Friday, December 30, 2022

If the past few years have taught anything..... is do not trust the "fact-checkers."


Ah, history...............................

 It has been known for millennia that any understanding of the future is only possible if it includes a reasonable understanding of the past. Thucydides already saw history as, in part, "an aid to the interpretation of the future."

     For humanity, as it exists now, is a product of the past—of the intricate, interweaving complexities of recent, and of less recent, history or histories.  The psychological, as well as physical, conditions we thus inherited must be considered with as much care and clarity as can be attained.  This should, of course, include a proper understanding of backgrounds—so different in different cultures and countries.

     Our current confrontations with the enemies of our civilization are in some ways unlike the earlier threats we faced over much of the twentieth century.  The West prevailed then but was much hampered by misevaluations of the hostile motivations of the other side, which diverted our citizens' attention from the realities.  Writing in the early nineteenth century, Thomas Macaulay expressed the hope that in the future our crises would be handled by people "for whom history has not recorded the long series of human crimes and follies in vain."

     Do our countries today meet Maccaulay's standard?  Alas, no.  Both the actions and intentions of the adversaries and the supporters of a plural society are still being misrepresented by some of those responsible for the transmission of Maccaulay's message.

-Robert Conquest, The Dragons of Expectation:  Reality and Delusion in the Course of History

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Lagging indicators......................

 Success as a lagging indicator is a phenomenon that holds true across most areas in life. . . .

When I look in the mirror and I’m a little flabby, that is a lagging indicator that, for weeks and months, I’ve slacked on eating healthy and exercising. . . .

Nothing comes from nowhere. Not success. Not inspiration. Not the muses. Not writer’s block. Everything is a lagging indicator. Of whether or not you did the work.

-as culled from this Ryan Holiday post

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

Tumbling Dice.............................The Rolling Stones



 The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.

-Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Works, Book 1, Chapter 39


      One way to understand Jackson's unconventional courtship of Rachel is to see it as part of a broader personal approach by which he reckoned with the world.  Over a long public service career, he was occasionally accused of skirting legal niceties in the name of expediency.  While president he controversially removed federal deposits from the country's National Bank (thus earning a Senate censure for "assuming upon himself authority and power not conferred by the constitution"), and in another episode he tacitly supported southern postmasters who, in direct opposition to postal law, refused to deliver abolitionist materials.  Jackson, and indeed much of the political movement he headed, believed the country too confined by treaties and technicalities, the kind of formalities and piddling points that easterners presumably used to maintain hegemony over westerners.  In a similar vein, he believed his marriage to Rachel legal in the only sense meaningful to him, showing little concern for the lack of a contract.  In both contexts, in and out of power, he demonstrated a tendency for the intuitive, the immediate, and the practical.  This attitude no doubt reveals something about his personality and temperament, though it is almost certainly indicative as well of the frontier's mounting pressure upon older American institutions, practices, and protocols.

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

True Customer Obsession............

 There are many ways to center a business.  You can be competition focused, you can be product focused, you can be technology focuses, you can be business model focused, and there are more.  But in my view, obsessive customer focus is by far the most protective of Day 1 vitality.

    Why?  There are many advantages to a customer-centric approach, but here's the big one: customers are always beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied, even when they report being happy and business is great.  Even when they don't yet know it, customers want something better, and your desire to delight customers will drive you to invent on their behalf.  No customer ever asked for Amazon to create the Prime membership program, but it sure turns out they wanted it, and I could give you many such examples.

     Staying in Day 1 requires you to experiment patiently, accept failures, plant seeds, protect saplings, and double down when you see customer delight.  A customer-obsessed culture best creates the conditions where all of that can happen.

-Jeff Bezos, Invent & Wander:  The Collected Writings of Jeff Bezos

Checking in .........................

....................................with Jim Nantz. 

 For an interesting exposition on "goal minded lifestyles" make sure you listen a few moments after the 3:00 minute mark as Jim Nantz chats with Dave Lapham.

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

Samuel Adams delivered what may count as the most remarkable second act in American life.  It was all the more confounding after the first:  he was a perfect failure until middle age.  He found his footing at forty-one, when, over a dozen years, he proceeded to answer to Thomas Jefferson's description of him as "truly the man of the Revolution."  With singular lucidity Adams plucked ideas from the air and pinned them to the page, layering in moral dimensions, whipping up emotions, seizing and shaping the popular imagination. On a wet 1774 night when a group of Massachusetts farmers settled in a tavern before the fire, and pipes in hand, discussed what had driven Bostonians mad—reasoning that Parliament might soon begin to tax horses, cows, and sheep; wondering what additional affronts could come their way; and concluding that it was better to rebel sooner rather than later—it was because the long arm of Samuel Adams had reached them.  He muscled words into deeds, effecting, with various partners, a revolution that culminated, in 1776, with the Declaration of Independence.  It was a sideways, looping, secretive business.  Adams steered New Englanders where he was certain they meant, or should mean, to head, occasionally even revealing the destination along the way.  As a grandson acknowledged: "Shallow men called this cunning, and wise men wisdom."  The patron saint of late bloomers, Adams proved a political genius.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Sounds like a fun place.........

      Langport was a scrum of contending Christian faiths when Walter was going to school.  More than one family was split as the Bagehots were, with adherents of the established church lined up against dissenters.  Walter, attending Unitarian services with this father in the morning and Anglican services with his mother in the afternoon, favored the Church of England.  The town made room for Baptists, Wesleyans, Plymouth Brothers and Sisters, and members of the Home Missionary Society.  It set a place for heathens, too. "From time immemorial," contended James Moreton, a dissenting minister, "Langport was a stronghold of the powers of darkness, proverbial for ignorance of spiritual things, prejudice and wickedness."

-James Grant, Bagehot: The Life and Times of the Greatest Victorian

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

Miles Davis......................................Porgy and Bess


Checking in with......................

................................Alan M. Webber

 It's not credentials that count.  It's character.

The world is hungry for heart and for effectiveness.  Not one at the expense of the other, but both together.

We're all simultaneously living at the center of the world.

Don't ignore the emotional side of business.

Most things, from the telephone to the laser to the Internet, don't get used for the purpose for which they were invented.  The inventor creates the technology, and then we find uses for it.

Start small.  Do what you can with something you care about so deeply that you simply can't not do it.

If you don't watch the news regularly and get into a shouting match with your TV set, you're not practicing.  They're not telling you the news; they're telling you how they see the news.  You're entitled to tell them back.

Each of us is brand, and every choice we make communicates what our brand it.

Every leader I've ever met, from politics to business, shares on overriding attribute:  they're all control freaks.  They all think they're in control.  Which is undoubtedly the biggest illusion of our time.

Good question.............

      "I guess maybe it's because I don't know the answer to this question," I said and pointed at the menu.  "Without knowing exactly why I am here, and what I want to do, I just kind of do the things most people are doing."

      "In your experience, does doing what 'most people' are doing help fulfill your Purpose For Existing?" she asked.

-John P. Strelecky, The Why Café


 I do not share that common error of judging another by myself.

-Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Works, Book 1, Chapter 37

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

      The wind whistled down the frozen run of Shasta Creek, between the blacker-than-black walls of pine.  The thin naked swamp alders and slight new birches bent before it.  Needle-point ice crystals rode it, like sandpaper grit, carving arabesque whorls in the drifting snow,

     The Iceman followed the creek down to the lake, navigating as much by feel, and by time, as by sight.  At six minutes on the luminous dial of his dive watch, he began to look for the dead pine.  Twenty seconds later, its weather-bleached trunk appeared in the snowmobile headlights, hung there for a moment, then slipped away like a hitchhiking ghost.

     Now. Six hundred yards, compass bearing 270 . . .

-John Sandford, Winter Prey

Saturday, December 24, 2022


Mannheim Steamroller...........................Pat a Pan

Whence comes Santa Claus............

The shrouds of time are pretty good at hiding things. This fun post seeks reasonable explanations:

The traditional culture of those early Finns, known as the Sámi, was shamanistic. They believed that the Amanita muscaria that brought the reindeer its sustenance also brought wisdom to humans. At the time of the celebration of the Winter Solstice, the Sámi’s shamans would consume the drug and then visit prominent Sámi households to pass along the insights that they achieved through their hallucinogenic trips. In honor of the mushroom, they would dress in its likeness, in a red and white costume. The Sámi lived in yurts, which, at that time of the year, were often snowed in. So, the shamans would often pop in through the hole in the roof that served as the yurt’s chimney, bearing the gifts of their psychedelically inspired wisdom.

Cracking the code..................?

 Me thinks the project came first and then they rationalized it.  Or, maybe they're correct.  In my limited experience though, it seems more than a few retiring baby boomers are following their kids (and grandkids).

Back story here.  Wee excerpt here:

Many developers are betting that over the coming decades, more seniors will shun traditional suburban retirement communities and demand to live where there are lots of dining, entertainment and shopping choices nearby. As a result, a plethora of projects, many with rooftop pools, celebrity chefs and spa-style wellness centers, are planned for major U.S. cities.

Longing for the day..............

 ..........when good news isn't bad news:


Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Friday, December 16, 2022

At least until it got politized too...........

I wanted to be a scientist.  That is where a lot of my moral hierarchy comes from.  I view scientists as being at the tip of the production chain for humanity.  The group of scientists who have made real breakthroughs and contributions probably added more to human society, I think, than any single other class of human beings.  Not to take away from art or politics or engineering or business, but without science, we'd still be scrambling in the dirt fighting with sticks and trying to start fires.

-Naval Ravikant,  The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

it's the fixing................

 So my dad and I agreed, what doesn't kill you doesn't actually make you stronger, but healing does. And if you feel like healing hasn't made you stronger than you were before, you're probably not done healing. You've got to give these things time to set.

-back story here

Not to worry, objectivity is a myth............

      I find the soul a valuable concept, a statement on the dignity of a human life and of the unutterable gravity of human action and experience.  I would add that I find my own soul interesting company, if this did not seem to cast doubts on my impeccable objectivity.

-Marilynne Robinson, The Givenness of Things

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

the synesthetic approach...................

      His instinctive approach to the library was synesthetic:  books were sensed by smell and look and touch, and only then could the reading process be contemplated.  It was only natural, therefore, that the chosen book's characters would come alive for him through all his senses: "quite suddenly, a man or a woman or a child leapt off the page and stood there with you in the immense silence.  Then you sat with them for an hour and ran with them and laughed and wept with them."  In this way his lifelong love of literature began.  His enthusiasm for adaptation and for breaking down genre barriers has its roots in this same crossing of sensations; to "see" the book, to "read" the movie, and to "hear" the staged play have always been natural extensions of the traditional forms for Bradbury.  This openness to all the possibilities of a creative idea was formed at an early age, and the gift proved to be both a blessing and a frustration as Bradbury extended his storytelling genius into other genres and media forms.

-Jonathan R. Eller, Becoming Ray Bradbury

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

Miles Davis................................On The Corner


the complexities of reality...................

To grasp the complexities of reality, we do need to use general words and concepts.  But these have often, as one might out it, escaped empirical control and grown into obstacles against understanding: "brain blindfolds"—and even mechanisms for stifling, or at least discouraging, real debate.  Ideas insufficiently connected to reality have always been part of the human effort to understand. 

     These ideas are, of course, most troublesome when they present themselves as virtually indisputable; as idols, or at least icons.  As Robert Louis Stevenson wrote many years ago, "Man is a creature who lives not upon bread alone, but primarily by catchwords."  Part of the problem is that the catchwords of current speech or thought are usually supported, offstage, by more complex, superficially impressive wordplay.

     Some of the vital information available to us has been distorted—some, indeed, has been actively falsified on a very large scale—by groups, or states, with what by now should be understandable motivations for concealment.  But this is only one example, or product, of a broader misuse of the human mind.

-Robert Conquest, The Dragons of Expectations:  Reality and Delusion in the Course of History



A brief primer on "money"...............

 In the beginning, someone with a business wanted money from someone with money.

There are two and only two voluntary (i.e., without the threat of physical violence) ways of doing this. In exchange for the money, the person with a business can promise the person with money a share of the future economic activity of the business, or they can promise to repay the money in the future along with more money. In general, we call the former promise “equity” and the latter promise “debt”, and people with money have been collecting these promises from people with businesses since money was invented. These collections of promises are called “investment portfolios”.

About a nanosecond after money and equity and debt were invented, the business of facilitating these transactions was invented. Today we call this business “Wall Street”, but of course it goes back thousands of years, way before there were things called streets. The business of Wall Street consists of two and only two things: thinking up news ways to create a transferable share of some future economic activity, and thinking up new ways to borrow money today for a promise to repay that money and more in the future. We call the former activity “securitization”. For example, equity promises are securitized into “stocks” and debt promises are securitized into “bonds”, which makes the sale and resale of these promises sooooo much easier. We call the latter activity “leverage”, which is just a ten-dollar word for borrowed money.

Every bit of financial innovation over the past ten thousand years or so – all of it! – has been in service to one or both of those two activities: securitization and leverage.

-Ben Hunt, from this post

Checking in ...................

..........................with Will Durant:

Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.

When liberty becomes license, dictatorship is near.

History in the large is the conflict of minorities; the majority applauds the victor and supplies the human material of social experiment.

A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within

At every step the history of civilization teaches us how slight and superficial a structure civilization is, and how precariously it is poised upon the apex of a never-extinct volcano of poor and oppressed barbarism, superstition and ignorance. Modernity is a cap superimposed upon the Middle Ages, which always remain.

The tragedy of life is that it gives us wisdom only when it has stolen youth.

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

A nation is born stoic, and dies epicurean.

Sixty years ago I knew everything; now I know nothing; education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

You can’t fool all the people all the time, but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country.

We must steel ourselves against utopias and be content with a slightly better state.

Stories win......................

 . . . there are always two sides to every investment: The number and the story. Every investment price, every market valuation, is just a number from today multiplied by a story about tomorrow.

The numbers are easy to measure, easy to track, easy to formulate. They’re getting easier as almost everyone has cheap access to information.

But the stories are often bizarre reflections of people’s hopes, dreams, fears, insecurities, and tribal affiliations. And they’re getting more bizarre as social media amplifies the most emotionally appealing views.

-Morgan Housel, from here

Us pesky humans............

 To suppose that the value of a common stock is determined purely by a corporation’s earnings discounted by the relevant interest rates and adjusted for the marginal tax rate is to forget that people have burned witches, gone to war on a whim, risen to the defense of Joseph Stalin and believed Orson Welles when he told them over the radio that the Martians had landed.

-attributed to James Grant

a bull market...................

 Here’s the thing about the pandemic experiment: It worked too well.

Everyone had money. Everyone had options. There was a bull market in people forming their own LLCs and starting companies. A bull market in sitting on their asses and doing nothing too. A bull market in quitting their jobs. A bull market in whatever they felt like doing. Indulging their hobbies, accepting flexible hours, moving their residence, taking college classes while being employed, secretly having two full time employers, quitting without quitting, being paid for waking up in the morning, taking extended periods of time in between gigs, making a big career change. Whatever people wanted to do, they could do. Freedom on a previously unimaginable scale.

Young know-nothings from all walks of life were investing in digital art and SPACs, trading options on their phones, starting their own companies, selling their own weed and launching their own crypto projects. Older ordinary people found themselves accidentally wealthy overnight, their houses instantly worth 30 to 50% more almost regardless of condition or geography, the values of their 401(k)’s bursting at the seams, potential buyers for their small businesses and real estate holdings coming out of the woodwork with blank checks ready to be signed at the conclusion of a Zoom meeting. You could sell anything to anyone for any price at any time. We were minting millionaires by the minute.

Capitalism felt like it offered possibilities for everyone for the first time ever. Influencers fluent in the language of entrepreneurship and personal finance had a potential audience in the millions for their messaging. The world was ripe with possibility and people felt emboldened. They were liquid and ready to maximize their own opportunities. It was an exciting moment in time. No one was left out.

And that was the problem.

Widespread prosperity, it turns out, is incompatible with the American Dream. The only way our economy works is when there are winners and losers. If everyone’s a winner, the whole thing fails. That’s what we learned at the conclusion of our experiment. You weren’t supposed to see that. Now the genie is out of the bottle. For one brief shining moment, everyone had enough money to pay their bills and the financial freedom to choose their own way of life.

And it broke the fucking economy in half.

The authorities are panicking. Corporate chieftains are demanding that their employees return to the way things were, in-person, in-office, full time. The federal government is hiring 87,000 new IRS employees to see about all that money out there. The Federal Reserve is trying to put the toothpaste back into the tube – the fastest pace of interest rate hikes in four decades and the concurrent unwind of their massive balance sheet. Everyone is scrambling to undo the post-pandemic jubilee. It was too much wealth in too many hands. Too much flexibility for too many people. Too many options. Too much economic liberation. “Companies can’t find workers!” the media screams but what they really mean is that companies can’t find workers who will accept the pay they are currently offering. This is a problem, we are told. After decades of stagnating wages, the bottom half of American workers finally found themselves in a position of bargaining power – and the whole system is now imploding because of it. Only took a year or so.

-Josh Brown, from this Reformed Broker post

Sunday, December 11, 2022

giants with feet of clay................

De Soto calls our economic system, which has been masquerading as a market economy for generations, mercantilist. 

     The term is confusing, since it defines a historic period, an economic school, and a moral attitude.  Here, "mercantilism" means a bureaucratized and law-ridden state, that regards the redistribution of national wealth as more important that the production of wealth.  And "redistribution," as used here, means the concession of monopolies or favored status to a small elite that depends on the state and on which the state itself is dependent. . . .

     It is essential that the state remember that before it can redistribute the nation's wealth, the nation must produce wealth.  And that in order to produce wealth, it is necessary that the state's actions not obstruct the actions of its citizens, who, after all, know better than anyone else what they want and what they have to do.  The state must restore to its citizens the right to take on productive tasks, a right it has been usurping and obstructing.  The state must limit itself to functioning in those necessary areas in which private industry cannot function.  This does not mean that the state with wither away and die.

     By the same token, a large government is not necessarily a strong state, as the majority of Latin American nations shows.  Those immense organisms that in our countries drain the productive energy of society to maintain their own sterile existence are in fact giants with feet of clay.  Their giantism makes them torpid, and their inefficiency deprives them of the respect and authority without which no institution can function well.

-Mario Vargas Llosa, from the Introduction to Hernando de Soto's The Other Path


Lindsey Stirling............................What Child Is This


exquisite tantalization.............

     The other night, I was having dinner with some friends in a fairly decent restaurant and was at the very peak of my form as a wit and raconteur.  But just as, with infinite and exquisite tantalization, I was approaching my punch line, the most incredible thing happened.  A waiter appeared from nowhere, leaned right over my shoulder and into the middle of the conversation, seized my knife and fork, and started to cut up my food for me.  Not content with this bizarre behavior, and without so much as a by-your-leave, he proceeded to distribute pieces of my entree onto the plates of the other diners.

     No, he didn't, actually.  What he did instead was to interrupt the feast of reason and flow of soul that was our chat, lean across me, pick up the bottle of wine that was in the middle of the table, and pour it into everyone's glass.  And what I want to know is this:  How did such a barbaric custom get itself established and why on earth do we put up with it? 

-Christopher Hitchens, Wine Drinkers of the World , Unite, from here


 It is a dangerous and fateful presumption, besides the absurd temerity it implies, to distain what we do not comprehend.

-Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Works, Book 1, Chapter 27

operate on the diagonal..............

When you're faced with a tough decision, which do you go with: your head or your heart?

     If you chose either one, I'm sorry to say that you missed the point of this rule.  Nowhere is it more important than in decision making to embrace the power of the both/and point of view.

     Rather than head versus heart, how about using an empathetic head?  Or a logical heart?

     It takes practice to see the world this way.  But one of the skills that defines an entrepreneur and an innovator is the capacity to generate new lines of sight.  That means cracking problems open along a new dimension.  It means rejecting old either/or choices and finding new both/and syntheses.  You learn to do that when you operate on the diagonal.  You learn to slice a problem along a new line and then recombine its elements in a fresh way.

-Alan Webber, Rules of Thumb:  52 Truths for Winning at Business Without losing Your Self

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Can't wait.......................

When the incomparable PowerLine blog posted their weekly "The Week in Pictures", this was one of them:

Curiosity being what it is, the Oracle Google was consulted.  The story line for the fifth installment of Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones is here (scheduled for release next summer).  Trailer here:

Whiskey River Soap Company................

................located in wondrous downtown Newark, Ohio, was featured on NBC's Today Show:


What is not to love about a company that describes themself like this:

Whiskey River Soap Co. was founded more than fourteen million years ago in the outskirts of Ancient Rome by a ragtag group of freelance gladiators, stray dogs and out-of-work magicians. Apart, these charlatans were nothing but lazy ne'er do wells akin to a modern-day cable company, but when they encountered one another by chance at the dumpster behind the monster truck rodeo and picked up that legendary tube of half-used superglue, they formed a bond that would last throughout the ages, and even be featured on the History Channel as incontestable proof of alien life.

Okay, maybe not. However, we do very much admire magicians, monster truck rodeos and superglue. So why don't we just start over?

Hi! We're Whiskey River Soap Co. We also create all kinds of handmade soaps, candles and bath bombs that smell great and hopefully make you laugh, plus a growing assortment of other fun items! Anyway, we're all about creating our own products locally because we're not just selling you a funny label wrapped around something mass-produced in China. We think there's a place for both quality and humor to exist together, and hope you agree.

Congratulations Tabitha.  Hope you sell a billion. 

A holiday tradition....................

August Burns Red....................Carol of the Bells



We need to accept that we do not know and cannot know what is going to happen, and make plans accordingly; to practice resilience and acquire and retain as many options as possible.

 Knight's insight—that it is radical uncertainty which gives opportunity for entrepreneurship—is fundamental to an understanding of social, technological and economic progress.  Through evolutionary processes—biological, institutional, political, market-driven—entrepreneurship drives us forward.  Not just in business but in scholarship, practical knowledge, the arts, and many other areas of life.

Think big..........................

                Remembering that . . .

Reflect, relive, ponder, and refine...........

      We must labor to make certain that our memories of past experiences, whether good or bad, are accurate if they are to serve us and to make the future better than the past.  We must reflect on our past, reliving the moments, pondering the lessons, and refining out current conduct based on the lessons of our personal history.  If we have manipulated the truth of the past, if we have tended to blame others rather than ourselves, then we are seeking an escape from reality, and we will be destined to repeat past errors and relive present difficulties.

-Jim Rohn, as culled from The Five Major Pieces To The Life Puzzle

Friday, December 9, 2022

Chester Nimitz......................

“Whenever possible, take calculated risks as may be warranted”

"I do not want to hear or see such gloom and defeatism. We are not going to do any good sitting here mourning or wailing or wringing our hands. Do the best you can with what you have."

“All we can do is bide our time and take advantage of any opportunity that might come along.”

-back story may be found here


       The archer who overshoots the target misses as much as the one who does not reach it.  And my eyes trouble me as much when I raise them suddenly to a strong light as when I drop them into the shadow.  Callicles, in Plato, says that the extremity of philosophy is harmful, and advises us not to plunge into it beyond the limits of profit; that taken with moderation, it is pleasant and advantageous, but that in the end it makes a man wild and vicious, disdainful of common religions and laws, and enemy of social intercourse, an enemy of human pleasures, incapable of any political administration and of helping either others or himself, fit to be slapped with impunity.  He speaks truly, for in its excess it enslaves our natural freedom and, by importunate subtlety, leads us astray from the fine and level road that nature has traced for us.

-Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Works, Book 1, Chapter 30

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