Monday, October 20, 2014

The '70's were just different....................

Paper Lace...............................................Billy Don't Be A Hero

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




























Squire Trelawney, Dr. Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars about Treasure Island, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted, I take my pen in the year of grace, 17__, and go back to the time when my father kept the 'Admiral Benbow' inn, and the brown old seaman, with the sabre cut, first took up his lodging under our roof.
-Robert Louis Stevenson,  Treasure Island

artwork via

Reading truths.........................................























Thirty-three thoughts on reading from Austin Kleon.  It is a pretty good list.  A few excerpts here:

2.  I will make an effort to carry a book with me at all times

4.  I will read whatever the hell I feel like. No guilty pleasures

11.  I will read with a pencil pen or highlighter. I will underline. I will dog ear. I will write in the margins.

14.  I will re-read favorite books the way I watch favorite movies and play favorite records over and over.

16.  I will take a deep breath and understand that it is IMPOSSIBLE to read everything.

24.  I will keep stacks of unread books at the ready.

26.  I will go to the library. I will go to the bookstore. I will get lost in the stacks.

33.  If I don’t feel like reading, I’ll go do something else. Maybe even — gasp! — watch TV.

Ain't that the truth.............................

71.   Don't spend too much money on a haircut.  They never last.
-from 1001 Rules for My Unborn Son

The inscrutability of Chinese fortune cookies.....

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

Wrestling with Mad Dog Vachon.......................














In the ring, Mad Dog was known for his unorthodox tactics and blatant disregard for the rules and his devastating finishing move, the pile-driver.  He would often bite his opponents, hit them with chairs, claw their backs and throw them out of the ring onto the cement floor. 
On May 2, 1964, Mad Dog used those tactics to defeat AWA champion Vern Gagne to become the world heavyweight champion.  He held that title five times in his career.  Mad Dog later teamed with his brother Paul “The Butcher” Vachon and together, they earned the tag team championship.
Truth be told, I had never heard of Mad Dog Vachon until reading his name on HistoryOrb.com. Growing up in Philly, my favorite pro wrestlers were Bruno Sammartino and Haystacks Calhoun.  Those were the days.
Bruno Sammartino   circa early 1960's

Haystacks Calhoun    "billed weight  640 pounds"

Sammartino lifts Calhoun

Do the math.......................................


On the advantage of "the melting pot"............

One of the amazing historical benefits that have accrued to the United States of America is the high degree to which immigrants of all different ethnic origin have chosen to surrender their ethnicity and become, simply, Americans.  While this is not uniformly true, and while many have sought to make a career out of hyphenated politics, it is true enough to make America different, and stronger, than much of the world.  Perhaps this occurred because people have flocked to these shores by choice, rather than being made part of a "country" designed by foreign powers.  Better historians than me can, and probably already have, sort this out.  Regardless, it certainly can be messy when ethnicity remains a priority and ethnicity does not align with national borders.  For the latest case in point, consider the Kurdish question.




















wiki here

A short-cut.......................................






















via

Having fun while digging in the ground......

A team of archaeologists have unearthed a Sphinx - in California no less.  If they used carbon-dating, they would find it came from circa 1923.  Part of the story is here.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

One of these mornings.............................

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong...............Summertime

Magic...............................................



















“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” 
-William Butler Yeats


photo via

The Second Coming........................................

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.


Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.


The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? 


-William Butler Yeats

Concerning Spiritus Mundi: 

Definition

Spiritus Mundi is a Latin term that literally means 'world spirit.' In Spiritus Mundi, there is, according to William Butler Yeats, a universal memory and a 'muse' of sorts that provides inspiration to the poet or writer. To Yeats,Spiritus Mundi is the source of all 'images' and 'symbols,' a 'collective unconscious.' Spiritus Mundi is difficult to understand, but we will unpack it as best as we can.

Verse.........................................

27.   The Master said,  Imperturbable, resolute, tree-like, slow to speak - such a one is near to Goodness.

-Book XIII
The Analects of Confucius

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

Ella Fitzgerald (with Nelson Riddle's Orchestra)...Trav'lin' Light

Civilization: the thinnest of veneers..........

This morning my wife and I took a solemn pledge that no bag of Halloween candy shall be opened until the evening of Halloween because an early opening, however slight, invites barbarism and the fall of civilization. 
-Michael Wade

Mood swings............................................

"While it’s never fun to lose money, the past couple of weeks reminded me once again why I love the stock market. Mr. Market is basicallly a crazy person that takes pride in frustrating people on a consistent basis. Every investor feels the market’s wrath at some point.".
"The stock market is always somewhere on the continuum of panic, fear, complacency, greed or euphoria, but it’s tough to guess where and when the mood will shift from one to the other. This week it happened on a day-to-day basis."

Swing...................................................


"I'm not afraid to take a swing and miss."
-Frederick W. Smith































In the early days of FedEx, Smith had to go to great lengths to keep the company afloat. In one instance, he took the company's last $5,000 to Las Vegas and won $27,000 gambling on blackjack to cover the company's $24,000 fuel bill.[12]
-Smith wiki is here


image via

The here and now.....................................

"It's is easy to solve problems for the future but it's the present that needs the most help."
-Michael Mulvey

Choose wisely......................................

"I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.”
-Carl Jung

Saturday, October 18, 2014

It isn't hard to do........................................

John Lennon..............................................................Imagine

Suits.............................................
















"The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases. Each of us carries his own life-form—an indeterminable form which cannot be superseded by any other."
-Carl Jung

Just because........................................

















via

Maybe it just seems that way.......................























via

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

On the TV.........................Ed Sullivan presents The Animals

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

In the ancient city of London, on a certain autumn day in the second quarter of the sixteenth century, a boy was born to a poor family of the name of Canty, who did not want him.  On the same day another English child was born to a rich family of the name of Tudor, who did want him.  All England wanted him too.  England has so longed for him, and hoped for him, and prayed God for him that now that he was really come, the people went nearly mad with joy.  Mere acquaintances hugged and kissed each other and cried.  Everybody took a holiday, and high and low, rich and poor, feasted and danced and sang, and got very mellow;  and they kept this up for days and nights together.  By day London was a sight to see, with gay banners waving from every balcony and housetop and splendid pageants marching along.  By night it was again a sight to see, with its great bonfires at every corner and its troops of revelers making merry around them.  There was no talk in all of England but of the new baby.  Edward Tudor, Prince of Wales, who lay lapped in silks and satins, unconscious of all this fuss, and not knowing that great lords and ladies were tending him and watching over him - and not caring either.  But there was no talk about the other baby, Tom Canty, lapped in his poor rags, except among the family of paupers whom he had just come to trouble with his presence.
-Mark Twain,  The Prince and the Pauper

There was a time in my life when this......

...................................................would have come in handy.


























via

In investing, as in life.....................................

" I need to be reminded over and over again that making emotional decisions will eventually lead to terrible performance."
-Ben Carlson, as excerpted from here

Nothing to worry about................................



























thanks ann

Friday, October 17, 2014

He's at it again...................................

"The world frequently reminds us that weakness is provocative, especially to evil people. There are gentle warriors and vicious pacifists."
-two wee sentences from Michael Wade's latest Random Thoughts

The Helicopter Chase.......................

James Newton Howard...................from The Fugitive soundtrack

Marinate.............................................

     Inward-bound courses would do wonders for "thought leadership."  There are good reasons why the business world is so preoccupied by that notion of the moment:  the only way to prevent your product from being commoditised or your markets from being disrupted is to think further ahead than your competitors.  But companies that often pose as thought leaders are often "thought laggards": risk analysts who recycle yesterday's newspapers, and management consultants who champion yesterday's successes just as they are about to go out of business.
     The only way to become a real thought leader is to ignore all the noise and listen to a few great thinkers.  You will learn more about leadership from reading Thucydide's hymn to Pericles than you will from a thousand leadership experts.  You will learn far more about doing business in China from reading Confucius than by listening to "culture consultants."  Peter Drucker remained top dog among management gurus for 50 years not because he attends more conferences but because he marinated his mind in great books:  for example, he wrote about business alliances with reference to marriage alliances in Jane Austen.

-Schumpeter, as excerpted from this The Economist essay

Thucydides.................................

"So died these men as became Athenians. You, their survivors, must determine to have as unfaltering a resolution in the field, though you may pray that it may have a happier issue. And not contented with ideas derived only from words of the advantages which are bound up with the defence of your country, though these would furnish a valuable text to a speaker even before an audience so alive to them as the present, you must yourselves realise the power of Athens, and feed your eyes upon her from day to day, till love of her fills your hearts; and then, when all her greatness shall break upon you, you must reflect that it was by courage, sense of duty, and a keen feeling of honour in action that men were enabled to win all this, and that no personal failure in an enterprise could make them consent to deprive their country of their valour, but they laid it at her feet as the most glorious contribution that they could offer. For this offering of their lives made in common by them all they each of them individually received that renown which never grows old, and for a sepulchre, not so much that in which their bones have been deposited, but that noblest of shrines wherein their glory is laid up to be eternally remembered upon every occasion on which deed or story shall call for its commemoration. For heroes have the whole earth for their tomb; and in lands far from their own, where the column with its epitaph declares it, there is enshrined in every breast a record unwritten with no tablet to preserve it, except that of the heart. These take as your model and, judging happiness to be the fruit of freedom and freedom of valour, never decline the dangers of war. For it is not the miserable that would most justly be unsparing of their lives; these have nothing to hope for: it is rather they to whom continued life may bring reverses as yet unknown, and to whom a fall, if it came, would be most tremendous in its consequences. And surely, to a man of spirit, the degradation of cowardice must be immeasurably more grievous than the unfelt death, which strikes him in the midst of his strength and patriotism!

-excerpted from Pericle's Funeral Oration:  a hymn to democracy

Austen, Jane Austen..............................

“Angry people are not always wise.”

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” 

“but for my own part, if a book is well written, I always find it too short.” 

“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.”

“I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.” 

“Our scars make us know that our past was for real” 

“I have not the pleasure of understanding you.”

“There are people, who the more you do for them, the less they will do for themselves.” 

“I always deserve the best treatment because I never put up with any other.” 

“You must learn some of my philosophy. Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.” 

“Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised or a little mistaken.” 

“My good opinion once lost is lost forever.” 

“Stupid men are the only ones worth knowing after all.”

wiki here

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

On the TV.......................................................The Fugitive

the ultimate resource....................................

"In a rapidly changing technological culture and an ever-growing information-based economy, creative ideas are the ultimate resource.  Yet our current educational system does little to nourish this resource.
     "Moreover, our current system is built around fact-based learning, but the Internet makes almost every fact desirable instantly available.  This means we're training our children in skills they rarely need, while ignoring those they absolutely do.  Teaching kids how to nourish their creativity and curiosity, while still providing a sound foundation in critical thinking, literacy and math, is the best way to prepare them for a future of increasingly rapid technological change."
-Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler, Abundance:  The Future Is Better Than You Think

And then, acting......................................
















via

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

                              The Dog and the Oyster

A Dog, used to eating eggs, saw an Oyster and, opening his mouth to its widest extent, swallowed it down with the utmost relish, supposing it to be an egg.  Soon afterwards suffering great pains in his stomach, he said, "I deserve all this torment, for my folly in thinking that everything round must be an egg."

Moral:  They who act without sufficient thought, will often fall into unexpected danger.

A fundamental law, period.............................

“The fundamental law of investing is the uncertainty of the future.”
- Peter Lewyn Bernstein

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Aching for breaking....................................

Connie Francis........................................Who's Sorry Now?

This is a phrase you don't hear much anymore...

................................."the majesty of the law."

I’ve already said my piece about affirmative-consent laws, to which I will just add this: I am disturbed as hell by the number of feminists I’ve seen defending these laws on the grounds that of course they will rarely be enforced. Why pass laws you don’t intend to enforce? Unenforceable laws weaken our whole legal framework by conceding that really, the whole thing is just an arbitrary exercise of power by authorities -- a theory of justice that has not, I must point out, generally redounded to the benefit of women and minorities. It is, in the words of P.J. O’Rourke, “Pinning a ‘kick me!’ sign on the backside of the majesty of the law."
-as excerpted from this Megan McArdle post

Encouraging..............................................
















"Note how good you feel after you have encouraged someone else.  No other argument is necessary to suggest that one never miss the opportunity to give encouragement."
-George Mathew Adams

On Wills and Won'ts........................................


















"The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't."
-Henry Ward Beecher

On the importance of teaching about.........

.......................................the miracle of compounding interest.

"Because of this sad catch-22: the biggest investing advantage is youth itself, but young people care the least about investing. In my experience, when you lay out the basics for millennials, they start investing right away."

Excerpted from here.

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

At the movies...Connie Francis/Johnny Carson.....Looking For Love

It was a different era......................................















via

Entrusted.........................................................

"Work while you have the light.  You are responsible for the talent that has been entrusted to you."
-Henri Frederic Amiel

The history major in me says "Ouch"........

Comparing Obama to Commodus.  Full essay here.  Wee excerpt here.

"Victory cannot be declared by one side, merely out of desire to return to other pursuits; it needs to be won."

While understanding the author's point, the view from here is that the whole Iraq venture was folly, and while we may have made a mess, we have no way of fixing said mess.  Time to leave.

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

"Yes, life is unfair but we need not be accomplices."
-Michael Wade