Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Well, good..................................


 “Americans have combined human ingenuity, a market system, a tide of talented and ambitious immigrants, and the rule of law to deliver abundance beyond any dreams of our forefathers,”

-as quoting from Warren Buffett's latest annual report

via

Even though I never watch.................


..................................... award shows, rarely go to the movies, and haven't seen an Oscar winning movie since 2010,  I am suspecting that this is really funny.

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


The Cowsills........................The Rain, The Park & Other Things

Tough choices.............................


When they look at any part of the world, Americans ask: Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys?   In most places, there aren’t good guys and bad guys.   There are just bad guys and worse guys.

-Spengler, as excerpted from here

Monday, February 27, 2017

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


.....................................................with Winslow Homer.

Homework                      1874         Watercolor

If I Could Tell You....................


Time will say nothing but I told you so 
Time only knows the price we have to pay; 
If I could tell you I would let you know. 

If we should weep when clowns put on their show, 
If we should stumble when musicians play, 
Time will say nothing but I told you so. 

There are no fortunes to be told, although, 
Because I love you more than I can say, 
If I could tell you I would let you know. 

The winds must come from somewhere when they blow, 
There must be reason why the leaves decay; 
Time will say nothing but I told you so. 

Perhaps the roses really want to grow, 
The vision seriously intends to stay; 
If I could tell you I would let you know. 

Suppose the lions all get up and go, 
And the brooks and soldiers run away; 
Will Time say nothing but I told you so? 
If I could tell you I would let you know.


-Wystan Hugh Auden, 1940

Ed. Note:  I'll bet you didn't know that If I Could Tell You was a villanelle.

On creativity..........................


“What is the biggest obstacle to creativity? Attachment to outcome. As soon as you become attached to a specific outcome, you feel compelled to control and manipulate what you're doing and in the process you shut yourself off to other possibilities. Creativity is not just about succeeding. It's about experimenting and discovering.” 

-Gordon MacKenzie, as borrowed from Orbiting the Giant Hairball:  A Corporate Fool's Guide to Surviving with Grace

On success...................................










       via

Freedom vs Security..................









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


Harry Nilsson..............................................Everybody's Talkin'

Can I get another Amen!.......................?






   via

Has anyone started taking up a collection....?



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


Petula Clark.........................................................This Is My Song

Late to the party.............................again.


Yesterday was National Tell A Fairy Tale Day.   Sorry I missed it.  In case you want to make amends and read a fairy tale to someone today, here is a handy reference.  On a related note, am I the only one who thinks that the Brothers Grimm were fairly strange folk?


Sunday, February 26, 2017

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


Like most small children, I learned my home address so that if I got lost, I could tell a grown-up where to take me.  In kindergarten, when the teacher asked me where I lived, I could recite the address without skipping a beat, even though my mother changed addresses frequently, for reasons I never understood as a child.  Still, I always distinguished "my address" from "my home."  My address was where I spent most of my time with my mother and sister, wherever that might be.  But my home never changed:  my great-grandmother's house, in the holler, in Jackson, Kentucky.
     Jackson is a small town of about six thousand in the heart of southeastern Kentucky's coal country.  Calling it a town is a bit charitable:  There's a courthouse, a few restaurants - almost all of them fast-food chains - and a few other shops and stores.  Most of the people live in the mountains surrounding Kentucky Highway 15, in trailer parks, in government-subsidized housing, in small farmhouses, and in mountain homesteads like the one that served as the backdrop for the fondest memories of my childhood.

J. D. Vance,  Hillbilly Elegy:  A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

I'll admit it's pretty cool.................


.....................................but, just wondering how many beers were required to come up with the idea?

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


Major Lance..........................................................Hey Little Girl

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


2And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.
23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.
24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.
25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.
26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.
30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.
31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.
34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?
40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.
41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.
43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.
45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:
48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.
49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.
-The Holy Bible, Luke 6:20-49, King James Version

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


“Woke up this morning with a terrific urge to lie in bed all day and read.” 

-Raymond Carver

People in grief will fight for a cure........


..........................Please read the "Dear Warren" letter from Bill and Melinda Gates updating him on the fantastic returns on one of the biggest investments Buffett ever made.

via

On love.............................


“I will love you forever" swears the poet.  I find this easy to swear too.  "I will love you at 4:15 pm next Tuesday"  -  Is that still as easy?” 

-W. H. Auden

the earth trembles..................


If life cannot be destroyed for good, then neither can history be brought entirely to a halt. A secret streamlet trickles on beneath the heavy cover of inertia and pseudo-events, slowly and inconspicuously undercutting it. It may be a long process, but one day it must happen: the cover will no longer hold and will start to crack.

This is the moment when once more something visibly begins to happen, something truly new and unique, something unscheduled in the official calendar of "happenings," something that makes us no longer indifferent to what occurs and when-something truly historic, in the sense that history again demands to be heard.

-Vaclav Havel, as excerpted from this letter to Gustav Husak

The King of one-liners..............


...........................a tiny sampling from Oscar Wilde:

“I am not young enough to know everything.” 

“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” 

“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.”

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”

“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” 

“Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong.”

“We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities.” 

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


Bobby Vinton.....................................Please Love me Forever

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The week in pictures..............


........................................................some of these are really good.

not binding upon you..............


               To Luck

In the cards and at the bend in the road 
we never saw you 
in the womb and in the crossfire 
in the numbers 
whatever you had your hand in 
which was everything 
we were told never to put 
our faith in you 
to bow to you humbly after all 
because in the end there was nothing 
else we could do 
but not to believe in you 
still we might coax you with pebbles 
kept warm in the hand 
or coins or the relics 
of vanished animals 
observances rituals 
not binding upon you 
who make no promises 
we might do such things only 
not to neglect you 
and risk your disfavor 
oh you who are never the same 
who are secret as the day when it comes 
you whom we explain 
as often as we can 
without understanding 


-W. S. Merwin

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


Patsy Cline............................................................I Fall To Pieces

Highly recommended.....................

























First to set forth a few facts:  John Brant is a very good writer;  Julius Achon is a very good human being;  Uganda in the late 20th century was a dangerous and unpleasant place; Joseph Kony was evil.

Brant offers the compelling story of Achon, who rises from a poor Ugandan village but can never escape its gravitational pull.  Achon's self-developed running ability, and will, take him on a journey from nowhere to college stardom in America to Olympic hopefulness.

The torment of the family, village, and history he left behind never ebbs.  How Achon conquers that torment is the story behind the story.

A worthy read.  Highly recommended.

Ed. Note:  In the interest of full disclosure, Brant may be my longest term friend.  We first met at Merion Elementary school in 1957.

Miloize him..............................


This foolishness is best understood as an unreasoning panic attack. The liberal media hate Trump more than they have hated any American politician in a generation, and they do not understand his supporters or the sources of his appeal. They are frantically picking up every available stick to beat him, in the hopes that something, somehow, will Miloize him.

-Walter Russell Mead, as excerpted from this post suggesting that Trump's actions make him Russia's worst nightmare and that the MSM is getting it all horribly wrong (again).

The trouble with being human...........















































Not 100% sure about this........


"The past is a foreign country:  they do things differently there."

-L. P. Hartley

Ray......................................


................................................................................is on a roll.

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


Dionne Warwick............................................................Alfie

Friday, February 24, 2017

It is never to late to study up............


Audited a history course, The Late Antiquity,  at my alma mater last semester.  The professor was interesting enough to get me to sign up for his follow-on course, Origins of Europe: Medieval Society, this semester.  The former covered the years 200 C.E to 1000 C.E..  The latter covers 1000 C.E. to about 1400.  Candidly, those are way too many centuries to cover in depth in just one semester.  What one gets is a whetting of the appetite for a few of the particulars.  So, as happens with the serendipitous nature of the Intertunnel, this blog post was discovered, and the links followed.  Oh, my!   Amazon has been consulted and the mailman put on alert.

Focus..............................















lifted from this powerpoint presentation

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


Big Bopper (J. P. Richardson, Jr.)...........................Chantilly Lace

Approaching the level of impeachability.......




The melting pot....................



............................................................................personified:


There were Germans living next to Poles.  The crabgrass invaded the neighbor's yard looking for lebensraum, but that was about it.  There were Scots living next to people I thought were sorta German, but were really Swiss,  I think.  If they didn't care enough to explain to me what they were, why should I bother to figure it out?

Different world.......................


In Uganda you could travel five miles and be in a different world, one whose tribe spoke an alien language and worshipped unfamiliar gods, where the people eyed you with a hostility and suspicion bordering on hatred.  In the United States, by contrast, you could travel a thousand miles and go to the same convenience stores and watch the same TV shows.  Not only did everyone speak the same language, they greeted you with the same bland smile and the same injunction to have a nice day.

-John Brant,  The Boy Who Runs, The Odyssey of Julius Achon

a much too willful will..............




     "The right art," cried the Master, "is purposeless, aimless!  The more obstinately you try to learn how to shoot the arrow for the sake of hitting the goal, the less you will succeed in the one and the further the other will recede.  What stands in your way is that you have a much too willful will.  You think that what you do not do yourself does not happen."

Eugen Herrigel, Zen in the Art of Archery

image via

healthy constraints..................


     "If one treats the space where they work as sacred then, in kind, all of the items in that space should be there to support the purpose at hand.  If one treats the space they dine in as sacred, it should be the same - to support and enhance the act of having or sharing a meal.  And, if one treats the place they rest as sacred, one should remove and not allow anything that does not support that purpose (for instance, having a television or computer in the bedroom)."

    "This is yet another way you could create healthy constraints that define and determine what constitutes enough for you.  Determine those times and spaces that are sacred to you.  Only allow items and tasks within to support the intentions and actions to be practices, and eschew anything that does not."

-Patrick Rhone, as culled from Enough

This is not likely to change............


"World history is not the soil of happiness."

-G. W. F. Hegel,  Lectures On The Philosophy Of History

On time...................................




     "There is nothing of which we are likely to be so wasteful of as time; and about which we ought to be more careful; since without it we can do nothing in this world.  Time is what we want most, but unfortunately, what we use worst;  and for which God will certainly most strictly hold us to account, when time shall be no more."


-William Penn, from his Preface to Some Fruits of Solitude in Reflections and Maxims 1682

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


Jackie Wilson......(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher