Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Ten big ideas........................

 1) Imago Dei: Every person is inherently valuable independent of behavior and beliefs. Everyone matters. Treat people accordingly, without exception.

5) Messy: Life is messy. People are messy. Business is messy. Relationships are messy. I’m messy. Messiness should never be surprising. Give myself and others grace.

-The balance of Brent Beshore's list is here



.................................a very good question:

What use could they have for our modern gizmos, who already knew what they needed to know?

Ed. Note: Sort of surprising, but the definition of ischaemia can be found here


 .............he made good use of his "15 seconds" because I just ordered another book from Barnes & Noble.

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

Allen Toussaint.........................................Soul Sister

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

 Any Major Dude With Half A Heart visits 1972 and some "major albums of the year."

Giving evangelism a good name.................

      I'm an evangelist for Mozart, Caravaggio, and Stevenson.  Missionary work takes perseverance and patience, key to conversion being experience, which leads to dialog, which leads to exploration, which leads to choice, which leads to understanding and growth. . . . Kids need to be told stories, not by appeasers, but by crusaders who care about their hearts and souls, by those willing to use courage and take the time to read to kids, sing to kids, dance to Mozart with kids; showing the not only The Way, but the purpose and the benefit of The Way.

-Rob Firchau, from this forever post

the long struggle...............

 Service, ambition, duty, loyalty, the desire to be the best, the desire to say yes—not such bad character traits to have cherished. I always thought of them as strengths, but lately I wonder if somewhere along the line they became a cover for something more suspicious.

-Bono, as culled from this wondrous blog

the edge.........................

 In a competition between someone who knows the most and someone who is willing to learn the most, the edge usually goes to the curious and empathic professional, not the one who is simply protecting what’s already known.

-Seth Godin


 ...............................the revolution!

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Sixty years ago..................

Gene Chandler..............................Duke of Earl



Jennifer Nettles......................O Holy Night/Hallelujah



 Old men especially are dangerous, whose memory of things remains, but who have lost the memory of their repetitions.  I have seen some very amusing stories become very boring in the mouth of one nobleman, everyone present having been sated with them a hundred times.

-Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Works, Book 1, Chapter 9

tricky and sensitive...........

      After she was elected the first female governor of Texas, in 1924, and got herself promptly embroiled in an argument about whether Spanish should be used in Lone Star schools, it is possible that Miriam A. "Ma" Ferguson did not say "If the King's English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it's good enough for the children of Texas."  I still rather hope that she did. But then, verification of quotations and sources is a tricky and sensitive thing.  Abraham Lincoln lay dying in a room full of educated and literate men, in the age of wireless telegraph, and not far from the offices of several newspapers, and we still do not know for sure, at the moment when his great pulse ceased to beat, whether his secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, said, "Now he belongs to the ages" or "Now he belongs to the angels."

-Christopher Hitchens, as he opens this essay

Gone, but not forgotten...............

      Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the 'transcendent' and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don't be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you.

-Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian

Christmas list.....................


Thanks Ray

'Tis the season................


Monday, December 5, 2022

weightier and riper......................

 Lately when I retired to my home, determined so far as possible to bother about nothing except spending the little life I have left in rest and seclusion, it seemed to me I could do my mind no greater favor that to let it entertain itself in full idleness and stay and settle itself, which I hoped it might do more easily now, having become weightier and riper with time.  But I find that, on the contrary, like a runaway horse, it gives itself a hundred times more trouble than it took from others, and gives birth to so many chimeras and fantastic monsters, one after another, without order or purpose, that in order to contemplate their ineptitude and strangeness at my pleasure, I have begun to put them in writing, hoping in time to make my mind ashamed of itself.

-Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Works, Book 1, Chapter 8

There's a lot going on out there..........

 Merging galaxies via APOD and Webb's camera:

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

Townes Van Zandt............................If I Needed You



      Emotional and intellectual errors, as well as religious and political errors, are perpetrated by distortions of either content, context, or both.  Sentimentality and emotionalism are presented as justifications to violate even the basic rules of logic.  The damaging consequences of these lapses of integrity to society are enormous.  They block and impede progress in major areas of life.  Major social disasters go on for centuries before the fallacy of their basis is exposed.  The serious seeker of spiritual truth cannot afford such deceptions.  The way to Truth is via radical honesty.

-David R. Hawkins


Thinking like a lawyer also means that you can make arguments on any side of any question. Many of you resist that teaching, thinking that we are stripping you of your personal principles and convictions, transforming you into a hired gun. On the contrary, learning how to make arguments on different sides of a question is learning that there are arguments on both sides, and learning how to hear them. That is the core of the liberal value of tolerance, but also the precondition for order in a society that chooses to engage in conflict with words rather than guns. It is our best hope for rational deliberation, for solving problems together not based on eradicating conflict, but for channeling it productively and cooperating where possible.

-Anne-Marie Slaughter

Old friends................

 A newlywed young man was sitting on the porch on a hot, humid day; sipping iced tea with his father. As he talked about adult life, marriage, responsibilities, and obligations, the father thoughtfully stirred the ice cubes in his glass and cast a clear, sober look on his son. "Never forget your friends," he advised, "they will become more important as you get older." "Regardless of how much you love your family and the children you happen to have; you will always need friends. Remember to go out with them occasionally, do activities with them, call them ..."

"What strange advice!" Thought the young man. "I just entered the married world; I am an adult and surely my wife and the family that we will start will be everything I need to make sense of my life." Yet he obeyed his father; Kept in touch with his friends and annually increased their number. Over the years, he became aware that his father knew what he was talking about. Inasmuch as time and nature carry out their designs and mysteries on a man, friends were the bulwarks of his life.

After 60 years of life, here is what he learned: Time passes. Life goes on. The distance separates. Children grow up. Children cease to be children and become independent. And to the parents, it breaks their hearts, but the children are separated of the parents. Jobs come and go. Illusions, desires, attraction, sex ... weaken. People do not do what they should do. The heart breaks. The parents die. Colleagues forget the favors. The races are over. But true friends are always there, no matter how long or how many miles away they are. A friend is never more distant than the reach of a need, intervening in your favor, waiting for you with open arms or blessing your life.

When we started this adventure called LIFE, we did not know of the incredible joys or sorrows that were ahead. We did not know how much we would need from each other. Love your parents, take care of your children, but keep a group of good friends. Dialogue with them but do not impose your criteria. 


Thanks Grant

Of all the benefits...................

 ...........of investing in real estate, I never would have thought of this one:

On the other hand, there are benefits to owning real estate. The biggest one is that you’re not getting a price quote five days a week like you do in the stock market. That makes it way easier to think and act for the long-term.

On the other hand, I get about five spam calls, three unsolicited text messages, and one post card a day inquiring as to my willingness to sell real estate we do own.   Ignoring that noise has become part of my job.


      Nothing quite impacted Jackson like the American Revolution.  It destroyed his patriot family, left him an orphan, and shifted his loyalties decisively and forever from clan to country.  Just sixteen when the war concluded, Jackson saw service as a courier in the militia, attended to troops at the Battle of Hanging Rock fought in the chaotic South Carolina interior, and was later captured and help prisoner.  He remains the only POW to become president.  From these several and traumatic experiences he developed and abiding hate for Great Britain and, more generally, the hereditary underpinnings, casting peerage as the eternal enemy of the people, a resilient adversary that he recognized in the subsequent struggles including the Bank War, in which he denounced the offending national depository as a "dangerous aristocratic influence."  For Jackson, that is to say, the Revolution never really ended.  Long after independence, it continued to frame his way of reckoning with the world, offering a constant and convenient ideological rival to rail against.

-David S. Brown, The First Populist: The Defiant Life of Andrew Jackson

Sunday, December 4, 2022

A thought on laissez faire................

 A great deal of the talk about laissez faire [in the nineteenth century] must be discounted, or at least put into its proper context. In many cases the argument concealed an admission that a problem was insoluble, or that it must be endured, because no one could think of any method of solving it. From this point of view, the policy of laissez faire was not the result of a new and optimistic belief in the progress of society through private enterprise. It was rather an acknowledgement that the fund of skill and experience at the service of society was limited, and that, in the management of their common affairs, men would not be able to find the elasticity and adaptiveness which individuals showed in devising schemes for their own self-interest.

-Vito Tanzi, Termites of the State: Why Complexity Leads to Inequality

Trying to live up........................... his opinion of me.  Humbled to be included.  Will work on that waving thing.

One of the toughest jobs out there.......

      I was working on an HBR piece with Citibank's legendary Walter Wriston in his New York office when he gave me a short course on content versus context.

      "Every day I'm presented with three types of information," Wriston said.  "Facts, wrong facts, and damned lies.  My job is to know which is which."

-Alan M. Webber, Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths for Winning at Business Without Losing Yourself

On man...................

 Truly man is a marvelously vain, diverse, and undulating object.  It is hard to find any constant and uniform judgment on him.

-Michel De Montaigne

In the background...................

Dan Fogelberg....................................Nether Lands


a joy which is free from all sorrows...............

 The ordinary surroundings of life which are esteemed by men (as their actions testify) to be the highest good, may be classed under the three heads — Riches, Fame, and the Pleasures of Sense: with these three the mind is so absorbed that it has little power to reflect on any different good. . . . But love for an object eternal and infinite feeds the mind with joy alone, and a joy which is free from all sorrow. This is something greatly to be desired and to be sought with all our strength.

-Baruch Spinoza


      Spinoza challenged the older philosopher's segregation of mental substance from material substance, arguing instead that mind and matter were not two separable substances but simply two different attributes, or aspects, of one and the same substance, which he called Deus, sive Natura, "God, or Nature."  This unitary substance would appear as matter, on the one hand, or as mind, on the other, depended upon the vantage we viewed it from. Just as, according to Spinoza, the vast and originating power that his contemporaries called "God" was nothing other than the creative dynamism and intelligence of Nature itself, so the human mind was simply the specific sensitivity and sentience of that part of nature we recognize as the human body.  Every material body or thing, for Spinoza, had its mental aspect—all things were ensouled.  The human body was the outward material aspect of the human mind, as the mind was nothing other than the internal, felt experience of the body.  "The mind and the body are one and the same thing. . ."

     It was such heretical assertions, articulated in numerous conversations with his contemporaries, that in his twenty-fourth year earned Spinoza the harshest possible reproach from the elders of the flourishing synagogue in Amsterdam: he was excommunicated, formally cursed, and banished from the Jewish community.  Spinoza accepted this exile without the least objection, remarking only that it left him freer to pursue his researches without distraction.

-David Abram, Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology

Sunday, November 27, 2022


 Just as we see that fallow land, if rich and fertile, teems with a hundred thousand kinds of wild and useless weeds, . . . so it is with minds.  Unless you keep them busy with some definite subject that will bridle and control them, they throw themselves in disorder hither and yon in the vague field of imagination.

-Michel De Montaigne, The Complete Works, Book I, Chapter 8

The fever dream...............

 The old regime rested on an information system that was top-down and “authoritative”—meaning, “I talk, you listen.” The digital age has ripped off the bandage and exposed what Marx might have called our “real relations” to the truth. We can’t avoid seeing that it’s partial, temporary, local. As we gaze into the abyss of our own ignorance, social and institutional bonds have begun to melt into thin air, and something akin to a cosmic panic has gripped large numbers of otherwise normal people. For the public, it’s the horror of a vacuum and the old craving for wholeness. For the elites, who are now distrusted and dethroned, it’s the desire to regain control.

That urge explains much about our moment.  Media "fact-checkers" are not concerned with checking facts but with regaining epistemic control.  The politics of climate change are not about the climate but about generating a crisis atmosphere to abort contrary opinions.  The obsession with race and sex is not about oppressed victims but about silencing dissent by the application of moralistic pressure.  The fever dream to return to a simulation of the 20th century, with the right people once again in charge—yet, plainly, this isn't a cure but another symptom of the sickness of truth in our time.

-Martin Gurri, from this essay

Saturday, November 26, 2022



Because he maintains such a large network, Adam Rifkin has a growing number of dormant ties—people he used to see often or know well, but with whom he has fallen out of contact.  According to management professors Daniel Levin, Jorge Walter, and Keith Murnighan,  "adults accumulate thousands of relationships over their lifetimes, but, prior to the Internet, they actively maintained no more than 100 to 200 at any given time."  For the past few years, these professors have been asking executive to so something they dread: reactivate their dormant tines. . . Dormant ties are the neglected value in our networks, and givers have a distinctive edge over takers in unlocking this value

If takers are selfish and failed givers are selfless, successful givers are otherish: they care about benefiting others, but they also have ambitious goals for advancing their own interests.

10.  Seek Help More Often:  If you want other people to be givers, one of the easiest steps is to ask.  When you ask for help, you're not always imposing a burden.  Some people are givers and by asking for help, you're creating an opportunity for them to express their values and feel valued.  By asking for a five-minute favor, you impose a relatively small burden—and if you ask a matcher, you can count on having an opportunity to reciprocate.  Wayne and Cheryl Baker note that people can "Start the spark of reciprocity by making requests as well as helping others.  Help generously and without thought of return, but also ask often for what you need."

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Highly recommended.............

      Lincoln shook hands with the bedraggled Irishmen, offering encouragement.  Bull Run was just one battle, not the war.  Next time would be better, and there was certainly a place in the vast new American force for the immigrants.  More than a nod to ethnic tolerance, Lincoln needed the nearly two million Irish in the country to fight for a splintered nation.  Northern factory owners, businessmen and Main Street merchants weren't about to give up their livelihoods to risk death in the South.  The farmers, from whose ranks the American revolutionists had drawn some of their best marksmen, were seasoned soldiers—available mainly in the winter, when fields were dormant but fighting was a logistical nightmare.  The urban poor, the immigrants without trades, might have to form the backbone of the new Union Army.  Whether then would die for this country was still an open question.  To Lincoln's kind words, the Irish 69th gave a president they would never vote for a Gaelic cheer.  He was moved, a crooked smile breaking the untertaker's face—"I confess I rather like it."  Was there anything he could do for them?  Be honest, he told the men.  Meagher stepped forward.  Since being thrown from his horse, and losing friends to combat, the shine of the orator was gone.  He looked haggard, with lips tight, eyes clouded, a full half foot shorter than Lincoln.

     "Mr. President, I have a cause of grievance."


       "The morning I went to Colonel Sherman and he threatened to shoot me."

        Lincoln tipped his head, puzzled.  Unwilling to get in the middle of a spat between officers, he threw off a joke, with some truth to it.  "If I were you," he said, "and he threatened to shoot, I would trust him."  For one of the few times in his life Meagher was speechless.  Still, the 69th was mustered out of duty for a few days leave to return home, as the Irish captain had requested.  Lincoln would remember Thomas Francis Meagher.

On optimism.....................

     Optimism is not utopian. It’s protopian -- a slow march toward incremental betterment. Over time we continue to get better not only in living standards, but in being able to solve problems. Each year we know a little more, including how to fix things. But the cost of that overall betterment is a barrage of bewildering new problems brought on by progress. We can easily imagine some of the horrific downsides in future scenarios, but the biggest and most difficult problems in the future are actually beyond our capacity to predict. We can’t even imagine the worst. But as bad as the world’s future problems will be, the reason we can and should be optimistic is that our estimates of future woes don’t take into account our ability to solve them. The ultimate reason we should (and can) be optimistic is not because we must ignore the reality of huge, planetary-scale illnesses and deep systemic problems. We should be optimistic not because our problems are smaller than we thought, but because our capacity to solve them is larger than we thought.

-Kevin Kelly, as culled from this essay

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Highly recommended..................


Self-esteem is a huge factor to negotiation, and many people set modest goals to protect it.  It's easier to claim victory when you aim low.  That's why some negotiation experts say that many people who thing they have "win-win" goals really have a "wimp-win" mentality.  The "wimp-win" negotiator focuses on his or her bottom line, and they's where they end up. . . . Remember, never be so sure of what you want that you wouldn't take something better.

Figuring out what the other party is worried about sounds simple, but our basic human expectations about negotiation often gets in the way.  Most of us tend to assume that the needs of the other side conflict with our own.  We tend to limit our field of vision to our issues and problems, and forget that the other side has its own unique issues based on its own unique world view.  Great negotiators get past these blinders by being relentlessly curious about what is really motivating the other side.

If this book accomplishes only one thing, I hope it gets you over that fear of conflict and encouraged you to navigate it with empathy.  If you're going to be great at anything—a great negotiator, a great manager, a great husband, a great wife—you're going to have to do that.  You're going to have to ignore that little genie who's telling you to give up, to just get along—as well as the genie who's telling you to lash out and yell.

     You're going to have to embrace regular, thoughtful conflict as the basis of effective negotiation—and of life.  Please remember that our emphasis throughout the book is that the adversary is the situation and that the person you appear to be in conflict with is actually your partner.

     More than a little research has shown that genuine, honest conflict between people over their goals actually helps the problem-solving process in a collaborative way.  Skilled negotiators have a talent for using conflict to keep the negotiation going without stumbling into a personal battle. . . .

     And so I'm going to leave you with one request.  Whether it's in the office or around the family dinner table, don't avoid honest, clear conflict.  It will get you the best car price, the higher salary, and the largest donation.  It will also save your marriage, your friendship, and your family.

Monday, November 14, 2022


  Risk-takers challenge the comfortable warmth of the status quo; they are willing to trade their potential within the hierarchy for accepting a degree of responsibility the bureaucracy has decided to find distasteful. Even legitimate risk-takers disturb the hierarchy because they refuse to "stay in the box." And there’s no risk-taking, or Auftragstaktik, in the box.

-from this post at The Hammock Papers

Highly recommended...................

 Save.  Just save.  You don't need a specific reason to save.  It's great to save for a car, or a down payment, or a medical emergency.  But saving for things that are impossible to predict or define is one of the best reasons to save.  Everyone's life is a continuous chain of surprises.  Savings that aren't earmarked for anything in particular is a hedge against life's inevitable ability to surprise the hell out of you at the worst possible moment.

Be nicer and less flashy.  No one is impressed with your possessions as much as you are.  You might think that you want a fancy car or a nice watch.  But what you probably want is respect and admiration.  And you're more likely to gain those things through kindness and humility than horsepower and chrome.

Define the game you're playing, and make sure your actions are not being influenced by people playing a different game.

Respect the mess.  Smart, informed, and reasonable people can disagree in finance, because people have vastly different goals and desires.  There is no single right answer, just the answer that works for you.

Friday, November 11, 2022

This could explain a lot...........

 George Marshall, then Army chief of staff, said after the war: “The leader in a democracy has to keep the people entertained. That may sound like the wrong word, but it conveys the thought.”

Most decisions aren’t made on a spreadsheet, where you just add up the numbers and a rational answer pops out. There’s a human element that’s hard to quantify, hard to explain, and can seem totally detached from the original goal, yet carries more influence than anything else.

-Morgan Housel, from here

Wait . . . what?

 For example: You can be a successful professional without spending time on social media.

-Seth Godin, from here

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

 On a warm April afternoon in 1873, the financier Jay Gould took time off from counting his money to have lunch at Delmonico's, the fanciest restaurant in town.  While he was eating, a lawyer walked over to his table, cocked his fist, and punched him in the face.

     A series of spectacular financial triumphs—some said swindles—had made Gould fabulously rich.  Now, at age thirty-six, he was the most notorious businessperson in the country.  Like others who tried to claw back money from Gould, the lawyer was getting nowhere in court.  The laws were too weak, enforcement too lax, and the judges were crooked.  Gould had them in his pocket.

     Oysters and Veuve Cliquot were the rule at Delmonico's.  The biftek was served au naturel.  For most people, a meal cost a week's wages.  For the rich, it was a place to enjoy their wealth, not pick fights.  Joseph Marrin, the lawyer, didn't care.  Frustrated to the point of rage, he took justice into his own hands and clocked Gould in front of the lunch crowd.  In a piece called "Gould's Nose," The New York Times declared Marrin a hero and worried about a pileup if others followed his lead. "The flattening of Gould's nose," it wrote, "would be an incidence of hourly occurrence."

-Greg Steinmetz, American Rascal: How Jay Gould Built Wall Street's Biggest Fortune

as wide and as far...........

 The secret of happiness is this: let your interests be as wide as possible, and let your reactions to the things and persons that interest you be as far as possible friendly rather than hostile.

-Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness

True this..................

 It is a vicious thing some writers do, to excite the minds of readers with the big profits available in real estate while downplaying the work and the risks required to make such returns.

-Jon Hanson, Good Debt, Bad Debt: Knowing the Difference Can Save Your Financial Life

When something goes wrong.................

Solomon was busy judging others,
when it was his personal thoughts
that were disrupting the community.

His crown slid crooked on his head.
He put it straight, but the crown went
awry again. Eight times this happened.

Finally he began to talk to his headpiece.
“Why do you keep tilting over my eyes?”

“I have to. When your power loses compassion,
I have to show you what such a condition looks like.”

Immediately Solomon recognized the truth.
He knelt and asked forgiveness.
The crown centered itself on his crown.

When something goes wrong, accuse yourself first.
Even the wisdom of Plato or Solomon
can wobble and go blind.

Listen when your crown reminds you
of what makes you cold toward others,
as you pamper the greedy energy inside.

-Rumi, Solomon's Crooked Crown

Thursday, November 10, 2022


 Be patient; the waiter is trying.


     Optimism is the best bet for most people because the world tends to get better for most people most of the time.

     But pessimism holds a special place in our hearts.  Pessimism isn't just more common than optimism.  It also sounds smarter.  It's intellectually captivating, and it's paid more attention than optimism, which is often viewed as being oblivious to risk.

     Before we go further we should define what optimism is.  Real optimists don't believe that everything will be great.  That's complacency.  Optimism is a belief that the odds of a good outcome are in your favor over time, even when there will be setbacks along the way.

-Morgan Housel, The Psychology of Money

Dormant ties....................

 Dormant ties* are the neglected value in our networks, and givers have a distinctive edge over takers in unlocking this value.

-Adam Grant, Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success

*Dormant ties are people you used to see often or knew well but with whom you have fallen out of contact.


Understanding the "other" is a precondition to be able to speak persuasively and develop options that resonate for them. . . . In other words: listen, listen again, and listen some more.

-Chris Voss, Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It 

Wednesday, November 9, 2022



The average human lifespan is absurdly, terrifyingly, insultingly short.  But that isn't a reason for unremitting despair, or for living in an anxiety-fueled panic about making the most of your limited time.  It's a cause for relief.  You get to give up on something that was always impossible—the quest to become the optimized, infinitely capable, emotionally invincible, fully independent person you're officially supposed to be.  Then you get to roll up your sleeves and start work on what's gloriously possible instead.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022


 But financial crises follow a rhythm of boom and bust through the ages.  Countries, institutions, and financial instruments may change across time, but human nature does not. . . .Technology has changed, the height of humans has changed, and fashions have changed.  Yet the ability of governments and investors to delude themselves, giving rise to periodic bouts of euphoria that usually ends in tears, seems to remain a constant.

-from the beginning and end of the Reinhart and Rogoff tome, This Time Is Different:  Eight Centuries of Financial Folly

Monday, October 31, 2022



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

 Don’t let events beyond your control interfere with your happiness.

-Tony Isola

A few more snippets......................

...........from Oliver Burkeman's 4000 Weeks:

 The struggle for certainty is an intrinsically hopeless one—which means you have permission to stop engaging in it.

. . . our expectations are forever running up against the stubborn reality that time isn't in our possession and can't be brought under our control.

You only ever get to feel certain about the future once it's already turned into the past.

There is a very down-to-earth kind of liberation in grasping that there are certain truths about being a limited human from which you'll never be liberated.  You don't get to dictate the course of events.  And the paradoxical reward for accepting reality's constraints is that they no long feel so constraining.

We treat our plans as though they are a lasso, thrown from the present around the future, in order to bring it under our command.  But all a plan is—all it could ever possibly be—is a present-moment statement of intent.  It's an expression of your current thoughts about how you'd ideally like to deploy your modest influence over the future.  The future, of course, is under no obligation to comply.

To treat all these moments solely as stepping-stones to some future moment is to demonstrate a level of obliviousness to our real situation that would be jaw-dropping if it weren't for the fact that we all do it, all the time.

Our obsession with extracting the greatest future value out of our time blinds us to the reality that, in fact, the moment of truth is always now—that life is nothing but a succession of present moments, culminating in death, and that you'll probably never get to a point where you feel you have things in perfect working order.  And that therefore you had better stop postponing the "real meaning" of your existence into the future, and throw yourself into life now.


      As geological time goes, it is but a moment since the human race began and only the twinkling of an eye since the arts of civilization were first invented.  In spite of some alarmists, it is hardly likely that our species will completely exterminate itself.  And so long as man continues to exist, we may be pretty sure that, whatever he may suffer for a time, and whatever brightness may be eclipsed, he will emerge sooner or later, perhaps strengthened and reinvigorated by a period of mental sleep.  The universe is vast and men are but tiny specks on an insignificant planet.  But the more we realize our minuteness and our impotence in the face of cosmic forces, the more astonishing becomes what human beings have achieved.

     It is to the possible achievements of man that our ultimate loyalty is due, and in that thought the brief troubles of our unquiet epoch become endurable.  Much wisdom remains to be learned, and if it is only to be learned through adversity, we must endeavour to endure adversity with what fortitude we can command.  But if we can acquire wisdom soon enough, adversity may not be necessary and the future of man may be happier than any part of his past.

-Bertrand Russell (9/3/1950)


 The way I see it there are really only two constants in the markets: risk and cycles.

Risk has to exist because without it there would be no reward.

And nothing is more dependable than cycles because market psychology, fundamentals, risk appetite and investor emotions are constantly changing. Strategies, asset classes and securities go in and out of style in part because the pendulum always swings back and forth between fear and greed but also because the future is unknowable.

-Ben Carlson, from here

Opening paragraphs........

      My father did a lot of instructing, but we did not always take away the lesson he intended.  He taught us in both ways: by example and by counterexample.  The most helpful instruction might come via a side remark or gesture, the slouch of his shoulders or a smile that started in his eyes and spread across his face.  If a certain song, Frank Sinatra's "There Used to Be a Ballpark," say, struck him as profound, he'd say "Listen to the words! It's not about a ballpark! It's about life!"  If a movie made him cry, Frank Capra's Mr. Deeds Goes To Town, for example, he'd say, "It's not about a hayseed from Mandrake Falls. It's about everyone."

-Rich Cohen, The Adventures of Herbie Cohen: World's Greatest Negotiator

Frank Sinatra .....There Used To Be A Ballpark

Sunday, October 30, 2022


 It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling exception is composed of others.

-attributed to John Holmes

image via APOD

Perspective matters.....................

      If you view "do what you love" as a guide to a happier life, it sounds like empty fortune cookie advice.  If you view it as the thing providing the endurance necessary to put the quantifiable odds of success in your favor, you realize it should be the most important part of any financial strategy.

-Morgan Housel, as culled from The Psychology of Money


 Things that have never happened before happen all the time.

-Scott Sagan

On giving............................

      This brings us to my third aim, which is to reveal what's unique about the success of givers.  Let me be clear that givers, takers, and matchers all can—and do—achieve success.  But there is something distinctive that happens when givers succeed:  it spreads and cascades.  When takers win, there is usually someone else who loses.  Research shows that people tend to envy successful takers and look for ways to knock them down a notch.  In contrast, when givers like David Hornik win, people are rooting for them and supporting them, rather than gunning for them.  Givers succeed in a way that creates a ripple effect, enhancing the success of people around them.  You'll see that the difference lies in how giver success creates value, instead of just claiming it.  

-Adam Grant, Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success

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

      So this was what springtime in London was like:  the women in knee-length dresses of blue-and-white hoops; the men with dark jackets over sweaters in pastel shades.  Both sexes carried shoulder bags with more flaps and fastenings than necessary, the females' either red or black, the males' a healthy, masculine buff-colour, and caps made an occasional appearance too, alongside headbands—let's not forget the headbands.  Headbands, in rainbow stripes, lent the women an over-eager look, as if they grasped too keenly at the fashion of their youth, though the genuinely youthful sported the same accessory with apparent unconcern.  Feet wore sandals or flipflops, faces wore wide-eyed content, and body language was at once mute and expressive, capturing a single moment of wellbeing and beaming it everywhere.  They were both uplit and downlit, those plastic springtime celebrants, as a piano tinkled melodious background nonsense for their pleasure, and a miniature waterfall drummed an unwavering beat, and Samit Catterjee watched all of it through narrowed eyes, his thin features alert and suspicious.

-Mick Herron, Spook Street


  more fun here 

Learned a new word today.....................

 Pronoia:  The opposite of paranoia.  As defined in a quote attributed to psychologist Brian Little, it is "the delusional belief that other people are plotting your well-being, or saying nice things about you behind your back."

Of course they are.

Qualities of a truly great politician.........

 This, then, is a story of Lincoln’s political genius revealed through his extraordinary array of personal qualities that enabled him to form friendships with men who had previously opposed him; to repair injured feelings that, left untended, might have escalated into permanent hostility; to assume responsibility for the failures of subordinates, to share credit with ease; and to learn from mistakes. He possessed an acute understanding of the sources of power inherent in the presidency, an unparalleled ability to keep his growing coalition intact, a tough-minded appreciation of the need to protect his presidential prerogatives, and a masterful sense of timing. His success in dealing with the strong egos of the men in his cabinet suggests that in the hands of a truly great politician the qualities we generally associate with decency and morality – kindness, sensitivity, compassion, honesty, and empathy – can also be impressive political resources.

Doris Kearns Goodwin, from the Introduction to Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

On a scale of problems, this one is near the top...

 But there’s a problem: despite more than $2 trillion in spending on renewables over the past three decades, there is scant evidence that an energy transition is underway. Last year, according to data from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, in both the US, and the world as a whole, the growth in hydrocarbons—oil, natural gas, and coal—far exceeded the growth of wind and solar by huge margins.

-as cut-and-pasted from here

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Licking County makes it........................

...........ridiculously easy to vote early.  Go vote.

Life its ownself..........................

Because children grow up, we think a child's purpose is to grow up. But a child's purpose is to be a child. Nature doesn't disdain what lives only for a day. It pours the whole of itself into each moment. We don't value the lily less for not being made of flint and built to last. Life's bounty is in its flow, later is too late.

-Alexander Herzen

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

forever drafting blueprints................

 The rulers of this world have not often regarded their subjects as being the best judges of their own happiness. In our own day, there are many who would willingly dictate to their fellows the way they should live and act…. To adapt the people to the plan rather than the plan to the people is not likely to cease to be a temptation.

-Lionel Robbins, as quoted here

 Politicians and bureaucrats – along with the hordes of campus and think-tank intellectuals who are forever drafting blueprints for how the state might engineer society into some heavenly condition – look upon the masses of ordinary men and women as lab rats upon whom politicians, bureaucrats, and intellectuals might practice experimentation and regimentation.

-Don Boudreaux, commenting on the quote above 

One reason I'm not retiring............

Believe it or not, most retirements fail for non-financial reasons, rather than for financial ones.

-Mike Drak, from this post

Monday, October 3, 2022

A few more snippets...................

 .....from Morgan Housel's The Psychology of Money:

History is littered with good ideas taken too far, which are indistinguishable from bad ideas.

What's often overlooked in finance is that something can be technically true but contextually nonsense.

Wealth is just the accumulated leftovers after you have spent what you take in.  And since you can build wealth without a high income, but have not chance of building wealth without a high savings rate, it's clear which one matters most.

If respect and admiration are your goal, be careful how you seek it.  Humility, kindness, and empathy will bring you more respect than horsepower ever will.

Controlling your time is the highest dividend money pays.

Planning is important, but the most important part of every plan is to plan on the plan not going according to plan.

Capitalism is hard.  But part of the reason this happens is because getting money and keeping money are two different skills.



     My own squalid, but I suspect entirely typical, history as a Twitter junkie might serve as a case in point.  Even at the height of my dependency (I'm now in recovery), I rarely spent more that two hours a day glued to the screen.  Yet Twitter's dominion over my attention extended a great deal further than that.  Long after I'd closed the app, I'd be panting on the treadmill at the gym, or chopping carrots for dinner, only to find myself mentally prosecuting a devastating argument against some idiotic holder of Wrong Opinions I'd had the misfortune to encounter online earlier that day.  (It wasn't misfortune really, of course, the algorithm showed me those posts deliberately, having learned what would wind me up.)

-Oliver Burkeman,  Four Thousand Weeks:  Time Management for Mortals

Feeding time at the Layman's.....


Sunday, October 2, 2022

A visual treat...................................

 My Sweetie and I took a field trip to Wilson's Garden Center this morning.  Always a treat!


 . . . ultimately, all of us are at least 300% more effective if we focus on doing one task at a time.  Multiple, independent studies show this to be true.  Still don't believe me?  Just search online "multitasking is a myth" and read to your heart's content.  One study even tested a group of people that considered themselves "good" at multitasking.  The reality was that test subjects were about as effective at accomplishing simple tasks as members of the control group who were high on marijuana. 

-Mark Dolfini, The Time-Wealthy Investor 2.0


      The outer healing of the land will always be my and my family's work.  But our inner healing is even more important.  We see the world through inner frames.  Healing ourselves is as much a part of the restoration of the planet as building a place for elephants to walk to the mountains as ambassadors of peace.

     Maybe, like me, you also need to heal but you can't walk out into the wilderness this afternoon.  But you can look up at the sky or that tree poking through the concrete and know that there are thousands of other people who feel equally disconnected from their inner and outer worlds.  You can, from where you stand, make a decision to restore from within, even if your mind screams that it is not possible.  Whatever feels unresolved, the animal part of you is already tracking the healing you need.  Follow that trail; the medicine will feel like freedom.  In that moment, you'll become a part of restoring Eden.

-Boyd Varty, Cathedral Of The Wild


Among those dazzled by the Administration team was Vic-President Lyndon Johnson.  After attending his first cabinet meeting he went back to his mentor Sam Rayburn and told him with great enthusiasm how extraordinary they were, each brighter than the next, and that the smartest of them all was that fellow with the Stacomb on his hair from the Ford Motor Company, McNamara.  "Well, Lyndon," Mister Sam answered, "you may be right and they may be every bit as intelligent as you say, but I'd feel a whole lot better about them if just one of them had run for Sheriff once."  It is my favorite story in the book, for it underlines the weakness of the Kennedy team, the difference between intelligence and wisdom, between abstract quickness and verbal facility which the team exuded, and true wisdom, which is the product of hard-won, often bitter experiences.  Wisdom for a few of them came after Vietnam.

-David Halberstam, from his Introduction to The Best And The Brightest 

Wisdom ignored......................

In a deleted scene from We Were Soldiers, the actor playing Colonel Hal Moore offers some wisdom, ignored, to Secretary of Defense McNamara:


Saturday, October 1, 2022

a test..................

      No one else "makes us angry."  We make ourselves angry when we surrender control of our attitude.  What someone else may have done is irrelevant.  We choose, not they.  They merely put our attitude to a test.  If we select a volatile attitude by becoming hostile, angry, jealous or suspicious, then we have failed the test.  If we condemn ourselves by believing that we are unworthy, then again, we have failed the test.

    If we care at all about ourselves, then we must accept full responsibility for our own feelings.  We must learn to guard against those feelings that have the capacity to lead our attitude down the wrong path and to strengthen those feelings that can lead us confidently into a better future.

-Jim Rohn, The Five Major Pieces To The Life Puzzle


 The most powerful word in negotiations is "Fair."  As human beings, we're mightily swayed by how much we feel we have been respected.  People comply with agreements if they feel they've been treated fairly and lash out if they don't.

-Chris Voss, Never Split The Difference:  Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

Why forecasting is difficult..........

      The most common plot of economic history is the role of surprises. . . . Realizing the future might not look anything like the past is a special kind of skill that is not generally looked highly upon by the financial forecasting community.

-Morgan Housel, from here