moral Letters, 107.12

via

Groucho wisdom.....................























































thanks

Sunday, June 17, 2018

A Chorus Line...........................


Last night, my Sweetie and I ventured out to Weathervane Playhouse to catch their final performance of A Chorus Line.   Unbelievable talent, both voice and dance, graced the stage.  It was really, really well done.  Newark is very blessed to have such a great resource like Weathervane.  Next up, in two weeks, is I Hate Hamlet.




 

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


Richard Harris..................................................MacArthur Park



I've often wondered about the lyrics, you know the cake and the recipe in the rain thing, so I did the only sensible thing:  consulted the Oracle Google.  Found this.  Makes sense to me.