Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas fun.......................................

Straight No Chaser...........................12 Days and a bit more

...standing in belief he scarcely can believe...

Remembering that it happened once,
We cannot turn away the thought,
As we go out, cold, to our barns
Toward the long night’s end, that we
Ourselves are living in the world
It happened in when it first happened,
That we ourselves, opening a stall
(A latch thrown open countless times
Before), might find them breathing there,
Foreknown: the Child bedded in straw,
The mother kneeling over Him,
The husband standing in belief
He scarcely can believe, in light
That lights them from no source we see,
An April morning’s light, the air
Around them joyful as a choir.
We stand with one hand on the door,
Looking into another world
That is this world, the pale daylight
Coming just as before, our chores
To do, the cattle all awake,
Our own frozen breath hanging
In front of us; and we are here
As we have never been before,
Sighted as not before, our place
Holy, although we knew it not.


-Wendell Berry
Sabbaths, 1987  VI

Listen more and talk less..........................

Rearrange the letters in the word "listen," and you get "silent," Branson points out. The only way to listen to the other person is to be silent, without interrupting them or planning what you want to say before they're done.
Branson never goes anywhere without a physical notebook so that he can write down things that other people say and remember them. It's his secret business weapon, he says, as it also leads to new business ideas as he goes.
-One of 23 bits of business wisdom from Richard Branson

I don't always agree with........................

.............our President.  But when I do, it's because he has done something like this.

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

Jose Gonzales-Gonzales................................Pancho Claus

Commonalities................................


A few random signs found in the Intertunnel...






















































Billie..............................................

































From Shorpy.  Billie Holiday, Teddy Wilson, and Milt Hinton

Listen to several Holiday/Wilson collaborations, here and here

Sunday, December 21, 2014

What a wonderful world...................................

Elvis Presley.....................If Every Day Was Like Christmas

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

Last night my sweetie and I went to the Weathervane Playhouse to experience Jesus Christ Superstar on stage.  It was a take-your-breath-away kind of performance.  The staging, the voices, the choreography were all superb.  The quality of the shows at Weathervane continues to amaze.  Since most of you were not there, feel free to listen two of the songs from the show:  I Don't Know How To Love Him, and Everything's Alright.

Real life...........................................

We religious types, even those who detest organized religion, pray for deeper faith and a greater sense of oneness with God.  Once when I was about to fly to the other side of the world and asked my church for prayers, my pastor said, "By the time you get on the plane, it's too late for beggy prayers.  It's time for trust and surrender."  These two things are almost all I want, but unfortunately, neither is my strong suit.  I am very strong on blame, and wish this were one of God's values, but trust, surrender?  Letting go, forgiveness?  Maybe just after a period of prayer, but then when the mood passes and real life rears its ugly head again?  Not so much.  I hate this, the fact that life is usually Chutes and Ladders, with no guaranteed gains.
-Anne Lamott,  Help  Thanks  Wow:  The Three Essential Prayers

Careful what you wish for..........................























via

Walking to School, 1964

Blurring the window, the snowflakes' numb white lanterns.   
She's brewed her coffee, in the bathroom sprays cologne   
And sets her lipstick upright on the sink.   
The door ajar, I glimpse the yellow slip,   


The rose-colored birthmark on her shoulder.   
Then she's dressed—the pillbox hat and ersatz fur,   
And I'm dressed too, mummified in stocking cap   
And scarves, and I walk her to the bus stop   


Where she'll leave me for my own walk to school,   
Where she'll board the bus that zigzags to St. Paul   
As I watch her at the window, the paperback   


Romance already open on her lap,   
The bus laboring off into snow, her good-bye kiss   
Still startling my cheek with lipstick trace.

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

Jerry Vale..................................I'll Be Home For Christmas

Ho-ho-ho..................................


near-vacant state.............................

      It was the 18th hole at Lundin Links, the end of my round with the "Fairway to Heaven" people.  Tim said nothing when he offered me his driver because this was our elected Silent Hole, when no one would speak from stepping onto the tee till we left the green.
      I noticed how silence intensified awareness - of my partners, of the light, the course gleaming like a reflective surface, so dried out it was, lying under a vast sky, by an impossible bright Firth of Forth.  Despite being brought up only ten miles away, I'd not played Lundin Links before.  It had been a revelation, a true championship course.  I knew again the sheer spacious naturalness of a links course, and the release and uplift that arises there.
      The 18th green shimmered palely in the distance by the clubhouse as I took out my driver for the last time.  Tired now, sore back, knees, legs, but I'd entered that happy, near-vacant state where there are no nerves and few thoughts left, and the golf flows easily.  A pleasing run of birdie and four pars;  I wanted just one more, then into the cool dim clubhouse to rest and talk with these interesting people.
-Andrew Greig,  Preferred Lies:  A Journey to the Heart of Scottish Golf

A behavior modification technique...........



via

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A child.....................................................

Johnny Mathis............................Do You Hear What I Hear?

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

      Before human accomplishment could begin, we had first of all to become human.  It took a long time.  Bipedality came first, somewhere in the vicinity of five million years ago.  After bipedality, about two and a half million years passed before the animal that walked on two legs learned to make crude tools.  The taming of fire required another one and a half million years.
      Even then, after those unimaginably long spans of time, the creature was still Homo erectus, of formidable talents compared to other animal but still not yet recognizably human.  With his beetled visage and lumbering gait, Homo erectus did lot look human.  More to the point, he did not think like a human.  Homo erectus had a cranial capacity averaging only two-thirds of ours, and his mind was inhumanly slow.
      The animal that the paleo-anthropologists call Homo sapiens and that we identify as human appeared about 200,000 years ago.  It is sometime after this point that human accomplishment begins.  But when?  Shall we mark the beginning at the moment when a human first spoke a word?  Drew an image?  Sang a song?  Choosing a precise moment is, of course, as subjective as trying to specify exactly when human being stopped being Homo erectus and started being Homo sapiens.  But if one were forced to mark the dawn of human accomplishment, the year -8000 has much to recommend it.
-Charles Murray,  Human Accomplishment:  The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Science, 800 B.C to 1950

Still more to accomplish...................................?























via

A hopeful heart....................................

      Golf isn't important, but there's value in taking unimportant things seriously and serious things lightly.  So let's not play golf in order to get better at it.  Don't make it into another striving, another activity stuffed into an already overstuffed life, something else to "work at".
     "Let's not be busy this Orkney summer," I say.
      On the gearstick her hand drops lightly on mine.

-Andrew Greig,  Preferred Lies:  A Journey to the Heart of Scottish Golf

Ta-da............................................


via

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

Lon Chaney, Jr........................................Monster Holiday

For the want..............................................

"A great deal of talent is lost to the world for the want of a little courage. Every day sends to their graves a number of obscure men who have only remained obscure because their timidity has prevented them from making a first effort."
-Sydney Smith

Never abandon your search for truth and beauty.


More Random Thoughts from Michael Wade:

"Not a week goes by without someone declaring that an apple is an orange. Those who vow to fight to the death for a particular principle often have schedule-conflicts on the day of the battle."

Wouldn't surprise me if it was $80 by February...

"If this rate of sell-off is sustained," said trader continued wryly, "oil will be free by mid-January."
-as excerpted from this Megan McArdle post

My only problem gas prices is that when we had long car trips scheduled the price was $3.60 plus.  Now we're staying at home and its $2.20 a gallon.  I'm trying not to take it personally, but how did they know?

Time............................................


Friday, December 19, 2014

For goodness sake..................................

The Boss and his mates........Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

The Wide World of Sports...........................

.....49 "mesmerizing" photos from the sports world.  A few samples:







The Mad Farmer's Love Song................

O when the world's at peace
and every man is free
then will I go down unto my love.

O and I may go down
several times before that.

-Wendell Berry

Mindfulness................................

"The coffee is carefully made. It is sipped as the day's plans are slowly written on an index card. I pause and listen to the sounds of the heater, some distant birds, and the dog stretching in the other room. Ideas stagger in with sleep in their eyes. I'd forgotten they were invited but am glad they made it before I went out the door. 

"If I'd rushed I would have missed them."

-Warren Buffett Michael Wade

Because you always wanted to know.....



















                    The Taming of the Wild Chile

     Paleoethnobotanists, the scientists who study the plants used by ancient civilizations, have theorized that chiles were first used as "tolerated weeds."  They were not cultivated but rather collected in the wild when the fruits were ripe.  The wild forms had small, erect fruits that were deciduous, meaning that they separated easily from the calyx and fell to the ground.  During the collection process, whether consciously or unconsciously, the pre-Columbian farmers selected seeds from plants with larger, non-deciduous, and pendant fruits.  The reasons for those selection criteria are a greater yield from each plant and protection of the pods from chile-hungry birds.  The larger the pod, the greater its tendency to become pendant rather than to remain erect.  Thus the pods became hidden amid the leaves and did not protrude above them as beacons for birds.  The selection of varieties with the tendency to be non-deciduous ensured that the pods remained on the plant until fully ripe and thus were resistant to dropping off as a result of wind or physical contact.  The domesticated chiles gradualy lost their natural means of seed dispersal by birds and became dependent upon human intervention for their continued existence.
-Dave DeWitt,  Precious Cargo:  How Foods From The Americas Changed The World

Context:  In the year 595 (+/-?) a volcanic eruption in El Salvador buried a Mayan farming village under twenty feet of lava, ash, and rock.  In 1978, the site was discovered and excavation begun.  It has been a treasure trove for scientists.  "We had no idea that people in the region lived so well fourteen centuries ago."

Hmmm...................................

"Allah will not be merciful to those who are not merciful to people."
-Sahih al-Bukhari

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

Steve Lawrence/Eydie Gorme...............That Holiday Feeling

Learning Chinese the easy way.................

............by visiting The Borderline Sociopathic Blog for Boys.

Scottish Presbyterian Zen golf....................

     But we're here, now, which is all we'll ever be as Jenny runs her tee shot right onto the green, looks delighted then embarrassed as we congratulate her.  Mike tops his into horrible rough;  I drag mine into a greenside bunker, and we all set off in pursuit of the consequences of our actions.  Golf is a Scottish Presbyterian karma game.  You pay for what you get, and what you get is what you did.  It's also somehow finally God's Will and out of your control, so don't rail against it.
-Andrew Greig,  Preferred Lies:  A Journey to the Heart of Scottish Golf

About 50 million light years away................
















More about NGC 7331, a spiral galaxy a long, long way from home, can be found here.  Looking at the photo, the question arose:  What is at the center of our "Milky Way" galaxy?  The Oracle Google was consulted.  Not sure I understood what I was reading, but it doesn't sound friendly.

A scent............................................


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Non-traditional sounds of the season.......

August Burns Red...................We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Can I get an Amen..................................?

"I am convinced digestion is the great secret of life."
-attributed to Sydney Smith

On difficulties and opportunities.............

“A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.” 
-Harry S. Truman

The hard part......................................

"Men have always found it easy to be governed.  What is hard is for them to govern themselves."
-Max Lerner

Seasonally adjusted.......................


















via

A pretty good to-do list....................

























thanks Todd

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

The Ramblers......................................................Surfin' Santa

Adaptation..........................

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change."
-Charles Darwin, as featured on this blog post 

Dear Santa.........................................












































santa image via

Probably the way it really happened.........


              My Hero

Just as the hare is zipping across the finish line,
the tortoise has stopped once again
by the roadside,
this time to stick out his neck
and nibble a bit of sweet grass,
unlike the previous time
when he was distracted
by a bee humming in the heart of a wildflower.

-Billy Collins

The Cross of Iron.............................

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”
-Dwight David Eisenhower, as excerpted from this speech

Consequences....................................