Friday, November 10, 2023


      Change captures our attention because it's surprising and exciting.  But the behaviors that never change are history's most powerful lessons, because they preview what to expect in the future.

-Morgan Housel, Same as Ever: A Guide to What Never Changes

Worth pondering..............

 News and social media are a drag on happiness. If I had to describe the economy using one word, I would use “strong.” If I had to describe the consumer in one word I would use “anxious.”

-Michael Batnick, from this post

Yes, and..............................

 We need patience and curiosity rather than fear and reactivity.

-Tony Isola, from here

the eminent dead.....................

 I learn better sort of plowing through written material by myself.  I've done a lot of that in my life.  I frequently like the eminent dead better than the live teachers.

-Charlie Munger


      Now, you may be an atheist, an agnostic, a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Buddhist, or something else, but this posture of respect and reverence, this awareness of the infinite dignity of each person you meet, is a precondition for seeing people well. You may find the whole idea of God ridiculous, but I ask you to believe in the concept of a soul.  You may just be chatting with someone about the weather, but I ask you to assume that the person in front of you contains some piece of themselves that has no weight, size, color, or shape yet gives them infinite value and dignity.  If you consider that each person has a soul, you will be aware that each person has some transcendent spark inside them.  You will be aware that at the deepest level we are all equals.  We're not equal in might, intelligence, or wealth, but we are all equal on the level of our souls.  If you see the people you meet as precious souls, you'll probable wind up treating them well.

-David Brooks, How To Know A Person

Thursday, November 9, 2023

lessons learned...............

      The judicious will not fail to extract other lessons from the two conventions.  For example, the lesson that politicians, in the main, are poor hands at practical politics—that their professional competence is very slight.  Very few of them, indeed, show any sign of ordinary good sense.  Their tricks are transparent and deceive no one, not even other politicians.  When they accomplish anything, it is usually by accident.

-Henry Louis Mencken, from a 7/14/1924 essay

the infallible judgement of reality........

      The satisfactions of manifesting oneself concretely in the world through manual competence have been known to make a man quiet and easy.  The seem to relieve him of the felt need to offer chattering interpretations of himself to vindicate his worth.  He can simply point: the building stands, the car now runs, the lights are on.  Boasting is what a boy does, because he has no real effect in the world.  But the tradesman must reckon with the infallible judgment of reality, where one's failures or shortcomings cannot be interpreted away.  His well-founded pride is far from the gratuitous "self-esteem" that educators would impart to students, as though by magic.

-Matthew B. Crawford, Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Hugs are pretty important....................

 But, trust me, money is no substitute for mental health. I would rather be poor and happy, than subject myself to constant stress in a work environment. You will not starve if you opt for a solo practice. You probably won't have luxuries that others have; but, in the end, spend your time developing a happy relationship with another human being. Your money can't hug you in the middle of the night.

-Rick Georges

Rising to the defense...................

 ....................................of true liberals.

Here’s another reality understood by Smith – and by F.A. Hayek, Milton Friedman, Deirdre McCloskey, Richard Epstein, George Will, and all other true liberals: If you fail to instill in people liberal tolerance, and especially if you recruit them into the ranks of zealots attempting to create on earth their vision of heaven, you will then surely turn them into brutes. Single-mindedly devoted to their particular causes, individuals become monsters who recognize others only as comrades and enemies, the former of which are to be allowed no room for deviation and the latter of which are to be brutalized and slaughtered.

-Don Boudreaux

Then nice people at .................................

 ........................Barnes & Noble assure me my copy will be delivered Friday!

The unbreakable...................

 ........Law of Unintended Consequences strikes again?   Likely too early to tell, but check this story on the Inflation Innovation Reduction Act.


Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Seeing both sides now.................

Does the economy have you confused?  Should you believe the government's statistics or your own "lying eyes."

Ben Carlson posts, "To avoid my own cognitive dissonance, let’s look at both the good and the bad in the U.S. economy right now:"  

Having read his post, clarity remains elusive, although I believe this is fairly important:  "Savers are no longer being punished. For the first time in a decade-and-a-half, you can find decent yields on CDs, money market funds, online savings accounts and bonds."


Bows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feathered canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It's cloud's illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
When every fairy tale comes real
I've looked at love that way

But now it's just another show
You leave 'em laughing when you go
And if you care don't let them know
Don't give yourself away

I've looked at love from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's love's illusions I recall
I really don't know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say "I love you" right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I've looked at life that way

But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I've changed
Well something's lost but something's gained
In living every day

I've looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all

Monday, November 6, 2023

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

      What happens in ordinary moments determines your future.

-Shane Parrish, Clear Thinking


 Human beings need recognition as much as they need food and water.  No crueler punishment can be devised that to not see someone, to render them unimportant or invisible.  "The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them," George Bernard Shaw wrote, "but to be indifferent to them: that's the essence of inhumanity."  To do that is to say: You don't matter. You don't exist.

-David Brooks, How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen

The virtue of poker playing.............

"Playing poker in the Army and as a young lawyer honed my business skills," said Charlie.  "What you have to learn is to fold early when the odds are against you, or if you have a big edge, back it heavily because you don't get a big edge very often.  Opportunity comes, but it doesn't come often, so seize it when it does come."

-Janet Lowe, Damn Right!  Behind the Scenes With Berkshire Hathaway Billionaire Charlie Munger

On being useful.....................

      The scope of the economic crisis is still uncertain as I write this; it may turn out to be a mere disturbance, soon forgotten.  But, however briefly, we are experiencing a genuine crisis of confidence in our most prestigious institutions and professions.  This presents an opportunity to reconsider some basic assumptions.  The question of what a good job looks like—of what sort of work is both secure and worthy of being honored—is more open now than it has been for a long time.  Wall Street in particular has lost its luster as a destination for smart and ambitious young people.  Out of the current confusion of ideals and confounding of larger hopes, a calm recognition may yet emerge that productive labor is the foundation of all prosperity.  The meta-work in trafficking in the surplus skimmed from other people's work suddenly appears as what it is, and it becomes possible once again to think the thought, "Let me make myself useful."

-Matthew B. Crawford, Shop Class As Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work

Fred Reed.....................

 .........shares opinions not often found in the mainstream media.  He starts this week's essay:

I expect my columns to be gems of lucidity and concision, such as to arouse despair in other writers. I have been expecting this for decades now. It may still happen. Meanwhile I fear today’s effort will be helterskelter, having the literary aspect of a tossed salad. I beg patience.

In this paragraph he suggests that one should be careful about what one wishes for:

A very, very important point: Wars usually do not turn out as expected. Here i repeat myself but I ask regular readers, if I have one, to be patient. Let’s look at some actual wars and how well they matched expectations. The American Civil War was supposed to be over in an afternoon at First Manassas. Wrong by four bloody years and 650,000 dead, equivalent to about six and a half million today. Nobody had the slightest idea of what that war would be. When Napoleon invaded Russia, he had no idea that Russian troops would soon be marching in Paris. Which is what happened. When the Germans launched WWI, they expected a short, victorious war of maneuver. They got four years of bloody, losing trench warfare. When Hitler invaded Russia, having Russian and American GIs divide up Berlin was not a major war plan. It happened. When the Japanese army urged war with America, it did plan on American sailors doing the boom-boom, as the Vietnamese used to say, with its daughters in the bars of Tokyo.  When the French recolonized Vietnam after WWII, they did not expect to be outfought and outsmarted at Dienbienphu. When the Americans repeated the French mistake, they also did not foresee being handed their ass, as is said in the military. It happened. When the Russians invaded Afghanistan, they did not expect to lose. But did. When the Americans, seeing the Russian defeat, also did not expect to lose. But did. The current war in the Ukraine goeth not as expected.

taking the good with the bad............

 Reversion to the mean is one of the most common stories in history. It’s the main character in economies, markets, countries, companies, careers – everything. Part of the reason it happens is because the same personality traits that push people to the top also increase the odds of pushing them over the edge.

-Morgan Housel, from here

No worries......................

 To worry that the American electorate will be mislead by AI in any way that worsens political outcomes is akin to worrying that a man drowning in the Pacific ocean will be made worse off by the sudden appearance of a small rain shower off the coast of California.

-Don Boudreaux, from here  

Sunday, November 5, 2023

alone but not lonely............

 . . . when I’m walking or biking, I don’t consider being alone with my own thoughts to be a waste of time.

-Arnold Kling, from here  


 Teachers and coaches implicitly told us the returns were linear. “You get out,” I heard a thousand times, “what you put in.” They meant well, but this is rarely true. If your product is only half as good as your competitor's, you don’t get half as many customers. You get no customers, and you go out of business.

-Paul Graham, Superlinear Returns


truly free.....................

 The truly free individual is free only to the extent of his own self-mastery. While those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them.

-Steven Pressfield, The War of Art


From the chapter.....................

 ..........................102 Ways to not let Irrational Thoughts Ruin Your Life:

04.  Fire can burn down your house, or it can cook your dinner each night and keep your house warm in the winter.  Your mind is the same way.

09.  Stop being so cerebral.  Do things with your hands.  Cook, clean, go outside.

12.  Change your objective.  The goal is not to feel "good" all the time, it's to be able to express a  healthy range of emotions without suppressing or suffering.

20.  Do not always trust yourself.  Give yourself space to be wrong.  Open yourself up to the idea that you don't know what you don't know.  If your feelings are informed by irrational thoughts, they can very well be incorrect.

27.  Expand your perceptions.  If you're uncomfortable, you're being pushed to think beyond what you've known.  You're being called to see yourself in a new way.  Open yourself to possibilities you normally wouldn't consider, or layers of yourself you've yet to see.

42.  Remember that you can choose what you think about, and even when if feels like you can't, it's because again, you're choosing to believe that.

44.  Go outside and look at the stars and drink a glass of wine.

58.  Practice happiness.  External events don't create meaning or fulfillment or contentment: how we think about them does.  If you are operating on a scarcity mentality, you'll always be unhappy, no matter what you have of get.

-Brianna Wiest, 101 Essays that will Change the way You Think