Saturday, June 9, 2012

Expanding vocabularies..............

This new word for the day comes not from Mr. Webster's New World College Dictionary, but from the American Digest:

On losing a wheel...........

     "I know a wheel is starting to fall off when the meal I'm preparing becomes more important that the people I'm preparing it for.  When work becomes more important than the family I'm working for.  When a point I'm making becomes more important than the person I'm making it to.  That's how I can tell I've lost the still axis.  When I lose sight of what's more important.  When I lose a sense of the sacredness of another human being, especially the human beings closest to me, the ones in my family."
-Ken Gire, Windows of the Soul

A question about birds

I am going to sit on a rock near some water
or on a slope of grass
under a high ceiling of white clouds,

and I am going to stop talking
so I can wander around in that spot
the way John James Audubon might have wandered

through a forest of speckled sunlight,
stopping now and then to lean
against an elm, mop his brow,

and listen to the songs of birds.
Did he wonder, as I often do,
how they regard the songs of other species?

Would it be like listening to the Chinese
merchants at an outdoor market?
Or do all birds perfectly understand one another?

Or is that nervous chittering
I often hear from the upper branches
the sound of some tireless little translator?

-Billy Collins

Context matters..............

Hanging with the optimists........

Brian Wesbury says "The Pouting Pundits of Pessimism are hyperventilating....", but they, and their data, are not to be trusted.  His full post, which includes four steps to turn the economy around big time, is here.  Excerpt here:

"We call it a Plow Horse Economy…it ain’t gonna win the Belmont, but it ain’t gonna keel over and die, either. And there is nothing in the latest data or market action that changes our mind; the economy is not in recession and we highly doubt it will fall into one anytime soon."

thanks Kurt


                                    Amendment XVI
     The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on income, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

The Sixteenth Amendment was ratified on February 3, 1913

Friday, June 8, 2012

The classic's classic........

Booker T. & the MG's.........................Green Onions

Tax fairness....................

Mark Perry offers this graph and this analysis (with comments):

Looks like we need more, not fewer, really rich people.


"The problem is not entirely in finding the room of one's own, the time alone, difficult and necessary as that is.  The problem is more how to still the soul in the midst of its activities."
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Is this really true?

From Spengler:

      "State and local property tax collections  have risen by 10%, from $400 billion to $440 billion, since 2008, even though the price of homes in most American markets (red line)  has fallen by 30% since 2008. Your house is worth less and your property taxes have gone up. Most of the $440 billion in property taxes is paid by homeowners. That compares with the $380 billion a year or so that homeowners pay on the $10 trillion in outstanding home mortgage debt. Homeowners now pay roughly as much in property taxes as in mortgages interest. It used to be a quarter to a third as much. No wonder home prices remain depressed."

Never really gave the issue much thought, but that statement in bold caused me to get out the calculator.  Not sure that I am typical, but, in 2012, I'm on pace to pay $4,200 in mortgage interest.  According to my Tax Duplicate from the County Treasurer, the property taxes on my house will be $2,213.18 this year.  Whew!


                                       Amendment XV
      Section 1.  The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States of by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
      Section 2.  The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The Fifteenth Amendment was ratified on February 2, 1870

Can't. Take it. Any. More......

David Kanigan posts about the downside of e-mail.  Here is my contribution to the conversation.
image courtesy of

The layman's tool kit............

thanks Todd

heart leaps..........

My heart leaps up when I behold
          A rainbow in the sky;
So it was when my life began;
So it is now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
          Or let me die!
The Child is the father of the Man
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

-William Wordsmith

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

It was a quiet morning, the town covered over with darkness and at ease in bed.  Summer gathered in the weather, the wind had the proper touch, the breathing of the world was long and warm and slow.  You had only to rise, lean from your window, and know that this indeed was the first real time of freedom and living, this was the first morning of summer.
-Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ellington and Burke on adversity..............

"A problem is a chance for you to do your best."
-Duke Ellington

"He that struggles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill.  Our antagonist is our helper.:
-Edmund Burke

Seneca and Hazlitt on adversity......

"Prosperity is a great teacher; adversity is a greater."
-William Hazlitt

Pasternak on adversity.............

"I don't like people who have never fallen or stumbled.  Their virtue is lifeless and it isn't of much value.  Life hasn't revealed its beauty to them."
-Boris Pasternak

Thoreau and Byron on adversity.......

"If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find 
compensation in every disappointment."
-Henry David Thoreau

Hayes on adversity...........

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."
-Woody Hayes

Voltaire on adversity...........

Life is thickly sown with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to pass quickly through them. "Life is thickly sown with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to pass quickly through them.  The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us." 
-Voltairewe dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.  ~Voltaire

Helt on adversity............

"When life gives you lemons, please, just don't squirt them in other people's eyes."
-J. Andrew Helt

Wilde and Bacon on adversity......

"To have become a deeper man is the privilege of those who have suffered."
-Oscar Wilde

Shakespeare on adversity.......

"Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course."
-William Shakespeare

Confucius on adversity...............

"The gem cannot be polished without friction nor man without trials."

Carroll and Uchtdorf on adversity...........

"The horror of that moment," the King went on, "I shall never, never forget!"  "You will, though," the Queen said, "if you don't make a memorandum of it."
-Lewis Carroll

Horace on adversity..............

"Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant."

Disraeli on adversity............

"There is no education like adversity. "

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Speaking of westerns...............

Mountain.................................Theme For An Imaginary Western

                volume all the way up, please

I remember...................

"There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets in the future."
-Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory


                                        Amendment XIV
     Section 1.  All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
     Section 2.  Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the executive and judicial officers of a state, or the members of the legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such state, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such state.
     Section 3.  No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
     Section 4.  The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void..
     Section 5.  The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
The Fourteenth Amendment was ratified on July 9, 1868

On time...............

"You wake up in the morning, and lo! your purse is magically filled with twenty-four hours of the magic tissue of the universe of your life.  No one can take it from you.  No one receives either more or less than you receive.  Waste your infinitely precious commodity as much as you will, and the supply will never be withheld from you.  Moreover, you cannot draw on the future.  Impossible to get into debt.  You can only waste the passing moment.  You cannot waste tomorrow; it is kept for you."
-Thomas Arnold Bennett

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

    The religions of ancient Greece and Rome are extinct.  The so-called divinities of Olympus have not a single worshipper among living men.  They belong now not to the department of theology, but to those of literature and taste.  There they still hold their place, and will continue to hold it, for they are too closely connected with the finest productions of poetry and art, both ancient and modern, to pass into oblivion.
-Thomas Bulfinch, The Age of Fable

dreaming of a quiet man.......

I dream of a quiet man
who explains nothing and defends
nothing, but only knows
where the rarest wildflowers
are blooming, and who goes,
and finds that he is smiling
not by his own will.

-Wendell Berry

image courtesy of


Rob at The Hammock Papers suggests a more playful attitude.  Full post here.  Some suggestions here:

• Only text people in Spanish
• Annoy your co-workers by calling them Jeeves
• Play games to learn things
• When you send an email, make fax noises
• When you have to clean something, give a play-by-play of your actions with a Howard Cossell voice
• Imagine that your co-workers are robots, or vampires
• Talk to your computer, and give it a name
• Pretend you’ve never been anywhere before, and that everywhere is new
• Try to rhyme your emails or tweets

• Anytime you do something, ask, “What would Dwight Schrute Do?” (WWDSD?)


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Great moments...................

An important question..............

Keeping it positive.................

image courtesy of

Those pesky humans................

"..... economics, for all its admirable intellectual achievements, can only be of limited predictive value because human beings and their interactions keep changing the reality economists seek to describe. If, for example, someone comes up with an economic model of the stock market that leads to successful investments, more and more people will start to follow the model. At that point, the stock market itself will change because investors have changed their behavior, and when that happens, the theory will not only no longer work — it may lead to terrible investment disasters."

Full WRM essay here.


                                       Amendment XIII
     Section 1.  Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
     Section 2.  Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The Thirteenth Amendment was ratified December 6, 1865

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

For most of my life I owned very little.  I dropped out of college and for almost a decade wandered around remote parts of Asia in cheap sneakers and worn jeans, with lots of time and no money.  The cities I knew best were steeped in medieval richness; the lands I passed through were governed by ancient agricultural traditions.  When I reached for a physical object, it was almost surely made of wood, fiber, or stone.  I ate with my hands, trekked on foot through mountain valleys, and slept wherever.  I carried very little stuff.  My personal possessions totaled a sleeping bag, a change of clothes, a penknife, and some cameras.  Living close to the land, I experienced the immediacy that opens up when the buffer of technology is removed.  I got colder often, hotter more frequently, soaking wet a lot, bitten by insects faster, and synchronized quicker to the rhythm of the day and seasons.  Time seemed abundant.
-Kevin Kelly, What Technology Wants

Monday, June 4, 2012

School's out...................

Alice Cooper..........................................School's Out

Schools out........................

I have know the inexorable sadness of pencils,
Neat in their boxes, dolor of pad and paper-weight,
All the misery of manilla folders and mucilage,
Desolation in immaculate public places,
Lonely reception room, lavatory, switchboard,
The unalterable pathos of basin and pitcher,
Ritual of multigraph, paper-clip, comma,
Endless duplication of lives and objects.
And I have seen dust from wall of institutions,
Finer than flour, alive, more dangerous than silica,
Sift, almost invisible, through long afternoons of tedium,
Dropping a fine film on nails and delicate eyebrows,
Glazing the pale hair, the duplicate gray standard faces.
-Theodore Roethke

School's out...............

Another reason why............ should be reading Cultural Offering everyday:
"Today is ripe.  It calls to be plucked from the stem and eaten up.  Though some may try, it cannot be canned or jarred or otherwise stored away.  It is at its peak and will be no good tomorrow.  It gets no better than it is right now and is bursting with anticipation.  Bite in.  Let the juice roll down your chin.  Enjoy the whole thing today."
-Kurt J. Harden


All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts.  In a justly ordered universe, where loss of equipoise would mean total destruction, individual responsibility must be absolute.  A man's weakness and strength, purity and impurity, are his own and  not another man's;  they are brought about by himself and not another; and they can be altered by himself, never by another.  His condition is his own, and not another man's.  His suffering and his happiness are evolved from within.  As he thinks, so he is; as he continues to think, so he remains.
-James Allen,  As A Man Thinketh

Mr. Spock......................

"It is curious how often you humans manage to obtain that which you do not want."
-Spock in 'Errand of Mercy'
"After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true."
-Spock in 'Amok Time'
"I have never understood the female capacity to avoid a direct answer to any question."
-Spock in 'This Side of Paradise'
"Computers make excellent and efficient servants, but I have no wish to serve under them. Captain, a starship also runs on loyalty to one man. And nothing can replace it or him."
-Spock in 'The Ultimate Computer'
"What does it mean, 'exact change'?"
-Spock in 'The Voyage Home'
"Nowhere am I so desperately needed as among a shipload of illogical humans."
-Spock in 'I, Mudd'
"On my planet 'to rest' is to rest, to cease using energy. To me it is quite illogical to run up and down on green grass using energy instead of saving it."
-Spock in 'Shore Leave'
"Fascinating is a word I use for the unexpected. In this case, I should think 'interesting' would suffice."
-Spock in 'The Squire of Gothos'
"If I were human, I believe my response would be: 'go to hell'. If I were human."
-Spock in 'The Final Frontier'

quotes courtesy of


image courtesy of


                                    Amendment XII
Brevity is part of the glory, and maybe a part of continual differences in interpretation, of the Bill of Rights.  The 12th Amendment is not so brief.  It is also more technical in nature, trying to correct the problem of governance caused by having a President of one party (i. e. political philosophy) and a Vice President of a vastly different one.  The effectiveness of John Adams's presidency was certainly impacted by having Thomas Jefferson as his Vice President.  The Twelfth Amendment was ratified on June 15, 1804.  Our presidential elections still follow its guidelines.  If you care to read the text of Amendment XII, go here.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

God's handwriting................

"Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

More of that vision thing...........

Can you find the baby?   Just as an observation, once you see it - it is difficult to un-see it.

image courtesy of

On looking in wrong places....

Alva Noe...............................You Are Not Your Brain


thanks swissmiss

About all these Amendments.....

Careful readers will realize that, over the past ten days, your faithful blogger has posted the first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States.  Collectively known as the "Bill of Rights," these ten were ratified and became effective as one package on December 15, 1791.  The history majors out there may remember (I didn't - had to google it) that the Constitution itself was ratified on June 21, 1788.  There have been a total of 27 amendments, with the last being ratified on May 7, 1992.  Which leads us to:

                                  Amendment XI
    The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against on of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens of Subjects of any Foreign State.

Ratified February 7, 1795

Lewis on books and readers.....

Part the Last:
     "Finally, and as a natural result of their different behaviour in reading, what they have read is constantly and prominently present to the mind of the few, but not to that of the many.  The former mouth over their favorite lines and stanzas in solitude.  Scenes and characters from books provide them with a sort of iconography by which they interpret or sum up their own experience.  They talk to one another about books, often and at length.  The latter seldom think or talk of their reading."
-C. S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism

A verse for Sunday.........

Who can save the world?

Perhaps one who devotedly follows
these teachings,
who calms her mind,
who ignores all divergence,
who develops a high awareness
of the subtle truths,

who merges her virtue
with the universal virtue
and extends it to the world
without expectation of reward.

She will indeed be the savior of the world.

-Hua Hu Ching:  The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu
Verse 76
Brian Brown Walker