Saturday, March 24, 2012

Drunk History.....................

After two bottles of wine, she tells a better story than many more sober professors.  Embedding is disabled, but if you want to be schooled on the relationship between Abe Lincoln and Frederick Douglass - go here

One of my all time favorites...........

Marshall Tucker Band................................Running Like the Wind

The safest thing............

"Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have."
-Harry Emerson Fosdick

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

And so, early one chilly spring morning, the sky still purple, I drove out through the Holland Tunnel.  Slowly, then vividly, the images of an old journey began to emerge, like a photograph in a developing tray.  I began to hear voices and music and the sounds of travel.  And then I was on a Greyhound bus.  It was New Year's Eve, 1952, the bus was heading South.  I was desperate for the love of a woman.
-Pete Hamill, Loving Women: A Novel of the Fifties

Counterintuitive, but true.................

"Entrepreneurs, in accepting risk, achieve security for all.  In embracing change, they ensure social and economic stability."
-George Gilder

Life is like....................

"Life is like a jigsaw puzzle but you don't have the picture on the front of the box to know what it's supposed to look like.  Sometimes, you're not even sure you have all the pieces."
-Roger von Oech

On the "art and science" of intervention....

A brief excerpt from the chapter titled The Case for Humanitarian 
Intervention from Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens 

"Bass has a considerable gift of phrase - even though one might not rush to adopt his term 'atrocitarian' as a nickname for those revolted by acts of genocide.  He also has a jaunty flair for recognizing such cynicism in others:  It is not without relish that he cites Disraeli's dismissal of 'merciless humanitarians.'  And he is no Mrs. Jellyby, fretting only about the miseries of Borrioboola-Gha while ignoring shrieks for mercy from under his own window.  On the whole, he makes a sensible case that everyone has a self-interest in the strivings and sufferings of others because the borders between societies are necessarily porous and contingent and are, when one factors in considerations such as the velocity of modern travel, easy access to weaponry, and the spread of disease, becoming more so.  Americans may not have known or cared about Rwanda in 1994, for instance, but the effect of its crisis on the Democratic Republic of the Congo could have been even more calamitous.  Afghanistan's internal affairs are now the United States' - in fact, they were already so before Americans understood that.  A failed state may not trouble Americans' sleep, but a rogue one can, and the transition from failed to rogue can be alarmingly abrupt."

-Christopher Hitchens,  In Memoriam: Just Causes

Decisions, decisions, decisions.......

Friday, March 23, 2012

Life is like..................

"Life is like a banana.  You start out green and get soft and mushy with age.  Some people want to be one of the  bunch while others want to be top banana.  You have to take care not to slip on externals.  And, finally, you have to strip off the outer coating to get at the meat."
-Roger von Oech

photo courtesy of

...always seem outnumbered...................

Bob Seger.............................................Turn the Page

On risk............

"There is as much risk in doing nothing as in doing something."
-Trammell Crow

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." 
-Helen Keller

"When everyone feels that risks are at their minimum, over-confidence can take over and elementary precautions start to get watered down."
-Ian Macfarlane 

"This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read."
-Winston Churchill

"If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary."
-Jim Rohn

"Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit."
-e.e. cummings

"You can measure opportunity with the same yardstick that measures the risk involved. They go together."
-Earl Nightingale

"We must have courage to bet on our ideas, to take the calculated risk, and to act. Everyday living requires courage if life is to be effective and bring happiness."
-Maxwell Maltz

 "One of the reasons people stop learning is that they become less and less willing to risk failure."
-John W. Gardner

"Be wary of the man who urges an action in which he himself incurs no risk."


"Only the most foolish of mice would hide in the cat's ear.  But only the wisest of cats would think to look there."
-Scott Love

Opening paragraphs.......

In my mind, my kitchen is filled with crackers and cheese, roast chicken leftovers, fresh farm eggs, and coffee beans ready to grind.  The reality is that I keep my Smith & Wesson in the cookie jar, my Oreos in the microwave, a jar of peanut butter and hamster food in the over-the-counter cupboard, and I have beer and olives in the refrigerator.  I used to have a birthday cake in the freezer for emergencies, but I ate it.
-Janet Evanovich,  Fearless Fourteen

Strong or weak?

"They tell us, sir, that we are weak - unable to cope with so
formidable adversary.  But when shall we be stronger?  Will
it be next week, or next year?.........Shall we gather strength
by irresolution and inaction?  Shall we acquire the means of
effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs, and
hugging the delusive phantom of Hope, until our enemies
have bound us hand and foot?  Sir, we are not weak, if we
make proper use of those means which the God of nature
hath placed in our power."
-Patrick Henry
selected excerpts from his "Give me liberty or give
me death" speech, March 23, 1775

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Life is like........................

"Life is like a poker game.  You deal or are dealt to.  It includes skill and luck.  You bet, check, bluff, and raise.  You learn from those you play with.  Sometimes, you win with a pair or lose with a full house.  But whatever happens, it's best to keep shuffling along."
-Roger von Oech

Opening paragraphs........

The danger of civilization, of course, is that you will piss away your life on nonsense.  The discounted sociologist Jared Schmitz, who was packed off from Harvard to a minor religious college in Missouri before earning tenure when a portion of his doctoral dissertation was proven fraudulent, stated that in a culture in the seventh stage of rabid consumerism the peripheral always subsumes the core, and the core disappears to the point that very few of the citizens can recall its precise nature.  Schmitz had stupidly confided to his lover, a graduate student, that he had in fact invented certain French and German data, and when he abandoned her for a Boston toe dancer this graduate student ratted on him,  This is neither specifically here nor there to our story other than to present an amusing anecdote on the true nature of academic life.  Also, of course, the poignant message of a culture spending its time as it spends its money; springing well beyond the elements of food, clothes, and shelter into the suffocating welter of the unnecessary that has become necessary.
-Jim Harrison,  The Beast God Forgot to Invent

I miss you like I miss the sun, I need you every day

Dave Mason......................Look At You Look At Me


Modern myths..................

"Nearly every generation since the Renaissance has touted itself as 'modern,' as 'the new age,' as having arrived at the moment of enlightenment when the quaint superstitions and myths of the past are finally being swept into the dustbin of history.  As is the case in every society, the myths and rites that form our minds, emotions, and actions remain largely invisible and unconscious.  One of the best ways to discover the living myth of any society is to examine what everyone accepts uncritically as the way things really are.  We, for instance, assume that progress, urbanization, and technological innovation are inevitable, and that it is the destiny of the underdeveloped nations to evolve into developed nations.  The consensus reality is the myth, but it remains as invisible to the majority as water is to a fish."
-Sam Keen, Fire in the Belly: On Being A Man

A big problem.................

To have one thing lead to another...........

"If you do not expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail."

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Life is like...................

"Life is like a maze in which you try to avoid the exit."
-Roger von Oech

Authority issues..............

“We started off trying to set up a small anarchist community, 
but people wouldn't obey the rules.” 
 Alan Bennett 

My favorite economic futurist plays the "wouldn't it be nice if" game..............

Wouldn't it be nice if....................

…those seeking the Presidency would discuss critical issues facing the American people, instead of so many side issues

…we weren’t running a federal budget deficit this year of $160,000,000 every 60 minutes

…members of Congress had to participate in the same health care program as the one being dumped on the American people

…Wall Street “high rollers” had greater legal and financial accountability for the financial market abuses of recent years

…the Administration would stop talking about being “pro-business” and actually a) promote pro-business policies, and b) remove anti-business initiatives that dominate its agenda

…your garbage disposal didn’t eat better than two-thirds of the world’s population

…more working people would save seriously for their Golden Years (an estimated one-third of the U.S.population saves zero for retirement)

…the Administration was more focused on providing incentives for wealth creation and less focused on wealth redistribution

…we didn’t have a $15,300,000,000,000 gross national debt

Full list is here

Won't stop us from trying...............

"Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men."
-David Ogilvy

"Thank you, Lord, for thinkin' 'bout me. I'm alive and doin' fine..........."

Five Man Electrical Band...............................Signs


Go ahead, take one.....

thanks Girl Scholar

We're still pretty spry here..................

clipped from Greg Mankiw's really good blog

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Epictetus was quoted as saying:

"What concerns me is not the way things are, but rather the way people think they are."

"Whoever does not regard what he has as most ample wealth, is unhappy, though he be master of the world." 

"When you are offended at any man's fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger." 

"What is the first business of one who practices philosophy? To get rid of self-conceit. For it is impossible for anyone to begin to learn that which he thinks he already knows." 

"We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them." 

"The world turns aside to let any man pass who knows where he is going." 

"The two powers which in my opinion constitute a wise man are those of bearing and forbearing." 

"The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things." 

"If you wish to be a writer, write." 

Oh, sure................


Thinking and talking about the
Integral Way are not the
same as practicing it.
Who ever became a good rider by
talking about horses?
If you wish to embody the Tao,
stop chattering and
start practicing.
Relax your body and quiet your senses.
Return your mind to it original clarity.
Forget about being separated
from others and from the
Divine Source.

As you return to the Oneness,
do not think of it or be in awe of it.
This is just another way of
separating from it.

Simply merge into truth, and allow it
to surround you.

Verse 49
Hua Hu Ching:  The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu
Brian Walker

....made a solemn oath............

Traffic.............................John Barleycorn Must Die (live)

Professionalism 101...........

From Nicholas Bate............A professional:

85.  Believes in him/her self.

86.  Knows it takes years to achieve over-night success.

87.  Is inspired by all kinds of sources.

88.   Has made endless cock-ups.  But learnt from most of them.

89.  Will make endless cock-ups but knows he/she will grow
        from almost every one of them.

90.  That business is a cycle:  when it's good, don't forget that it
        can be bad.  Build resources to be recession-proof.

Compensations and consolations.......

"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not.  A sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
- attributed to Horace Walpole


"Yesterday's certainties are today's superstitions."
-Sam Keen

Monday, March 19, 2012

A defense for not finishing a book....

My kids always thought it was interesting that I would buy more books when I haven't yet read all those residing on the shelves. The response that I had read parts of most of them left the kids unimpressed. My daughter, in one of her better fund raising projects, once announced that, until I read the ones I already owned, I had to pay her $.25 for every new book I bought.  Fortunately, she lacks an enforcement mechanism.

Tim Parks, writing in the New York Review of Books, offers a defense for those of us who might wish to consider that reading a book does not necessarily mean finishing it.  Full essay here.  Meat here:

"Do we need to finish them? Is a good book by definition one that we did finish? Or are there occasions when we might choose to leave off a book before the end, or even only half way through, and nevertheless feel that it was good, even excellent, that we were glad we read what we read, but don’t feel the need to finish it? I ask the question because this is happening to me more and more often. Is it age, wisdom, senility? I start a book. I’m enjoying it thoroughly, and then the moment comes when I just know I’ve had enough. It’s not that I’ve stopped enjoying it. I’m not bored, I don’t even think it’s too long. I just have no desire to go on enjoying it." 

thanks tyler

Now what..................?

Wile E. Coyote finally catches Road Runner


There was a time...............

......................when the notion of a constitutionally limited federal government was accepted as fact.

The year is 1846.  The President is James K. Polk.  The issue is an  "An act making appropriations for the improvement of certain harbors and rivers" passed by Congress. Polk vetoes the bill.  Full presidential veto message is here.  Fun and interesting excerpts here:

"It must produce a disreputable scramble for the public money, by the conflict which is inseparable from such a system between local and individual interests and the general interest of the whole."

"On examining its provisions and the variety of objects of improvement which it embraces, many of them of a local character, it is difficult to conceive, if it shall be sanctioned and become a law, what practical constitutional restraint can hereafter be imposed upon the most extended system of internal improvements by the Federal Government in all parts of the Union."

"The Constitution has not, in my judgment, conferred upon the Federal Government the power to construct works of internal improvement within the States, or to appropriate money from the Treasury for that purpose."

"The general proposition that the Federal Government does not possess this power is so well settled and has for a considerable period been so generally acquiesced in that it is not deemed necessary to reiterate the arguments by which it is sustained."

"The whole frame of the Federal Constitution proves that the Government which it creates was intended to be one of limited and specified powers. A construction of the Constitution so broad as that by which the power in question is defended tends imperceptibly to a consolidation of power in a Government intended by its framers to be thus limited in its authority. "The obvious tendency and inevitable result of a consolidation of the States into one sovereignty would be to transform the republican system of the United States into a monarchy." 

"It not only leads to a consolidation of power in the Federal Government........, but its inevitable tendency is to embrace objects for the expenditure of the public money which are local in their character, benefiting but few at the expense of the common Treasury of the whole."

"It will produce combinations of local and sectional interests, strong enough when united to carry propositions for appropriations of public money which could not of themselves, and standing alone, succeed, and can not fail to lead to wasteful and extravagant expenditures."

"The wisdom of the framers of the Constitution in withholding power over such objects from the Federal Government and leaving them to the local governments of the States becomes more and more manifest with every year's experience of the operations of our system."

"The treasure of the world would hardly be equal to the improvement of every bay, inlet, creek, and river in our country which might be supposed to promote the agricultural, manufacturing, or commercial interests of a neighborhood."

Handy to know.................

Monday's Poem................

    Is There For Honest Poverty

Is there for honest poverty 
   Wha hangs his head, an' a' that? 
The coward slave, we pass him by -- 
   We dare be poor for a' that! 
For a' that, an' a' that, 
Our toils obscure, an' a' that, 
   The rank is but the guinea's stamp -
The man's the gowd for a' that. 

What though on hamely fare we dine, 
   Wear hoddin' grey, an' a' that? 
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine, -
   A man's a man for a' that. 
For a' that, an' a' that, 
   Their tinsel show, an' a' that, 
The honest man, though e'er sae poor, 
    Is king o' men for a' that. 

Ye see yon birkie ca'd 'a lord,' 
    Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that? - 
Tho' hundreds worship at his word, 
    He's but a cuif for a' that. 
For a' that, an' a' that, 
    His ribband, star, an' a' that, 
The man o' independent mind, 
    He looks an' laughs at a' that. 

A prince can mak a belted knight, 
    A marquis, duke, an' a' that! 
But an honest man's aboon his might, - 
    Guid faith, he maunna fa' that! 
For a' that, an' a' that, 
    Their dignities, an' a' that, 
The pith o' sense an' pride o' worth 
    Are higher rank than a' that. 

Then let us pray that come it may, -
    As come it will for a' that,- 
That Sense and Worth o'er a' the earth 
    Shall bear the gree an' a' that! 
For a' that, an' a' that, 
    It's comin yet for a' that, -
That man to man the world o'er 
    Shall brithers be for a' that!

-Robert Burns

From A Student of the Real Estate Game.....

For an investor and entrepreneur, these are truly unprecedented times..........
How are you taking advantage of the unique investment landscape? 


"Next to selfishness, the principal cause which makes life unsatisfactory is want of mental cultivation. A cultivated mind - I do not mean that of a philosopher, but any mind to which the fountains of knowledge have been opened, and which has been taught, in any tolerable degree, to exercise its faculties- finds sources of inexhaustible interest in all that surrounds it; in the objects of nature, the achievements of art, the imaginations of poetry, the incidents of history, the ways of mankind, past and present, and their prospects in the future."
-John Stuart Mill, from his essay  Utilitarianism

Why satellites are totally worth the investment....

back story is here

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Higher math....................

It is only a matter of time............

The stonecutter..........

"There was once a stonecutter, who was dissatisfied with himself and his position in life.

"One day, he passed a wealthy merchant's house, and through the open gateway, saw many fine possessions and important visitors.  'How powerful that merchant must be!' thought the stonecutter.  He became very envious and wished that he could be like the merchant.  Then he would no longer have to live the life of a  mere stonecutter.

"To his great surprise, he suddenly became the merchant, enjoying more luxuries and power than he had ever dreamed of, envied and detested by those less wealthy than himself.  But soon a high official passed by, carried in a sedan chair, accompanied by attendants, and escorted by soldiers beating gongs.  Everyone, no matter how wealthy, had to bow low before the procession.  'How powerful that official is!' he thought.  'I wish that I could be a high official!'

"Then he became the high official, carried everywhere in his embroidered sedan chair, feared and hated by the people all around, who had to bow down before him as he passed.  It was a hot summer day, and the official felt very uncomfortable in the sticky sedan chair.  He looked up at the sun.  It shone proudly in the sky, unaffected by his presence.  'How powerful the sun is!' he thought.  'I wish that I could be the sun!'

"Then he became the sun, shining fiercely down on everyone, scorching the fields, cursed by the farmers and laborers.  But a huge black cloud moved between him and the earth, so that his light could no longer shine on everything below.  'How I wish that I could be a cloud!'

"Then he became the cloud, flooding the fields and villages, shouted at by everyone.  But soon he found that he was being pushed away by some great force, and realized that it was the wind.  'How powerful it is!' he thought.  I wish that I could be the wind!'

"Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off the roofs of houses, uprooting trees, hated and feared by all below him.  But after a while, he ran up against something that would not move,  no matter how forcefully he blew against it - a huge, towering stone.  How powerful that stone is!' he thought.  I wish that I could be a stone!'

"The he became the stone, more powerful than anything else on earth.  But as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer pounding a chisel into the solid rock, and felt himself being changed.  'What could be more powerful than I, the stone?' he thought.  He looked down and saw far below him the figure of a stonecutter."

-Benjamin Hoff,  The Tao of Pooh

About the weather............

"Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces 
us, snow is exhilarating; there is no such thing as bad 
weather, only different kinds of good weather."
-John Ruskin

photo from mmescherzo


"Take charge of your soul, that is the mind, will and emotions.  Refuse to allow circumstances to dictate your mood.  Be as solid as the Rock of your faith.  Neither stumble nor stagger by unbelief, but believe God.  When we take control of our mind and emotions, we can control the circumstance.  Action is always more powerful than reaction.   Above all, refuse to become a victim.  Stop thinking like a victim, stop seeing yourself as a victim.  Take responsibility for your action, then act!"
-excerpted from the LifeLine blog.  Full post is here

Sunday's Verse

30.  And He said, "How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it?

31.  "It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, thought it is smaller that all the seeds that are upon the soil,

32.  yet when it is sown, grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that the birds of the air can nest under its shade."

Mark 5:30-32
The Holy Bible
New American Standard:  The Open Bible

On how to conduct the audience....

Johann Strauss.....................................Radetzky March
Herbert von Karajan conducting the Vienna Philharmonic

thanks WRM


3.  Good or bad deeds are not the direct cause of the transformation.  They only act as breakers of the obstacles to natural evolution; just as a farmer breaks down the obstacles in a water course, so that water flows thought by its own nature.

     Here, Patanjali explains the Hindu theory of evolution of species by means of an illustration from agriculture. The farmer who irrigates one of his fields from a reservoir does not have to fetch the water.  The water is there already.  All the farmer has to do is to open a sluice gate or break down a dam, and the water flows into the field by the natural force of gravity.........."All progress and power are already in every man," says Vivekananda.  "Perfection is in every man's nature, only it is barred in and prevented from taking its proper course.  If anyone can take the bar off, in rushes nature."...............In the animal the man was suppressed, but, as soon as the door was opened, out rushed man.  So, in man there is the potential god, kept in by the locks and bars of ignorance.  When knowledge breaks these bars, the god becomes manifest.

-How to Know God:  The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali
Chapter IV. Liberation: Verse 3

Wander restlessly...........

I laugh when I hear that the fish
    in the water is thirsty.
You wander restlessly from forest
    to forest while the Reality
    is within your own dwelling.
The truth is here!  Go where you will -
    to Benares or to Mathura;
    until you have found God
    in your own soul, the whole world
    will seem meaningless to you.