Friday, July 14, 2017

Thursday, July 13, 2017


Steam.......................................Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye

A good question........................

On what principle is it that with nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?


"Getting 100,000 miles out of a car in 1970 was cause for celebration.  Not getting 100,000 miles out of a car today is cause to think you bought a lemon."

-Steven Horwitz, as taken from this publication

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

...............................the more they stay the same.  To wit:

The present moment is one of great distress. But how small will that distress appear when we think over the history of the last forty years; a war, compared with which all other wars sink into insignificance; taxation, such as the most heavily taxed people of former times could not have conceived; a debt larger than all the public debts that ever existed in the world added together; the food of the people studiously rendered dear; the currency imprudently debased, and imprudently restored. Yet is the country poorer than in 1790? We firmly believe that, in spite of all the misgovernment of her rulers, she has been almost constantly becoming richer and richer. Now and then there has been a stoppage, now and then a short retrogression; but as to the general tendency there can be no doubt. A single breaker may recede; but the tide is evidently coming in.

-as quoted from Southey's Colloquies on Society, published in 1830

Remember when we were told..............

.................we couldn't "drill our way out" of an oil crisis"?

Divining the reasons behind ordinary Americans’ disenchantment with the political class is a robust industry these days. They might, in their searches, want to consider that smug, unequivocal assertion that “we can’t drill …” And that patronizing, “addicted to oil” line. The people saying these things were so sublimely confident in their predictions. Seems they weren’t familiar with the wisdom of Yogi Berra who said, immortally, that, “Predictions are hard. Especially about the future.”

-as excerpted from here


Sorry, not sorry......................

Sorry, not sorry. A neologism which I hear young people use frequently, and now people my age are adopting.  It's a great phrase.  People want you to be sorry for something you did, you feel you're in the right.  Sorry, not sorry.

 "Safe Spaces" aren't about knowledge.  They are about being thin-skinned and unwilling to think.  

... life means we're free to be offended.  We're not free from being offended.  We're free to be heard.  We're not free to force people to listen.  If my tone offends you, if it causes you to discount what I have to say, if it causes you any kind of problem, well, it's your right to feel that way.  Good luck with that.

-three wee excerpts culled from this Maggie's Farm essay.   Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Russ Ballard...................................................The Fire Still Burns

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

     For something so unprecedented, so fraught with institutional risk, it was all handled with a minimum of fuss.  And quietly, too.  That was the remarkable thing about it, the operational silence with which it was carried out.  Yes, there had been the dramatic announcement broadcast live to the nation, and the splashy first Cabinet meeting, and the lavish party at Ari Shamron's lakeside villa in Tiberias where all the friends and collaborators from his remarkable past - the spymasters, the politicians, the Vatican priests, the London art dealers, even an inveterate art thief from Paris - had come to wish him well.  But otherwise it came to pass with scarcely a ripple.  One day Uzi Navot was seated behind his large smoked-glass desk in the chief's office, and the next, Gabriel was in his place.  Absent Navot's modern desk, mind you, for glass wasn't Gabriel's style.

-Daniel Silva,  House of Spies

On sources................................

"Too much self-centered thinking is the source of suffering.  A compassionate concern for others' well-being is the source of happiness."

-The Dalai Lama

On dejection..........................

"If something can be done about the situation, what need is there for dejection?  And if nothing can be done about it, what use is there for being dejected?


Monday, July 10, 2017

30 observations after 30 years..........

Today marks 30 years since a confident young man walked into the back office of Schroder Investment Management in London, to start his first day on the job, the first in his career. Ask me a question back then and I would have answered assuredly and quickly. Today I’d be more likely to say ‘I don’t know’ with just as much confidence.

-so commences this Broadsword Capital post.   Read the whole thing.  Here are a few wee passages:

The lessons stand the test of time. The stocks, companies, and players change, but human nature never changes. We’re all human, even millennials.

Everything is a risk. Getting up, going out, crossing the road, but ultimately I am responsible for everything that happens to me.

Social media is a tough arena. ... Be nice. We all have off days. You never know what’s going on in people’s lives. Everyone’s going through something.

Moment by moment....................

"Throughout the entire history of philosophy, philosophers have sought to discover what man is - or what human nature is. But Sartre believed that man has no such eternal nature to fall back on. It is therefore useless to search for the meaning of life in general. We are condemned to improvise. We are like actors dragged onto the stage without having learned our lines, with no script and no prompter to whisper stage directions to us. We must decide for ourselves how to live."

-Jostein Gaarder


Sunday, July 9, 2017

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

      In the eighteenth century certain members of the clerisy, such as Voltaire and Tom Paine, courageously advocated our liberties in trade.  And in truth our main protection against the ravenous has been just such competition in trade - not City Hall or Whitehall, which have their own ravenous habits, backed by violence.  During the 1830s and 1840s, however, a much enlarged clerisy, mostly the sons of bourgeois fathers, commenced sneering at the economic liberties their fathers were exercising so vigorously, and commenced advocating the vigorous use instead of the state's monopoly of violence to achieve one or another utopia, soon.

-Deidre Nansen McCloskey,  Bourgeois Equality:  How Ideas, Not Capital Or Institutions, Enriched The World

a fresh living thing......................

      To understand anything you must live with it, you must observe it, you must know its content, its nature, its structure, its movement.  Have you ever tried living with yourself?  If so, you will begin to see that yourself is not a static state, it is a fresh living thing.  And to live with a living thing your mind must also be alive.  And it cannot be alive if it is caught in opinions, judgments and values.
      In order to observe the movement of your own mind and heart, of your whole being, you must have a free mind, not a mind that agrees and disagrees, taking sides in an argument, disputing over mere words, but rather following with an intention to understand - a very difficult thing to do because most of us don't know how to look at, or listen to, our own being any more that we know how to look at the beauty of a river or listen to the breeze among the trees.
      When we condemn or justify we cannot see clearly, nor can we when our minds are endlessly chattering; then we do not observe what is;  we look only at the projections we have made of ourselves.  Each of us has an image of what we think we are or what we should be, and that image, that picture, entirely prevents us from seeing ourselves as we actually are.

-Jiddu Krishnamurti,  Freedom from the Known

A continuation....................

     It is one of the most difficult things in the world to look at anything simply.  Because our minds are very complex we have lost the quality of simplicity.  I don't mean simplicity in clothes or food, wearing only a loin cloth or breaking a record fasting or any of that immature nonsense the saints cultivate, but the simplicity that can look directly at things without fear - that can look at ourselves as we actually are without any distortions - to say when we lie, we lie, not cover it up or run away from it.
      Also in order to understand ourselves we need a great deal of humility.  If you start by saying, 'I know myself', you have already stopped learning about yourself. ...

-Jiddu Krishnamurti,  Freedom from the Known

The biggest picture....................

You want to talk about "big picture" thinking?  It doesn't get any bigger than this.  We're talking about stuff like fate and destiny.
      We often confuse those two words as meaning the same thing.  But UCLA professor Howard Suber clarifies the distinction.   Fate is that thing we cannot avoid.  It comes for us despite how we try to run from it.  Destiny, on the other hand, is the thing we must chase, what we must bring to fruition.  It's what we strive toward and make true.  When bad things happen, the idea of fate makes us feel better, whereas taking the time to consider eulogy values helps us think more about destiny.  Success doesn't come from shrugging off the bad as unchangeable and saying things are already "meant to be";  it's the result of chasing the good and writing our own future.  Less fate, more destiny.

-Eric Barker,  as borrowed from the chapter in Barking Up The Wrong Tree:  The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong, wherein he compares "resume" values and "eulogy" values