Saturday, March 30, 2013

Psychedelia alert.................

Strawberry Alarm Clock..........Incense & Peppermints
(click through to Youtube.................pretty please)

Might as well go ahead and starve to death........

Ten foods you should never

Just glad they didn't post a picture of jelly
beans and Girl Scout Cookies.

Thanks Todd....I think

Top ten comedic duos..................

Can you guess who's on first............?

Fifty years ago...........................

The Searchers......................Sweets For My Sweet

The lost art of swearing...................

From Arika Okrent at The Week comes this update on our language.  Follow the link for background information and correct usage of these ten little-used and less-understood cusses.
"As long ago as 1944, H.L. Mencken, the great observer of American language, sadly noted that cursing had been on the decline since the Civil War, and that while there was still obscenity, 'it is all based upon one or two four-letter words and their derivatives, and there is little true profanity in it.' "
1. Bejabbers!
2. Consarn!
3. Dad-sizzle!
4. Thunderation!
5. Great horn spoon!
6. 'Snails!
7. Gosh-all-Potomac!
8. G. Rover Cripes!
9. By St. Boogar and all the saints at the backside door of Purgatory!
10. By the double-barrelled jumping jiminetty!

thanks gerard

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

Shadwell, a modest frame home built in the red-clay clearing, stood on the western fringes of settlement in the colony of Virginia.  From its well-chosen site below the gap in the Southwest Mountains, the Blue Ridge could be seen in the distance.  Closer by, heavily forested slopes proclaimed an unspoiled land and marked the seasons with splendorous displays.  In 1735, peter Jefferson patented on thousand acres along the Rivanna River in the newly opened area that would  become Albemarle County.  He soon added another four hundred acres and moved his wife and two young daughters to Shadwell not long before his first son, Thomas, was born there on April 13, 1743.
-Noble E. Cunningham, Jr., In Pursuit of Reason:  The Life of Thomas Jefferson

New neighbors.....................

A new bike shop opened up this month on Newark's Downtown Square. Young businessmen, Juston and Cody, are offering friendly and energetic sales and service for all things bike. When somebody tells you kids today don't want to work, feel free to roll your eyes and tell them they don't know what they're talking about.  Business looks good.  Love the sign on their door.  Need a bike repaired?  C'mon down.

Say it isn't so......................

"Over three generations, this has led to the changes in France's habits of consumption and the steep declines in the volume of wine that is drunk."
They fear that time-honoured French values - conviviality, tradition and appreciation of the good things in life - are on the way out. Taking their place is a utilitarian, "hygieno-moralistic" new order, cynically purveyed by an alliance of politics, media and global business.
Full sorry story is here, noting that drinkage of soda pop is growing. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Hold on..............................

Janis Joplin.............................Piece of My Heart

Studio version with way better audio is here

Understanding Darwin.................

His first serious collection was of beetles, and "to give a proof of my zeal," he one day "saw two rare beetles & seized one in each hand; then I saw a third & new kind, which I could not bear to lose, so I popped the one I held in my right hand into my mouth.  Alas it ejected some intensely acrid fluid which burnt my tongue so that I was forced to spit the beetle out, which was lost."
-as excerpted from Paul Johnson's Darwin:  Portrait of a Genius

Speaking of beetles..................

"The Creator would appear as endowed with a passion for stars, on the one hand, and for beetles on the other, for the simple reason that there are nearly 300,000 species of beetle known, and perhaps more, as compared with somewhat less than 9,000 species of birds and a little over 10,000 species of mammals. Beetles are actually more numerous than the species of any other insect order. That kind of thing is characteristic of nature."
-J. B. S. Haldane

“I have my own views about Nature's methods, though I feel that it is rather like a beetle giving his opinions upon the Milky Way.”
-Arthur Conan Doyle

"When beetles fight these battles in a bottle with their paddles and the bottle's on a poodle and poodle's eating noodles......they call this a muddle puddle tweetle poodle beetle noodle bottle paddle battle."
-Dr. Seuss as excerpted from Fox In Socks

"We can, for example, be fairly confident that either there will be a world without war or there won't be a world - at least, a world inhabited by creatures other than bacteria and beetles, with some scattering of others."
-Noam Chomsky

O, I do fear thee, Claudio; and I quake,
Lest thou a feverous life shouldst entertain,
And six or seven winters more respect
Than a perpetual honour. Darest thou die?
The sense of death is most in apprehension;
And the poor beetle, that we tread upon,
In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great
As when a giant dies.

-William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

"It's hard to believe that the same God who created butterflies, created dung beetles. Maybe there are multiple Gods after all. "
-Prabhudoss Samuel

"I've read a lot of court cases and media accounts about how innocent people wind up getting shot by police officers, and you'll take my word for it that none of them had anything to do with beetle collectors."
-Harry Zirlin

(the last two quotes came from here)

More than you wanted to know............

The order Coleoptera includes more species than any other order, constituting almost 25% of all known life-forms.[2][3][4] About 40% of all described insect species are beetles (about 400,000 species[5]), and new species are discovered frequently. Some estimates put the total number of species, described and undescribed, at as high as 100 million, but a figure of 1 million is more widely accepted.[6] The largest taxonomic family, the Curculionidae (the weevils or snout beetles), also belongs to this order.

The diversity of beetles is very wide. They are found in all major habitats, except marine and the polar regions. They have many classes of ecological effects; there are particular species that are adapted to practically every kind of diet. Some are non-specialist detritus feeders, breaking down animal and plant debris; some feed on particular kinds of carrion such as flesh or hide; some feed on wastes such as dung; some feed on fungi, some on particular species of plants, others on a wide range of plants. Some are generalist pollen,flower and fruit eatersSome are predatory, usually on other invertebrates; some are parasites or parasitoids. Many of the predatory species are important controls of agricultural pests. For example, beetles in the family Coccinellidae ("ladybirds" or "ladybugs") consume aphidsscale insectsthrips, and other plant-sucking insects that damage crops.

Read the rest here

pix via

Fifty years ago.....................

The Beatles.................................She Loves You

If only they would do it...................

"One reason we need a free press is to keep tabs on collusion between corporate interests and lawmakers."
-Walter Russell Mead, as excerpted from this post, Silicon Valley:  The New Home of Political Giants

Good parenting.....................

Thank you notes. They have never been a particular strength of mine, and I've struggled getting my kids into the habit of hand writing such notes.  So, I was pleased, and not-the-least surprised, to receive the note below from the younger, home-schooled, residents at Sippican Cottage.

Makes a guy want to hit the "tip" jar again.

Dilbert tackles happiness...................


Thursday, March 28, 2013

I think........................

Pure Prairie League.............................Amie
(click on through to YouTube, if you please)

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

In the early hours of April 7, 1862, after the terrible first day of the Battle of Shiloh, Brigadier General William Tecumseh Sherman came through the darkness to where his superior, Major General Ulysses S. Grant, stood in the rain.  Sherman had reached the conclusion that the Union forces under Grant's command could not endure another day like the one just ended.  When the massive Confederate surprise attack on the vast federal encampment beside the Tennessee River began at dawn on April 6, Grant's command had numbered thirty-seven thousand men.  Now seven thousand of those were killed or wounded, another three thousand were captured, and more than five thousand were huddled along the bank of the river, demoralized and useless as soldiers.  Sherman, who had been wounded in the hand earlier in the battle, was coming to tell Grant that he thought they should use the transport vessels near them at Pittsburg Landing to evacuate their force so that they could "put the river between them and the enemy , and recuperate."
-Charles Bracken Flood, Grant and Sherman:  The Friendship That Won The Civil War

The history major in me won't let me leave you hanging.  In case you were unaware of what comes next, here are paragraphs two, three, and four:

     Sherman found Grant alone, under a tree.  Hurt in a fall from a horse on a muddy road a few days before, Grant was leaning on a crutch and held a lantern.  He had lit a cigar clenched in his teeth, and ran dripped from the brim of his hat.  Looking at the determined expression on Grant's bearded face, Sherman found himself "moved by some wise and sudden instinct" not to mention retreat and used a more tentative approach.  "Well, Grant," he said, "we've had the devil's own day of it, haven't we?"
     "Yes," Grant said quietly in the rainy darkness, and drew on his cigar.  "Lick 'em tomorrow though."
     That was the end of any thought of retreat.  At first light, Grant threw his entire force at the Confederates under General P. G. T. Beauregard, and after a second bloody day, Grant, with Sherman right beside him, had won the biggest Northern victory of the Civil War's first year.  The author and Confederate soldier George Washington Cable wrote, "The South never smiled after Shiloh."


From correspondence attributed to William Tecumseh Sherman:

You people of the South don't know what you are doing. This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how it will end. It is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization!You people speak so lightly of war; you don't know what you're talking about. War is a terrible thing! You mistake, too, the people of the North. They are a peaceable people but an earnest people, and they will fight, too. They are not going to let this country be destroyed without a mighty effort to save it… Besides, where are your men and appliances of war to contend against them? The North can make a steam engine, locomotive, or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or pair of shoes can you make.You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical, and determined people on Earth — right at your doors. You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else you are totally unprepared, with a bad cause to start with. At first you will make headway, but as your limited resources begin to fail, shut out from the markets of Europe as you will be, your cause will begin to wane. If your people will but stop and think, they must see in the end that you will surely fail.

I am a damned sight smarter man than Grant. I know more about military history, strategy, and grand tactics than he does. I know more about supply, administration, and everything else than he does. I'll tell you where he beats me though and where he beats the world. He doesn't give a damn about what the enemy does out of his sight, but it scares me like hell. … I am more nervous than he is. I am more likely to change my orders or to countermarch my command than he is. He uses such information as he has according to his best judgment; he issues his orders and does his level best to carry them out without much reference to what is going on about him and, so far, experience seems to have fully justified him.

I confess, without shame, that I am sick and tired of fighting — its glory is all moonshine; even success the most brilliant is over dead and mangled bodies, with the anguish and lamentations of distant families, appealing to me for sons, husbands, and fathers ... it is only those who have never heard a shot, never heard the shriek and groans of the wounded and lacerated ... that cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation.

You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you to secure peace. But you cannot have peace and a division of our country. If the United States submits to a division now, it will not stop, but will go on until we reap the fate of Mexico, which is eternal war. The United States does and must assert its authority, wherever it once had power; for, if it relaxes one bit to pressure, it is gone, and I believe that such is the national feeling....I want peace, and believe it can only be reached through union and war, and I will ever conduct war with a view to perfect and early success. But, my dear sirs, when peace does come, you may call on me for anything. Then will I share with you the last cracker, and watch with you to shield your homes and families against danger from every quarter.

You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable, and the only way the people of Atlanta can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home, is to stop the war, which can only be done by admitting that it began in error and is perpetuated in pride.

I hereby state, and mean all I say, that I never have been and never will be a candidate for President; that if nominated by either party I should peremptorily decline; and even if unanimously elected I should decline to serve.


Those who wish to embody the Tao
should embrace all things.
To embrace all things means first that one
holds no anger of resistance
toward any idea or thing, living
or dead, formed or formless.
Acceptance is the very essence of the Tao.

To embrace all things means also that one
rids oneself of any concept of
separation; male and female,
self and other, life and death.
Division is contrary to the nature
of the Tao.

Foregoing antagonism and separation,
one enters into the harmonious
oneness of all things.

-Verse 3
Hua Hu Ching:  The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu
Brian Browne Walker

Fifty years ago.....................

Gerry & The Pacemakers................How Do You Do It

Judgment calls..................

"Since the courts are no longer in the business of legislating morality, they have gotten into the business of legislating reality. It’s far trickier and far more difficult."
-Stuart Schneiderman, as excerpted from here

Probably not as much as we think................


18 principles for highly creative living...............

................from Justine Musk.  A wee sampling:
16. Don’t think outside the box. That’s too easy. You need limits to chafe against; limits trigger and release creativity. So climb inside the box – and find ways to kick the edges way the hell out.
17. Some roads are lonely roads. Walk them anyway.

About that box..................

via, via,  sorry - I can't remember

A good head start...................

Been dabbling in Paul Johnson's biography on Charles Darwin.  Here is an excerpt:

     As the progeny of three such remarkable men, Erasmus and Robert Darwin and Josiah Wedgwood - the imaginative genius, the intuitive genius, and the empirical genius - Charles Darwin had access to a gene pool of the highest possible quality.  Some points are worth noting.  First, all three forebears were skillful at handling money and amassed it with the seemingly effortless ease that financial wizards show.  Hence Charles Darwin was able to become a gentleman-scientist without the smallest difficulty and remain one all his life.  He never had to worry about money.  He did worry about money - he worried about everything - but he never had to compromise, limit, or adjust his scientific activities for financial reasons.  This he was virtually unique among famous scientists.

As excerpted from Darwin:  Portrait of a Genius

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The groundhog was sort of right.................. was not to be six more weeks until Spring.  This post from David Kanigan struck a nerve, and brought a smile:

Watch out for the Emu...........

Barenaked Ladies....................If I Had A $1,000,000


Academics just have to be academic.  Here is a study showing the effect championship high school football teams have on property values.  Abstract here:

This study demonstrates the capitalization of high school football championships into school district property values using a highly parameterized model that controls for a series of fixed effects. Winning a state football championship increases property values by 1.65% in the year following the championship, exerting its strongest effect during summertime months.

Us history majors intuitively know this is true.  About twenty years ago, one of our now-well-respected local school districts could not pass a tax levy for love or money (local levies provided much needed funding for Ohio school districts).  It was tearing their community apart and creating much bitterness.  Then one crisp November evening, the weekend before yet another vote on yet another levy, their high school football team met, and defeated, their long time rival. Said rival was favored and had a winning streak going. It was a high energy and exciting game.  The community was jazzed by the win and the following Tuesday voted to approve the levy. Being a well-run school district, they got the correct funding mechanism in place, and have not gone back to the voters since.  So, when somebody tells you that winning football teams matter, just nod your head and say, "Of course, I knew that."

thanks Mungo

Fifty years ago........................

The Beach Boys..............................Shut Down

Live version from 1964 is here

While out walking one day....................

...............I came across this TEAMWORK poster starring Louis Armstrong.  If I was a better photographer,  the bright flash reflection would not obscure the middle of the poster.  Sorry.  Still, got to love the sentiment.

215 years later....................

Thomas Malthus is still wrong:
     "Malthus thought that the dangers of population growth would preclude endless progress towards a utopian society: 'The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man'.  As an Anglican clergyman, Malthus saw this situation as divinely imposed to teach virtuous behaviour."

Chart and back story from Mark Perry
Quote from Wikipedia

So I was reading.................

............a review in The Economist of the book Brothers Emanuel: A Memoir of an American Family (that would be Rahm, Ezekiel, and Ari), and came across this wonderful paragraph:
    "Emanuel pere had a practice as a paediatrician, but the family was not materially wealthy; the children were privately schooled and any spare cash was spent on cultural outings.  Passionate debate around the dinner table was the norm.  Everyone was expected to be well informed and the boys were allowed to swear.  Tempers could run high.  A discussion of the 'Deer Hunter', a 1978 film, ended in a brawl.  For all the chaos, though, there were rules:  no prejudice, cruelty, or stupidity."


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

On a roll..........................

Faith Hill..................................The Lucky One
(as always, click on through to YouTube)

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

     It is summertime; beneath the ancient oaks of the park, a boy is playing.  He is fair-haired, thickset, with dark, fiery eyes.  He is four years old; but when we watch him driving his spade into the earth, loading his barrow with clods, and dumping the contents of the barrow beside the pond where he is building a fortress out of earth and stone, we should take him for a lad of six, so vigorously does he pursue his task.  When the gardener comes from the house to fetch him because it is time for dinner, he is rebellious, and grows angry.
-Emil Ludwig, Bismarck: The Story of a Fighter


Go here for a previously posted list of quotations attributed to Otto von Bismarck.  Here are a few more:

Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied. 

Whoever speaks of Europe is wrong: it is a geographical expression.

When you want to fool the world, tell the truth. 

When a man says he approves of something in principle, it means he hasn't the slightest intention of putting it into practice.

It is the destiny of the weak to be devoured by the strong.

Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others.

A really great man is known by three signs... generosity in the design, humanity in the execution, moderation in success.

Politics are not a science based on logic; they are the capacity of always choosing at each instant, in constantly changing situations, the least harmful, the most useful.

I have seen three emperors in their nakedness, and the sight was not inspiring.

Faust complained about having two souls in his breast, but I harbor a whole crowd of them and they quarrel. It is like being in a republic.

Hounds follow those who feed them.

The statesman's task is to hear God's footsteps marching through history, and to try and catch on to His coattails as He marches past. 

Politics ruins the character.

image via

Fifty years ago.........................

Ronnie Carroll.........................Say Wonderful Things

Correlation but not causation...............?

More fun with statistics and charts.  I'm pretty sure there is a relationship between housing starts and the rate of unemployment.   I'm just not sure exactly what that relationship is.  Here is Bill McBride's take (along with an enlargeable chart).  I will continue to contend that 2003-2006 home building activity was an aberration that we should hope is not repeated.  It would be very nice if both the red and the blue lines continued their gradual upward march over the next few years.

I'm back in vogue................?

Bobulate is on the story.  Here.  Wee excerpt here:

The divide between the connected and unconnected continues to demonstrate an economic discord: those living comfortably are also living un-connectedly. Unubiquitious computing demands have inspired developers to rush to build unconnected communities. The new connected is to be disconnected. Deadspots are the new hotspots.

The technology blues..................

all cartoons via

Monday, March 25, 2013

Keep on shining..................

Doobie Brothers......................Black Water

A Prayer in Spring..................

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day; 
And give us not to think so far away 
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here 
All simply in the springing of the year. 

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night; 
And make us happy in the happy bees, 
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees. 

And make us happy in the darting bird 
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill, 
And off a blossom in mid air stands still. 

For this is love and nothing else is love, 
The which it is reserved for God above 
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil. 

-Robert Frost (1915)

Cory Booker..................

...........and  the “Googly-Facebookish wing of the party.”  Say what?  Walter Russell Mead offers his take on the "forward thinking" Democratic mayor of Newark, New Jersey.  Full essay here.  Excerpt of an excerpt here:

"The mayor’s enthusiasm is not only a challenge to the regulatory state that his party has long championed. It also agitates against the conventional wisdom prevalent on the left that the poor need more protection from capitalism — and not, as Mr. Booker suggests, more access to capitalism."

Stay tuned.