Sunday, December 31, 2017

... tak' a cup o' kindness...............

From me to you........................

Speaking of Scottish Enlightenment........

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak' a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stoup!
and surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak' a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
We twa hae run about the braes,
and pou’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin' auld lang syne.
We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,
frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin' auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
and gie's a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak' a right gude-willie waught,
for auld lang syne.

-Robert Burns, 1788

We cannot wait till the world is sane....

He did not wait till the world was ready,
till men and nations were at peace.
He came when the Heavens were unsteady,
and prisoners cried out for release.
He did not wait for the perfect time.
He came when the need was deep and great.
He dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine.
He did not wait till hearts were pure.
In joy he came to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame
he came, and his Light would not go out.
He came to a world which did not mesh,
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
the Maker of the stars was born.
We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!
-Madeleine L'Engle First Coming

On Time...................................

Time is 
Too Slow for those who Wait,
Too Swift for those who Fear,
Too Long for those who Grieve,
Too Short for those who Rejoice;
But for those who Love,
Time is not. 

-Henry Van Dyke

Ed. Note:  There are many references to this poem in the Intertunnel that swap out the word "not" for the word "eternity."  Not sure it changes the meaning.


"Slowing down to gain time. Thinking more. Getting additional options. Not worrying so much about what others think of you. Scheduling times for intense focus. Savoring the smallest moments such as stirring or sipping a cup of coffee. Reading a type of fiction you've seldom or never read before. Asking yourself what one of your heroes would tell you about your current situation. Avoiding self-sabotage. Examining how a problem might be a solution and how a solution might be a problem. Looking for opportunities instead of excuses. Noticing all that others do for you. Stop keeping score. Start saying no when you know you should. Connecting when you want to withdraw. Being indifferent to what deserves indifference. Expanding and improving the circle of your associates. Realizing that perfection is very elusive. Asking for help when you need it. Recognizing what life has been telling you is your chief role. Being open to a higher meaning."

-Michael Wade, as cut and pasted from here.  His "self-sabotage" theme obviously has resonated with me over the years.

Three from my favorite optimist............

As for the concern that genomic selection for intelligence, if it comes, will be available to the rich but not the poor — well, the same is true for good education. Opportunities to buy the best genes for your children will be dwarfed for decades to come by the ability of the rich to buy the best education for their children. If you must do something, do something about that instead: and preferably do so by making all education as good as the best, rather than as bad as the worst.
I mean that human achievements are always and everywhere collective. Every object and service you use is the product of different minds working together to invent or manage something that is way beyond the capacity of any individual mind. This is why central planning does not work. Ten million people eat lunch in London most days; how the heck they get what they want and when and where, given that a lot of them decide at the last minute, is baffling. Were there a London lunch commissioner to organise it, he would fail badly. Individual decisions integrated by price signals work, and work very well indeed.
What changed was not some bright spark of a new gene being turned on, but that we began to exchange and specialise, to create collective intelligence, rather than rely on individual braininess. To put it another way, dozens of stupid people in a room who talk to each other will achieve far more than an equal number of clever people who don’t. The internet only underlines this point. Human intelligence is a distributed, collaborative phenomenon.

-Matt Ridley, as taken from this post

Saturday, December 30, 2017


     Word-thinking is a term I invented to describe a situation in which people are trying to win an argument by adjusting the definition of words.  In these situations there is no appeal to reason.  But that's okay, because facts and logic are not persuasive anyway.  Word-thinking happens when people are bad at logic but don't realize it.  And that's most of us, most of the time.  So you see this form of nonthinking more than any other. ... 
     We saw a lot of word-thinking in the presidential race of 2016.  At the beginning of the election cycle we saw an ongoing debate about whether Donald Trump was "conservative" enough to be the Republican nominee.  The people who said he was not a true conservative were trying to use work-thinking to eliminate Trump from consideration as the Republican candidate.  Their problem was that people did not agree on what it meant to be conservative, nor did the public think it was especially important for Trump's talents and policies to map some undefined political label.  This was the blind spot in the Republican Party that allowed Trump to become their leader without being especially conservative.  The entrenched interests in the GOP were doing word-thinking - literally the worst form of persuasion - to protect themselves from a Master Persuader with an enormous stockpile of persuasion weaponry.  It was never a fair fight.  As a trained persuader, I could see this developing from the start.  As long as the Republican establishment clung to word-thinking for their defense, they had no defense at all.

-Scott Adams,  as excerpted from Win Bigly:  Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter

The more things change...........

     After three years at Glasgow Smith went on to spend another six, from 1740 to 1746, as a student at Oxford University's Balliol College.   In stark contrast to his experience at Glasgow, Smith found his classes at Oxford exceedingly uninspiring.  He later remarked that the professors there has "given up altogether even the pretence of teaching," and he was also clearly thinking of Oxford when he wrote that the best endowed universities often serve as "sanctuaries in which exploded systems and obsolete prejudices found shelter and protection, after they had been hunted out of every other corner of the world."

-Dennis C. Rasmussen,  The Infidel And The Professor:  David Hume, Adam Smith, And The Friendship That Shaped Modern Thought

The Covenant is not collectivist....

To love God and to love thy neighbour: that is the whole teaching. Everything follows from that.   This is a politics in opposition to politics; a politics that produces martyrs, for the principle at its heart cannot be explained to the Princes of this World.
-David Warren, as culled from this post

The Demolition Man..........................

.......................................................had a very busy year.

Shall we dance...............................?

How much.......................................... "smarter" worth?


Jerry Seinfeld kept photos from the Hubble Space Telescope up on the wall in the Seinfeld writing room. “It would calm me when I would start to think that what I was doing was important,” he told Judd Apatow, in Sick in the Head. “You look at some pictures from the Hubble Telescope and you snap out of it.” When Apatow said that sounded depressing, Seinfeld replied, “People always say it makes them feel insignificant, but I don’t find being insignificant depressing. I find it uplifting.”

-as copy and pasted from Austin Kleon

Friday, December 29, 2017

The Scottish Enlightenment..............

     The Scottish Enlightenment is now widely regarded as an intellectual golden age, the rival of Periclean Athens, Augustan Rome, and Renaissance Italy.  There is even a best-selling book recounting How the Scots Invented the Modern World.  Some of the leading men of letter of the period, in addtion to Hume and Smith, included Hugh Blair, Adam Ferguson, Henry Home (Lord Kames), Francis Hutcheson, John Millar, Thomas Reid, William Robertson, and Dugald Stewart.

-Dennis C. Rasmussen,  The Infidel And The Professor:  David Hume, Adam Smith, And The Friendship That Shaped Modern Thought


"The spirit of true religion breathes gentleness and affability; it gives a native, unaffected ease to the behavior; it is social, kind, cheerful; far removed from the cloudy and illiberal disposition which clouds the brow, sharpens the temper, and dejects the spirit."

-Hugh Blair, as quoted in the Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)

Baby, it's cold outside...........

"Man, in his animal capacity, is qualified to subsist in every climate."

-Adam Ferguson,  An Essay on the History of Civil Society (1767)

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Don't know about you, but...............

.......................................I'll be eating my bacon.

Takes a better photographer to capture pink chalk on a blackboard, but the caption reads, "Dinosaurs had no bacon - Look how that worked out"    The fine print adds, "Have a great day & make good choices."

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

Harpers Bizarre.......The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feeling Groovy)


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

... the pleasures of illusion............................

Vice may be defined as a course of behavior consented to by the will and having results which are bad, primarily because they are God-eclipsing and, secondarily, because they are physically or harmful to the agent or his fellows.  Ignorance of the self is something that answers to this description.  In its origin it is voluntary;  for  by introspection and by listening to other people's judgments of our character we can all, if we so desire, come to a very shrewd understanding of our flaws and weaknesses and the real, as opposed to the avowed and advertised, motive of our actions.  If most of us remain ignorant of ourselves, it is because self-knowledge is painful and we prefer the pleasures of illusions.

-Aldous Huxley, as culled from The Perennial Philosophy

Radical open-mindedness........

If you know you are blind, you can figure out a way to see, whereas if you don't know that you're blind, you will continue to bump into your problems.  In other words, if you can recognize that you have blind spots and open-mindedly consider the possibility that others might see something better than you - and that the threats and opportunities they are trying to point out really exist - you are more likely to make good decisions.
     Radical open-mindedness is motivated by the genuine worry that you might not be seeing your choices optimally.  It is the ability to effectively explore different points of view and different possibilities without letting your ego or your blind spots get in your way.  It requires you to replace your attachment to always being right with the joy of learning what's true.

-Ray Dalio,  Principles


     The word reformation was a popular in the Middle Ages as democracy is today - and it meant as many things to as many people.  Everyone was for it, as all the sources attest.  But that did not explain how reformation - today we would speak of reforms - were to look and how they would be implemented.  Nonetheless reformation was not a cliché.  It was more of an irritant and an admonition, often accompanied by ire and indignation but also filled with hope and longing.  It could challenge the Church as such or seek to stir up a religious order.  Then reformation meant return to original ideals.  The Church was to emulate the model of the early Christian community, to be united again in love; or a monastic community was to regain sight of the original, authentic principles of the founder of the order.

-Heiko A. Oberman,  Luther:  Man Between God And The Devil

Game Changer........................

Today is celebrated as the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's 95 Theses and the beginning of the Reformation.  Clearly, Luther, excommunicated for his efforts, was not a fan of Pope Leo X.  Worth a reading.

Out of love for the truth and from desire to elucidate it, the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and ordinary lecturer therein at Wittenberg, intends to defend the following statements and to dispute on them in that place. Therefore he asks that those who cannot be present and dispute with him orally shall do so in their absence by letter. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

  1. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ``Repent'' (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.
  2. This word cannot be understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, that is, confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.
  3. Yet it does not mean solely inner repentance; such inner repentance is worthless unless it produces various outward mortification of the flesh.
  4. The penalty of sin remains as long as the hatred of self (that is, true inner repentance), namely till our entrance into the kingdom of heaven.
  5. The pope neither desires nor is able to remit any penalties except those imposed by his own authority or that of the canons.
  6. The pope cannot remit any guilt, except by declaring and showing that it has been remitted by God; or, to be sure, by remitting guilt in cases reserved to his judgment. If his right to grant remission in these cases were disregarded, the guilt would certainly remain unforgiven.
  7. God remits guilt to no one unless at the same time he humbles him in all things and makes him submissive to the vicar, the priest.
  8. The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and, according to the canons themselves, nothing should be imposed on the dying.
  9. Therefore the Holy Spirit through the pope is kind to us insofar as the pope in his decrees always makes exception of the article of death and of necessity.
  10. Those priests act ignorantly and wickedly who, in the case of the dying, reserve canonical penalties for purgatory.
  11. Those tares of changing the canonical penalty to the penalty of purgatory were evidently sown while the bishops slept (Mt 13:25).
  12. In former times canonical penalties were imposed, not after, but before absolution, as tests of true contrition.
  13. The dying are freed by death from all penalties, are already dead as far as the canon laws are concerned, and have a right to be released from them.
  14. Imperfect piety or love on the part of the dying person necessarily brings with it great fear; and the smaller the love, the greater the fear.
  15. This fear or horror is sufficient in itself, to say nothing of other things, to constitute the penalty of purgatory, since it is very near to the horror of despair.
  16. Hell, purgatory, and heaven seem to differ the same as despair, fear, and assurance of salvation.
  17. It seems as though for the souls in purgatory fear should necessarily decrease and love increase.
  18. Furthermore, it does not seem proved, either by reason or by Scripture, that souls in purgatory are outside the state of merit, that is, unable to grow in love.
  19. Nor does it seem proved that souls in purgatory, at least not all of them, are certain and assured of their own salvation, even if we ourselves may be entirely certain of it.
  20. Therefore the pope, when he uses the words ``plenary remission of all penalties,'' does not actually mean ``all penalties,'' but only those imposed by himself.
  21. Thus those indulgence preachers are in error who say that a man is absolved from every penalty and saved by papal indulgences.
  22. As a matter of fact, the pope remits to souls in purgatory no penalty which, according to canon law, they should have paid in this life.
  23. If remission of all penalties whatsoever could be granted to anyone at all, certainly it would be granted only to the most perfect, that is, to very few.
  24. For this reason most people are necessarily deceived by that indiscriminate and high-sounding promise of release from penalty.
  25. That power which the pope has in general over purgatory corresponds to the power which any bishop or curate has in a particular way in his own diocese and parish.
  26. The pope does very well when he grants remission to souls in purgatory, not by the power of the keys, which he does not have, but by way of intercession for them.
  27. They preach only human doctrines who say that as soon as the money clinks into the money chest, the soul flies out of purgatory.
  28. It is certain that when money clinks in the money chest, greed and avarice can be increased; but when the church intercedes, the result is in the hands of God alone.
  29. Who knows whether all souls in purgatory wish to be redeemed, since we have exceptions in St. Severinus and St. Paschal, as related in a legend.
  30. No one is sure of the integrity of his own contrition, much less of having received plenary remission.
  31. The man who actually buys indulgences is as rare as he who is really penitent; indeed, he is exceedingly rare.
  32. Those who believe that they can be certain of their salvation because they have indulgence letters will be eternally damned, together with their teachers.
  33. Men must especially be on guard against those who say that the pope's pardons are that inestimable gift of God by which man is reconciled to him.
  34. For the graces of indulgences are concerned only with the penalties of sacramental satisfaction established by man.
  35. They who teach that contrition is not necessary on the part of those who intend to buy souls out of purgatory or to buy confessional privileges preach unchristian doctrine.
  36. Any truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without indulgence letters.
  37. Any true Christian, whether living or dead, participates in all the blessings of Christ and the church; and this is granted him by God, even without indulgence letters.
  38. Nevertheless, papal remission and blessing are by no means to be disregarded, for they are, as I have said (Thesis 6), the proclamation of the divine remission.
  39. It is very difficult, even for the most learned theologians, at one and the same time to commend to the people the bounty of indulgences and the need of true contrition.
  40. A Christian who is truly contrite seeks and loves to pay penalties for his sins; the bounty of indulgences, however, relaxes penalties and causes men to hate them -- at least it furnishes occasion for hating them.
  41. Papal indulgences must be preached with caution, lest people erroneously think that they are preferable to other good works of love.
  42. Christians are to be taught that the pope does not intend that the buying of indulgences should in any way be compared with works of mercy.
  43. Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better deed than he who buys indulgences.
  44. Because love grows by works of love, man thereby becomes better. Man does not, however, become better by means of indulgences but is merely freed from penalties.
  45. Christians are to be taught that he who sees a needy man and passes him by, yet gives his money for indulgences, does not buy papal indulgences but God's wrath.
  46. Christians are to be taught that, unless they have more than they need, they must reserve enough for their family needs and by no means squander it on indulgences.
  47. Christians are to be taught that they buying of indulgences is a matter of free choice, not commanded.
  48. Christians are to be taught that the pope, in granting indulgences, needs and thus desires their devout prayer more than their money.
  49. Christians are to be taught that papal indulgences are useful only if they do not put their trust in them, but very harmful if they lose their fear of God because of them.
  50. Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the indulgence preachers, he would rather that the basilica of St. Peter were burned to ashes than built up with the skin, flesh, and bones of his sheep.
  51. Christians are to be taught that the pope would and should wish to give of his own money, even though he had to sell the basilica of St. Peter, to many of those from whom certain hawkers of indulgences cajole money.
  52. It is vain to trust in salvation by indulgence letters, even though the indulgence commissary, or even the pope, were to offer his soul as security.
  53. They are the enemies of Christ and the pope who forbid altogether the preaching of the Word of God in some churches in order that indulgences may be preached in others.
  54. Injury is done to the Word of God when, in the same sermon, an equal or larger amount of time is devoted to indulgences than to the Word.
  55. It is certainly the pope's sentiment that if indulgences, which are a very insignificant thing, are celebrated with one bell, one procession, and one ceremony, then the gospel, which is the very greatest thing, should be preached with a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies.
  56. The true treasures of the church, out of which the pope distributes indulgences, are not sufficiently discussed or known among the people of Christ.
  57. That indulgences are not temporal treasures is certainly clear, for many indulgence sellers do not distribute them freely but only gather them.
  58. Nor are they the merits of Christ and the saints, for, even without the pope, the latter always work grace for the inner man, and the cross, death, and hell for the outer man.
  59. St. Lawrence said that the poor of the church were the treasures of the church, but he spoke according to the usage of the word in his own time.
  60. Without want of consideration we say that the keys of the church, given by the merits of Christ, are that treasure.
  61. For it is clear that the pope's power is of itself sufficient for the remission of penalties and cases reserved by himself.
  62. The true treasure of the church is the most holy gospel of the glory and grace of God.
  63. But this treasure is naturally most odious, for it makes the first to be last (Mt. 20:16).
  64. On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is naturally most acceptable, for it makes the last to be first.
  65. Therefore the treasures of the gospel are nets with which one formerly fished for men of wealth.
  66. The treasures of indulgences are nets with which one now fishes for the wealth of men.
  67. The indulgences which the demagogues acclaim as the greatest graces are actually understood to be such only insofar as they promote gain.
  68. They are nevertheless in truth the most insignificant graces when compared with the grace of God and the piety of the cross.
  69. Bishops and curates are bound to admit the commissaries of papal indulgences with all reverence.
  70. But they are much more bound to strain their eyes and ears lest these men preach their own dreams instead of what the pope has commissioned.
  71. Let him who speaks against the truth concerning papal indulgences be anathema and accursed.
  72. But let him who guards against the lust and license of the indulgence preachers be blessed.
  73. Just as the pope justly thunders against those who by any means whatever contrive harm to the sale of indulgences.
  74. Much more does he intend to thunder against those who use indulgences as a pretext to contrive harm to holy love and truth.
  75. To consider papal indulgences so great that they could absolve a man even if he had done the impossible and had violated the mother of God is madness.
  76. We say on the contrary that papal indulgences cannot remove the very least of venial sins as far as guilt is concerned.
  77. To say that even St. Peter if he were now pope, could not grant greater graces is blasphemy against St. Peter and the pope.
  78. We say on the contrary that even the present pope, or any pope whatsoever, has greater graces at his disposal, that is, the gospel, spiritual powers, gifts of healing, etc., as it is written. (1 Co 12[:28])
  79. To say that the cross emblazoned with the papal coat of arms, and set up by the indulgence preachers is equal in worth to the cross of Christ is blasphemy.
  80. The bishops, curates, and theologians who permit such talk to be spread among the people will have to answer for this.
  81. This unbridled preaching of indulgences makes it difficult even for learned men to rescue the reverence which is due the pope from slander or from the shrewd questions of the laity.
  82. Such as: ``Why does not the pope empty purgatory for the sake of holy love and the dire need of the souls that are there if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a church?'' The former reason would be most just; the latter is most trivial.
  83. Again, ``Why are funeral and anniversary masses for the dead continued and why does he not return or permit the withdrawal of the endowments founded for them, since it is wrong to pray for the redeemed?''
  84. Again, ``What is this new piety of God and the pope that for a consideration of money they permit a man who is impious and their enemy to buy out of purgatory the pious soul of a friend of God and do not rather, beca use of the need of that pious and beloved soul, free it for pure love's sake?''
  85. Again, ``Why are the penitential canons, long since abrogated and dead in actual fact and through disuse, now satisfied by the granting of indulgences as though they were still alive and in force?''
  86. Again, ``Why does not the pope, whose wealth is today greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build this one basilica of St. Peter with his own money rather than with the money of poor believers?''
  87. Again, ``What does the pope remit or grant to those who by perfect contrition already have a right to full remission and blessings?''
  88. Again, ``What greater blessing could come to the church than if the pope were to bestow these remissions and blessings on every believer a hundred times a day, as he now does but once?''
  89. ``Since the pope seeks the salvation of souls rather than money by his indulgences, why does he suspend the indulgences and pardons previously granted when they have equal efficacy?''
  90. To repress these very sharp arguments of the laity by force alone, and not to resolve them by giving reasons, is to expose the church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies and to make Christians unhappy.
  91. If, therefore, indulgences were preached according to the spirit and intention of the pope, all these doubts would be readily resolved. Indeed, they would not exist.
  92. Away, then, with all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, ``Peace, peace,'' and there is no peace! (Jer 6:14)
  93. Blessed be all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, ``Cross, cross,'' and there is no cross!
  94. Christians should be exhorted to be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, death and hell.
  95. And thus be confident of entering into heaven through many tribulations rather than through the false security of peace (Acts 14:22).

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

Fifth Dimension..........................................Learn How To Fly


Wishing you a happy Halloween.......

Monday, October 30, 2017

Like one of Frost's tramps..............

.............I stopped by this morning to watch my neighbor, Kurt Harden, chop wood.   Faithful readers may remember that Two Tramps in Mudtime is my favorite poem of all time.  Frost concludes:

          But yield who will to their separation,
          My object in living is to unite
          My avocation and my vocation
          As my two eyes make one in sight.
          Only where love and need are one,
          And the work is play for mortal stakes,
          Is the deed ever really done
          For Heaven and the future's sakes.

“Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice”
-Henry Ford

"If I had four hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first two hours sharpening the axe."
-one of the many variations of this quote attributed to Abe Lincoln

"Before enlightenment, chop wood.  After enlightenment, chop wood."
-me, paraphrasing a zen saying

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

Christmas Eve, 1945.  Moscow was blanketed under a thick coat of snow.  There were almost no cars about.  His driver eased down ruined streets that made it look like a country still at war.   The winter blizzards had begun before the rebuilding had gotten under way, and now it would have to wait for the thaw.  Unfinished buildings stood frozen in time.  Stores looked dark and uninviting, and appeared to offer little for sale.  Even so, huge numbers of people gathered outside the shops and still more filled the crowded sidewalks, all carrying parcels.  Most were poorly dressed, covered heads bent against the swirling white.  Over twenty-seven million Soviet citizens died defeating the Nazis, nearly a third of the country's former wealth was gone, but Russia was already on the rebound.  There were children everywhere.  Babies - so many babies - bundled up within an inch of their lives against the bitter cold.  Despite its drab appearance, the capital was alive and teeming with humanity.  James Conant was a Yankee from hardy New England stock, but he had to admit he was impressed with the Russians.  They were a tough race, tested by war, insurrection, and an unforgiving climate.  "There is no foolishness in this nation," he wrote in his diary.  "Nothing soft."

-Jennet Conant,   Man Of The Hour:   James B. Conant:  Warrior  Scientist

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

Eric Burdon & The Animals....................San Franciscan Nights


A pretty tough standard..........

“You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say” 

-Martin Luther


"You will have to get over your reluctance to assess what people are like if you want to surround yourself with people who have the qualities you need.  That goes for yourself too.  People almost always find it difficult to identify and accept their own mistakes and weaknesses.  Sometimes it's because they're blind to them, but more often it's because their egos get in the way.  Most likely your associates are equally reluctant to point out your mistakes, because they don't want to hurt you.  You all need to get over this.  More than anything else, what differentiates people who live up to their potential from those who don't is their willingness to look at themselves and others objectively and understand the root causes standing in their way."

-Ray Dalio,  Principles

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Find your broom.........................

......if you don't do anything else tonight, watch this video! Please.



Jetboy........................ honing in on the simple things in life.  Isn't it funny how often the "simple things" are also the good things?

As we approach.......................

................the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's nailing of his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle church (one of the more impactful events in the history of Western civilization), it is appropriate for us to revisit Luther. Luther strongly believed that we were saved by grace, that the Bible should be translated into the language of the people, and in the importance of music. He is quoted as saying:

 "Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world. It controls our hearts, minds, and spirits. A person who gives this some thought and yet does not regard music as a marvelous creation of God, must be a clodhopper indeed and does not deserve to be called a human being; he should be permitted to hear nothing but the braying of asses and the grunting of hogs."

No word on Luther's opinion of Led Zeppelin:


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

The Buckinghams...................Hey Baby (They're Playing Our Song)


splendid torch.....................

"Life is no brief candle to me.  It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."

-George Bernard Shaw

On questioning the assumption..........

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The meter is running.....................

....................Jeff is on a road trip.   Looking forward to his return.


 “Leonardo Da Vinci was a very human genius. He was not the recipient of supernatural intellect in the manner of, for example, Newton or Einstein, whose minds had such unfathomable processing power that we can merely marvel at them. His genius came from being wildly imaginative, quirkily curious and willfully observant.”

-Walter Isaacson

This Isaacson quote came from this essay, as did several other quotes posted this morning.  Found the essay via.

But really, what day isn't................

the curious, tinkering boy......

 What eventually set him apart was his mindset and drive. He never stopped being the curious, tinkering boy looking for new challenges.

-Carol Dweck, on Thomas Edison

Ask yourself.....................

The ability to destroy your ideas rapidly instead of slowly when the occasion is right is one of the most valuable things. You have to work hard on it. Ask yourself what are the arguments on the other side. It’s bad to have an opinion you’re proud of if you can’t state the arguments for the other side better than your opponents. This is a great mental discipline.

-Charlie Munger, as culled from here

Life can be difficult............

-from the comment section of this Scott Adams post

I'm hoping someday my kids will explain all this to me.

Good news.............................

The World's Poorest People Are Getting Richer Faster than Anyone Else. In 1820, 94% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. In 1990, 34.8%, and in 2015, just 9.6%.

-as posted here by the News Junkie

I've often wondered if the extreme decline in absolute poverty around the globe was a result of the container revolution and the off-shoring of American industry that followed.  Did we essentially export our middle class?  Just wondering.

The Mandela Effect.....................

.....................................................An interesting post about remembering things that never happened.

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

Beach Boys...............................Heroes and Villains


Friday, October 27, 2017


.............................................The balance of power has shifted.

Some people........................

Those were the days my friend.......

I grew up in America in the 1960s when, sure, we had our own nonsense. But back then, defending the First Amendment was a left-wing cause, and we mutinous youth exercised our freedom of speech like a motherfucker. We marched against the war, dared to use profanity in the days it still sounded dirty, burned the flag, refused to get married just to have sex, and lobbied against prudish censorship laws. We danced naked on stage and sneaked into Deep Throat under-age. We wanted to do and say whatever we bloody well wanted. For the young, struggling from cultural straitjackets seems normal to me. Struggling into one doesn’t.
Classical liberals like me are forever pontificating that freedom of speech is precarious, and all too easy to lose. Yeah, yeah. But contemporary western young people appear to value this right so little that the prospect of losing it isn’t faintly troubling.
...the young casually assume not only that they’re the cutting-edge, trend-setting arbiters of the acceptable now, but that they always will be. The students running campuses like re-education camps aren’t afraid of being muzzled, because they imagine they will always be the ones doing the muzzling — the ones dictating what words we can use (cis, not heterosexual), what books we can read (Tom Sawyer is out), what practices we can embrace (white people may not wear dreadlocks). These millennials don’t fear censorship because they plan on doing all the censoring.
-Lionel Shriver, as culled from here
The world has always been an interesting place.  Twenty years from now will be no different.

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

American Breed............................................Bend Me, Shape Me



On symbols and knowing............

     Symbols are only the vehicle of communication;  they must not be mistaken for the final term, the tenor, of their reference.  No matter how attractive or impressive they may seem, they remain but convenient means, accommodated to the understanding.  Hence the personality or personalities of God - whether represented in trinitarian, dualistic, or unitarian terms, in polytheistic, monotheistic, or henotheistic terms, pictorially or verbally, as documented fact or apocalyptic vision - no one should attempt to read or interpret as the final thing.  The problem of the theologian is to keep his symbol translucent, so that it may not block out the very light it is supposed to convey.  "For then alone do we know God truly," writes Saint Thomas Aquinas, "when we believe that His is far above all that man can possibly think of God."  And in the Kena Upanisad, in the same spirit:  "To know is not to know; not to know is to know."  Mistaking a vehicle for its tenor may lead to the spilling not only of valueless ink, but of valuable blood.

-Joseph Campbell, as excerpted from The Hero With A Thousand Faces

Don't know about you, but I had to look up henotheisticShort cut here.

Not sure intellect is the correct path.....

For creation is not a change, but that dependence of the created existence on the principle from which it is instituted, and thus is of the genus of relation; whence nothing prohibits it being in the created as in the subject. Creation is thus said to be a kind of change, according to the way of understanding, insofar as our intellect accepts one and the same thing as not existing before and afterwards existing.

-Thomas Aquinas

larger photo and description here

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Show up.....................

“Every election is determined by the people who show up.” 

-Larry J. Sabato

Voted early again this year.   A skimpy ballot to be sure, but I wanted to vote for the County's Children's Services levy.  The need is dire.  I hope you will vote for it.


Why do we bother with the rest of the day,
the swale of the afternoon,
the sudden dip into evening,

then night with his notorious perfumes,
his many-pointed stars?

This is the best -
throwing off the light covers,
feet on the cold floor,
and buzzing around the house on espresso -

maybe a splash of water on the face,
a palmful of vitamins -
but mostly buzzing around the house on espresso,

dictionary and atlas open on the rug,
the typewriter waiting for the key of the head,
a cello on the radio,

and, if necessary, the windows -
trees fifty, a hundred years old
out there,
heavy clouds on the way
and the lawn steaming like a horse
in the early morning.

Fictive kinship...................

     One of the main reasons humans have been so successful, as Israeli researcher Yuval Noah Harari points out, is due to what is called "fictive kinship."  Most species hang out only with family.  Everybody else is a potential enemy.  Good ol' Homo sapiens have been so successful because we've extended the definition of family by using mutually agreed upon stories.  Families are not merely blood relatives.  We're in many families:  We're Americans.  We're IBM employees.  We're on the same softball team.  Most simply, we're friends.  Friends are just the family we choose.  This allows us to collaborate on a scale that's impossible for other animals.  This is the secret to our success as a species.  It's also the secret to your success as an individual:  friendship.

-Eric Barker,  Barking Up The Wrong Tree:  The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong

This wee corner of the blogosphere is filled with "fictive kinship."  It is why I'm still here.


“It is the essence of certainty to be established only with reservations.” 
-Maurice Merleau-Ponty

cartoon via

Here's an idea................

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

Franki Valli & the Four Seasons................Tell It To The Rain


All the wisdom................'ll ever need, right at your fingertips, via the Sovereign Professional's Echoes through time series.  Take a look see.  You will thank me.

This actually makes a lot of sense.....

The two biggest barriers to good decision making are your ego and your blind spots. ...

     Once you understand how your a) logical/conscious you and b) emotional/subconscious you fight with each other, you can imagine what it's like when your two yous deal with other people and their own two "thems."  It's a mess.  Those lower level selves are like attack dogs - they want to fight even when their higher level selves want to figure things out.  This is very confusing because you and the people you are dealing with typically don't even know that these lower-level beasts exist, never mind that they're trying to hijack everyone's behavior.

-Ray Dalio, as excerpted from Principles