Tuesday, April 30, 2013

and a Few Extra Bucks 
Could Do for You

Joan Molinsky before she became Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers in her forties

Joan Rivers in her sixties

Joan Rivers today at age 79

Monday, April 29, 2013

Lance Armstrong 
America’s Sacrificial Lamb

The Post Office is suing Lance Armstrong to get back the many millions of dollars he earned promoting the U.S. Post office at their request. There's nothing like kicking a man when he's down, is there?

I don't believe the Post Office has any business suing Lance Armstrong, because they sponsored him to get PUBLICITY, and while Lance was riding high (literally! ;-), they got exactly what they paid for.

I, personally, believe that Lance was singled out for persecution because:

1. He is an exceptionally good-looking blond, blue-eyed WHITE American male –– an iconic figure

2. He beat the French at their own game repeatedly

3. He was heroic in his successful effort at beating cancer, when it looked as though advanced stage cancer was about to claim his life, and then had the unmitigated gall to use his fame to try to hearten and give hope to other victims of the disease. That
really stank out loud, didn't it? Boy oh Boy! What a cheap, self-aggrandizing trick that was! PHEW!

Lance didn't do anything that the other serious contenders for the championship were not doing, themselves, ergo it was wrong to single him out for persecution WITHOUT HOLDING ALL THE OTHERS WHO DID THE SAME THING EQUALLY CULPABLE and EQUALLY RESPONSIBLE.

I am morally certain that if Lance had been an AFRICAN-American, a JEWISH-American, an HISPANIC-American, an ASIAN-American, a NATIVE-American, or a Frenchman, a Moroccan or a Tunisian, etc. little or nothing would have been said or done about the matter.

Remember the jokey old complaints about being arrested for "Driving While BLACK?"

Well, today that old worm has been artfully, craftily turned.

It is now considered not only unfashionable and undesirable to be WHITE, it is also considered reprehensible ––- especially if the Caucasian in question is Aryan –– blond, blue-eyed, handsome, clean cut, of regal bearing, and has distinguished himself on the world's stage.

The shame attendant on being Caucasian is doubled and redoubled in spades if the Caucasian in question should happen to be (GASP!) an AMERICAN.

"Someone" always has to get the dirty end of the stick, don't they? It's just WHITE AMERICA’S turn now. 

The world, now sadly dominated by the faux-egalitarian precepts of Marxism demands we do penance for having been who we were. The process if self-destruction involves rewriting history to cast our country in the role of Bad Guy, discrediting our Founding Fathers, then getting the dirt on our champions and highest achievers in order to topple them from their pedestals and gleefully watch them get trampled under the mud-caked boots of the proletariat led by latest incarnation of the Pharisees.

~ FreeThinke

Sunday, April 28, 2013

When Things Change
 by “KP,” Doctor of Chiropractic and Physical Therapy
KP, Doctor of Chiropractic, PT

[EDITOR’S NOTE: A few days our blogging friend “KP” offered to share this article with FreeThinke’s Blog. Not only is KP a Doctor of Chiropractic and a licensed physical therapist, he is also a fine athlete, great physical specimen, and an all around good fellow who is pleased to take on the role of Goodwill Ambassador wherever he finds himself. For all these things we applaud him, and are more than pleased to share his knowledge and insights with you.]

As we mature and move onward, so does the way we view our health, and by extension, performance.

Performance can be measured in the work place, in a home setting, in our communities, as mentors or in any number of athletic endeavors. Then there are the all-important measurements done “in our heads.” Each area probably ages in different ways and some of them seem to overlap.

Readers have probably heard the expression “getting old sucks.” I imagine that saying came from somebody who was aging because aging supplies that kind of context. Drilling deeper, a guy or gal expressing that feeling, in any number of ways, is probably holding onto some strong memories of “what it used to be like.”

To be clear, in my view, there is nothing wrong with holding onto memories of the good old days unless the memories make the good new days seem less good. Making the present seem less attractive by focusing on memories of the past is not productive; and unless you live alone or in a cave it has the unintended risk of affecting those around you.

To be fair, relative high levels of performance do not happen by accident; and that means we invested years, countless hours, sacrifice and an emotional toll that went into a personal best in any area of a life. Hopefully, the hard work and success brought a modicum of lasting happiness. If not, it could be viewed as time spent in an odd way.

There are legitimate reasons why a person would let a skill fade or disappear that they had worked a decade or more to master. Perhaps no longer being able to employ that skill at a level that was once a “joy” is enough of a reason. I don't offer any judgment. I have enough trouble trying to figure me out, let alone somebody else’s motivation.

I recently enjoyed an indie film titled “The Last Quartet”. In it, Christopher Walken plays a hypersensitive aging cellist. He is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and knows cannot continue to perform at a world class level for long, so he plans to stop playing music altogether. He proposes to the quartet that he retire after they perform Beethoven’s celebrated String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp minor (Op. 131). He explains to a music class that this technically and physically demanding work must be played without pauses for more than 40 minutes, leaving the musicians no time to retune between movements.

Done badly, Walken’s character explains, the piece can end up a mess. The metaphor of music as life is clear. “What are we supposed to do?” he asks of Beethoven’s quartet. “Stop? Or continually adjust to each other up to the end, even if we are out of tune?”

I propose that we continually adjust to ourselves and changing environments. I wish I had started riding my bike in a serious way 50 years ago. I'd be really good at it now! And that reminds me of something the exchange I had with my future wife, Laurie, a professionally trained jazz saxophonist, thirty-five years ago:

KP “I wish I could play the saxophone like you do.”
LP: “Apparently not badly enough.”

That was a very direct message. She had practiced four hours a day for ten years. That is work ethic; no accident. When she passed on her wisdom to me she was nineteen and I was twenty one. It is still some of the most significant advice I have ever received. It's never too late.

Keep it rolling….

Saturday, April 27, 2013

 First in a New Series Due to Appear at Random

And the beat goes on ...

Friday, April 26, 2013

Greetings from 
a Parallel Universe

Here’s How “The Other Side” Views the Economy. Who’s Right?

Paul Krugman


The One-Percent’s Solution

by Paul Krugman

Published: April 25, 2013 

Economic debates rarely end with a T.K.O. But the great policy debate of recent years between Keynesians, who advocate sustaining and, indeed, increasing government spending in a depression, and austerians, who demand immediate spending cuts, comes close — at least in the world of ideas. At this point, the austerian position has imploded; not only have its predictions about the real world failed completely, but the academic research invoked to support that position has turned out to be riddled with errors, omissions and dubious statistics.

Yet two big questions remain. First, how did austerity doctrine become so influential in the first place? Second, will policy change at all now that crucial austerian claims have become fodder for late-night comics?
On the first question: the dominance of austerians in influential circles should disturb anyone who likes to believe that policy is based on, or even strongly influenced by, actual evidence. After all, the two main studies providing the alleged intellectual justification for austerity — Alberto Alesina and Silvia Ardagna on “expansionary austerity” and Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff on the dangerous debt “threshold” at 90 percent of G.D.P. — faced withering criticism almost as soon as they came out.
And the studies did not hold up under scrutiny. By late 2010, the International Monetary Fund had reworked Alesina-Ardagna with better data and reversed their findings, while many economists raised fundamental questions about Reinhart-Rogoff long before we knew about the famous Excel error. Meanwhile, real-world events — stagnation in Ireland, the original poster child for austerity, falling interest rates in the United States, which was supposed to be facing an imminent fiscal crisis — quickly made nonsense of austerian predictions.
Yet austerity maintained and even strengthened its grip on elite opinion. Why?
Part of the answer surely lies in the widespread desire to see economics as a morality play, to make it a tale of excess and its consequences. We lived beyond our means, the story goes, and now we’re paying the inevitable price. Economists can explain ad nauseam that this is wrong, that the reason we have mass unemployment isn’t that we spent too much in the past but that we’re spending too little now, and that this problem can and should be solved. No matter; many people have a visceral sense that we sinned and must seek redemption through suffering — and neither economic argument nor the observation that the people now suffering aren’t at all the same people who sinned during the bubble years makes much of a dent.
But it’s not just a matter of emotion versus logic. You can’t understand the influence of austerity doctrine without talking about class and inequality.
What, after all, do people want from economic policy? The answer, it turns out, is that it depends on which people you ask — a point documented in a recent research paper by the political scientists Benjamin Page, Larry Bartels and Jason Seawright. The paper compares the policy preferences of ordinary Americans with those of the very wealthy, and the results are eye-opening.
Thus, the average American is somewhat worried about budget deficits, which is no surprise given the constant barrage of deficit scare stories in the news media, but the wealthy, by a large majority, regard deficits as the most important problem we face. And how should the budget deficit be brought down? The wealthy favor cutting federal spending on health care and Social Security — that is, “entitlements” — while the public at large actually wants to see spending on those programs rise.
You get the idea: The austerity agenda looks a lot like a simple expression of upper-class preferences, wrapped in a facade of academic rigor. What the top 1 percent wants becomes what economic science says we must do.
Does a continuing depression actually serve the interests of the wealthy? That’s doubtful, since a booming economy is generally good for almost everyone. What is true, however, is that the years since we turned to austerity have been dismal for workers but not at all bad for the wealthy, who have benefited from surging profits and stock prices even as long-term unemployment festers. The 1 percent may not actually want a weak economy, but they’re doing well enough to indulge their prejudices.
And this makes one wonder how much difference the intellectual collapse of the austerian position will actually make. To the extent that we have policy of the 1 percent, by the 1 percent, for the 1 percent, won’t we just see new justifications for the same old policies?
I hope not; I’d like to believe that ideas and evidence matter, at least a bit. Otherwise, what am I doing with my life? But I guess we’ll see just how much cynicism is justified.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Hopelessness of Blogging 
and of Bloggers in General

The percentage of contributors to blogs who deny Reality whenever Reality doesn't fit their pet world view is frankly staggering.

Left versus Right is no longer the point, yet so many rage on blindly stuck with ragged tattered perceptions, stale shibboleths and talking points that ceased long ago to have any pertinence to what truly has bearing on our lives.

Both Right AND Left tend to take the WORST example or aspect they can find of any individual, group, or faction of which they disapprove or want to think they don't like, and present that as The One True View. 

Not only does this insult everyone who thinks differently by implication it also presents the person who asserts selected facts or assumptions as The Whole Picture as a bigot. 

A bigot is by proper definition an individual who adamantly refuses to entertain or give credit to any thoughts, feelings, opinions –– or facts –– incongruent with his own. 

By this definition there are just as many bigots on the Left as on the Right -- and vice versa.

Perhaps every one of us is a bigot –– at least much of the time.

Another serious flaw in these internet discussions is the way contributors who don't like –– or don’t know anything about –– the topic perpetually CHANGE the SUBJECT –– usually to one of their pet causes or pet peeves –– and then proceed to expand on the irrelevancy –– often with tiresome, vociferous intensity.

I'm not excepting myself from this criticism. WE ALL DO IT from time to time, but after more than TWELVE YEARS of pounding away at the keys on numerous blogs and websites I have come to the sad realization that most of us do little or nothing but chase our tails with an endless recital of pet hates and lamentations.

The worst part of it is when anyone dares to present something beautiful, charming, comical, encouraging, probing or uplifting, the contribution is either ignored altogether, slighted with a polite-but-decidedly-perfunctory acknowledgment, or derisively dismissed or lampooned as "Pretentious BS" or regarded as irritatingly Self-Righteous.

IF the blogosphere does, indeed, hold a mirror up to Nature, the image we see with few exceptions is downright hideous.

I recognized our Ducky the moment I saw him, didn't you?

~ FreeThinke

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Virtues and Benefits of Hiring 
lllegal-Alien Workers

The Situation is Not What Most 
Americans Probably Want to Think it is

Yesterday at another blog many were complaining bitterly, and angrily in self-righteous tones while expressing resentment and deep hostility against the presence of somewhere between eleven and twenty million illegal aliens they see as “sponging off the system while producing instant American-citizens [i.e. ‘Anchor Babies’] by the tens of thousands.” 

Many were arguing in favor of the arrest, internment and deportation of the whole lot, and others were snarling that draconian methods should be used to punish the employers who hire these people –– a move that would effectively destroy or seriously cripple many businesses on which Americans have grown to depend.  

This would be bound to result in a sudden, wasteful scarcity of goods and services, and hugely inflated prices to say nothing of the heartbreak it would produce in the personal lives of hundreds of thousands of decent, highly productive, contributing human beings who in truth are guilty of nothing but taking advantage of our government’s laxity, stupidity, short-sightedness, negligence and inefficiency.  The illegals have simply moved in to fill a void.

Fellow blogger Dave Miller, who has lived in Mexico and had considerable experience working with Mexicans in connection with his line of work had this to say:

"Regarding hiring here in the US, we gave up hiring US workers on our construction projects as they could not compete in either speed, or quality of work.

“When you are working in multi-million dollar residences in Southern California, there are certain skills and abilities we needed that we were unable to find in the local, legal workforce.

"Even paying upwards of $20.00 an hour, it was always a struggle, so we found some [capable, willing, reliable, highly cooperative] guys, trained them ourselves and they've worked for us for over 20 years.

Our situation I am sure is probably not normal, but it is what it is."

FreeThinke’s Response

Dave, I can assure you it IS normal –– PERFECTLY normal. The same is true all the way across the country as far to the east as you could possibly get –– and I'm reasonably certain it is true at most-if-not-all points between. I can, personally, attest to the truth of your statement.  As a libertarian by natural inclination who has always maintained a healthy suspicion of Authority –– a suspicion that borders n contempt much of the time –– I have little or no respect for The Law when it willfully blinds itself to and refuses to accommodate Reality –– as it too often does.

What most Americans –– particularly those on the left –– refuse to see or to acknowledge is that Unionism and the machinations of the Progressive Movement for the past hundred years have resulted in vastly increased dependence on government assistance of all varieties. These possibly-well-meaning initiatives have done so much to undermine our once remarkably good Work Ethic they have virtually destroyed it.

The main idea ever since Collectivist Ideology took hold has been to agitate ceaselessly and strike repeatedly for higher and higher wages for doing less and less actual work.

The result?

1. A generally indolent, spoiled-rotten, increasingly belligerent and demanding work force who honestly believes it could never –– ever –– be paid enough for doing so much as lifting a finger.

2. Rapidly spiralling Inflation. [The Purchasing Power of the Dollar today is approximately one ONE-THOUSANDTH of what it was in my grandfather's day –– c. 1900.]

3. Inability for US companies to compete with those abroad, UNLESS they relocate to third world countries or outsource. The same has happen in Britain, of course, and most of the European countries who've gone the socialist route. 

4. Loss of economic ascendancy for Western Nations.

5. The rise of the infernal thing known as Crony Capitalism where business moguls have developed an unholy alliance with government in order to protect themselves against relentless Government Encroachment on Business. The result has been an immoral, hideously disproportionate accumulation of wealth "at the top" and a palpably disintegrating standard of living for the rest of us.

All of history is nothing but a long long series of Action-Reaction, Cause-and-Effect. The Law of Unintended Consequences is ALWAYS at work. Everything we do has Consequences. Nothing comes without a Price Tag. Sooner or later The Piper Must Be Paid.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What could you possibly add to this 
to make the point clearer?

Monday, April 22, 2013



A NEW explosion –– apparently even worse than the latest Boston Massacre –– occurred at a FERTILIZER FACTORY in WACO, TEXAS on the day before the 20th Anniversary of the Wholesale Slaughter by Incineration of Innocent Women, Children and their Menfolk by Government Thugs ordered by then-Attorney General Janet Reno against The Branch Davidian Compound.

Now isn't THAT a strange coincidence?

"If a piece of the Continent is washed away, Europe is the less. Ask not for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee."

Humanity, as always, has much to mourn.

Mourn by all means for the infant babies murdered in cold blood at Dr. Gosnell's Charnel House.

Mourn for poor little Martin Richards, the eight -year-old boy who was killed in the new Boston Massacre, but in truth the child may be better off than those left behind. I shudder to think of what he undoubtedly would have had to face if he'd lived to maturity.

Humanity banned MURDER thousands of years ago, but that has never deterred determined fiends from wantonly committing senseless slaughter, has it?


We may ban War, ban The Bomb, ban all Guns, ban all Knives, ban Slingshots, ban the stockpiling of Stones, even the use of Clay or Ceramic Flower Pots, Hammers, Saws, Pliers, Garden Shears, Rakes, Hoes, Spades, Shovels, Chains, Pots, Pans, more than one piece of Crockery per person. We could ban the use of Fists, Baseball and Cricket Bats, Sticks, Twigs -- we can ban ANYTHING and EVERYTHING, but it will do NOTHING to stop the madness.

The "Enemy" IS "Us."

Because of the new horror in Waco, I'll be astonished if someone doesn't bring a bill before congress demanding a ban on the manufacture of FERTILIZER before the week is out.


The list could endless, because there is NOTHING that cannot be abused, and NOTHING that cannot be turned into a murderous weapon.

We do not need more LEGISLATION. We do not need any kind of PROHIBITION. What we need instead is mental, moral and spiritual REJUVENATION and a new PRIORITIZATION of goals, values, desires and mores.

In short we need to restore the lost concept of GUILT if we ever hope to develop a CONSCIENCE and a develop a proper sense of PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY all the while remembering that it is OURSELVES we need to improve –– not OTHERS.

SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS –– i.e. the disease of Religious Fundamentalism and of Marxian Liberalism –– may very well be the DEADLIEST SIN of all.

Sober acceptance of responsibility
for one's misdeeds and shortcomings
is good for the soul and for society.

~ FreeThinke

Sunday, April 21, 2013

America Mourns
Ein Deutsches Requiem

(A German Requiem)

by Johannes Brahms 

In Loving Memory of the Victims of War, Terrorism, Crime and Personal Tragedy 
Past and Present

Herbert Von Karajan, Conductor

Jose Van Damm, Baritone Soloist

Kathleen Battle, Soprano Soloist

The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Recorded at Die Musikverein, Vienna

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Twilight of the Gods

Irene Theorin sings Brunnhilde in this Copenhagen production of the Immolation Scene –– the final scene in Goetterdaemmerung the final music drama 
in Richard Wagner's monumental Ring Cycle

A Symbol for Our Times?
The appearance of the infant baby at the end is a modern addition 
unknown to Wagner, himself. Intended as a sign of hope, perhaps, in the infinite capacity of life to renew itself?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
 And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading –– treading –– till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through -

And when they all were seated,
A Service, like a Drum ––
Kept beating –– beating –– till I thought
My mind was going numb––

And then I heard them lift a Box
And creak across my Soul
With those same Boots of Lead, again,
Then Space –– began to toll,

As all the Heavens were a Bell,
And Being, but an Ear,
And I, and Silence, some strange Race,
Wrecked, solitary, here ––

And then a Plank in Reason, broke,
And I dropped down, and down ––
And hit a World, at every plunge,
And Finished knowing –– then ––

~ Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

 by Franz Schubert
offered in a spirit of consolation
in memory of the tragedy that occurred at 
The Boston Marathon

Schwanengesang (D. 957)

I. Liebesbotschaft 00:00
II. Kriegers Ahnung 03:08
III. Frühlingssehnsucht 08:43
IV. Ständchen 12:48
V. Aufenthalt 17:19
VI. In der Ferne 20:34
VII. Abschied 27:17
VIII. Der Atlas 32:19
IX. Ihr Bild 34:59
X. Das Fischermädchen 38:10
XI. Die Stadt 40:34
XII. Am Meer 43:51
XIII. Doppelgänger 48:50
XIV. Die Taubenpost 53:31

Schubert, Franz (1797-1828) - composer
Bryn Terfel-bass-baritone
Malcolm Martineau-piano