Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday..................................

Jesus Christ Superstar..................................Superstar

The Execupundit manages his inner Poirot....

Full post here.  Important excerpts here:

"The greatest deception you watch for is self-deception since all of us tell ourselves stories in order to get through life..."

"You study people and systems and the more you learn the less you seem to know."

Cooperation..................................

"Poverty is what happens when groups of people fail to cooperate, or are prevented from finding ways to cooperate. Cooperation is in our genes; the ability to be social is a big part of what makes us human. It takes actions by powerful actors such as states, or cruel accidents such as deep historical or ethnic animosities, to prevent people from cooperating. Everywhere you look, if people are prosperous it’s because they are cooperating, working together."
-Michael Munger, as excerpted from this essay

Visiting with Aesop.........................

                     The Oak and the Woodcutters

The woodcutter cut down a Mountain Oak and split it into pieces, making wedges of its own branches for dividing the trunk.  The Oak said with a sigh,  "I do not care about the blows of the axe aimed at my roots, but I do grieve at being torn in pieces by these wedges made from my own branches."

Moral:  Misfortunes springing from ourselves are the hardest to bear.

Damned...............................

















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

The Dave Clark Five...................................Bits and Pieces

If you don't regularly...........................

................................visit The Strategic Learner blog, do.

Well, that explains a lot...................























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A bit...........................






















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Hate it when that happens.......................


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tick..............tock..........................

R. E. M.............................................................Drive

It is National Library Week.........................

April 13-19 has been designated as National Library Week.  It is not too late to celebrate it!  Go borrow a good book.



Still one of my most valued possessions






























Thanks to friend Bilbo for the reminder 

Maundy Thursday............................


Lord of a realm....................................

"Every man is the lord of a realm beside which the earthly empire of the Czar is but a petty state..."

     "I learned this, at least, by my experiment:  that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to life the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.  He will put some things behind,  will pass an invisible boundary;  new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him;  or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.  In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.  If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost;  that is where they should be.  Now put the foundations under them."
-Henry David Thoreau, Walden, as excerpted from Conclusion

Some sentences are just fun to read...

"That is a tough sell to a generation of basketball players that believes the shortest distance between two points is still too long."
-Michael Rosenberg, as excerpted from Sports Illustrated, the 4/14/14 gated issue

Careful, this cuts both ways........

"To get what we've never had, we must do what we've never done."
-anonymous

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

The Rolling Stones........................................Tell Me

Need some inspiration................................?

.......................................a good source is right here.

From the archives.........................
















































from the archives

Slowly but surely making improvement....

This might have helped......................"the phone cone"






















cartoon via Swiss Miss

Matt Walsh waves the white flag...................

He will no longer compete in "competitive suffering."  Good choice.  Full post here.  Excerpt here:
Here’s the truth: I can’t speak for any other parent, mom or dad, but I can tell you that my life is not the most challenging, the most important, the most hectic, the busiest, the most demanding, or the most tiring. My life is somewhere in the middle, I imagine. My life, my parenting, is likely in the realm of mediocrity.
I’m sharing this with you because I’m tired of the contest, of the competitive suffering, of the need we feel to portray our lives in a way that somehow makes other lives pale in the spotlight we’ve shone on ourselves.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sort of like Patsy.........................

LeAnn Rimes.........................................................Crazy




Patsy Cline version here    It's # 17 on this list

Hard to believe............................

"Research and development in government is always a long and painstaking process," says Mr O'Neill.  "But if it were easy, then government would waste even more money, and faster."
-as excerpted from this story in The Economist

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

I don't remember either of my parents ever reading me a story - perhaps that's why I've made up so many.  They were good parents, but just not story readers.  In 1936, when I was born, the Depression sat heavily on all but the most fortunate, a group that didn't include us.  My McMurtry grandparents were both still alive, and my mother and father and I lived in their house, which made for frequent difficulties.   Sometimes there was a cook and a resident cowboy - where they bunked, I'm not sure.  The fifty yards or so between the house and the barn boiled with poultry.  My first enemies were hens, roosters, peacocks, turkeys.   We ate lots of the hens, but our consumption of turkeys, peacocks, and roosters was, to my young mind, inexcusably slow.
-Larry McMurtry,   Books

The one quality.......................

"In the final analysis, the one quality that all successful people have is the ability to take on responsibility."
-Michael Korda

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

The 1964 Ford Mustang unveiled..................................




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



















from the archives

On maximizing your net psychic wealth...

     Obviously, our parsimonious approach required some compromise.  We left the neighborhood we'd been looking in and moved about a hundred feet across North Capitol Street, because doing so knocked $100,000 off the price.  The house we finally bought, on a beautiful tree-lined street, had about two linear feet of kitchen cabinets and peeling laminate countertop, and a backyard that ... well, if you've seen one of those gritty, depressing indie films about down-and-out heroin addicts, this is where the director would shoot a scene to let you know that the addicts had finally hit bottom.  The fence sagged like old lettuce, broken blocks of concrete jutted through a sprinkling of topsoil, and everywhere you looked you saw broken glass and strange fragments of ancient metal.  The only thing missing to complete the look was a car up on blocks.   And nothing could be done about any of it very immediately, because we had already agreed that there would be no home equity loans.  In fact, six months after we moved in, I started paying extra on our mortgage, which horrifies all the bankers I know.  Lose your tax deduction paying off a debt that only costs you 4.5 percent a year, when you could be getting 8 to 10 percent on that money in the market?
     Their math may be correct.  But life does not unfold mathematically.  Our house is inhabitable, and slowly, it is becoming nice.  It is big enough for us.  And we sleep better in it than we would in a house that cost us twice as much....Taking out a little mortgage, and paying it off early, means that we can afford to take big risks where it really matters....
     If you want to be able to take big risks, and then recover and move on, you cannot have everything riding on any one outcome.  Diversify your emotional and financial investments.  Hedge against the future.  Minimize your fixed obligations.  Maximize your net psychic wealth.
     Of course I don't mean that you should avoid all commitments.  But you should maximize your commitments to the things that matter.  Marriage.  Kids.  Parents and siblings.  Friends.  Your passions.   You can make more of the commitments that count when you have fewer commitments to granite countertops, sunroofs, and cell phone contracts.
-Megan McArdle,  as excerpted from The Up Side of Down:  Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success

Where do you fit in..........................?

Yesterday was April 15th.   Don't know about you, but we joyfully sent a check to the United States Treasury (and a much smaller one to the Treasurer of the State of Ohio for good measure).   Lest there be confusion about who is paying what, here is a chart (reportedly based on IRS statistics, but not checked by your faithful blogger) that sets forth the numbers:



















Hungry...................................

"Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.   I sat at a table where were rich food and wine in abundance, and obsequious attendance, but sincerity and truth were not;  and I went away hungry from the inhospitable board."
-Henry David Thoreau,  Walden, as excerpted from Conclusion

Change..........................

"When you stop trying to change others and work on changing yourself, your world changes for the better.”
 -Unknown

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

High road...................................

John Mellencamp..............................Your Life Is Now




Essentially eudaimonic #7.  Full list here.

Today we write a check.............................











Buffett on investing..........................

Anyone who cares about business and money should read Warren Buffett's annual stockholder letter.  It might be the most valuable course in economics you ever take.  Here is an excerpt from the latest Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholder letter:

I tell these tales to illustrate certain fundamentals of investing:

You don’t need to be an expert in order to achieve satisfactory investment returns. But if you aren’t, you must recognize your limitations and follow a course certain to work reasonably well. Keep things simple and don’t swing for the fences. When promised quick profits, respond with a quick “no.”

Focus on the future productivity of the asset you are considering. If you don’t feel comfortable making a rough estimate of the asset’s future earnings, just forget it and move on. No one has the ability to evaluate every investment possibility. But omniscience isn’t necessary; you only need to understand the actions you undertake.

 If you instead focus on the prospective price change of a contemplated purchase, you are speculating.  There is nothing improper about that. I know, however, that I am unable to speculate successfully, and I  am skeptical of those who claim sustained success at doing so. Half of all coin-flippers will win their first toss; none of those winners has an expectation of profit if he continues to play the game. And the fact that a given asset has appreciated in the recent past is never a reason to buy it.

With my two small investments, I thought only of what the properties would produce and cared not at all about their daily valuations. Games are won by players who focus on the playing field – not by those whose eyes are glued to the scoreboard. If you can enjoy Saturdays and Sundays without looking at stock prices, give it a try on weekdays.

You probably should also read this quote.  Thanks Mark

Compliance..............................


Care and feeding....................

 Here is a good way to explain federal taxes. I call it "The Care and Feeding  of the Goose That Lays the Golden Eggs."  It's so important to feed the goose - not  to abuse the goose or tear off its wings - but to feed and care for it.
What's that you say? The goose  eats too much? That's probably true. But then, don't we all eat too much?  If so,  let not one appetite accuse another.  If you step on the scales and you're ten pounds  too heavy, you've got to say, "Yes, the government and I are each about ten pounds  too heavy. Looks like we both eat too much." No question about it. Every appetite  must be disciplined - yours, mine, and the government's.  Hey, we could all go on a  diet!
My mentor, Mr. Shoaff, urged  me early on to become a happy taxpayer. Now, I must admit it took a while, but I  finally did become a happy taxpayer.  Part of this transformation occurred when I  began to understand the function of taxes and that it is right for everyone to pay  his or her fair share.
I finally decided I didn't  mind picking up my share of the tab for defense.  It's so necessary for our safety  as a country to keep the bullies away.  Some people say, "Why bother with all that  expensive equipment? They won't come over here."  Obviously, those people haven't  been reading their history books.
Others say, "We're not about  to pick up the tab for defense."  Well then, I suggest they go to a place which doesn't  offer defense as part of the package.  If one is going to enjoy the benefits, one  should pay a share.
Now, let me add this: Don't  pay more than you should.  By all means take advantage of the incentives. They were  given to you as a reward for channeling your money into areas the government thinks  helps the economy.
All I'm saying is that when  everything has been computed, all legitimate deductions have been taken, and you  reach that last line on your income tax form, whatever the amount, pay it. And pay  with happiness, knowing that you're feeding the goose that lays the golden eggs - the  golden eggs of freedom, safety, justice, and free enterprise.   Some goose!   Some eggs!

Mixed feelings........................

“To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” 
-Thomas Jefferson

“I like to pay taxes. With them, I buy civilization.” 
-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr

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

Jim Reeves.............................................Adios Amigo

Parenting...............................























from the archives

Dear IRS................................


On taking care of business first.....

When you do the things you need to do when you need to do them, the day will come when you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them.
-Zig Ziglar

Monday, April 14, 2014

Shindiggers everywhere..............

The Gentrys.........................................Keep On Dancing



If the second half of the song sounds just like the first half, well, that's because it is.  Story here.

On reading........................



Doing nothing is harder than you think....























from the archives

A little star-dust.....................

If the day and night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal - that is your success.  All nature is your congratulation, and you have cause to momentarily bless yourself.   The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated.  We easily come to doubt if they exist.  We soon forget them.  They are the highest reality.  Perhaps the facts most astounding and most real are never communicated by man to man.  The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening.  It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.
-Henry David Thoreau,   Walden, as excerpted from Higher Laws

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

Judy Garland......................................That Old Feeling

A little and a lot............................

"Do a little more than you're paid to.  Give a little more than you have to.  Try a little harder than you want to.  Aim a little higher than you think possible, and give a lot of thanks to God for health, family and friends."
-Art Linkletter

Powerful..................................

"Most Americans honestly believe America is the most powerful nation on earth, but actually the most powerful nation is imagi-nation."
-Zig Ziglar














artwork courtesy of gapingvoid

Or maybe we muddle through.......

















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