Saturday, April 7, 2012

Winning and losing.........

Jackie Robinson stealing home against Yogi Berra and the Yankees.
If you look real close, you can see the ball loose by Berra's right shin guard

“It kills me to lose. If I'm a troublemaker, and I don't think that my temper makes me one, then it's because I can't stand losing. That's the way I am about winning, all I ever wanted to do was finish first.”
-Jackie Robinson


The Animals.............Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

This song was written by BenjaminCaldwell and Marcus 
for Nina Simone, who first recorded it in 1964.  The Animals
covered it in 1965

Nina Simone..........................Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

The Great Dissenter.............

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Associate Justice of the
U. S. Supreme Court 1902-1932
"In this symposium my part is only to sit in silence.  To express one's feelings as the end draws near is too intimate a task.  But I may mention one thought that occurs to me as a listener-in.  The riders in the race do not stop short when they reach the goal.  There is a little finishing canter before coming to a standstill.  There is time to hear the kind words of friends and to say to oneself:  The work is done.  But just as one says that, the answer comes:  The race is over, but the work is never done while the power to work remains.  The canter that brings you to a standstill need not be only coming to rest.  It cannot be while you still live.  For to live is to function.  That is all there is in living.  And so I end with a line from a Latin poet who uttered the message more than fifteen hundred years ago: "Death plucks my ear and says, 'Live - I am coming.'"

-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., from his nationally broadcast radio address on his 90th birthday, March 8, 1931.


courtesy of waitingforthekarmatruck

Speaking of magic..................

The Lovin' Spoonful.......................Do You Believe In Magic

That rascal History continues to have its way...

Under the heading of "nobody promised us easy," WRM continues to bang his drum about the end of the "blue social model."  Full, read-worthy, "A Crisis of Civilization"  essay is here  (for a continuing education, read through the comments section).  An excerpt is here:
" There is no such thing as a developed country. No country on earth has reached a stable end state; there is no such thing as a comfortable retirement from the stresses and storms of history and of change. France, America, Germany, Japan: we thought we had found a permanent solution to all economic and social questions..........We hadn’t."
Perhaps I am just seeking confirmation of my own bias, but Mead's recent essays on the subject would seem to inform that, while it is broadly human nature to seek economic security and ease, history and experience tells us such security and ease cannot be permanent.  Neither can they be granted:  They have to be earned - daily.  Mead concludes:
"And it is raving lunacy to expect that there is some master plan that can reveal the shape of the new society and show us how to achieve it. That isn’t what life at the cutting edge of history is ever like. The challenge of our time is invention, not implementation. The future doesn’t exist yet; we have to make it up."


Friday, April 6, 2012


The Doors.........................................Backdoor Man

This song was written by Willie Dixon and recorded by 
Howlin' Wolf in 1960.  The Doors covered it in 1966.

Howlin' Wolf......................................Backdoor Man

Winning and losing.........

"You've got to get to the stage in life where going for it is more important than winning or losing."
-Arthur Ashe

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

Thurgood Marshall   Associate Justice
of the United States Supreme Court    1967-1991
Thurgood Marshall was born in 1908.  That year an African American named Jack Johnson knocked out Tommy Burns, the then world heavy-weight champion.  This was the first time a black man had taken the title away from a white man.  As soon as Johnson won, the search was on for the "great white hope" who could take the crown away from him.  For African Americans, Johnson's victory may have been the only joy they had that year.
-Howard Ball, A Defiant Life:  Thurgood Marshall
& The Persistence of Racism in America


".....If there ever could be a proper time for mere catch arguments, that time is surely not now.  In times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and in eternity...."
-Abraham Lincoln, an excerpt from his Second Annual 
Message to Congress, December 1, 1862

A distinction with a difference....

These quotes come from the 1765 Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law by John Adams.  It almost seems as if he is sounding a prescient warning for those who believe that the original intent of the U.S. Constitution, i.e. limited government, has value:

    "The way to secure Liberty is to place it in the people's hands, that is, to give them a power at all times to defend it in the legislature and in the courts of justice...."

     "The proposition that the people are the best keepers of their own liberties is not true.  They are the worst conceivable, they are not keepers at all; they can neither judge, act, think, or will, as a political body."


thanks swissmiss

Three chords and the truth...........

Junior Wells...................................Crying Shame

"The blues are easy to play and hard to play well"
-Junior Wells

thanks David

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The view from the ledge.............

Friend Jeff once wrote:

"Norman Cousins had once said “panic, not pathology, is the greatest killer.” What I will seek to do here, is to use insight, information, and testimony to overcome that panic so that decisions can be made in the context of knowledge and not out of fear."

I suspect the art of being both fully human and fully awake is based on a clear headed acceptance of, and confrontation with, what is real.  We were never promised easy.  With his typical grace, Jeff shows us the path - here.

"For me, this is all at once strangely fascinating and a bit frightening. Like staring over that edge into the canyon."

Thanks, Jeff.

photo by Jeff Kopito

Muddled thinking............

The language used here makes one think they believe the money
belongs to the government.  If a taxpayer, whether corporate or
individual, follows the tax code and finds and applies credits
and deductions, thereby reducing their tax burden, how has the
government lost money?

The full post from Frugal Dad is here.  It is actually a fairly
interesting explanation of how the "monied interests " minimize
their tax burden, and could be used as a poster for the sanity of
a flat tax system.  Just think about the creativity and influence
peddling (now my bias is showing) that went into the creation of
 those tax credits and deductions.  It may seem counter-intuitive,
but surely, if the purpose of the Internal Revenue Code is to raise
revenue for the federal government (a rather large assumption), a
flat tax with a modest rate on net income with no deductions, no
credits, no havens, no exemptions, or no other loopholes will
raise more money.  As a side benefit, just think of the
 productivity gains for our country, as all those people who are
really smart about taxation and the mechanics of government
would have to find other ways of making a really good living.


“All that we are is the result of all that we have thought. It is founded on thought. It is based on thought.”
— The Dhammapada


The Byrds...............................Mr. Tambourine Man
(lip syncing at its finest)

 Bob Dylan...............................Mr. Tambourine Man
(a great video.........a blank screen. Only Bob)


Winning and losing...............

"I like trying to win. That's what golf is all about."

"I think I fail a bit less than everyone else."

"Professional golf is the only sport where, if you win 20% of the time, you're the best."

"Resolve never to quit, never to give up, no matter what the situation."

"This is a game. That's all it is. It's not a war."

"Nobody ever remembers who finished second at anything."

-Jack Nicklaus (the winner of 18 of golf's Major tournaments, and the second place finisher in 19 of golf's Major tournaments.)

"Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you."

"I never rooted against an opponent, but I never rooted for him either."

"I've always made a total effort, even when the odds seemed entirely against me. I never quit trying; I never felt that I didn't have a chance to win."

"The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done."

"Winning isn't everything, but wanting it is."

"I don't look at it as a gamble, really. I just look at it as a harder shot. Why hit a conservative shot? When you miss it, you're in just as much trouble as when you miss a bold one."

"You must play boldly to win."

"Trouble is bad to get into but fun to get out of. If you're in trouble, eighty percent of the time there's a way out. If you can see the ball, you can probably hit it; and if you can hit it, you can move it; and if you can move it, you might be able to knock it in the hole. At least it's fun to try."

-Arnold Palmer (the winner of 7 of golf's Major tournaments, and the second place finisher in 10 of golf's Major tournaments.)

Speaking of golf.............

It's so ridiculous to see a golfer with a one foot putt and everybody is saying "Shhh" and not moving a muscle. Then we allow nineteen year-old kids to face a game-deciding free throw with seventeen thousand people yelling. 
 -Al McGuire

An all-star..................

Junior Walker..........................................Cleo's Mood

(As always, click through to YouTube.  Thank thee)

...the power of self-fulfilling...........

thanks Nicholas

Opening paragraphs........

Learned Hand, Judge, United States Court of Appeals
for the Second Circuit, 1924-1961
On January 27, 1872, a cold winter day, a second and last child was born to Lydia and Samuel Hand of 224 State Street in Albany, New York.  The Hands named their only son Billings Learned Hand.  Late in life, Hand would recall Albany as "a hick town up the river," but the Albany boosters of his youth would have challenged that description.  After all, Albany, less that 150 miles from New York City, was the state's capital; after all, its population of about seventy thousand in 1870 made it the fourth largest city in the state, the twentieth largest in the nation; after all, there was reason to hope that the post-Civil War industrial boom would spur growth in Albany as it was doing elsewhere.  At first, the local hopes seemed vindicated:  as its population rose to ninety thousand by 1880, Albany's rate of growth kept pace with New York City's, Buffalo's, and Boston's.  Yet soon growth ground to a halt; during the 1890's, sleepy Albany's population actually shrank; by 1900, it dropped from being America's twentieth largest city to only its fortieth.
-Gerald Gunther, Learned Hand: The Man and the Judge

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

"extends its embrace.........."

    "Freedom, as Tocqueville sees it in the United States, is not enough to avoid tyranny.  While earlier writers show tyranny extending from a fault in the rulers, Tocqueville shows how modern tyranny - what we might call totalitarianism - results, in part, from a fault in the ruled.  He envisions a world in which men are 'circling around in pursuit of the petty and banal pleasures' while their government 'extends its embrace to include the whole of society.'  The irony here is that freedom is the driving force behind revolutions, as well as the numbing factor leading to tyranny.  Orwell shows this to be the case in Animal Farm, in which, after revolting against the humans, most of the animals forget why the revolution ever took place, this leaving themselves open for oppression by the pigs."
-Mortimer J. Adler, excerpted from his essay, Liberty, from 
his book, Great Ideas:  A Lexicon of Western Thought


Seriously, this is way better than I thought it would be.
Having said that, I won't be playing it again.

Dolly Parton..................................Stairway to Heaven

Led Zeppelin....................................Stairway to Heaven


This I understand..............

     "I'm pretty sure of my facts here.  And if I could only put my hands on the book, I could be absolutely sure.  But is it shelved under U for Utz, or perhaps C for Chatwin?  Or is it in the unsorted pile on top of the radiator?  Or the heap of volumes that migrated from the living room to the dining room?  I am certain that I didn't lend it to anyone:  I am utterly miserly about letting any of my books out of my sight.  Yet my books don't seem to reciprocate by remaining within view, let alone within easy reach."
-Christopher Hitchens, as excerpted from his essay 
Prisoner of Shelves, which is part of his book, Arguably.

Winning and Losing...........

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way."
-Babe Ruth

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

Hugo Black, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court  1937-1971
"I'm just a Clay County Hillbilly," Hugo Black liked to say.  It usually go a chuckle.  But those who had been there smiled knowingly.  Clay County, Alabama, lies sixty miles east of Birmingham and thirty mile west of the Georgia state line.  On one side is the Tallapoosa River, on the other the Talladega National Forest, alongside a range of mountains.  The lush verdant countryside contrasts with the unyielding red clay soil in the small coves of cleared land.  Isolation has always been the dominant impression.  Early settlers earned a scant living, existing on their own resources, as frontier people always did.  Survival was precarious.
-Roger K. Newman, Hugo Black: A Biography

44 years later, I wonder if they would think the "great experiment" a success?

     "If education is the transmission of civilization, we are unquestionably progressing.  Civilization is not inherited; it has to be learned and earned by each generation anew; if the transmission should be interrupted for one century, civilization would die, and we would be savages again.  So our finest contemporary achievement is our unprecedented expenditure of wealth and toil in the provision of higher education for all.  Once colleges were luxuries, designed for the male half of the leisure class; today universities are so numerous that he who runs may become a Ph.D.  We may not have excelled the selected geniuses of antiquity, but we have raised the level and average of knowledge beyond any age in history.
     "None but a child will complain that our teachers have not yet eradicated the errors and superstitions of ten thousand years.  The great experiment has just begun, and it may yet be defeated by the high birth rate of unwilling or indoctrinated ignorance.  But what would be the full fruitage of instruction if every child should be schooled till at least his twentieth year, and should find free access to the universities, libraries, and museums that harbor and offer the intellectual and artistic treasures of the race?  Consider education not as a painful accumulation of facts and dates and reigns, nor merely the necessary preparation of the individual to earn his keep in the world, but as the transmission of our mental, moral, technical, and aesthetic heritage as fully as possible to as many as possible, for the enlargement of man's understanding, control, embellishment, and enjoyment of life."
-Will and Ariel Durant, excerpted from the essay, Is Progress 
Real? from their book, The Lessons of History, 1968.

Ain't it the truth................

cartoon courtesy of

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


The Moody Blues................................................Go Now
(This is pre-Haywood and Lodge.  Denny Laine is singing)


 The Moody Blues covered this 1964 Bessie Banks song, written
by her husband Larry in 1963.

 Bessie Banks....................................................Go Now



Too late..................

"Thus the whole and complete lesson is not that the Second World War was an avoidable 'war of choice.'  It is that the Nazis could and should have been confronted before they had fully re-armed and had begun to steal the factories and oilfields and coal mines and workers of neighboring countries.  As General Douglas MacArthur once put it, all military defeats can be summarized in two words: 'Too late.'  The same goes for political disasters."
-Christopher Hitchens, as excerpted from his essay, A War Worth Fighting, which savages Pat Buchanan's book, Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War  (Hitchens concludes his book review: "History may judge whether  the undesirability or the impossibility was the more salient objection, but any attempt to separate the two considerations is likely to result in a book that stinks, as this one unmistakably does.")

Polemos pater panton

"War is one of the constants of history, and has not diminished with civilization or democracy.  In the past 3,421 years of recorded history on 268 have seen no war.  We have acknowledged war as at present the ultimate form of competition and natural selection in the human species.  'Polemos pater panton,' said Heracleitus; war, or competition, is the father of all things, the potent source of ideas, inventions, institutions, and states.  Peace is an unstable equilibrium, which can be preserved only by acknowledged supremacy or equal power."
-Will and Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History,  1968

Truer words were never spoke...........

"The gap between comfort and chaos in modern civilisation is alarmingly narrow and defined by a four-letter word: fuel."

full article is here

thanks maggie'sfarm

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

John Marshall took the oath of office as chief justice of the United States on February 4, 1801.  Then forty-five years of age, he had had a varied career as a soldier, state legislator and executive councillor, lawyer, commissioner to France, member of Congress, and secretary of state.  An autobiographical sketch drawn late in life portrays Marshall somewhat misleadingly as an accidental statesman who never aspired to a place in the highest councils of the American republic.  In truth, his public career did owe much to fortuitous circumstances as to conscious design.  Although the American Revolution was a powerful attractive force that drew talented and ambitious men into public life, Marshall until the late 1790's largely resisted the call of politics in the face of a more compelling need to make his fortune.  Unlike Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, whose inherited wealth allowed them to make statecraft their profession from an early age, the future chief justice first had to concentrate on the mundane business of providing financial security for himself and a growing family.  Intermittent though it was prior to 1801, Marshall's participation in public life occurred at times and places that in retrospect appear to have been nicely calculated to prepare him for his high judicial station.
-Charles R. Hobson, The Great Chief Justice
John Marshall and the Rule of Law

Winning and losing............

“I have always felt that although someone may defeat me, and I strike out in a ball game, the pitcher on the particular day was the best player. But I know when I see him again, I'm going to be ready for his curve ball. Failure is a part of success. There is no such thing as a bed of roses all your life. But failure will never stand in the way of success if you learn from it.”
-Hank Aaron

Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday's poem.................

Light Shining Out of Darkness

God moves in a mysterious way,
   His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
   And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
   Of never failing skill
He treasures up his bright designs,
   And works his sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
   The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
   In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
   But trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence,
   He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
   Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
   But sweet will be the flower.

-William  Cowper

This would explain a lot..............

"It isn’t normal to know what we want. It is a rare and difficult psychological achievement."
-Abraham Maslow

Two guys noodling around on guitars......

Jetboy has opened some mighty fine musical doors for me.  His
latest introduction was Robben Ford.  I suspect he and his dog
Skip might enjoy this one:

Larry Carlton and Robben Ford jamming...........

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

"I was following Derry Welfram at a prudent fifty paces when he stumbled, fell face down on the wet tarmac and lay still.  I stopped, watching, as nearer hands stretched to help him up, saw the doubt, the apprehension, the shock flower in the opening mouths of the faces around him.  The word that formed in consequence in my own brain was violent, of four letters and unexpressed."

-Dick Francis, The Edge

Winning and losing.............

"I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career.  I've lost almost 300 games.  Twenty-six times I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed.  I've failed over and over and over again in my life. That is why I succeed."
-Michael Jordan

Examples from the ancients....

    "By the time of Plato's death (347 B.C.) his hostile analysis of Athenian democracy was approaching apparent confirmation by history.  Athens recovered wealth, but this was now commercial rather than landed wealth; industrialists, merchants, and bankers were at the top of the reshuffled heap.  The change produced a feverish struggle for money, a pleonexia, as the Greeks called it - an appetite for more and more.  The nouveaux riches (neoplutoi) built gaudy mansions, bedecked their women with costly robes and jewelry, spoiled them with dozens of servants, rivaled one another in the feasts with which they regaled their guests.  The gap between the rich and poor widened; Athens was divided, as Plato put it, into "two the city of the poor, the other of the rich, the one at war with the other.'  The poor schemed to despoil the rich by legislation, taxation, and revolution; the rich organized themselves for protection against the poor......The poorer citizens captured control of the Assembly, and began to vote the money of the rich into the coffers of the state, for redistribution among the people through governmental enterprises and subsidies. The politicians strained their ingenuity to discover new sources of public revenue........The middle classes, as well as the rich, began to distrust democracy as empowered envy, and the poor distrusted it as a sham equality of votes nullified by a gaping inequality of wealth.  The rising bitterness of the class war left Greece internally as well as internationally divided when Philip of Macedon pounced down upon it in 338 B. C., and may rich Greeks welcomed his coming as preferable to revolution,  Athenian democracy disappeared under Macedonian dictatorship."
-Will and Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History

Sunday, April 1, 2012

without striving...........

      Bold action against others leads to death,
Bold action in harmony with the Tao leads to life.
                    Both of these things
                     sometimes benefit
                   and sometimes injure.

  It is heaven's way to conquer without striving.
        It does not speak, yet it is answered.
It does not ask, yet it is supplied with all that it needs.
It does not hurry, yet it completes everything on time.

              The net of heaven catches all;
                      its mesh is coarse,
                 but nothing slips through.

Verse 73
The Tao Te Ching
Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life
Wayne W. Dyer

On celebration............

From the Ragamuffin:
Jesus never said, “The kingdom of God is like a church service that goes on and on forever and never ends.” He said the kingdom was like a homecoming celebration, a wedding, a party, a feast to which all are invited.
This idea was too radical for the religious leaders of his day. They were more concerned about etiquette, manners, traditions and religious rituals than about partying with Jesus. And that’s why they missed out.
That’s why we miss out.

Palm Sunday.................

Jesus Christ Superstar (1973).........................Hosanna


A Verse for Sunday.........

28.   One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” 

29. Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; 


31. The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 

32. The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that HE IS ONE, AND THERE IS NO ONE ELSE BESIDES HIM; 


34. When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions.

Mark 12: 28-34
The Holy Bible
New American Standard Version

Lay these also...............

Whatever man give me
In true devotion:
Fruit or water,
A leaf, a flower:
I will accept it.
That gift is love,
His heart's dedication.

Whatever your action,
Food or worship;
Whatever the gift
That you give to another;
Whatever you vow
To the work of the Spirit:
O Son of Kunti,
Lay these also
As offerings before me.

     Thus you will free yourself from both the good and the evil effects of your actions.  Offer up everything to me.  If your heart is united with me, you will be set free from karma even in this life, and come to me at the last.

My face is equal
To all creation,
Loving no one
Nor hating any.

My devotees dwell
Within me always:
I also show forth
And am seen within them.

Though a man be soiled
With the sins of a lifetime,
Let him but love me,
Rightly resolved,
In utter devotion:
I see no sinner,
That man is holy.
Holiness soon
Shall refashion his nature
To peace eternal;
O son of Kunti,
Of this be certain:
The man that loves me,
He shall not perish.

-Verse IX
The Song of God: Bhagavad-Gita


"Dearly beloved Friends, these things we do not lay upon you as a rule or form to walk by; but that all, with a measure of the light, which is pure and holy, may be guided: and so in the light walking and abiding, these things may be fulfilled in the Spirit, not in the letter, for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life."

-postscript from an Epistle from the Elders at Balby, 1656