Wednesday, March 17, 2021



     So, art is saying Stop.   It helps us to stop by putting a frame around something and makes us see it in a way we would never have seen it under normal circumstances of living, as so many of us do, on sort of automatic pilot, going through the world without really seeing much of anything. . . .

     So, to help us out of our blindness, part of what the painter is doing is saying, See what's there, not what you expect to see.  See what is really present in your life.  See yourself, see each other.

-Frederick Buechner,  The Remarkable Ordinary: How to Stop, Look, And Listen To Life

image is a copy of a Rembrandt portrait

The hardest work.....................

      The biggest challenge in the stock market is not Mr. Market or Mr. Value.  The biggest challenge is neither visible nor measurable; it is hidden in the emotional incapacities of each of us as investors.  Investing, like parenting teenagers, benefits from calm, patient persistence and a long-term perspective and constancy of purpose.  That's why "know yourself" is the cardinal rule in investing.

     The hardest work in investing is not intellectual; it's emotional.  Being rational in an emotional environment is not easy, particularly with Mr. Market always trying to trick you into making changes.  The hardest work is not figuring out the optimal investment policy; it's sustaining a long-term focus—particularly at market highs or market lows—and staying committed to your optimal investment policy.

-Charles D. Ellis,  Winning The Loser's Game:  Timeless Strategies for Successful Investing


      Each of us, when fortunate, is compelled forward by something that grips our attention—love of a person; a sport; a political, sociological, or economic problem, or a scientific question; a passion for art, literature, or drama—something that calls to us for reasons we can neither control nor understand (try to make yourself interested in something you just do not care about and see how well that works). . . . You do not choose what interests you.  It chooses you.  Something manifest itself out of the darkness as compelling, as worth living for;  following that, something moves us further down the road, to the next meaningful manifestation—and so it goes, as we continue to seek, develop, grow, and thrive.  It is a perilous journey, but it is also the adventure of our lives.

-Jordan B. Peterson,  Beyond Order:  12 More Rules For Live


It is a sign of wisdom to avoid believing every thought that enters your mind.  It is a mark of emotional intelligence to avoid internalizing every feeling that enters your heart.

-Adam Grant,  Think Again:  The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know

The Middle Way..............................

Eisenhower said that he and his administration were determined that a fair, just, and moral America assume its responsibilities for the nation's less fortunate and for those who had been victims of racism. Ike would face heavy headwinds, especially among Democrats, whose main political base consisted of Southern whites. Still, determined to be a president for the whole country, the Middle Way was, in his view, the only prospect the United States had for sustainable social and racial progress. 

     The objective of desegregating the areas controlled by the federal government had been difficult enough to attain, and they included measures of far-reaching impact such as progressive federal court appointments and the desegregation of federal contracting. But the attitudes prevalent in individual states would be harder to tackle, and they were outside any president's jurisdiction at that time. 

     To advantageously influence local affairs, "the President had endeavored to keep the trust of both sides so that when he acted he would be supported by the public," Herbert Brownell recalled. While Eisenhower's critics later blamed him for not doing more to create a new moral climate in this country, he realized that if the whole nation were to make good on its constitutional promise, it would require bringing the whole country along. 

 -Susan Eisenhower, How Ike Led: The Principles Behind Eisenhower's Biggest Decisions

 Lest we forget, in 1957, Eisenhower both nationalized the Arkansas National Guard and sent 1,000 paratroopers from the 101st Airborne Division to enforce both order and a federal court decision mandating the desegregation of public schools.


The critical question.......................

 We don't make decisions in a vacuum and we can't get something for nothing.  When making choices, considering consequences can help us avoid future problems.  We must ask ourselves the critical question:  And then what?

-Farnum Street, Great Mental Models Vol. 1:  General Thinking Concepts

An attitude of equanimity...................

 Have you ever been on a cruise?  If so, you will know that when you are allowed ashore you may entertain yourself by looking around and doing some shopping, but you should always be aware of when the ship will depart, lest you end up stranded where you don't belong.

     The same goes with life.  It's fine to enjoy its pleasures and to entertain yourself a little.  But you should always keep in mind that at some time the voyage will be over, since it does not last forever.  When the time comes, be ready, and make sure you look back and do not find that you have misspent your shore leave.

     The best way to avoid this is to ask yourself from time to time what is important, and to act accordingly. . . . Cultivate, then, an attitude of equanimity toward externals.

-Massimo Pigliucci,  A Field Guide To A Happy Life:  58 Brief Lessons For Living

Sunday, March 14, 2021

The Law of Unintended Consequences.............

 ........................the one unbreakable law:

Interestingly, last year--2020--there were far fewer cars on the roads, because of social distancing, the shutdown of bars and restaurants, and the fact that many people did not commute to work at all. 

The result: MORE TRAFFIC DEATHS. People drove much more aggressively on the nearly empty roads. To be fair, the total number of accidents did in fact fall by quite a bit, as you would expect. But the severity of the accidents that did happen? That was up sharply, especially outside of cities. 

The point? Regulations have to take into account the likely response of citizens, based on expectations. You can't just twirl dials and pull levers when it comes to public policy. 

-Mike Munger, from this post

Well, it is certainly not your friend...............



Can we get an Amen......................................?


The fine tradition of government shopping......

At the time when the early Ming emperors were stifling China’s prosperity with centralised bureaucratic tyranny, backward Europe was transformed into the world’s most innovative and wealthy continent. It did so precisely by not being unified and centralised: by being a quilt of different countries so that entrepreneurs, inventors and artists could shop around for a congenial regime, as David Hume was the first to argue. . . .

 In harmonisation lies stagnation: innovation comes from variety. Britain must not be afraid to be different: to offer alternative opportunities, smarter regulation, divergent priorities. That is not a hostile act toward the European Union: it would be good for them too. In differentiation lies the chance to experiment and find opportunities for mutual gains, mutual recognition and mutual respect.

-Matthew Ridley, from this post

Been told I need them..........................