Friday, September 9, 2011

Rites of passage (choices revisited)

Image from Shorpy

Fun with a baseball...............

He is no Ty Cobb, but still..........

Choices revisted................

A previous post highlighted Ty Cobb and his willingness to do
whatever was necessary to win.  A different previous post
highlighted that we all make decisions about how to live our
lives moment by moment, and that these decisions have

I have watched a lot of baseball.  Don't believe I've ever seen
anyone else make Ty Cobb's choice on this play at the plate:

image courtesy of


    "As human beings we have the potential to disentangle
ourselves from old habits, and the potential to love and care
about each other.  We have the capacity to wake up and live
consciously, but, you may have noticed, we also have a
strong inclination to stay asleep.  It's as if we are always at
a crossroad, continuously choosing which way to go. 
Moment by moment we can choose to go toward further
clarity and happiness or toward confusion and pain."
-Pema Chodron,  Taking the Leap

image courtesy of


    "Think in terms of what knowledge you have, and constantly review what use you have made of that knowledge.  More than likely, you have talents and ideas that you have never taken advantage of.  Perhaps the secret of your success is to stop doing some humdrum nonsense that just pays the rent and to embark instead on developing and marketing the talent that lies within you.  If you can get excited about your creativity and your life, you can build enough energy around you so that it pulls you away from today's circumstances and into a whole new life.  It may take courage to step out and commit yourself, but in the end, boldness will pay off.  Fortune favors the brave."
-Stuart Wilde, The Trick to Money is Having Some

"He made his own breaks"

Branch Rickey gave a speech about how the Detroit Tiger great
Ty Cobb beat his St. Louis Cardinal team in extra innings by
turning a walk and some aggressive base running into a home run.

A few excerpts:

"I commenced to ask myself what it was that made a man
a distinguished ballplayer.  Take two men with equal ability;
one of them will always stay in mediocrity and another
will distinguish himself in the game.  What is the difference?

"The more we compress and confine the element of luck -
luck has it place in games; it is in the English language; it
is in the dictionary, and we ought to keep it there - and
put it in a small area, just to that extent do you enlarge
the area for exercise of a man's own functions in
controlling his workings, his destinies, and his game."

Rickey concluded:

The greatest single thing in the qualification of a great
player, a great team, or a great man is a desire to reach
the objective that admits of no interference anywhere.
That is the greatest thing I know about baseball or
anything else."

photo courtesy of

(Editor's Note:  The truly faithful reader may realize that this is
almost a reprint of a post from May, 2010.  It felt familiar as the
keyboard was stroking.  A quick site search turned up this.)

About that "settled science".....

WRM continues his line of thought that overreaching by the
climate change champions continues to damage their cause.

Full post here.  Excerpt here:

"Climate science involves the study of an bafflingly complex system in which an untold number of variables interact in ways that are extremely difficult to model or predict. The science is very young; its conclusions may change in quite significant ways.

"Most greens don’t want that to be true because they want the world to adopt drastic policy changes now. But the political reality is that those changes are both expensive and difficult (or even, realistically speaking) impossible to make given the limits of human institutions and political behavior. Any whisper of uncertainty or debate about the conclusions of climate science undermines the case for radical action now, so the green movement paints itself into a corner: it hypes the science it likes, and fights the science that might threaten its agenda."

Don't believe everything you hear..............

Jimmy Soul - If you wanna be happy.........

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The art of making predictions............

"If you spend all day snorting speed, and I warn you that
tomorrow you are going to feel like shit, but at the first sign
of a comedown you double the dose and speed off again for
another day, my prediction was not wrong."

Professor Michael Pettis, dba China Financial Markets, offers
a view of the coming decade, (focusing on China and Europe)
that signal major global adjustments are in our future.  These
adjustments "will be driven overall by a contraction in global
liquidity, a sharply rising risk premium, substantial
deleveraging, and a sharp contraction in international
trade and capital imbalances."  Sounds like we will be living
in interesting times.

Full post here.  Comments section is worth reading too.

William James said some neat stuff....

William James (1842-1910) was an American thinker, writer,
professor, scientist, philosophiser, and all around influential
quote machine.  Here are but a handful of things he said:

Lives based on having are less free than lives based either
on doing or on being.

Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.

If merely "feeling good" could decide, drunkenness would
be the supremely valid human experience.

The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human
can alter his life by altering his attitude.

There are no differences but differences of degree between
different degrees of difference and no difference.

Procrastination is attitude's natural assassin. Nothing is so
fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.

The aim of a college education is to teach you to know
a good man when you see one.

Religion is a monumental chapter in the history of
human egoism.

When you have to make a choice and don't make it,
that is in itself a choice.

Trade offs..........

"One of the great uses of literary history is to  keep on
reminding us that while man is constantly acquiring new
powers he is also constantly losing old ones."
-C. S. Lewis

Opening paragraphs.........

"It was spring.  The vernal equinox had done whatever it
was it did, and the late March air drifting in through the
open window in my office was soft even though it wasn't
really warm yet.  Spring training was under way in full
tiresomeness, and opening day was two weeks off."

-Robert B. Parker,  Sixkill

Parker wrote more books than I can count.  I think Sixkill was
the 39th effort in his Spenser series. Parker died early in 2010,
so perhaps it is the finale.  Despite his penchant for cutting and
pasting Spenser's witty repartee from book to book (and
sometimes from chapter to chapter), I will proudly acknowledge
having read 38 of them.  I also believe that his Sunny Randall
and Jesse Stone books were his best efforts.  Not too many
surprises in a Parker book, but many a pleasurable hour.
I will miss them.

Bisecting life.................

Upon fuller consideration....I hope he is not talking about us

    "Mr. President, I confess that I do not entirely approve of
this Constitution at the present, but, sir, I am not sure I shall
never approve it: for, having lived long, I have experienced
many instances of being obliged, by better information or
fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important
subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be other-
wise.  It is therefore that the older I grow, the more I am to
doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the
judgment of others.  Most men, indeed, as well as most sects
of religion, think themselves in possession of all truth, and
that wherever others differ from them it is so far error. 
Steele, a Protestant, in a dedication tells the pope that the
only difference between our two churches, in their opinions
of the certainty of their doctrine, is, the Romish church is
infallible and the Church of England is never wrong......"

    "In these sentiments, sir, I agree to this Constitution, with
all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general
government necessary for us, and there is no form of
government but what may be a blessing to the people if well
administered; and I believe farther that this is likely to be
well administered for a course of years, and can only end in
despotism as other forms have done before it, when the
people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic
government, being incapable of any other...."
-Benjamin Franklin, addressing the Constitutional Convention
in 1787

No more Johnnys.........

Marcie Blane...........Bobby's Girl

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

From the mind of the Mighty E..............You've got to admit, he is getting pretty good at this blog header stuff!

Blog headers as an art form!  Back in March we posted a three
part retrospective of the Mighty E.'s work.  Can't guarantee you
that all of his recent efforts are included above, but it should be
most of them.  Such creativity should be noted and applauded. 
Please send Doug a thank you for making the intertunnel a more
interesting and fun place. should do
the trick.

On managing expectations.......

Pining for the past.............

Mathew Ferrara suggests the "good old days" are not only gone,
they never existed.  It is time to stop all the nostalgia for 2006
and get on with life.  Full post here.  Excerpts here:

Everybody’s clamoring for leadership these days in politics, business, education. But who’s asking where those leaders should take us? Leadership without a map is a trap.

But to where?

We are facing a crisis, not of leadership, but of destination.

When you hear someone in your company say: When the market comes back…they aren’t leading their clients or themselves towards success.

When you hear clients say, We’ll wait until prices bounce back…. they aren’t leading themselves out of their financial troubles.

When you hear committees, representatives, trade leaders mumble, If we maintain the old policies, we will eventually get back to prosperity, you know they are trying hardest to fool themselves.

Whenever you hear this kind of leadership, consider: Someone is trying to turn their back on the future.

Winston Churchill, a strong leader in difficult times, said........ 'If we open a quarrel between past and present, we shall find that we have lost the future.'

Look at the leadership direction around you and you’ll see why some industries, governments, even people, are in decline. You’ll see they’re trying to turn back the clock – on their competitors, in their policies, in their lives. Pining for the past rather than producing the future. Worse, you might notice some of them actively implementing past ideas, policies and practices that couldn’t possibly work today or tomorrow – because they frequently didn’t work back then.

Out of whack................

My father, who was a pretty common sensical guy, was harping
about the disrespect shown to vocational training back when I
was attending one of those semi-fancy liberal arts colleges -on his
dime (Class of '73, thank you).  He would be shaking his head at
these numbers, and these costs:

Two of the most successful people I hang out with on a regular
basis do not have college degrees.  They have both done very
well financially by working hard, being focused, and engaging in
continuous learning and self-improvement. 

Considering the costs involved, this whole "you have to have a
college degree" to be successful thing is sounding more and more
like a scam and a hustle.

For a more intelligent handling of the above chart, go here.

I blog, therefore, I am.........

Found this in my pictures archive.  Not sure from
whence it came.  Thank you, whoever you are.


   "I do not counsel worship at the altar of government for its
own sake, for I share fully the wholesome antipathy to
government - federal, state, or local - unrestrained by strong
free and private institutions, for one of which I speak.

   "I do suggest that the citizens of a modern republic should
not go too far in support of those who would dismantle or
ruin the benign capacity of their government, for they may
need it badly some day.  When it happens to you, you'll
know it's true.

   "As for those terms 'liberal' and 'conservative,' as one
who has been afflicted by both labels, depending on the
stance of the afflictor and the foreign or domestic nature
of the issue, I doubt their utility in this day and age for
anyone except slapdash journalists."

-Lane Kirkland, from his 1985 commencement address at
the University of South Carolina

Johnny B. Goode

The amazing Chuck Berry

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Dirt Lawyer talks small business jobs...

The President will be making a major speech about job creation
Thursday.  The Dirt Lawyer has been reading his tea leaves and
thinks that infrastructure spending will be a major component of
the program.  Infrastructure construction is a good thing and, in
this blog's opinion, is one of governments' proper tasks.  Having
watched government over the years, however, there is nothing
quick about the process, and to expect worthwhile job dividends
before 2013 or 2014 is naive.  Our friend David offers the
President some advice.

"But government can only do so much. Unless and until the
private sector is moving again this economy is going nowhere.

So here is my suggestion: take half the money you were going
to spend on government work and pledge it (and maybe not
even spend it!) to the private sector. How?

It's simple. While there is some work going on, we need more
real estate activity for small and mid-sized developers that
are still in business. But many of them can't start new
projects because no one will loan them the money.

So take half that money, and use it to guarantee, say, 90% of
the amount of construction and mini-perm loans for new
developments by small and mid sized businesses. Lenders
could then lend with more confidence and the private sector
can hire more workers. If the deals work out, we don't spend
a dime. And if they don't, we still end up better off than we
would with some ways we've been loaning money for; e.g.,
green jobs."

One could quibble with the percentage, and a requirement that
the developer actually had a user for the proposed development
might be prudent, is an interesting idea.  We could use
some new ideas.


"I don't know if this is the best of times or the worst of times,
but I can assure you of this:  this is the only time you've got -
and you can either sit on your expletive deleted or go out
and pick a daisy."
-Art Buchwald, from his 1977 commencement address at
Catholic University's Columbus School of Law

Big News on the local front.....

Port Authority CEO Rick Plat introducing Chamber President Cheri
Hottinger and County Commissioners Tim Bubb, Brad Feightner, and
Doug Smith at this morning's press conference announcing the CIC.

The stars have finally aligned for all of those involved in economic development in Licking County, Ohio.  A new public-private partnership was announced today by the County Commissioners and the Chamber of Commerce.  A new Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) is being formed, and more importantly, being properly funded.  The CIC will now spearhead our community's efforts to attract and retain industrial employment.  Our County is already fairly well positioned with both a retention/expansion program and a workforce development program already in place.  Our other assets include a friendly geographic location, good transportation networks, ample public utilities, a strong labor force, buildable land, and a core group of experienced developers.  Plus, it is a great community to raise a family.  Licking County is open for business.

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

     "The first thing they always did was run you.  When big
league scouts road-tested a group of elite amateur prospects,
foot speed was the first item they checked off their lists.  The
scouts actually carried around checklists.  'Tools' is what they
called the talents they were checking for in a kid.  There were
five tools: the abilities to run, throw, field, hit, and hit with
power.  A guy who could run had 'wheels'; a guy with a strong
arm had a 'hose.'  Scouts spoke the language of auto
mechanics.  You could be forgiven, if you listened to them, for
thinking they were discussing sports cars and not young men."

-Michael Lewis, Moneyball

End of an era..............

The Waldenbooks at the Zanesville mall is closing its doors soon.
We visited yesterday to see if they still had any books of interest
left.  They were about giving the books away.  A sad day.  But,
here's what we brought home:

Be careful in there............

   "The subconscious mind makes no distinction between
constructive and destructive thought impulses.  It works
with the material we feed it...."

   "Like the wind which carries one ship east, and another
west, the law of autosuggestion will lift you up or pull you
down, according to the way you set your sails of thought."

-Napoleon Hill,  Think and Grow Rich

The nutshell..............

Jobs, jobs, jobs.  This handy chart points out the obvious.
Employment losses in the construction trades have been huge.
From a peak of over 7.5 million jobs in 2006 to 5.5 million
jobs in 2011.  Still, despite the carnage of the bubble years,
the construction industry is a major employer.  Let's be
thankful for the development work that is still going on.

Thanks Bill.  Click here to enlarge

About those dogmas......

"The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy
present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we
must rise -- with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must
think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves,
and then we shall save our country."
-Abraham Lincoln, from his 12/1/1862 Message to Congress

What's all this with Johnny anyway.......

Shelly Fabares............Johnny Angel

Joanie Sommers...........Johnny Get Angry

Monday, September 5, 2011

Two gems and a jewel......................

My Sweetie and I spent a delightful Sunday evening at the
Dawes Arboretum.  Faithful readers will know that Dawes is
truly a wonderful community asset, a jewel worth both visiting
and supporting.

In the recent past, on Labor Day Weekend, Dawes has
sponsored a music event followed by fireworks.  This year,
"rain or shine," the theme was bluegrass music.  Starting around
3:00 p.m., the sound stage was filled with a progression of
talented musicians playing some wonderful fiddle music.

The headline act was the Newark-Granville Symphony
Orchestra.  That a community of our smallish size has an
orchestra of such high quality amazes me.  Their program for the
evening was mostly music from the civil war era.  As one might
suspect, the music provoked a number of different moods, from
somber introspection all the way to 'let's get up and march."

For about half their show, the Orchestra had Andy Carlson
stand in with them, playing first the mandolin and then the
fiddle.  Andy is a professor at neighboring Denison University. 
If you look up the word "virtuoso" in Webster's, his picture is
there.  Great talent and grace combined.

After the show and the fireworks finale, we drove south a
mile or two and had a late supper and an adult beverage at
the Crossroads.  Tom and Jess are superb hosts and their
fairly new establishment (formerly the Clark's Restaurant
site) is worth the visit.

All in all, a great evening of entertainment.

A poem for Monday......

                   It Couldn't Be Done

        Somebody said it couldn't be done,
            But he with a chuckle replied
That "maybe it couldn't," but he would be one
       Who wouldn't say so till he'd tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
        On his face. If he worried he hid it.
  He started to sing and he tackled the thing
      That couldn't be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you'll never do that;
        At least no one has ever done it";
But he took off his coat and he took of his hat,
    And the first thing we knew he'd begun it.
     With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
          Without any doubting or quiddit,
 He started to sing and he tackled the thing
      That couldn't be done, and he did it.

  There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
      There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you, one by one,
          The dangers that wait to assail you.
        But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
          Just take off your coat and go to it;
      Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
      That "cannot be done," and you'll do it.

-Edgar Guest

About those apps.............

double click to enlarge, or go here

As the next great "jobs" program........

.....gets rolled out in Washington, we would do well to remember
the words of Mathew Ferrara (from about a year ago):

"We’re a society that doesn’t like the fact that some times are tough and some people have to feel pain. Our laudable tendency for social compassion has become complete avoidance of any problems, along with political and financial absolution for any mistakes, even the ones we bring on ourselves. Unfortunately, social compassion isn’t an economic policy. Good emotions often lead to bad market interventions and unintended consequences that mostly make things even worse."

Full essay here.

Here's to the round pegs................

A tribute to Steve Jobs from Tom Asacker.  A wonderful 1:03.

Not sure Johnny was worth the fuss....

Lesley Gore : Its My Party/Judy's Turn to Cry
(as always, click through to Youtube when necessary)

One of those days.................

From the pen of......................

.....Gary Vaynerchuk, a few miscellaneous passages from his
book, The Thank You Economy, that caught my eye:

"I care more about my employees than I do about my
customers, and I care more about my customers that I do
about breathing."

"Every interaction matters,  Every relationship has value."

"I understand that people crave security, but I don't
understand the complete lack of curiosity."

"The difference between the performance of a company
populated by people who really care and one populated
by people who care because they are paid to is the
difference between Bruce Springsteen and Milli Vanilli."

"Any company that gets so complacent it thinks everything
is 'fine' deserves to go out of business - it literally means
its leaders have stopped caring.  A competitive company
is always on the offense.  Always. Always.  Always."

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sunday's Verse

         If I have even just a little sense,
        I should walk in the Great Way,
    and my only fear would be straying.

The Great Way is very smooth and straight,
   and yet the people prefer devious paths.
       That is why the court is corrupt,
               the fields lie in waste,
        and the granaries are empty.

               Dressing magnificently,
               wearing a sharp sword,
      stuffing oneself with food and drink,
amassing wealth to the extent of not knowing
                what to do with it,
             is like being a robber.

    I say this pomp at the expense of others
is like the boasting of thieves after a looting.
                  This is not the Tao

-53rd Verse
Tao Te Ching
Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life
Wayne Dyer


True understanding in a person has two attributes:
     awareness and action.
Together they form a natural tai chi.

Who can enjoy enlightenment and remain indifferent
     to suffering in the world?
This is not in keeping with the Way.
Only those who increase their service along with their
     understanding can be called men and women of

-Verse 53
Hua Hu Ching The Unknown Teaching of Lao Tzu
Brian Walker

The downside of Cleverness......

     "An Empty sort of mind is valuable for finding pearls and
tails and things because it can see what's in front of it.  An
Overstuffed mind is unable to.  While the Clear mind listens
to the birds singing, the Stuffed-Full-of-Knowledge-and-
Cleverness mind wonders what kind of bird is singing.  The
more Stuffed Up it is, the less it can hear through its own
ears and see through its own eyes.  Knowledge and
Cleverness tend to concern themselves with the wrong
sorts of things, and a mind confused by Knowledge,
Cleverness and Abstract Ideas tends to go chasing off
after things that don't matter, or that don't even exist,
instead of seeing, appreciating, and making use of what is
right in front of it."
-The Tao of Pooh
Benjamin Hoff

Quite the wagon ride............

Checking in with Nicole..............

From the Ragamuffin



Thanks Nicole