"History is a wonderful thing, if only it was true"

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Feeling Old(er)

First, because all of these start in the 60's and 70's
Fark ... I tend to think much of the great (Rock) was done by the 80's
Dates me!

I'd likely drop the no repeats rule, like use Yardbirds, Cream and Clapton solo's
Would also layer in a bunch of Jazz, some "folk", blues, bluegrass, C&W

An Album For Each Year Of My Life

"There’s a new meme traversing the Internet. It involves compiling a list of albums (long play records) for each year of your life. In my case there’s 36 years of albums to choose from, going all the way back to 1972. One further rule is that you’re not allowed to pick an artist/band more than once: so no picking Prince for Purple Rain in 1984 and also for Sign O’ The Times in 1987."


I'm likely closest to Werner:
An Album for Each Year - All Things Distributed
CTO for Amazon

I would get to reach back to stuff like this (I would get to push back a bit more ...)
Birth of the Cool - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Clash

Published first in Foreign Affairs in '93, his thesis was rebutted by Mr. Ajamai, who now has had second thoughts.

Fouad Ajami: Samuel Huntington's Warning - WSJ.com:

"The last of Samuel Huntington's books -- 'Who Are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity,' published four years ago -- may have been his most passionate work. It was like that with the celebrated Harvard political scientist, who died last week at 81. He was a man of diffidence and reserve, yet he was always caught up in the political storms of recent decades."

Original revision here: ( with links to original review and original article )

The Clash - Essay by Fouad Ajami - New York Times:

"It would have been unlike Samuel P. Huntington to say “I told you so” after 9/11. He is too austere and serious a man, with a legendary career as arguably the most influential and original political scientist of the last half century — always swimming against the current of prevailing opinion."

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Power out today, big wind early AM, power out sometime around 5:30-6:30

I learned that I miss multi-tasking, reading online, typing, while the TV is on, news or news type show, interviews etc.

Turned the pages of some great old Sci-Fi Shirley gave me for Christmas, took a well deserved nap (or two) kept the generator fueled etc.

So much for the simple life ...


I recall, early 70's NYC
She joined Doug Kershaw on stage, little club

Cajun and soulfull blues ... wonderfull

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bit o' politics

William Blake

"To be an Error and to be Cast out is a part of God’s Design," wrote the visionary poet William Blake. Error, whether random or deliberate, must become an integral part of any process of creation. Evolution can be thought of as systematic error management.

On to Dick Armey:
Nov 5th 2008 - CNBC

"Biggest problem for Republicans was several years of acting as if they didn’t understand who they were on the on the American political scene…

The American Voter expects the Republican party to be the party of individual liberty and small government conservatism, and this party has for the last several years not been that party. So if the choice is the Democratic Party with big government and collective mentality or the Republicans that act like that, why not take the Real McCoy?"

So, did the Republicans stray from their "true path" and can they recover, or will they become a party of the past?

December thaw

We've gone from good winter weather, mid 20's daily snow to near total melt, warm rain.

We were pretty much caught up from travels, and ready for a weekend of XC skiing or snowshoeing, but overnight the temps kept climbing.
Foot of snow gone by morning, thick fog (sometimes visibility of nil)

Cruised down the road to check the Crystal:

River in Full

Another shot:

Friday, December 26, 2008

Late with the idea

I was going to a patent search, but too late ... to avoid DUI - Dialing Under the Influence

LG Phone :
ABC News: New Cell Can Tell If You're Drunk:
"You can add one more feature to the list: a sobriety test."

Here's how it works: Users blow into a small spot on the phone, and if they've had too much to drink the phone issues a warning and shows a weaving car hitting traffic cones.

The company also sells plug-in Breathalyzer adapters for some phones. None of the models tell you exactly how much you may be over or under the legal limit, but it can keep you from making other alcohol-related mistakes.

The LP4100 also allows users to set up the phone so on certain nights and after a certain time they do not call certain people in their phone book. Think ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Lead from Doc Searls Weblog : Beyond unhelpful partisanship

Dave Weinberger on Rick Warren:

I'm A Lefty And I Like Obama's Pick Of Rick Warren : NPR:

"To be convinced you know what's right and therefore to sneer at those who disagree with you? Or does loving your country in practice mean finding what's best in all your fellow citizens?"

No sense in radical right or left - that is so 20th century


Well, it's Winter (came Sunday night)

On Snow etc.
I guess it's combination of history of allergies - which don't affect me in winter, being rather warm-blooded, the cold doesn't seem to bother me all that much. Besides, I've always found it easier to get warm than to cool off.

With Winter there are fewer others in town, the woods, on the beaches.
I enjoy th quiet of the countryside/woods with snow to dampen sounds.
It's a time of rest for nature, and for the soul.

We enjoy a warm fire and a good book ...

Not so bad

As much as some may bemoan the state of the nation, we just watched:

WGBH | James Brown: Live at the Boston Garden, 1968:
(click link for video and audio)

"On April 5, 1968, the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, Boston, a city that was no stranger to racial tension, seemed ready to join the more than 60 other communities across the nation that were rioting. Mayor Kevin White considered canceling all public events in an effort to stem any potential violence."

This was the year of the killings of Dr.King, Bobby Kennedy, cities on fire, war protest, a failed presidency... turmoil

Makes a recession feel tame.
And ... we have a pending black president ... how things change

At the concert, and a day later, in Washington DC, James called for peace and that violence was anathema to the spirit of Dr. King

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Planes, Trains and Automobies

Addendum to

Looney Dunes: Travel

Drove home today ... all OK for most of it.
Driving my nice '93 Cadillac STS (small with big engine)
Till the brakes started to fail
Got it into a dealership - Bill Marsh, they kept the doors open an extra few min for me.

Where do the trains come in?
Grandson got several sets of Thomas the Train in Lego form
That was fun

Monday, December 22, 2008

America ... Mars?

Trying to use my time here in MSP well
Did read part of hardcopy (rare for me, online is quick, easy and hands clean)

Found the following - but not online
My New Year wish is that we return to the time and attitude of can-do/will-do, not one of flash/bling and entitlement - both rich and poor.

From “The Emigrant’s Guide” (1829) by British writer William Cobbett:

“One great advantage in America is, that there is nobody to overshadow men of moderate property; no swaggering, shining, tax-eating wretches to set examples of extravagance, wealth, not according to what is called birth, but according to the real intrinsic merit of the party: this is a wonderful advantage.”pride and insolence to your sons and daughters, who are brought up in the habit of seeing men estimated, not according to the show that they make, not according to their supposed"

Above the the above piece was :

A New Land of Opportunity
One way to recapture the frontier spirit and relearn the value of hard work, self-reliance and risk-taking.


Back when America was being settled, enterprising authors in Europe published books and pamphlets aimed at would-be immigrants, offering advice on how to flourish in the New World. Some of the advice was sound, and some of it wasn't, but readers devoured them anyway.

With "How to Live on Mars," Robert Zubrin has produced a new entry in the genre -- a guidebook for settlers to a place that hasn't been settled yet, written in the present tense of a future that won't happen for a hundred years. It makes for amusing and interesting reading and in some ways may capture the feel of a colonization-in-progress Mars better than more sober works about the challenges of planetary habitation.

Mr. Zubrin -- who has degrees in both astronautics and nuclear engineering -- has himself written plenty of more sober works on the subject of Mars, including "The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must" (1996). But unlike many scientists and engineers, he is interested in human nature as much as the laws of nature, and he understands that life on a frontier is very different from life in a society without one.

Thus the Mars that Mr. Zubrin describes is a place where opportunity and risk are both much higher than on late 21st-century Earth -- or, for that matter, early 21st-century Earth. The bold and enterprising can succeed big, or fail big, without fear of confiscatory taxes or hope of government bailouts. Getting ahead calls for a keen mind, a strong back, and a willingness to work hard and take chances; opportunities to succeed by manipulating laws and regulations are harder to come by -- though, humans being human, not entirely absent even on Mars.

Some of the qualities of the new world on Mars are outlined in a chapter titled "How to Get a Good Job That Pays Well and Doesn't Kill You." Mr. Zubrin opens by observing: "There is no point writing a chapter about 'how to get a job' on Mars because the problem does not exist. I know that this statement must sound unbelievable to you, coming as you do from a planet where your primary lifelong concern has been to find a way to convince some institution to grant you a livelihood in exchange for service, but that is not how things work here. . . . Earth has a labor surplus, while Mars has a labor shortage." As for possible work, he observes that crucial "fluorosilicate minerals are sometimes encountered in significant concentrations in the highlands. So, if you are up for a little field exploration, one way to make some serious money is just to go out and find the stuff and stake some claims."

Evidently, there is lots of honest work on a planet under settlement (as well as a lot of potentially lucrative semi-honest work in land speculation). And the shortage of people produces a number of other differences from Earth, not least when it comes to dating, sex and parenting. "I need to discuss one fact concerning our social life that inevitably startles and amazes all new Earthling immigrants . . . ," Mr. Zubrin writes. "On Mars, the institution of marriage still exists. I am not making this up. . . . Incredible as it sounds, people on Mars actually want to have children of their own and they form families for that purpose. Thus, while sexual attractiveness is a factor among us while seeking pairings, unlike Earth, it is not the only factor." Concerned with getting ahead and raising families, Mars settlers view traditional attributes like loyalty and trustworthiness as far more important than do the residents of Earth, who, as best as can be determined from Mr. Zubrin's passing allusions, live in one gigantic welfare state.

If "How to Live on Mars" is in the vein of 19th- century guides to the New World, it is also in the tradition of futuristic fiction -- using a hypothetical future society as a way of pointing up trends and problems in our own. There seems little question that Mr. Zubrin views the values of a frontier as superior to those of a closed civilization. He begins with a quotation from the historian Frederick Jackson Turner: "To the frontier the American intellect owes its striking characteristics. That coarseness of strength combined with acuteness and inquisitiveness; that practical, inventive turn of mind, quick to find expedients; that masterful grasp of material things." Mr. Zubrin has written elsewhere that he believes the outlet and example of a frontier is necessary for the long-term survival of freedom for those who remain behind.

Such frontier values are perhaps unfashionable in the age of Hope and Change, but they are widely held among Americans nonetheless. If "How to Live on Mars" inspires a greater enthusiasm for opening frontiers in space, it will have served a good purpose. But it will have done as much if it merely succeeds in reminding people of the importance of things like enterprise, hard work and self-reliance.

Mr. Reynolds, a professor of law at the University of Tennessee, serves on the Board of Advisors of the National Space Society.

Mall of America

Rides at Mall of America (mall is roughly 4 stories tall)

LegoWorld at the MofA


Too much for me
Mall of America Directory

I don't normally "Mall"
If I need something, I tend to buy, not shop.
But we had at least a day, the Marriott I picked was within walking distance - 1/2 mile ?
But with below zero temps, no hat/gloves, light jacket, we took shuttle ... then got our walking in.

Very few "essentials", changes of under-ware, cosmetics.. mostly killing time.
Anchors Nordstrum's, Bloomingdale's, Macy's and Sears, literally hundreds ore on 3 levels.
Did catch Cadillac Records, the history of Chess Records as told by Willi Dixon.
Good stuff.

Some "mall watching"
Very MidWest, jeans (tighter if younger) sweats, parkas or light jackets, mukluks or high heel boots (huh?)

Kids doing "malling" older folks doing some buying.
I suppose it's a great place for mid winter, a dozen or so movie screens, several "special entertainment" events, indoor amusement park, little other than lots of fast food, though we found a passable Italian themed sit-down.

I'm calling it a "once in a lifetime" event - don't really need to go back.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


We wrapped a great visit with family (except many be the cool/rainy weather)
Made it to San Jose airport, no problem

12:25 flight delayed until 2:20 due to bad weather in Minneapolis ... but looked like our connecting flight was delayed as well.
No problem
We boarded about 2:15 (further delay until 3:10) - tight window with Air Traffic Control to get into Minneapolis
Until - as they were closing the door, NWA called my cell to tell me that the TVC leg was canceled, and no seats until Wed...
We could leave the plane - but - would delay while they retrieved our luggage
As this was all very last min, and we did not know when we'd be able to re-book, decided to to take the first leg.
Later, one of the stewardesses told me that if we had left, the delay (15-20 min to get our luggage) the crew would be right behind us - as it would make them go over limit on their travel time.
Good flight to MSP
We ended up in line (first/elite class check in) for 2hours for re-booking
Figured we could fly to Chicago, grab a rental car
Whoops - no one way rental Chicago to Lansing or Traverse City
15 below in MSP, wind chill of - 45 below.
At least I had been smart enough to call Marriott for a room (NWA call center was jammed)
Turned in by 1PM local, off to explore "Mall of America" this afternoon
We fly out 8:20 (PM) Mon - to Lansing, then grab car for TVC, luggage, dog etc.

Christmas at home this year

PS - need to revamp luggage planning - we aren't allowed to have ours - it goes to TVC
Will go back to a carry-on plus briefcase
Working on permanent list - such as cell charger... I've got the car charger with me, plug in packed in luggage - duh.

Following - MSP terminal, near midnight Sat.
There were at least a thousand still in line.
As I said above waited 2hrs - for 1st class re-booking

Friday, December 19, 2008



Spinach & Walnut : Roasted garlic, roasted red bell pepper, spinach, basil pesto, topped with honey walnut

Margherita : Fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, topped with roma tomatoes (aka the "REAL" Neapolitan Pizza

We did a Pepperoni and a cheese for others

All good stuff

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Quotes of note

No particular order

Comment on Robin Williams:

" He's the only person Keith Richards will tell, I've got to be going home now Jack"

Comment by Robby Emens upon being told that he has misbehaved, will loose television privilege's that there are consequences for actions...

"No consequences"

Robby is 3

Monday, December 15, 2008

Fie on all of them

While I've been dealing with some local issues, referring to a need for "Adult Supervision", I'm beginning to think we need the same in Washington.

Obama isn't even in office, and the pot is stirring... bah humbug

Acid Test - Memories of Bill Clinton's Impeachment, as Obama's Staff Faces Scandal in Illinois - NYTimes.com
"Indeed, except for brief interludes, Washington in the last decade has been governed by a climate of anger and animosity, a modern-day tribalism pitting faction against faction that some trace to the days of the impeachment.

“It definitely poisoned the well on both sides,” said Representative Peter T. King of New York, one of the few Republicans to vote against impeachment. “Without getting into the merits of anything, there’s no doubt there were Democrats waiting from the day George Bush took office to even the score for Bill Clinton. And Republicans are the same today with Barack Obama and the Rod Blagojevich scandal.”"

Sunday, December 14, 2008


A ’70s Cult Novel Is Relevant Again

Predicting locavores (people who eat only foods that have been produced within a 100-mile radius) as well as other trends


We came all the way from NW Mich for this?

We left blowing snow, in the 20's to head here to SiValley

Got chilly, windy and rain
Low last night in the mid-30's

Nikki and Rob did say it's near record lows ... we should expect 50's-60's
But we came for family, not weather (VBG)

Update : 49 in Los Altos Hills, 45 in Glen Arbor, but as Nikki says - no snow here


Picked up Freeman Dyson's Infinite in All Directions - for some reading on the flight
Hadn't read it in years
Published '85
Still a great read

Chapter 1 "In Praise of Diversity" (seems timely)

When my son was three years old he liked to crawl into my bed in the early morning and talk about the problems of life. On morning he said abruptly, "You know there are tow Gods." I was surprised and asked him, "What are their names?" He replied, "One is called Jesus and he makes people, and the other is called Bacchus and he makes wine."

Humm ... profound for a three year old.

Got to meet George (the three year old) via PCForum, and a most interesting author in his own right.

Check Amazon
Infinite in All Directions: Gifford Lectures Given at Aberdeen, Scotland April--November 1985 (Paperback)

As well as George's work.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The more things change

Illinois Governor Arrested on Federal Charges - WSJ.com

Of note : prior governor is currently in jail...

Further note - 20% of Illinois Governors in last 100yrs have been indicted or convicted felons

Associated Press

CHICAGO -- Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested Tuesday on charges of conspiring to get financial benefits through his authority to appoint a U.S. senator to fill the vacancy left by Barack Obama's election as president.

According to a federal criminal complaint, Mr. Blagojevich also was charged with illegally threatening to withhold state assistance to Tribune Co., the owner of the Chicago Tribune, in the sale of Wrigley Field. In return for state assistance, Mr. Blagojevich allegedly wanted members of the paper's editorial board who had been critical of him fired.

Mr. Blagojevich also was charged with using his authority as governor in an attempt to squeeze out campaign contributions.

Mr. Blagojevich's chief of staff, John Harris, also was arrested.

Federal agents were in Mr. Blagojevich's office in the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago on Tuesday morning.

Corruption in the Mr. Blagojevich administration has been the focus of a federal Operation Board Games involving an alleged $7 million scheme aimed at squeezing kickbacks out of companies seeking business from the state. Federal prosecutors have acknowledged they're also investigating "serious allegations of endemic hiring fraud" under Mr. Blagojevich.

The Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday morning that the federal investigation had spread to Mr. Blagojevich's efforts to fill the U.S. Senate vacancy left by the election of Barack Obama as president.

Political fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko who raised money for the campaigns of both Messrs. Blagojevich and Obama is awaiting sentencing after being convicted of fraud and other charges. Mr. Blagojevich's chief fundraiser, Christopher G. Kelly, is due to stand trial early next year on charges of obstructing the Internal Revenue Service.

Mr. Blagojevich, a Democrat, took the chief executive's office in 2003 as a reformer promising to clean up former Gov. George Ryan's mess.

Mr. Ryan, a Republican, is serving a 6-year prison sentence after being convicted on racketeering and fraud charges. The decade-long investigation began with the sale of driver's licenses for bribes and led to the conviction of dozens of people who worked for Mr. Ryan when he was secretary of state and governor.

Monday, December 08, 2008


About all I can say is ... yup

Leelanau.com Blog

"According to the Leelanau Conservancy 'Glen Lake, framed by a dramatic rise of Sleeping Bear to the west, and surrounded by high-forested moraines to the east and south, presents one of the most recognizable landscapes in Michigan. The waters of Glen Lake are so pure that with increasing depth, on a clear day the water colors shift from sandy hues of the shallows through aquamarine to some of the deepest blue known anywhere.' A better description of Glen Lake cannot be found."

Sunday, December 07, 2008

File under Duh

Catching up on some prior items that should have been blogged earlier 
Like this one from Nov 4th.

But the piece misses some other, to me obvious factors.
How do you quantify, or model, greed and panic?

In Modeling Risk, the Human Factor Was Left Out - NYTimes.com

"What happened?

The models, according to finance experts and economists, did fail to keep pace with the explosive growth in complex securities, the resulting intricate web of risk and the dimensions of the danger.

But the larger failure, they say, was human — in how the risk models were applied, understood and managed. Some respected quantitative finance analysts, or quants, as financial engineers are known, had begun pointing to warning signs years ago. But while markets were booming, the incentives on Wall Street were to keep chasing profits by trading more and more sophisticated securities, piling on more debt and making larger and larger bets."

Friday, December 05, 2008

Oh Deer Oh Deer

We call them rats on stilts

Northern Bob Downs from Northern Express.:

"What’s the most dangerous animal in the woods? The black bear, the honey bee, the human being? Well, it’s the deer of course: tens of thousands of them leap in front of our cars each year and 65,000 find their mark -- some flying through front windshields with deadly results."

He then enumerates data on the herd, how we have fewer hunters to cull the herd.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Ducks on a Snowy Lake

Flock of ducks several hundred yards offshore, some early ice in between.
Ducks are those little dots.

Mid-day, about 1:30 so not a very bright day!

Investment shifts

Bill Gross of PIMCO on CNBC

Finishing a period of
1) leverage
2) lower corporate taxes
3) lax regulation

This is an intergenerational change

He's not buying government paper but looking at corps
Too much flight to quality
Fed easeings lowers yields too much

CAT and HP – yield 6 to 8 !!!
A rated

Currently in banks, mortgage backed instruments that Govt is buying
Bank preferreds at 10+%

Good chance of stabilization now, improving asset prices, real growth
More government, govt fist vs. invisible hand, regulation increases, profits no longer due to leverage,
Risk will be rewarded

His thoughts laid out here PIMCO - Investment Outlook: Dow 5000 Gross Dec 08:

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Real early geology

Ongoing evolution of ideas about the evolution of the earth.
May have cooled earlier, therefore a slower evolution of life.

Having been a "student" of geology since at least the '60's (Oberlin College, where, on the leading edge, we had "Continental Drift" before Plate Tectonics) I've been fascinated with the ongoing evolution of thought and theories.

A New View of the Early Earth, Thanks to Australian Rocks - NYTimes.com:

"Geologists now almost universally agree that by 4.2 billion years ago, the Earth was a pretty placid place, with both land and oceans. Instead of hellishly hot, it may have frozen over. Because the young Sun put out 30 percent less energy than it does today, temperatures on Earth might have been cold enough for parts of the surface to have been covered by expanses of ice."

Monday, December 01, 2008

Michigan - December

Back home, a bit of snow
OK, so it snowed most of the way home, but we made it in good time
Just pay attention

So it continues to come down through the night
About 6AM - power out
We head to town for a bit of breakfast

Back and grab the saws
5 Min and the tree's moved out of the way

Likely culprit is branches like this:

Fired up generator, house is wired for minimal power with aux, just a few circuits
Food, heat, a few lights
Got caught up on some reading

Out again for some supper and word about outages - several circuits out
Power up by about 8PM
Not too bad, all things considered

Just another day in Paradise