Saturday, August 17, 2019

Making a case for.................


...........................................paying down the mortgage.   While it is an interesting discussion, our tendency has always been to invest in more real estate and take out another mortgage.  Different strokes.........

Beyond Meat........................


......................Color me doubtful, but this is still pretty interesting.

Astronomy..................


.................................The old-fashioned way:


Rx: A wee bit of healthy self-doubt.....


Why do we demonize those with whom we disagree? The basic reason is that it helps to protect us from having to question or doubt our own beliefs. 

-Arnold S. Kling, as taken from this "How We Polarize Ourselves" essay

Cartoon Saturday.........................


.....................................at Bilbo's aims at gunsA single sample:

















That one reminded me of this one:


Virtually impossible.................


Myles Udland put it perfectly when he said, “The more accurate formulation of ‘No one knows anything’ is ‘Everyone knows everything.'”Everybody knows everything is the new nobody knows nothing.
In ten minutes you can learn most of what took a lifetime for Darwin to discover. You have to be careful trying to infer something from everything, because in today’s world, it is virtually impossible to separate the signal from the noise.

Bring back the Wooly Mammoth!.........


..................................................................No, seriously.


I wonder if young Wooly Mammoths............


...............................................believed in the Tooth Fairy?

Fifty years ago.....................At Woodstock


Janis Joplin............................................................Ball & Chain

Friday, August 16, 2019

The view from my desk...........................



Ah, science..............................





     via

In case you were not aware.............


The very long U.S. election season is here.  What to keep on mind? Two things strike me as fundamental.

1. Knowledge is complex and dispersed. This means that innovation (and progress) depend on trial-and-error innovation in a competitive environment – one not encumbered by the heavy hand of you-know-who. This is especially important in a season when the candidates have policies, plans and programs for everything.

2. In fact, there will always be a political class (includes their many private sector cronies) working hard on cronyist plans and policies.

Millions of voters have sat through some version of an economic principles class. How many of them have encountered these two fundamental principles? Too few, I worry.

These two fundamental observations are facts of life and in conflict. That’s what makes it interesting. The economist Peter Boettke has elaborated and even imagined a derby involving “Three S’s”.  Smithian gains from trade, Schumpeterian competition, and, third S for stupid.

All three are always in play. And it’s election season.


Fifty years ago.......................at Woodstock


Joe Cocker...........................................Something's Coming On

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


.........................Woodstock:  Three Days of Peace & Music.


Thursday, August 15, 2019

Aging like a fine wine..................


He's still pretty young, but still...............

Garbage time....................


Jerry Seinfeld on Father's Day and parenting:

I don’t need any special days. I mean they’re all special. We spend a lot of time together and I enjoy every second of it. Again, I’m a believer in the ordinary and the mundane. These guys that talk about “quality time” – I always find that a little sad when they say, “We have quality time.” I don’t want quality time. I want the garbage time. That’s what I like. You just see them in their room reading a comic book and you get to kind of watch that for a minute, or [having] a bowl of Cheerios at 11 o’clock at night when they’re not even supposed to be up. The garbage, that’s what I love.

The bigger picture....................


"It is a mistake to think that the past is dead. Nothing that has ever happened is quite without influence at this moment. The present is merely the past rolled up and concentrated in this second of time. You, too, are your past; often your face is your autobiography; you are what you are because of what you have been; because of your heredity stretching back into forgotten generations; because of every element of environment that has affected you, every man or woman that has met you, every book that you have read, every experience that you have had; all these are accumulated in your memory, your body, your character, your soul. So with a city, a country, and a race; it is its past, and cannot be understood without it. 

"Perhaps the cause of our contemporary pessimism is our tendency to view history as a turbulent stream of conflicts — between individuals in economic life, between groups in politics, between creeds in religion, between states in war. This is the more dramatic side of history; it captures the eye of the historian and the interest of the reader. But if we turn from that Mississippi of strife, hot with hate and dark with blood, to look upon the banks of the stream, we find quieter but more inspiring scenes: women rearing children, men building homes, peasants drawing food from the soil, artisans making the conveniences of life, statesmen sometimes organizing peace instead of war, teachers forming savages into citizens, musicians taming our hearts with harmony and rhythm, scientists patiently accumulating knowledge, philosophers groping for truth, saints suggesting the wisdom of love.  History has been too often a picture of the bloody stream. The history of civilization is a record of what happened on the banks."

-Will Durant

On self-fulfilling prophesies........













         via

Expectations...............


“There is nothing in nature that blooms all year long, so don’t expect yourself to do so either.” 

-Unknown, from this of five things to stop doing

Fifty years ago...........................at Woodstock


Joe Cocker.................................................Let's Go Get Stoned

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

In praise of..........................


...............................................................................sandstorms?

What was previously thought to be dangerous and destructive turns out to have been clarifying and constructive. The desert needs the sandstorm to stay vibrant and vital. The overturning of the status quo is chaotic and dark, but what is revealed is bright and beautiful. For the desert to bloom, it needs to be cleansed from time to time; sandstorms make space for new growth.

This is asking a lot...............


These articles about the election must be cranked out, and I'm only blogging this one because it is so absurd. Kamala Harris was "briefly sent... into the stratosphere"?! She briefly polled in the teens, and then slipped back into the single digits. Instead of an article asking why she's not more popular, ask yourselves how you ever got caught up into assuming that she was supposed to be so popular. You assume something should be true, then you proceed to inquire why it isn't. How about speaking honestly about your own assumption?

-from this Althouse post

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


It was Beatrice Kenton who first questioned the identity of the new girl.  She did so in the staff room, at a quarter past three, on a Friday in late November.  The mood was festive and faintly rebellious, as was the case most Friday afternoons.  It is a truism that no profession welcomes the end of the workweek with more anticipation that teachers—even teachers at elite institutions such as the International School of Geneva.  The chatter was of plans for the weekend.  Beatrice abstained, for she had none, a fact she did not wish to share with her colleagues.  She was fifty-two, unmarried, and with no family to speak of other than a rich aunt who granted her refuge each summer at her estate in Norfolk.  Her weekend routing consisted of a trip to the Migros and a walk along the lakeshore for the sake of her waistline, which, like the universe, was ever expanding.  First period Monday was an oasis in an otherwise Empty Quarter of solitude.

-Daniel Silva,  The New Girl

Fifty years ago......................at Woodstock


Joe Cocker.............................With A Little Help From My Friends

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

I would vote........................


...........................................for some sustained incremental tinkering, before embarking on some grand plan:

Such problems are easier to diagnose than to cure. Reforming American healthcare will require an almighty effort. With politics gridlocked and soaking in lobbyist money, it’s not obvious that the US government is capable of running the kind of healthcare system that works elsewhere — even if Congress decides to try. But try it must, because the status quo is a tragedy.

Praying..........................


................................................................for another success story.

thanks

With apologies.....................


.....................................................to Mark Knopfler.














cartoon via

Doesn't matter the stimulus............


................I have a hard time subscribing to this reaction:

Yet now I find myself thinking: I don’t care. Do it incompetently, but do something.”

Fifty years ago...................at Woodstock


Arlo Guthrie........................................Coming Into Los Angeles
(music starts around 2:26)

Sunday, August 11, 2019

As diets go...........................



via        via

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


     Three tellers were working the morning Isabel Roland was kidnapped.  Clark Davos, a sweet guy whose third baby had just been born; Dana Chin, who was funny and wore fabulous shoes; and Isabelle, the youngest teller on duty.  Isabel began working at the bank a little over a year ago, three months before her mother died.  Five customers were in line, but more customers entered the bank every few seconds.

-Robert Crais,  A Dangerous Man

Seth Godin..................


............................................Sometimes excerpting from one of his blog posts is just not enough:


Plato believes....................


      Plato believes that a nation cannot be strong unless it believes in God.  A mere cosmic force, or first cause, or elan vital, that was not a person, could hardly inspire hope, or devotion, or sacrifice;  it could not offer comfort to the hearts of the distressed, nor courage to embattled souls.  But a living God can do all this, and can stir or frighten the self-seeking individualist into some moderation of his greed, some control of his passion.  All the more so if if to belief in God is added belief in personal immortality:  the hope of another life gives us courage to meet our own death, and to bear with the death of our loved ones;  we are twice armed if we fight with faith.  Granted that none of the beliefs can be demonstrated; that God may be after all only the personified ideal of our love and our hope, and that the soul is like the music of the lyre, and dies with the instrument that gave it form:  yet surely (so runs the argument, Pascal-like,of the Phaedo) it will do us not harm to believe, and it may do us and our children immeasurable good.

-Will Durant,  The Story of Philosophy

Fifty years ago...................At Woodstock


Tim Hardin....................................Simple Song of Freedom

Disappointment........................


     Christianity has to be disappointing, precisely because it is not a mechanism for accomplishing all our human ambitions and aspirations, it is a mechanism for subjecting all things to the will of God.  The first disciples were disappointed because Jesus turned out not to be the kind of Messiah they wanted.

-Simon Tugwell O. P., Ways of Imperfection:  An Exploration of Christian Spirituality