Saturday, July 23, 2022

Truth or fiction...........................

 ......................with the Babylon Bee one never knows.

There is a name for all this hot weather.........


more fun here

Martin Gurri............................

 ................talks presidential politics.  Well worth your time.  A few snippets:

Biden is entirely a creature of the party establishment, a politician devoid of hard edges, known to drift safely within the mainstream of elite opinion. He was chosen as a last-gasp backstop to block the anti-establishment Bernie Sanders in the 2020 primaries and to defeat the detestable Trump. These tasks he accomplished. Quite naturally, he’s looking for gratitude—particularly now, when his fortunes are at a low ebb. Though it’s easy to forget this, Biden is president. He has revealed his intention to run for a second term. He believes he has earned the right to the establishment’s support.

He may not get it. Institutional loyalty has been bred out of contemporary elites. Most Democratic grandees are cut from the same cloth as the president: All that matters is staying at the top. From their perspective, Biden was the right tool to accomplish this purpose in 2020 but may be totally wrong for 2024. After all, he’s polling behind Trump. The holocausts a vengeful Trump might wreak on Democrats, if returned to power, can justify any number of betrayals. . . .

Even if the president steps down, there’s still the vexing question of choosing his successor. Historically, Democratic presidents have been succeeded as party chief by their vice presidents: That was the case with Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Al Gore and, of course, Biden himself. The difficulty is that the current incumbent, Kamala Harris, has actually failed at the job of vice president and is even more unpopular than Biden. Harris seems unable to utter a word in public without delighting the meme-makers of the internet. However, in a caste obsessed with identity, can tradition be overturned to deny a female “person of color” her shot at the top spot? That would not be a good look.

Behind Harris, ambition runs high but presidential timber gets scarce. Members of the cabinet, like Pete Buttigieg, are lightweights already tarred with failure. Elizabeth Warren crashed and burned early in her last try at the nomination. Gavin Newsome, governor of California, is the white, male equivalent of fellow Californian Kamala Harris. Bernie Sanders is about to turn 800. We can gauge the desperation of the liberal flock by current whispers that maybe, just maybe, this is finally Hillary Clinton’s turn. Clinton is the worst politician of recent times—but she’s competitive with this bunch.

The best hope for Democrats in this bleak landscape is the second coming of Trump. Despite improved polling numbers that, at 42 percent approval, make him the “most favorable” political figure in the country, the former president strongly unites and galvanizes the opposition while having the opposite effect on his own party. Like Biden, Trump would enter the contest burdened by an immense weight of baggage. Like Biden, he would be an old man seeking redemption rather than a fresh face on the offensive. And if Biden can be said to bar the way to more attractive Democratic candidates, Trump does much the same to Republicans: He’s too volatile to embrace but too important to ignore.

For all this, Democrats remain terrified of Trump and are spending vast amounts of energy plotting his destruction. Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s January 6 production in the House, for instance, is an attempt to persuade the public that the most important issue confronting it lies in the past: namely, Trump’s supposed machinations to engineer an “insurrection” against our democratic system. This is futile stuff: Trump’s popularity has actually increased during the hearings. Opponents have never learned that attention is the helium that lifts this strange political mutant above the competition.

Yet Trump also is stuck in an ungainly posture that looks backward to the 2020 election. He’s no longer interested in making America great but in proving himself to be the greatest winner of all time. The Democrats would make 2024 about January 6, 2021; Trump insists that it should be about November 3, 2020. Meanwhile, the public is wholly concerned with bread-and-butter issues and has shown no interest in making the next presidential contest an exercise in the interpretation of history.

Friday, July 22, 2022

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

Loggins and Messina...............Your Mama Don't Dance



 The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.

-Alvin Toffler

Toffler wrote Future Shock in 1970.  I remember reading it, but that's about it.  One of these days I'll check it out from the library to see how well it has aged.


      I'm not sure I ever would have learned to read if it weren't for the heroes I met and saw in comic books.  Regular books couldn't hold my attention at all, but my fascination with comics drove me to keep pushing myself until I could read their stories without waiting for someone else to read them to me.  I would read them by flashlight under my covers late at night.  Those stories gave me hope that one person could overcome impossible odds.

      My favorite superheroes growing up were the X-Men, not because they were the strongest, but because they were misunderstood and weirdly different.  I felt I could relate to them.  They were mutants, they didn't fit into society, and people who didn't understand them shunned them.  That was me, minus the superpowers.  The X-Men were outcasts, and so was I.  I belonged in their world.

-Jim Kwik, Limitless: Upgrade Your Brain, Learn Anything Faster. and Unlock Your Exceptional Life

I never had a problem reading as a youngster, but comic books were a staple anyway.  I remember reading by flashlight too.  Amazing how much pleasure 10 cents could bring.  Never was an X-Man fan, but here are a few of my favorites:

If you don't check out..................

 .........................The Art & Artist blog from time to time, well you should.  Looks like a labor of love to me.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Chart of the day.............................

 In the history of man, most serious progress can be traced to increased supplies of inexpensive energy.  Making energy expensive in the United State to "save the planet" seems foolhardy when you look at this:

source and larger image may be found here

A suggestion.............................

If you are interested in the little ways in which the world works, there is considerable value to be found in reading Morgan Housel's latest post.

It might sound crazy, but once you understand the basic principles of your profession, you might gain more expertise by reading around your field than within your field. Connecting dots between fields helps you uncover the most powerful forces that guide how the world works, which can be so much more important than a little new detail that’s specific to your profession.

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

.............................................with Jim Rohn:

 You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.

If you don't like how things are, change it. You are not a tree.

You don't get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour.

Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day. It is the accumulative weight of our disciplines and our judgments that leads us to either fortune or failure.

If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.

Learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job. If you work hard on your job you can make a living, but if you work hard on yourself you'll make a fortune.

The only thing worse than not reading a book in the last ninety days is not reading a book in the last ninety days and thinking that it doesn't matter.

The book you don't read can't help.

Learn how to be happy with what you have while you pursue all that you want.

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

Uriah Heep............................................Easy Living

a matter of practice........................

 Our true home is the present moment.  The miracle is not to walk on water.  The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment.  Peace is all around us—in the world and in nature—and within us—in our bodies and our spirits.  Once we learn to touch this space, we will be healed and transformed.  It is not a matter of faith, it is a matter of practice.

-Thich Nhat Hahn

art via

the simple act.....................

 Ignorance does not yield to attack, but it dissipates in the light, and nothing dissolves dishonesty faster than the simple act of revealing the truth.  The only way to enhance one's power in the world is by increasing one's integrity, understanding and capacity for compassion.

-David R. Hawkins

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

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

Proudfoot.....................................................Delta Queen


 1972 was a mixed bag, musically and otherwise.  Check out Any Major Dude With Half A Heart as he offers Volume 2 of his mix of 1972's best music.



'We must strive to be like the moon.' An old man in Kabati repeated this sentence often... the adage served to remind people to always be on their best behavior and to be good to others. He said that people complain when there is too much sun and it gets unbearably hot, and also when it rains too much or when it is cold. But, no one grumbles when the moon shines. Everyone becomes happy and appreciates the moon in their own special way. Children watch their shadows and play in its light, people gather at the square to tell stories and dance through the night. A lot of happy things happen when the moon shines. These are some of the reasons why we should want to be like the moon.

-Ishmael Beah

image via



You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.'

-Edgar Mitchell


 We do not need magic to transform our world.  We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already.

-J. K. Rowling

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

At the movies....Sleuth with Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier


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

............................. Diana Rigg, born this day in 1938.

One of my basic food groups................. getting more expensive:

full story here

Are you not entertained................?

 Wallace seemed to understand that as media multiplies, so does competition for attention. And as competition for our attention multiplies, content is no longer optimized for beauty or art or even enjoyment—but rather for its addictive qualities. . . .

. . .what we would all need to aspire to become: recovered addicts. People who can cut themselves off cold turkey, who can turn off the drug. People who can manage their own attention and not fall victim to endless streams of mindless engagement. People who can step above the fray of political addiction and demand substance over bluster. And not just for our own sake. For everyone else’s as well. 

-Mark Manson, from this post

cinema lovers may recognize the title from this classic scene

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

From the always interesting................

 .....................................Kevin Kelly:

Our humanity is something we invented over the course of a million years. It’s our first and most important “tool”. In fact, we ourselves — humans — are the first wild creations we domesticated, before wheat, corn, dogs, cows and chickens. We’ve been modifying ourselves, and our genes, since day 1. It’s true that most of our behavior is primitive, unchanged, ancient, and no different than our animal cousins. But not all. And it is these different bits that make us human.

Makes sense to me.................

 If your view of the world is that people use reason for their important decisions, you are setting yourself up for a life of frustration and confusion. You’ll find yourself continually debating people and never winning except in your own mind. Few things are as destructive and limiting as a worldview that assumes people are mostly rational.

-Scott Adams, as cut-and-pasted from here



I want something more concise, more simple, more serious; I want more soul and more love and more heart.

-Vincent van Gogh

art work from here

quote from here

Character matters..........................

 If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that there is some truth to the concept of fate.  We are prone to repeat the same decisions and methods of dealing with problems.  There is a pattern to our life, particularly visible in our mistakes and failures.  But there is a different way of looking at this concept: it is not spirits or gods that control us but rather our own character.  The etymology of the word character, from the ancient Greek, refers to an engraving or stamping instrument.  Character, then, is something that is so deeply ingrained or stamped within us that it compels us to act in certain ways, beyond our awareness and control.

-Robert Green, The Laws of Human Nature

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

On the television: Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In


In praise of economic growth..........

 The key to ending racial antagonism, then, doesn’t lie in equity programmes, but in economic growth and opportunity. Unity can’t just be conjured out of thin air — people need to feel it in their bank accounts first. This won’t be achieved through a national campaign of penance, or through boxing the country into a racial zero-sum game. If Biden really cares about America’s minorities, the goal should be simple: to help them to find a road to prosperity and financial independence, along with the rest of the country.

-Joel Kotkin, from this essay

It was actually good advice........................

I was given what I assume was bad-faith guidance, “Go and discover the new America."

(Spoiler alert)

I am more optimistic now than I was reading the news from afar – America is as it always was; righting wrongs, fighting for those who can’t fight for themselves, solving problems big and small that crop up in our daily lives through hard work and self-determination. I’m more optimistic than I have been in a while . . .

-Joel D. Hirst, from this post

Monday, July 18, 2022

Answers.................................... big questions.

Reading this article on the James Webb telescope took me way back in time when the news was news with no embellishment, slant, or agenda other than informing.  I found it very refreshing and recommend it to you.

A few interesting snippets:

By comparison, it takes light about 1 second to travel from the moon and 8 minutes from the sun. Therefore, we see the sun as it was 8 minutes ago. If it were to disappear, we would find out 8 minutes later.

Webb also doesn't orbit Earth, like its predecessor Hubble does, but rather orbits the sun 1 million miles (1.5 million km) from our planet at what is called the second Lagrange point or L2. 

The Earth is not visible in any of the images. That is because the bottom of the James Webb Space Telescope, which is a tennis court sized shield, is always facing the sun to block it out.   It means that the Earth is always between James Webb and the sun as well, so would never be captured by the telescope.

When a telescope looks further away, it is also looking back in time. It takes time for the light the telescope is receiving to travel through space. Therefore, we see objects not as they are now but as they were at the time when they released the light that has travelled for billions of years across the universe to reach us.

What we are seeing is just a minor glimpse of images, science, knowledge yet to come.

his clarion call.............

 Pundits immediately lauded President Biden's brilliant plan, with MSNBC heralding it as the most transformative economic initiative since the New Deal. "Biden simply asking the economy to be better is nothing short of genius," said Rachel Maddow. "Economists are out there playing checkers, and Joe Biden is here playing chess, what with his clarion call to give everyone more money and make everything cheaper. Why has no one thought of this before?"

-The Babylon Bee has the full story

Work hard and read Hoffer.................

 Hoffer’s strongest words were for the intellectuals — or rather, against the intellectuals. “Intellectuals,” he said, “cannot operate at room temperature.” Hype, moral melodrama, and sweeping visions were the way that intellectuals approached the problems of the world.

But that was not the way progress was usually achieved in America. “Nothing so offends the doctrinaire intellectual as our ability to achieve the momentous in a matter-of-fact way, unblessed by words.”

Since the American economy and society advanced with little or no role for the intelligentsia, it is hardly surprising that anti-Americanism flourishes among intellectuals. “Nowhere at present is there such a measureless loathing of their country by educated people as in America,” Eric Hoffer said.”

Hoffer’s insights on the hubris of professional intellectuals is as profound as his reading of mass movements. Actually, the two are connected. “Mass movements do not usually rise until the prevailing order has been discredited. The discrediting is not an automatic result of the blunders and abuses of those in power, but the deliberate work of men of words with a grievance.”

-Thomas Sowell, writing about Eric Hoffer and culled from this essay

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


.........................with Eric Hoffer:

The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings

When hopes and dreams are loose in the streets, it is well for the timid to lock doors, shutter windows and lie low until the wrath has passed. For there is often a monstrous incongruity between the hopes, however noble and tender, and the action which follows them. It is as if ivied maidens and garlanded youths were to herald the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

There is not an idea that cannot be expressed in 200 words. But the writer must know precisely what he wants to say. If you have nothing to say and want badly to say it, then all the words in all the dictionaries will not suffice.

It is doubtful if the oppressed ever fight for freedom. They fight for pride and power — power to oppress others. The oppressed want above all to imitate their oppressors; they want to retaliate.

For though ours is a godless age, it is the very opposite of irreligious. The true believer is everywhere on the march, and both by converting and antagonizing he is shaping the world in his own image. And whether we are to line up with him or against him, it is well that we should know all we can concerning his nature and potentialities.

A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business.

Unless a man has talents to make something of himself, freedom is an irksome burden. Of what avail is freedom to choose if the self be ineffectual? We join a mass movement to escape individual responsibility, or, in the words of the ardent young Nazi, "to be free from freedom." It was not sheer hypocrisy when the rank-and-file Nazis declared themselves not guilty of all the enormities they had committed. They considered themselves cheated and maligned when made to shoulder responsibility for obeying orders. Had they not joined the Nazi movement in order to be free from responsibility?

Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life. Thus people haunted by the purposelessness of their lives try to find a new content not only by dedicating themselves to a holy cause but also by nursing a fanatical grievance. A mass movement offers them unlimited opportunities for both.

Both the revolutionary and the creative individual are perpetual juveniles. The revolutionary does not grow up because he cannot grow, while the creative individual cannot grow up because he keeps growing.

Our greatest weariness comes from work not done.

My young sons.........................

 ..................are believers in bitcoin.  Part of me wishes them well, part of me distrusts the whole thing, most of me knows nothing about it (and has little interest in learning about it).  My young sons are trying to nudge me along, to get with the latest and greatest.  And so, they gifted me this book this weekend—and asked me to actually read it.  Well, we will see.

In essence, bitcoin offered a payment network with its own native currency, and used a sophisticated method for members to verify all transactions without having to trust in any single member of the network.  The currency was issued at a predetermined rate to reward the members who spent their processing power on verifying the transactions, thus providing a reward for their work.  The startling thing about this invention was that, contrary to many other attempts as setting up a digital cash, it actually worked. . . .

     But in October 2009, an Internet exchange sold 5,050 bitcoins for $5.02, at a price of $1 for 1,006 bitcoins, to register the first purchase of bitcoin with money.  The price was calculated by measuring the value of electricity needed to produce a bitcoin. . . .

     Bitcoin can be best understood as distributed software that allows for transfer of value using a currency protected from unexpected inflation without relying on trusted third parties.

-as excerpted from the Prologue


 There is no past and no future; no one has ever entered those two imaginary kingdoms.  There is only the present.  Do not worry about the future, because there is no future.  Live in the present and for the present, and if your present is good, then it is good forever.


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

Blue Oyster Cult....Cities On Flame with Rock and Roll

On character and power......................

 So often we think that power has changed people, when in fact if simply reveals more of who they are. . . . Remember, weak character will neutralize all of the other possible good qualities a person might possess.

-Robert Greene, The Laws of Human Nature

a miracle.........................

      Everything is miraculous.  It is a miracle that one does not melt in one's bath.

-attributed to Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso    Personnage      Oil on canvass    1927  

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

      When a high-powered rifle bullet hits living flesh it makes a distinctive—pow-WHOP—sound that is unmistakable even at tremendous distance.  There is rarely an echo or fading reverberation or the tailing rumbling hum that is the sound of a miss.  The guttural boom rolls over the terrain but stops sharply in a close-ended way, as if jerked back.  A hit is blunt and solid like an airborne grunt.  When the sound is heard and identified, it isn't easily forgotten.

-C. J. Box, as he opens Open Season, the first of many in his truly wonderful Joe Pickett series

Sunday, July 17, 2022

On power..........................

Why has there been so much misunderstanding around that day in the Valley of Elah?  On one level, the duel reveals the folly of our assumptions about power.  The reason King Saul is skeptical about David's chances is that David is small and Goliath is large.  Saul thinks of power in terms of physical might.  He doesn't appreciate that power can come in other forms as well—in breaking rules, in substituting speed and surprise for strength.  Saul is not alone in making that mistake. . . .

      What the Israelites saw, from high on the ridge, was an intimidating giant.  In reality, the very thing that gave the giant his size was also the source of his greatest weakness.  There is an important lesson in that for battles with all kinds of giants.  The powerful and strong are not always what they seem.

-Malcolm Gladwell, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

that makes sense....................

 A Kiowa child's learning "is begun only after becoming aware of the mystery of all that is around him, strictly from a feeling point of view", says Kiowa spokesperson Allen Quetone.  This is common to all children: to learn feelingly, the mind and body walking hand in hand.  We say "it makes sense," meaning that a thought is coherent, as language itself remembers that mind is inheld in the body, skeined into an intricate kinship with the body which is itself catscradled in nature.  Thoughts are interlinked in feeling.  For feeling is not only a sense of touch but a form of knowing, the psyche dispersed, sensitive in skin, muscle and gut, perceiving the messages of a speaking world: the mind sensitive as the strings of a harp struck softly by an unlying wind, an Aeolian harp with a quality of ceaseless potential music sung into sound with breath, the lightest inspiration of a million, million messages.

-Jay Griffiths, A Country Called Childhood: Children and the Exuberant World

Newell Convers Wyeth.............................


more here

the shadowed wonder and wildness.........

       The hyper-rational objectivity behind a great deal of contemporary techno-science could only have arisen in a civilization steeped in a dogmatic and other-worldly monotheism, for it is largely a continuation of the very same detached and derogatory relation to sensuous nature.  If in an earlier era we spoke of the earthly world as fallen, sinful, and demonic, we now speak of it as mostly inert, mechanical, and determinate.  In both instances nature is stripped of its generosity and prodigious creativity.  Similarly, the utopian technological dreaming that would have us bioengineer our way into a new and "more perfected" nature (or would have us download human consciousness into a "better hardware"), like the new-age wish to spiritually transcend the "physical plane" entirely, seems calculated to help us hide from the shadowed wonder and wildness of earthly existence.

-David Abram, Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology


 As an extension of our positivity/consumer culture, many of us have been "indoctrinated" with the belief that we should try to be as inherently accepting and affirmative as possible.  This is a cornerstone of many of the so-called positive thinking books: open yourself up to opportunities, be accepting, say yes to everything and everyone, and so on.

     But we need to reject something.  Otherwise, we stand for nothing.  If nothing is better or more desirable than anything else, then, we are empty and our live is meaningless.  We are without values and therefore live our life without any purpose. . . .

     The act of choosing a value for yourself requires rejecting alternative values.  If I choose to make my marriage the most important part of my life, that means I'm (probably) choosing not to make cocaine-fueled hooker orgies an important part of my life.  If I'm choosing to judge myself based on my ability to have open and accepting friendships, that means I'm rejecting trashing my friends behind their backs.  These are healthy decisions, yet they require rejection at every turn.

      The point is this: we all must give a fuck about something, in order to value something.  And to value something, we must reject what is not that something.  To value X, we must reject non-X.

      That rejection is an inherent and necessary part of maintaining our values, and therefore our identity.  We are defined by what we choose to reject.

-Mark Manson, The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*uck: A Counterintuitive Approach To Living A Good Life


 If you approach a negotiation thinking that the other guy thinks like you, you're wrong, I say.  That's not empathy; that's projection.

-Chris Voss

On fairness...................

 The most powerful word in negotiations if "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

This explains a lot.................

 Going to war accelerated the move from indirect to direct rule.  Almost any nation that makes war finds that it cannot pay for the effort from its accumulated reserves and current revenues.  Almost all warmaking states borrow extensively, raise taxes, and seize the means of combat—including men—from reluctant citizens who have other uses for their resources.

-Charles Tilly


     The GM sit-down strike of 1936-37 and the other forcible plant seizures of the time were examples of a phenomenon we described in Blood in the Streets as "the exploitation of the capitalists by the workers."  This was not the view that Pete Seeger set to music in his sad songs.  But unless you a planning a career as a folk singer in a blue-collar neighborhood the important thing is to focus on is not the popular interpretation, but the underlying reality.  Wherever you look in history there is generally a layer of rationalization and make-believe that disguises the true megapolitical foundations of any systematic extortion.  If you take the rationalizations at face value, you are unlikely to grasp what is really going on.

-James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg, The Sovereign Individual: Mastering The Transition To The Information Age

Pete Seeger.........................Which Side Are You On?


Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?
They say in Harlan County
There are no neutrals there
You'll either be a union man
Or a thug for J. H. Blair
Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?
Tell me, which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?
My daddy was a miner
And I'm a miner's son
He'll be with you fellow workers
Until this battle's won
Tell me, which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Sing it, which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Oh workers can you stand it?
Tell me how you can
Will you be a lousy scab
Or will you be a man?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Tell me, which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Come all of you good workers
Good news to you I'll tell
Of how the good ol' union
Has come in here to dwell
Tell me, which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?
Tell me, which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?

Fifty years ago........................... the newsstand: