Saturday, February 25, 2012


Back in 1977 I purchased a paperback copy of The Autobiography
of Benjamin Franklin.  This little book has followed me faithfully,
from move to move, ever since.  Franklin being one of my heroes, 
occasionally it gets picked up and thumbed through.  As James
O'Donnell Bennett says in the frontispiece quote, it is "An intimate
document, sinewy, naive and shrewd, direct from the hand of the
most versatile of the founders of America's greatness."  

Suspecting that most readers of this blog will be familiar with
Franklin's 13 virtues, it seemed a fair idea to post them again.
It should be noted that Franklin never claimed success in
mastering these.  As Captain Barbossa might say, think of them  
more as guidelines than strict rules.  Enjoy:
  1. Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  2. Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  4. Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
  6. Industry. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
  11. Tranquility. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
  13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.


"The greatest cunning is to have none at all."
-Carl Sandburg

About science.............

     "What is science?  The word is usually used to mean one
of three things, or a mixture of them.  I do not think we need
to be precise - it is not always a good idea to be too precise. 
Science means, sometimes, a special method of finding things
out.  Sometimes it means the body of knowledge arising from
the things found out.  It may also mean the new things you
can do when you have found something out, or the actual
doing of new things."

-Richard P. Feynman, 
The Meaning Of It All:  Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist


There is a mean in all things.  Even virtue itself has its stated limits, which, not being strictly observed, it ceases to be a virtue

-an unattributed quote from The Carcanet 

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

     He was born in the upstairs room of a tiny gray stone weaver's cottage in Dunfermline, Scotland, to Margaret Carnegie, the daughter of Tom Morrison, the town's outspoken radical, and William Carnegie, a handloom weaver of fine damasks.  He would be called Andrew, following the Scottish custom of naming the firstborn son after the father's father.  Mag Carnegie, unable to afford a midwife, had called on her pregnant girlhood friend Ailie Fargee for assistance.  A few months later, when Ailie's time came, Mag was there to minister to the birth of Ailie's son, Richard.

-David Nasaw,  Andrew Carnegie

Less free..................

"Lives based on having are less free than lives based on
either doing or being."
-William James

Life is a whole.....

"......One of the great dangers we face in the modern world
is an inappropriate compartmentalization of our lives.
     "We can draw a distinction between the public and the
private, between what is professional and what is personal,
but I've come to believe that the most fundamental virtues
and principles in both domains are the same.  In addition,
I am convinced that it's dangerous to try to make exceptions
to those ways of living and treating others we've found to
be binding in one domain.  Life is a whole, and must be
approached as such."

Friday, February 24, 2012


The Saint Consulting blog offers insights into the failures of "group
think"  The question:

Have you ever wondered how a group of very smart people could make a very bad decision?  Or how a group could reach a conclusion that isn’t wiser than the sum of its parts?  It could be the result of groupthink.

Part of the answer:

.....The first symptom is an overestimation of the group, characterized by an illusion of invulnerability and a belief in the inherent morality of the group.  The second symptom is closed-mindedness, which involves the stereotypes of out-groups and collective rationalization that causes group members to ignore the reconsideration of their thoughts and actions.  The third symptom is the pressure toward uniformity that is manifested in self-censorship, an illusion of unanimity, the presence of self-appointed mindguards, and direct pressure on dissenters.

Full post is here

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

    Of all the towering figures of the twentieth century, both good and evil, Winston Churchill was the most valuable to humanity, and also the most likable.  It is a joy to write of his life, and to read about it.  None holds more lessons, especially for youth:  How to use a difficult childhood.  How to seize eagerly on all opportunities, physical, moral, and intellectual.  How to dare greatly, to reinforce success, and to put the inevitable failures behind you.  And how, while pursuing vaulting ambition with energy and relish, to cultivate also friendship, generosity, compassion, and decency.

-Paul Johnson,  Churchill

On obstacles and goals......

"A goal casually set and lightly taken is freely abandoned at 
the first obstacle."
-Zig Ziglar

"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you 
take your eyes off your goals."
-Sydney Smith

Simple and undeviating...........

      Good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results; bad thoughts and actions can never produce good results.  This is but saying that nothing can come from corn but corn, nothing from nettles but nettles.  Men understand this in the natural world, and work with it; but few understand it in the mental and moral world, though its operation there is just as simple and undeviating, and they, therefore, do not cooperate with it.
-James Allen, As A Man Thinketh

Not everyone loved Emerson.............

Algernon Charles Swinburne by William Bell Scott
Faithful readers will understand this blogger's fascination with
Ralph Waldo Emerson.  It was with great interest that I read
this passage in Brand Blanshard's book Four Reasonable Men:

"It came to the notice of Swinburne that Emerson has said
something critical of him in an American paper.....The angry
poet sat down and wrote the philosopher a letter describing
him as a 'gap-toothed and hoary-headed ape, carried at
first into notice on the shoulder of Carlyle, and who now in
his dotage spits and chatters from a dirtier perch in his own 
finding and fouling:  coryphaeus or choragus of his Bulgarian
tribe of autocophagous baboons, who make the filth they
feed on'...."

Besides sending me to the dictionary to look up a few words,
this passage led me to the Oracle That Is Wikipedia to learn
more about Swinburne.  You can read it yourself here, or just
take comfort in this quote:

However, (T.S) Eliot disliked Swinburne's prose. About this 
he wrote "the tumultuous outcry of adjectives, the 
headstrong rush of undisciplined sentences, are the index to 
the impatience and perhaps laziness of a disorderly mind."

And we think what passes for our current political conversation
is too harsh and personal.  It has ever been thus.


Today's word for the day is brought to us by Mr. Webster and
the Third Edition of his New World College Dictionary:

coryphaeus       n.      1.  The leader of the chorus in ancient
                                          Greek drama     2  a leader, as of a
                                          sect or movement

as in:

Al Gore is the coryphaeus of the global cooling deniers.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Now, if only the "facts" weren't so elusive...

from the Business Wisdom blog
Thanks Michael

Pretty good success ratio...............

Confucius say..............

5.  Tzu-chang asked about getting on with people.  The Master said, Be loyal and true to your every word, serious and careful in all you do; and you will get on well enough, even though you find yourself among barbarians.  But if you are disloyal and untrustworthy in your speech, frivolous and careless in your acts, even though you are among your own neighbours, how can you hope to get on well?  When standing, see these principles ranged before you; in your carriage, see them resting on the yoke.  Then you may be sure that you will get on.  Tzu-chang accordingly inscribed the maxim upon his sash.

-The Analects of Confucius, Book XV

This is very cool....................

Not only on the golf course.................

Good players have the power to think while they are
competing.  Most golfers are not thinking, even when they
believe they are.  They are only worrying.
     Worrying is a misuse of your mind on the golf course. 
Whatever your obstacle, worry will only make it more
difficult.  Further, it is impossible to make a good golf
swing if your muscles are too tense.
     Rather than worrying, be mindful of the shot at hand
and go ahead and play it as if you are going to hit the
best shot of your life.  You really might do it.

-Harvey Penick,  The Game for a Lifetime

Spending a few moments with Carlos....

Carlos Santana...............................................Samba pa ti

On tolerance.............

     The policy of the emperors and the senate, as far as it concerned religion, was happily seconded by the reflections of the enlightened, and by the habits of the superstitious, part of their subjects.  The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people, as equally true; by the philosopher, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful.  And thus toleration produced not only mutual indulgence, but even religious concord.

-Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,
on the peace and prosperity during the Age of the Antonines

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Voted yesterday.  The Ohio March primaries seemed
singularly unexciting, but the Park Levy needed my YES
vote.  +/-$15/year is a true bargain for the quality of life
enhancement it delivers.  Hope you agree.

And, as the wise woman said,  there is no power in being against
something, all the power is being FOR something.

thanks Jessica

About Liberty...............

     Liberty, like Love, is as hard to keep as to win, and the exertions by which it was originally gained, will be worse than fruitless, if they be not followed up by the assiduities by which alone it can be preserved.

-an unattributed quote from The Carcanet

He is a couple of years older.....

......than I am, but has more stamina.  Peter Frampton played
the fabulous Midland Theatre last night.  It was great show.
His talent, energy, and likability is still intact and his band is
first rate.  The house was full and the crowd was pumped.
150 minutes into it, I was toast and Peter was still going strong.
Must be that vegetarian thing.

this was then..........................

this is now.................

Opening paragraphs.......

     The slim, erect officer in the Union blue, looking taller than he was, peered down the rocky slopes of Little Round Top.  Clouds of smoke and dust obscured his view, but what he saw forced his face into lines of decision.  His vivid blue eyes narrowed, and the lips, almost covered by a sweeping brown mustache, drew into a thin line as he calculated the effects of a move which he could scarcely hope to carry off but which he must make to save his command from defeat or capture and prevent the entire left flank of the Union lines at Gettysburg from being rolled up.  Once the Confederates seized Little Round Top, the battle was lost for the Union and Lee's invasion of the North would be a real political threat, encouraging the peace party elements in the North and perhaps influencing the European powers to reconsider the question of recognizing the Confedereracy.

-Willard M. Wallace,  Soul of the Lion:  A Biography of General
Joshua L. Chamberlain

On concentration................

"He was one of the world's greatest men, and was made great by one single rule.  Oh, that all the young people of Philadelphia were before me now and I could just say this one thing, and that they would remember it.  I would give a lifetime for the effect it would have on our city and on civilization.  Abraham Lincoln's principle for greatness can be adopted by nearly all.  This was his rule:  Whatsoever he had to do at all, he put his whole mind into it and held it there until that was all done.  That makes men great almost anywhere."

Russell Conwell, Acres of Diamonds


On becoming a creator............

"You must get rid of the thought of competition.  You are to create, not to compete for what is already created.  You do not have to drive sharp bargains.  You do not have to cheat, or to take advantage.  You do not need for any man work for you for less than he earns.  You do not have to covet the property of others, or to look at it with wishful eyes; no man has anything of which you cannot have the like, and that without taking what he has away from him.  You are to become a creator, not a competitor; you are going to get what you want, but in such a way that when you get it every other man will have more than he has now."

"Riches secured on the competitive plane are never satisfactory and permanent; they are yours today, and another's tomorrow."

"Remember, if you are to become rich in a scientific and certain way, you must rise entirely out of the competitive thought.  You must never think for a moment that the supply is limited.  Just as soon as you being to thing that all the money is being 'cornered' and controlled by bankers and others, and that you must exert yourself to get laws passed to stop this process, and so on - in that moment you drop into the competitive mind, and your power to cause creation is gone for the time being; and what is worse, you will probably arrest the creative movements you have already instituted."

-as excerpted from The Wisdom of Wallace D. Wattles

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Could it be...........?

Does this mean the sabbatical is over?  Has the Mighty E. returned to his blogging ways?  Is peace and harmony just a click away.   Stay tuned.

Really old stuff in a shoebox.....

From time to time I have collected really old books.  It will come
as no surprise to faithful readers that there was no organizing
purpose behind such a collection, other than I suspected that the
trash bin was soon to be their fate if I didn't accept them.  I like
having them around, but don't handle them much.  Books printed
and bound in the 1820's don't really like being handled too much.

Occasionally though one has to sort gently through the treasures.
Yesterday, I picked up The Carcanet compiled by Sir Harry
Nicolas and published by William Pickering in MDCCCXXVIII
(1828 if I'm doing my sums correctly)  Not knowing what a
carcanet was, the oracle Google was consulted.  Amazing the
information that is out there, like here and here.

From the Preface:

The following pages contain part of an album into which the
writer was accustomed, some years since, to copy any
passage, remarkable for its beauty or for the truth which it
expressed, whether in prose of poetry, and without reference
to the period in which the author lived.  From those gleanings
this little volume has been formed, with no other attention to
arrangement than to prevent the too frequent occurrence of
the same writer's productions, and to intersperse the poetry
with prose
     Although nothing could be less intended that to give these
extracts a didactic form, they will not only be found wholly
free from a line to which the most rigid moralist can object;
but many of them inculcate sentiments of the purest piety
and the strictest virtue, clothed in the most beautiful
language.  Others were selected for the admirable rules which
they prescribe for human conduct, and some few for their
literary excellence alone.

Sounds like Sir Harry would have been a pretty fair blogger.
Seems only fair that, from time to time, a passage will be
borrowed from there to here.  Like this:

The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heav'n of hell, a hell of heaven.

This will be on the test..........

thanks jonco

Partial credit?

It's all in the headline...............

Duke Long probably scored a gazillion hits with this one:

Commercial Real Estate and PORN!

The topic is office porn.  His full post is here.   To save you the
trouble, below are some of the available porn shots.  As always,
Duke is all about how to do commercial real estate better.  Just
wondering why none of these resemble my office space.  Enjoy.


"A seed, dropped into the ground, springs into activity, and in the act of living produces a hundred more seeds; life, by living, multiplies itself.  It is forever becoming More; it must do so, if it continues to be at all."

"The universe desires you to have everything you want to have.  Nature is friendly to your plans.  Everything is naturally for you.  Make up your mind this is true.  It is essential, however, that your purpose should harmonize with the purpose that is All.  You must want real life, not mere pleasure of sensual gratification.  Life is the performance of function; and the individual really lives only when he performs every function, physical, mental, and spiritual, of which he is capable, without excess in any."

-as excerpted from The Wisdom of Wallace D. Wattles

On keeping the independence of solitude...

     What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think.   This rule, equally arduous in the actual and in the intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness.  It is the harder because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it.  It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self Reliance

About Error......................

     "Truth is to be sought only by slow and painful progress.
Error is in its nature flippant and compendious; it hops with
airy and fastidious levity over proofs and arguments, and
perches upon assertion, which it calls conclusion."
-John Philpot Curran

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy President's Day..............

thanks jonco

Ambrose Bierce would be proud..........

James Geary brings us wisdom and aphorisms by Peter Siviglia. 
Full story is here.  A small sampling is here:

Responsibility: the rejection of excuses.

Truth: the most powerful and disarming of weapons. To believe that you can deceive without detection is self-deception. To admit error is to treat acid with a base.

The two certainties in life: Death and Taxes. Well, it’s time to add a third: Mistakes. Work, therefore, must be checked, rechecked, and checked again. Even then, some mistakes, like pests, will persist; but by then, those that remain, hopefully, will be harmless.

Luck: Luck begins and ends when the sperm hits the egg. It is a word for losers and for those few who are both successful and modest. Therefore, take an extended vacation from “if only”, “might have”, “could have”, “would have”, and their colleagues.

Three people never to trust: cowards, the greedy, and the desperate.

Searching for shelter............

Bob Seger...........................................Against the Wind

A poem for Monday

sonnet entitled how to run the world)

A always don't there B being no such thing
for C can't casts no shadow D drink and

E eat of her voice in whose silence the music of spring
lives F feel opens but shuts understand
G gladly forget little having less

with every least the most remembering
H highest fly only the flag that's unfurled

(sestet entitled grass is flesh or swim
who can and bathe who must or any dream
means more than sleep as more then know means guess)

I item i immaculately owe
dying one life and will my rest to these

children building this rainman out of snow

-e.e. cummings

Opening paragraphs.......

It is morning in the lush Kathmandu Valley.  I am in a small, clay, mud-floored hut at the top of Kopan Hill, surrounded by gleaming snow-covered Himalayan mountaintops.  The rising sun has started to evaporate the mist covering the rice paddies below.  At the bottom of the hill I can see three barefoot young Nepalese villagers filling water jugs from a spring.  Soon one of them will put a jug on his head and carry it up the hill and leave it outside my hut.

-Lama Surya Das,  Awakening the Buddha Within

Been there, done that.....and somehow survived

Don't forget to play.................

Swiss Miss points us to playgroundology and reminds us:

A monkey...................

The ego is a monkey catapulting through the jungle:
Totally fascinated by the realm of the senses, it
     swings from one desire to the next, one
     conflict to the next, one self-centered idea
     to the next.
If you threaten it, it actually fears for its life.

Let this monkey go.
Let the senses go.
Let desires go.
Let conflicts go.
Let ideas go.
Let the fiction of life and death go.
Just remain in the center, watching.

And then forget that you are there.

-Chapter 10
Hua Hu Ching:  The Unkonwn Teachings of Lao Tzu
Brian Walker

Embracing the making of things.......

No one cares more deeply about the growth of manufacturing, and all the good ecomomic outcomes that spin off from the making of  things, than Rick Platt.  Nobody is working harder to make it happen in our part of the world either.  Read about it here.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


     Don't be a wishful thinker.  Don't waste your mental muscles dreaming of an effortless way to win success.  We don't become successful simply through luck.  Success comes from doing those things and mastering those principles that produce success.  Don't count on luck for promotions, victories, the good things in life.  Luck simply isn't designed to deliver these good things.  Instead, just concentrate on developing those qualities in yourself that will make you a winner.
-David J. Schwartz, The Magic of Thinking Big

Confucius say..........

26.   The Master said, High office filled with men of
narrow views, ritual performed without reverence, the
forms of mourning observed without grief - these are
things I cannot bear to see!

-The Analects of Confucius,  Book III

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

It is customary for those who wish to gain the favour of a prince to endeavour to do so by offering to him gifts of those things which they hold most precious, or in which they know him to take especial delight.  In this way princes are often presented with horses, arms, cloth of gold, gems, and such-like ornaments worthy of their grandeur.  In my desire, however, to offer to Your Highness some humble testimony of my devotion, I have been unable to find among my possessions anything which I hold so dear or esteem so highly as that knowledge of the deeds of great men which I have acquired through a long experience of modern events and a constant study of the past.

-Niccolo Machiavelli,  The Prince

A promise....................

The basics.................

   "Basic to our American way of life is the doctrine that any
person, under the free opportunities afforded by democracy,
can rise to the level of his belief and talent.  The quality of
one's belief and thinking has been demonstrated to be
superior in importance to talent.  In fact, thought and faith
have often released talent previously unsuspected."
-Norman Vincent Peale
Why Some Positive Thinkers Get Powerful Results

Harrison in the most unexpected of places....

Many inhabitants in my wee corner of the blogosphere are noted
for their affection of Jim Harrison and his writings.  Can you
blame them?

Friday evening my sweetie and I shared a scrumptious fish and
chips anniversary dinner at the Muddy Misers tavern in nearby
Zanesville.   The Muddy Miser is a shrine to local legend Zane
Grey.  One expects to find his works about, and does.  So, you
can imagine my surprise, and pleasure, at finding this in their

Sunday's Verse

          When the world has the Way,
running horses are retired to till the fields.
        When the world lacks the Way
  warhorses are bred in the countryside.

There is no greater loss than losing the Tao,
      no greater curse than covetousness,
  no greater tragedy than discontentment;
the worst of faults is wanting more - always.

        Contentment alone is enough.
          Indeed, the bliss of eternity
    can be found in your contentment.

-Tao Te Ching
46th Verse
as interpreted by Wayne Dyer
Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life

When the Way prevails under heaven,
   swift horses are relegated to fertilizing fields.
When the Way does not prevail under heaven,
   war-horses breed in the suburbs.

No guilt is greater than giving in to desire,
No disaster is greater than discontent,
No crime is more grievous than the desire for gain.

    Contentment that derives from knowing
              when to be content
      is eternal contentment.

-Tao Te Ching
46th Verse
Translated by Victor H. Mair