Saturday, June 23, 2012

It's getting a tad dry around here.............

The Temptations..................................I Wish It Would Rain

Creedence Clearwater Revival........Have You Ever Seen the Rain

The Beatles.......................................................Rain

The Cascades.............................The Rhythm of the Falling Rain

Hate it when that happens............

Edison quotes............

There's a way to do it better - find it.

To have a great idea, have a lot of them.

We don't know a millionth of one percent about anything.

.Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.

The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around.

The three great essentials to achieve anything worth while are: Hard work, Stick-to-itiveness, and Common sense.

Be courageous. I have seen many depressions in business. Always America has emerged from these stronger and more prosperous. Be brave as your fathers before you. Have faith! Go forward!

I know this world is ruled by infinite intelligence. Everything that surrounds us- everything that exists - proves that there are infinite laws behind it. There can be no denying this fact. It is mathematical in its precision.

Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.

Discontent is the first necessity of progress.

Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.

Hell, there are no rules here - we're trying to accomplish something.

If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.

Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless.

There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the labor of thinking.

Your worth consists in what you are and not in what you have.

Good advice.....................

"Why do I have to be an example for your kid? You be an example for your own kid."
-Bob Gibson

If anyone blogging today has more fun with the......

......English language than the Furniture Guy, I haven't found them.  He also likes to riff on our educational system.  To wit:

"How would you educate a child in expectation that they'd someday fill a job like this? If I was in charge, their childhood education would have consisted solely of being taught to read, understand, and be able in turn to produce plain text; to accurately and quickly work with numbers in their head and on paper; and to pay attention closely for extended periods of time while important things are done. This is exactly, precisely, explicitly, utterly and wholly the polar opposite of public education today.

"Some people think humans are for making things, [See: Rowe, Michael] and some people think humans are only good for consuming things. [See: Kardashian, various] When the consuming contingent can't afford to consume things anymore and the producing contingent can't make anything anymore because there's no one left to consume it, there's going to be big trouble.The robots, however, will remain sanguine.

"After  re-reading that last paragraph, I realized I should have written this about thirty years ago. I apologize for the delay. I have to go make something now. Hope someone buys it."

On the off-chance you have never visited Sippican Cottage, please do.  He never disappoints.

On improving the English language.........

io9 points out the limitations of the English language.  There are times when we need a word that just isn't there,  Let's get busy people.  From their list:

6. Verschlimmbesserung (German)
The Meaning: A verschlimmbesserung is a supposed improvement that makes things worse. There are actually a lot of words for this in a lot of languages, and that makes me think that English needs to get on the ball and coin a native word for this concept. Everyone needs it.

Friday, June 22, 2012

It feels like a Nickelback kind of day.............

Nickelback.................................If Everyone Cared

The business of cliches............

Following the lead of Cultural Offering and The Mighty E,
Althouse points to the translation of 89 business cliches.  
A wee sampling:

24. Let’s square the circle = I’m someone who can unify two team members’ views and sound important
25. It’s our cash cow/protect/milk the cash cow = If that business goes south, we’re all out of a job
26. It’s about synergies/1 + 1 = 3 = I don’t get the math either, but it sounds like more and more is better, right?
27. Who’s going to step up to the plate? = One of you is going to do this and it’s not going to be me
28. We’re eating our own dog food = It sounds gross but we seem like honest folks if we do this

Full list is here

Yumminess is good.......................

thanks Todd


Ayn Rand continues................

Another excerpt from Alvin Toffler's interview with Ayn Rand in the March 1964 issue of Playboy:

PLAYBOY:  You are a declared anti-communist, antisocialist, and antiliberal.  Yet you reject the notion that you are conservative.  In fact, you have reserved some of your angriest criticism for conservatives.  Where do you stand politically?

RAND:  Correction.  I never describe my position in terms of negatives.  I am an advocate of laissez-faire capitalism, of individual rights - there are no others - of individual freedom.  It is on this ground that I oppose any doctrine which proposes the sacrifice of the individual to the collective, such as communism, socialism, the welfare state, fascism, Nazism, and modern liberalism.  I oppose conservatives on the same ground.  The conservatives are advocating a mixed economy and a welfare state.  Their difference from the liberals is only one of degree, not principle.

PLAYBOY:  You have charged that America suffers from intellectual bankruptcy.  Do you include in this condemnation such right-wing publications as the National Review?  Isn't that magazine a powerful voice against all the things you regard as "statism"?

RAND:  I consider the National Review the worst and most dangerous magazine in America.  The kind of defense it offers to capitalism results in nothing except the discrediting and destruction of capitalism.  Do you want me to tell you why?

PLAYBOY:  Yes, please.

RAND:  Because it ties capitalism to religion.  The ideological position of National Review amounts, in effect, to the following:  In order to accept freedom and capitalism, one has to believe in God or in some form of religion, some form of supernatural mysticism.  Which means that there are no rational grounds on which one can defend capitalism.  Which amounts to an admission that reason is on the side of capitalism's enemies, that a slave society or a dictatorship is a rational system, and that only on the grounds of mystic faith can one believe in freedom.  Nothing more derogatory to capitalism could ever be alleged, and the exact opposite is true.  Capitalism is the only system that can be defended and validated by reason.


"A team is where a boy can prove his courage on his own. A gang is where a coward goes to hide."
-Mickey Mantle  (also attributed to Branch Rickey)

Jeff shares his love of books............

writers, and libraries.  Full post is here.  Excerpt below.

"And here’s an idea – take this out from your local library free of charge. With renewals, you’ve got up to 6 weeks to read. Then donate the money to them that you would have spent on downloading the e-version. Your library, and the community they support, could use the help…more than Amazon…"

You might also check here and here.

Little Johnny's class visits a farm........

thanks Rick

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Playboy interview with Ayn Rand..........

In March of 1964, Alvin Toffler interviewed Ayn Rand.  Some excerpts:

PLAYBOY:  Throughout your work you argue that the way in which the contemporary world is organized, even in the capitalist countries, submerges the individual and stifles initiative.  In Atlas Shrugged, John Galt leads a strike of the men of the mind - which results in the collapse of the collectivist society around them.  Do you thing the time has come for the artists, intellectuals, and creative businessmen of today to withdraw their talents from society in this way?

RAND:  No, not yet.  But before I explain, I must correct one part of your question.  What we have today is not a capitalist society, but a mixed economy - that is, a mixture of freedom and controls, which, by the dominant trend, is moving toward dictatorship.  The action in Atlas Shrugged takes place at a time when society has reached the stage of dictatorship.  When and if this happens, that will be the time to go on strike, but not until then.

PLAYBOY:  What do you mean by dictatorship?  How would you define it?

RAND:  A dictatorship is a country that does not recognize individual rights, whose government holds total, unlimited power over men.

PLAYBOY:  What is the dividing line, by your definition, between a mixed economy and a dictatorship?

RAND:  A dictatorship has four characteristics:  one-party rule, executions without trial for political offenses, expropriation or nationalization of private property, and censorship.  Above all, this last.  So long as men can speak and write freely, so long as there is no censorship, they still have a chance to reform their society or to put it on a better road.  When censorship is imposed, that is the sign that men should go on a strike intellectually, by which I mean, should not cooperate with the social system in any way whatever.

PLAYBOY:  Short of such a strike, what do you believe ought to be done to bring about the societal changes you deem desirable?

RAND:  It is ideas that determine social trends, that create or destroy social systems.  Therefore, the right ideas, the right philosophy, should be advocated and spread.  The disasters of the modern world, including the destruction of capitalism, were caused by the altruist-collectivist philosophy.  It is altruism that men should reject.

PLAYBOY:  And how would you define altruism?

RAND:  It is a moral system which holds that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the sole justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, value, and virtue.  This is the moral basis of collectivism, of all dictatorships.  In order to seek freedom and capitalism, men need a nonmystical, not altruistic, rational code of ethics - a mortality which holds that man is not a sacrificial animal, that he has the right to exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others, nor others to himself.

We, the people..............

As the wise men say," what can't go on forever won't", and "debt, like freedom, is a sword that cuts two ways."  The funny thing about borrowed money is that it either needs to eventually be paid back, or it needs to have created additional wealth that allows for the interest carry to be a very light burden to tote around.  Financing a "lifestyle" with a binge of debt comes nowhere near the creation of additional wealth (unless, of course, you are among those providing and selling said lifestyle).  Hangovers usually follow binges.  The worse the binge, the worse the hangover.  
Henry Blodgett offers an essay on the subject along with this graph, showing the total of all private and public debt in the U.S. of A. in ratio to the Gross Domestic Product.   While one can disagree with his political conclusions, it is hard to disagree with this:
"The trouble is that our current problems cannot be solved with a simple fix. They also cannot be solved quickly. It took 25 years for us to get to this point, and it will likely take us at least a decade or two to work our way out of it, even if we make the right decisions.
"So it is time that we began to face reality."

"Our unfettered borrowing and spending beyond our means--all of us, not just the government--fueled a quarter-century-long boom that, unfortunately, was partly an illusion. It's easy to seem prosperous when you're spending more than you make.
"That 25-year debt-fueled boom of 1982-2007 has ended, and it has left the country with a stagnant economy, massive debts, high unemployment, huge wealth inequality, an enormous budget deficit, and a sense of entitlement engendered by a half-century of prosperity.
"After decades of instant gratification, Americans have also come to believe that all problems can be solved instantly, if only the right leaders are put in charge and the right decisions are made. And so our government has devolved into a permanent election campaign, in which incumbents blame each other for the current mess, and challengers promise change."

I suspect it is that "instant gratification" thing that has, and is, causing most of our economic problems.  A change in our psychology might be highly beneficial.

Full post is here.

Messy and awesome.........

Readers of this blog might think I would use those words in describing us humans, and they would be correct.  However, in this case it is a quote from an essay about innovation.  Full post his here.  Longish excerpt is here:

"When we ignore how innovation actually works, we make it hard to see what’s happening right in front of us today. If you don’t know that the incandescent light was a failure before it was a success, it’s easy to write off some modern energy innovations — like solar panels — because they haven’t hit the big time fast enough.
"Worse, the fairy-tale view of history implies that innovation has an end. It doesn’t. What we want and what we need keeps changing. The incandescent light was a 19th-century failure and a 20th- century success. Now it’s a failure again, edged out by new technologies, like LEDs, that were, themselves, failures for many years.
"That’s what this issue is about: all the little failures, trivialities and not-quite-solved mysteries that make the successes possible. This is what innovation looks like. It’s messy, and it’s awesome."
-Maggie Koerth-Baker

(And a big Thank Thee to the Mighty E. for pointing the way.  You've got to admit the boy has been on a hot streak here of late.  Go Doug Go!)

Great moments in marketing............

The Bayer Company, whose fabulous aspirin was the one cure-all in my parent's medicine cabinet, mass marketed Heroin as a relief for coughs and other respiratory ailments.  Yes, that heroin.  Beginning in 1898, Bayer developed and sold it as being a non-addictive substitute for morphine.  Oops. By 1913, it had become obvious that they were wrong about that non-addictive thing and, despite the increased demand for the product, they stopped making and selling it.  More here.


"Some people think self-employment is risky, but the real risk lies in deriving your security from an external source."
-Chris Guillebeau, The Art of Non-Conformity

A radical idea..................

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It's a long,long road.................

The Hollies............................He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother
               (as always, please click through to YouTube)

On obstacles..............

“If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”
- Michael Jordan

Opening paragraphs......

"The man with fourteen days to live is himself witnessing death.  Lincoln (he prefers to go by just his last name.  No one calls him 'Abe,' which he loathes.  Few call him 'Mr. President.'  His wife actually calls him 'Mr. Lincoln,' and his two personal secretaries playfully refer to him as 'the Tycoon') paces the upper deck of the steamboat River Queen, his face lit now and again by distant artillery.  The night air smells of the early spring, damp with a hint of floral fragrance.  The River Queen is docked at City Point, a bustling Virginia port that was infiltrated by Confederate spies last August.  Yet Lincoln strides purposefully back and forth, unprotected and unafraid, as vulnerable as a man can be to sniper fire, the bombardment serving as the perfect distraction from his considerable worries.  When will this war ever end?"
-Bill O'Reilly, Killing Lincoln

Smart growth.................

"There is nothing wrong with our American economy that cannot be solved with population growth coupled with reduced government spending."

So says Dan Pryor, who believes we need to selectively remove immigration barriers and productively grow the 18-24 and 25-44 year old cohorts.  While he doesn't say it, I think he believes we need more taxpayers.  That would be a good start.

Full post is here

On never letting book learning get in the way of your education.............

thanks John

Big "SIS"....................................

Richard Fernandez reviews James DeLong‘s book, Ending ‘Big SIS’ (The Special Interest State) and Renewing the American Republic:

"His message is simple. The US Federal Government has become exactly what the the Founders feared the most and designed the Constitution to prevent: a Special Interest State."

Full post is here.  Information on the book is here.

On the over-ratedness of perfection....

thanks Max

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Thank y'all very much..............

Skeeter Davis..........................................The End of the World

Pocket computers for me and five billion of my closest friends...

As a Fathers Day present, I received a shiny new iPhone.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  So it was with great interest that I read this blog post from Dan Pink.  Most of it is excerpted here:

The smart phone revolution, he said, is under-hyped. “We have never lived in a time with the opportunity to put a computer in the pocket of 5 billion people.”  (Pink quoting Mark Andreessen)
  • In 2006, smart phones accounted for just 6% of U.S. mobile phones sold that year. Today, “smart phones represent more than two-thirds of all U.S. mobile-phone sales.”
  • “In 1982, there were 4.6 billion people in the world, and not a single mobile-phone subscriber. Today, there are seven billion people in the world — and six billion mobile cellular-phone subscriptions.” Of those subscriptions, 73 percent are now in the developing world, even though those countries account for just 20 percent of the world’s GDP.”
  • “According to IDC, smart phones accounted for 36 percent of global mobile-phone shipments in the first quarter of 2012, up from 25 percent a year earlier. If smart phones continue to gain at even this pace, ‘feature phones’ will be largely a memory in another five years.”

Who takes the hit?

Spengler throws Spain under the bus as he riffs on the latest proposed "solutions" to the economic problems of the eurosphere.  Full post is here.  Two excerpts here:

"Penalizing good economic management and rewarding bad economic management is not a 'growth' policy, whatever the Obama administration might think; it is a formula for perpetual stagnation."

"If Italians and Spaniards treat their own national government as a hostile entity to be frustrated and evaded at every turn, how would they resound to a fiscal boss from Brussels? The notion that supranational controls can accomplish what national governments have failed to accomplish is one of the stranger ideas to achieve broad purchase in public policy."


"Baseball is a red-blooded sport for red-blooded men. It's no pink tea, and mollycoddles had better stay out. It's a struggle for supremacy, a survival of the fittest."
-Ty Cobb

Things you need to know..............

For writers using the English language, and for devotees of the "hangman" game, here are the letters of the alphabet in order of frequency of use:


On fear....................

"Now my company has as one of its core operating principles this little statement:  'We don't make decisions based on fear.'  If we're up against a wall, we say it out loud.  We'll say, 'I'm afraid that............'  Once it's out there, we can deal with it.  We can talk about it and pray about it.  It's like Dorothy Bernard once said: 'Courage is just fear that has said its prayers.'"
-Dave Ramsey, as excerpted from his essay "Indecisive Leader" Is An Oxymoron from End Malaria

But, seriously folks...........

"Laughter is America's most important export." 
-Walt Disney

Monday, June 18, 2012


Pretty Woman.......................Roy Orbison (and some cool friends)

Pretty Woman......................................................Van Halen

Calvin is on to us...............


"In this age of specialization men who thoroughly know one field are often incompetent to discuss another. The great problems of the relations between one and another aspect of human activity have for this reason been discussed less and less in public. When we look at the past great debates on these subjects we feel jealous of those times, for we should have liked the excitement of such argument. The old problems, such as the relation of science and religion, are still with us, and I believe present as difficult dilemmas as ever, but they are not often publicly discussed because of the limitations of specialization."
-Richard Feynman

Sounds like an interesting job...........

"Senators, on the other hand, just learn how to flap their lips, have their egos groomed by ambitious aides, beg rich people for money and posture fetchingly on popular issues."

So says WRM on his recent post about why former governors and generals make better presidents than former senators.  Full post is here.

It's a comfort............

to know that I'm not a sociopath.   Take the test yourownself.

That fund of grace............

                     Original Sin

Well, anyhow, it preserves us from the pride
of thinking we invented sin ourselves
by our originality, that famous modern power.
In fact, we have it from the beginning
of the world by the errors of being born,
being young, being old, causing pain
to ourselves, to others, to the world, to God
by ignorance, by knowledge, by intention,
by accident.  Something is bad the matter
here, informing us of itself, handing down
its old instruction.  We know it
when we see it, don't we?  Innocence 
would never recognize it.  We need it
too, for without it we would not know
forgiveness, goodness, gratitude,
that fund of grace by which alone we live.

-Wendell Berry

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Take it slowly....................

Cat Stevens...............................Father and Son

On following.....................


Uh-oh once again..............

Fathers' Day was going............... pass unnoticed on this blog, until I happened upon this blog post from Sippican Cottage.  Enjoy!  Happy Fathers' Day.

The search................

"At the last dim horizon, we search among ghostly errors of observations for landmarks that are scarcely more substantial.  The search will continue.  The urge is older than history.  It is not satisfied and it will not be oppressed."