wood bowling wallpaper, the homestead act, some history and economics

pop art, graphic art, wallpaper

wood bowling wallpaper


Document Deep Dive: How the Homestead Act Transformed America

One hundred and fifty years ago this month (May), President Abraham Lincoln launched the greatest land giveaway in U.S. history and destined Ken Deardorff for one of the longest nights of his life.

The Homestead Act, signed by Lincoln on May 20, 1862, embodied a radical promise: free land for the masses. Until then the federal government had generally sold its unoccupied property, favoring men with capital. As a result, by the 1840s big farms were consuming smaller ones, and efforts to change the system were gridlocked as Congressional debate over slavery intensified. The problem became so pressing that Representative Galusha Grow, a Pennsylvania Republican, warned in 1860 that the nation was courting “a system of land monopoly—one of the direst, deadliest curses that ever paralyzed the energies of a nation or palsied the arm of industry.”

[  ]…From the moment the first homesteader, Daniel Freeman, stepped foot into his local land office in 1863 to apply for 160 acres in Beatrice, Nebraska, to the day in 1979 when the last homesteader, Ken Deardorff, of Alaska, filed for a title to his 50-acre claim, four million settlers—men and women, former slaves and new immigrants—attempted it. About 1.6 million succeeded, homesteading a combined total of 270 million acres, or 10 percent of the country.

Some of the commentary following the article suggests that the Smithsonian does a disservice to the history of native Americans by not mentioning the genocidal consequences of the Homestead Act. That issue aside for the moment the Homestead Act was a huge land giveaway. While it caused some tremendous pain for a lot of indigenous peoples it also was an economically progressive act. Until the HA the federal government sold land to the wealthy. We were becoming a nation of a few haves and mostly have nots. An important facet of U.S. history for those who think now we’re slipping into some kind of socialistic paradise. That said there were consequences for tribes that had lived on those lands for centuries, “In California, the decrease from about a quarter of a million to less than 20,000 is primarily due to the cruelties and wholesale massacres perpetrated by the miners and early settlers.” There was an Indian Homestead Act or Dawes Act. This was an attempt to make members of the tribes into individual land owners, and to make their culture more into that resembling white European settlers. It was hardly a fair trade. A tribe may have had access to historical territory of hundreds of thousands of acres. Forcing Indians into even 100 acre homesteads and further forcing the adoption of lifestyles that did not suit them was hardly a fair trade. The Dawes Act turned into a debacle.

“Walter Davidson, the first president of the Harley Davidson Motor Company, poses with his bike after winning the 1908 Federation of American Motorcyclists’ endurance run.” (copyrighted image). A little American steampunk and turns the Harley-Davidson stereotype of the bearded tattooed denim wearing biker on its head.

Alex Cassie, Who Aided ‘Great Escape’ From Nazis, Dies at 95. The movie with James garner, Steve McQueen and Donald Pleasence ( who played a character based on Cassie) was not historically accurate , but Cassie was the master forger/artist in the movie, talents he had in real life.

Chevron’s Quarterly Profit Is Up To $6.5 Billion, Production Is Down, Tax Rate Is Still Lower Than Yours.

Bush and the RNC filled every government post they could with cronies – Even After Bush Scandals, GOP Still Politicizing Civil Service. They believeeee in small govmint.

Green Day – When I Come Around


wet dandelion seeds wallpaper, the philosophy of science is obsolete, romney’s usa – a modern serfdom

rain drops, blue, nature, macro

wet dandelion seeds wallpaper


Has Physics Made Philosophy and That Other Thing Obsolete?

I want to start with a general question about the relationship between philosophy and physics. There has been a fair amount of sniping between these two disciplines over the past few years. Why the sudden, public antagonism between philosophy and physics?

Krauss: That’s a good question. I expect it’s because physics has encroached on philosophy. Philosophy used to be a field that had content, but then “natural philosophy” became physics, and physics has only continued to make inroads. Every time there’s a leap in physics, it encroaches on these areas that philosophers have carefully sequestered away to themselves, and so then you have this natural resentment on the part of philosophers. This sense that somehow physicists, because they can’t spell the word “philosophy,” aren’t justified in talking about these things, or haven’t thought deeply about them—

Is that really a claim that you see often?

Krauss: It is. Philosophy is a field that, unfortunately, reminds me of that old Woody Allen joke, “those that can’t do, teach, and those that can’t teach, teach gym.” And the worst part of philosophy is the philosophy of science; the only people, as far as I can tell, that read work by philosophers of science are other philosophers of science. It has no impact on physics what so ever, and I doubt that other philosophers read it because it’s fairly technical. And so it’s really hard to understand what justifies it. And so I’d say that this tension occurs because people in philosophy feel threatened, and they have every right to feel threatened, because science progresses and philosophy doesn’t.

For those who are familiar with theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, you know that he likes to be provocative. he does not walk back his criticisms of philosophy further on in the interview as much as stops being facetious and addresses some of the positive aspects of philosophy such as moral theory, in this era that largely means applied morality via politics and public policy. I found it interesting that Krauss gives literature a lot of credit in terms of descriptive philosophy, though he includes logic – which when done well is just math. There is a somewhat esoteric aspect to asking about what is true, what is knowledge, what does the universe exists instead of nothingness and how do we know what we know. What does that have to do with the price of bread and milk. Yet wheat is grown on scientific principles, and while a wheat farmer can work up an ulcer worrying and hoping, real physical phenomenon make the wheat grow or succumb to bad weather, drought or disease. What we know and how we figure out what the truth is always makes its way into the decisions we make at the dinner table, and the offices of people with more money and power than the average person.

air travel poster

Romney bashes Obama for “making us like Europe.” But he’s the one pushing failed European austerity measures. Because of supply-side economics the U.S. has sunk into conditions where the modern equivalent of dukes and queens have most of the power and the majority of people are modern serfs. Conservatives admit this in a round about way when they discuss the safety net and unemployment. They claim that the hardest workers have just naturally risen to the top. While everyone below is leaching off the wealthy – who are all virtuous and enterprising. The U.S. is thus slanted in the economic and political dynamic of old Europe because nature intended it that way.

Via Seabed Habitats -one of the WordPress neighbors – The Secret Life of Plankton

mankind’s remotest relative is a very rare micro-organism, never admit wrong never apologize, picture of pictures

Mankind’s remotest relative is a very rare micro-organism from south-Norway

Biologists all over the world have been eagerly awaiting the results of the genetic analysis of one of the world’s smallest known species, hereafter called the protozoan, from a little lake 30 kilometer south of Oslo in Norway.

When researchers from the University of Oslo, Norway compared its genes with all other known species in the world, they saw that the protozoan did not fit on any of the main branches of the tree of life. The protozoan is not a fungus, alga, parasite, plant or animal.

“We have found an unknown branch of the tree of life that lives in this lake. It is unique! So far we know of no other group of organisms that descend from closer to the roots of the tree of life than this species. It can be used as a telescope into the primordial micro-cosmos,” says an enthusiastic associate professor, Kamran Shalchian-Tabrizi, head of the Microbial Evolution Research Group (MERG) at the University of Oslo.

GLIMPSE INTO PRIMORDIAL TIMES: Genetic analyses of a micro-organism that lives in the sludge of a lake in Ås, 30 km south of Oslo i Norway, are providing researchers with an insight into what the first life on Earth looked like. Foto: UiO/MERG

Like modern eukaryote cells this one has a membrane and a nucleus. Yet it evolved around one billion years ago, thus the connection to modern organisms. Human sperm cells with their one flagellum – a defining characteristic that makes it a cousin of plants, algae and excavates (single-celled parasites) which originally had two flagella. The oldest known protozoan had four flagellum, while the oldest known ameobae had one. This Norway protozoan combines branches of evolutionary life with the same intracellular structure as excavates, yet it uses the same protuberances as amoebae to catch its food – algae and other protozoans.

chromed stone lion

Lost in Translation: Tattoos and Cultural Appropriation. Every culture has appropriated everything from food to architecture from other cultures. In the case of tattoos and Japanese or Chinese characters people are taking characters that they like or may have some subconscious artistic appeal without verifying what it actually stands for. If you mean to get a character that means Loyalty, yet get one that means  Noodles, will you be able to talk yourself into believing it doesn’t mater when someone who reads Chinese tells you the real meaning.

Fox Won’t Let Go Of Ridiculous Myth That Obama “Apologized” For America. Those darn adults and their do what I say not what I do hypocrisy. None of the examples cited in the article support the Obama Derangement Sufferers version of events. Yet like every culture in the world kids in the good ol USA are told when they are young to admit mistakes and apologize. The reality is that when you get older, conservatives are saying that one should remain perpetually infantile – to never admit mistakes or to apologize. This is a sure way to infantilize an entire nation.

picture of pictures an ode to instagram.

The Real Roots of Sexism in the Middle East (It’s Not Islam, Race, or ‘Hate’) –  Arab societies suffer from deep misogyny, but the problem is not as particularly Arab or Islamic as you might think. Interesting article. Sexism does have its primary roots in human evolution. While there is still a way to go most Western Christians have adopted quite a bit of modernity into their thinking and cast off the worse part of their religious dogma. Regardless of its roots, Islam needs to do the way if it wants to advance economically and culturally. Its unfortunate that the trolls invaded the comment section of that article and used the opportunity to show that many Christians have cultural attributed as backwards as Iran’s mullahs.

How do you make a lie into a nation wide meme, repeat as often as possible: Regulation Reporting Malpractice Continues: Newspapers Increase Usage Of “Job-Killing Regulation” Language By 17,550%

If we were properly regulated, an actual free market economy, we would not have this – Way Too Big To Fail – 5 banks Own 56% of the Economy. Yet the very same people who accuse Democrats of being socialists will not let anyone break these banks up into smaller competitive entities.

Steampunk | Off Book | PBS

Johnny Nash – I Can See Clearly Now


some stuff about a key protein responsible for controlling nerve cell protection, chocolate splash wallpaper, new rule – reward incompetence

Considering the average age of the world’s population is increasing and the numbers of yearly strokes, I am a little surprised this story is not receiving much attention. Neuroscientists discover key protein responsible for controlling nerve cell protection

The research team, led by Professor Jeremy Henley and Dr Jack Mellor from Bristols Medical School, has identified a protein, known as SUMO, responsible for controlling the chemical processes which reduce or enhance protection mechanisms for nerve cells in the brain.

These key proteins produce subtle responses to the brains activity levels to regulate the amount of information transmitted by kainate receptors – responsible for communication between nerve cells and whose activation can lead to epileptic seizures and nerve cell death.

Protein function is controlled by altering their structure in processes that can be independent or inter-related including phosphorylation, ubiquitination and SUMOylation. In the present work it is shown that phosphorylation of kainate receptors on its own promotes their activity. However, phosphorylation also facilitates SUMOylation of kainate receptors that reduces their activity. Thus there is a dynamic and delicate interplay between phosphorylation and SUMOylation that regulates kainate receptor function.

This fine balance between phosphorylation and SUMOylation is dependent on brain activity levels where damaging activity that occurs during stroke or epilepsy will enhance SUMOylation and therefore reduce kainate receptor function to protect nerve cells.

The  findings seem to indicate a very finely tuned feedback loop SUMO and kainate receptors. Strokes and other neurological events can cause nerve cells to protect themselves from activity that seem out of sync with normal brain activity. It might be tempting to think of anything that disturbs neural signaling as a condition that would require treatment to improve the feedback loop. In the case of epilepsy for example, the answer might be to stop over stimulation via neural signaling between proteins and receptors.

chocolate splash wallpaper

In one of Mitt Romney’s speeches he said that he is ready to be promoted to the White House. As most of us know, in the real world while it frequently does not work at that, in our allegedly merit based society, people only get promotions if they have earned them. That is the ideal anyway. Romney has imbibed, and gotten high on the conservative movements embrace of rewarding incompetence. Examples of this were rampant in the G. W. Bush administration. Condelezza Rice was National Security adviser to Bush. Having decided to dismiss any of Richard Clark’s warnings, 9-11 occurred. Rice was eventually rewarded with a promotion to Secretary of State. Literally loyal conservatives were yanked from various places – some from the unemployment line to manage the rebuilding of Iraq – not based on any expertise they had, but purely for loyalty to the conservative movement. I wonder how many lives were lost because of how the conservative mind processes the concept of competence. Mitt Romney – The One Political Office He Held No One Would Re-elect Him For

But I could find no example of a major-party nominee whose only experience in government was serving as a governor, but who then made no effort to talk about this experience as part of his appeal to voters for national office. Nor could I find any examples of a governor quitting after one term, knowing he’d lose if he sought re-election, and then running for president.

And why is it, exactly, that Romney is avoiding the subject of his only background in public service? Perhaps because, during his 2003-to-2007 tenure, Romney failed to impress much of anyone.

“His favorability was basically a straight line down from his honeymoon,” said David Paleologos, director of Suffolk University’s Political Research Center and a longtime Massachusetts pollster. “Sometimes familiarity breeds contempt.” […]

Romney entered the Massachusetts State House in January 2003 with a flashy favorability rating of 61 percent…. By November 2004, voters were souring, and a Suffolk poll found his favorable rating had dropped to 47 percent… By November 2006, as he closed out his increasingly absentee term, his overall job approval rating had cratered to 36 percent.

Thomas Whalen, a Boston University political science professor, put it this way: “To know Mitt Romney is to dislike him. That is the moral of the story.”

Maybe he looks better in hindsight? No, Romney’s former constituents still don’t like him and still don’t want him to be president.

Maybe it’s because he was a GOP governor in a reliably “blue” state? No, Massachusetts has had plenty of modern Republican governors — Weld, Cellucci, Swift — and all were more popular with their Bay State constituents than Romney.

This is all generally overlooked, which is a shame because it seems pretty important.

We’re talking about a politician who’s held public office just once, for a grand total of four years. During that one term, his constituents got a good look at his leadership, and came to actively dislike him.

Romney looked at this and thought, “Hey, now I’m ready for a promotion to the White House!”

Romney, like the Bush family, has a very low regard for objective truths. Why should they when they have been so successful at buying the impression of success. In a media saturated culture, with a memory that clings to sex scandals yet cannot name at least four Supreme Court justices, Romney has little disincentive to give up delusions he has spent a life time cultivating.

conservative fashion statement

even quantum particles leave clues, poor poor docs, tired and weary

Today’s Quantum Headache: Quantum Mechanics Imitates Influence of Future Actions on Past Events

Researchers of the team of Professor Anton Zeilinger at the Vienna Center for Quantum Science and Technology and the University of Vienna’s Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information have experimentally demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to know whether two particles were in a separable or in an entangled quantum state even after their measurement or if they no longer exist.

Quantum states of particles become tangled and than untangled. In that event they leave behind fingerprints and body fluids that can be used to recreate the scene of the original entanglement. or something like that. Not even two lonely particles can get away with anything like they used to. At least until the day they can become hedge fund managers or conservative congress critters.

spring snapshots wallpaper

Get out your hanky. Physician income is down slightly.

Physician income declined in general, although the top-earning specialties remained the same as in Medscape’s 2011 survey. In 2012, radiologists and orthopedic surgeons topped the list at $315,000, followed by cardiologists ($314,000), anesthesiologists ($309,000), and urologists ($309,000). Previously, radiologists and orthopedic surgeons led the pack, at a mean income of $350,000 each, followed by anesthesiologists and cardiologists (both at $325,000). The bottom-earning specialties in 2012’s survey were pediatrics, family medicine, and internal medicine.

The late Lewis Thomas, physician, poet, etymologist and essayist could be both deeply compassionate and a cranky SOB. In one collection of essays back in the 1980s he said one of the worse things that was happening to the medical profession was doctors who were more concerned with owning big houses and their stock portfolios than with the practice of medicine as a humanitarian calling. Making money and good medicine are not mutually exclusive, but these income trends might have just a little bit to do with why the same procedures in the US costs so much more than they do in most western European countries.

white bell flower

Those damn victims are getting mud all over the new carpet, Florida Governor Rick Scott(R) Vetos $1.5 Million For Rape Crisis Centers During Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Scott could have provided the funds out what he spends on dry cleaning or steals from Medicare.

A Conversation With John Slattery. The Mad Men actor talks about Roger Sterling’s long, strange trip. Interesting behind the scenes look at how the most recent episode was filmed especially Roger’s experiment with LSD. That episode has set in motion the speculation/hope that now Roger and Joan may get together. I don’t see Roger as wanting to play daddy at this point in his life. Though maybe that ‘trip’ has made him a different man.

Mitt Romney

Don’t think about it America, just rinse and repeat. Doubling down on the same conservative policies will have different results this time.

No shark, gator or snake attacks in Florida today. Just the usual, Cops: Woman Battered Beau Over Sex Rebuff, Live-in boyfriend told police he just wanted to lie in bed and watch TV. Just wait until the summer heat wave hits. Sharks that want sex.

I AM so tired and weary,
So tired of the endless fight,
So weary of waiting the dawn
And finding endless night.

That I ask but rest and quiet—
Rest for days that are gone,
And quiet for the little space
That I must journey on.

Supplication by Joseph S. Cotter, Jr. The Book of American Negro Poetry.  1922.

Trailer Trash Tracys – You Wish You Were Red


adam smith versus darwin, summer beach wallpaper, conservative libertarians are the real parasites

Even those who have never used the phrase social-Darwinism themselves have probably heard it or heard about what the phrase means. In this very good post about the origins and meaning of social-Darwinism Eric Michael Johnson also makes a very good case for using a more apt term instead, social-Spencerism. The major reason being that Darwin never wrote about economic issues or economic justice. This essay continues the unfortunate use of Darwin as an example even though the substance of his view is correct. Darwin May Replace Adam Smith As The Greatest Intellectual Contributor to Modern Economics

This book applies evolutionary theory to economics, arguing that consumption can, like evolution, run wild — to the detriment of society as well as individuals

In view of the recent economic meltdown, I am sure it’s no secret to anyone that unregulated or poorly-regulated economic competition can run wild — to the detriment of society as well as individuals. But this outcome is hardly surprising to those who paid attention to Darwin’s ideas about competition in the natural world — ideas inspired by the extravagance of the peacock’s tail or by the sheer size of a stag’s rack of antlers.

This is the main argument made by New York Times economics columnist, Robert H. Frank, in his recent book, The Darwin Economy: Liberty, Competition, and the Common Good [Princeton University Press; 2011: Guardian Bookshop; Amazon UK/kindle; Amazon US/kindle] — a book that pushes back — hard — against Libertarianism. The author is so sure of his argument that he predicts that 100 years from now, Charles Darwin will be recognised as the greatest intellectual contributor to modern economic theory, replacing Adam Smith as the intellectual founder of economics. Frank writes;

I base my prediction on a subtle but extremely important distinction between Darwin’s view of the competitive process and Smith’s. Today Smith is best remembered for his invisible-hand theory, which, according to some of his modern disciples, holds that impersonal market forces channel the behavior of greedy individuals to produce the greatest good for all. […I]t’s fair to say that the invisible-hand theory’s optimistic portrayal of unregulated market outcomes has become the bedrock of the antigovernment activists’ worldview. They believe regulation is unnecessary because they believe unbridled market forces can take care of things quite nicely on their own.

Darwin’s view of the competitive process was fundamentally different. His observations persuaded him that the interests of individual animals were often profoundly in conflict with the broader interests of their own species. In time, I predict, the invisible hand will come to be seen as a special case of Darwin’s more general theory. Many of the libertarians’ most cherished beliefs, which are perfectly plausible within Smith’s framework, don’t survive at all in Darwin’s. (p. 17).

In this book, Frank argues that Smith’s invisible-hand idea is actually a special case within the general rule of competition based on Darwin’s observation that the “survival of the fittest” individuals is not always best for the group. This leads to “arms races” where behaviours that provide short-term gains for particular individuals can lead to enormous harm to the group.

That writer even perpetuates the old myth that Darwin coined the term “survival of the fittest”. That term was first used by Herbert Spencer in Principles of Biology(1864).

It is remarkable how the bizarre notion that the best people make the most money or have the most money has caught on as a cultural meme in the USA especially. It is Randian philosophy gone wild. The guy in the truck in front of you on the freeway with the airbrushed eagle and Limbaugh bumper sticker really believes that no one can do his job as well as he can and that he is an economic island of achievement all to himself. He sees no connection between his income and the social and economic infrastructure required to provide the framework that makes his income possible. He looks at the FICA totals on his check and damns the government for paying people to live in mansions and drive BMWs on his dime. Yet of the value of his labor – which is commendable – the corporation that owns the shop where he works takes far bigger percentage of the capital he produces than the government. The government even pays him back if he should become disabled or when he retires. He may hate those government programs, but there is no way he could pay his retired father’s medical bills if it were not for Medicare. Even if Medicare suddenly ended and he did not have to make payments, a similar private policy would be either a huge financial burden or completely unaffordable.

summer, ocean, beach

summer conch shell wallpaper

This story is interesting though it covers some of the same ground as the one above with more particulars about Medicare and Medicaid. There is also a comment that gives you a good idea of the kind of flawed logic and bone headed ideology that enlightened Americans have to deal with – A safety-net, not a hammock

Allow me a moment to express my disgust with some comments made by Rep. Paul Ryan.

He’s out selling a House Republican budget whose stated particulars include $4.6 trillion in tax cuts weighted strongly to the affluent alongside punishing cuts to social programs and the denial of health insurance coverage to tens of millions of people covered under health reform.

A troll stopped by to leave this remarkable observation.

Mike Kaplan says:
April 10, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Why am I paying taxes to take care of your brother-in-law Vincent? He is your family – why don’t you take care of him? Why do you want to force me to sacrifice my time and labor – in taxes – to do what you are not doing?

All of us need to be responsible for ourselves and our families. The federal government currently borrows over 40% of what it spends. We just don’t have the money to continue this way.

There are several deep flaws in that argument, but I’ll get to the most obvious. You hear this a lot when it comes to social safety net programs – I’m being forced to pay for other people. Medicare and Medicaid are simply insurance program writ very large run by the government. If Mr Kaplan wanted to completely privatize Medicare, guess what. he would be part of a risk pool. Not everyone pays exactly the same in a private insurance risk pool – smokers pay a little more for instance. Though all the people who own those private polices do what – they pay for the health care costs of everyone in the risk pool. Mr. Kaplan may have medical expenses that exceed what he has paid in premiums. Guess who pays for that. Everyone else in the risk pool is forced to pay for it. That is the way insurance works whether it is Medicare or Prudential. If Kaplan wants to opt out of insurance completely that means when he gets sick society is forced to decide between treating him with little likelihood of receiving full payment for services or letting him die. Thus people like Kaplan and the multitude of like minded social-Spencerists will indeed be forcing some morally treacherous decisions and burdens on society. Kaplan and his ilk are the real parasites who have something akin to the fever of cultist religious zealots, who believe that their nightmarish society where humankind’s basic humanity and frailties are denied is good for the national character and cost nothing.

black and white desert clouds

New Research Could Mean Cellphones That Can See Through Walls

“We’ve created approaches that open a previously untapped portion of the electromagnetic spectrum for consumer use and life-saving medical applications,” said Dr. Kenneth O, professor of electrical engineering at UT Dallas and director of the Texas Analog Center of Excellence(TxACE).  “The terahertz range is full of unlimited potential that could benefit us all.”

I believe the good doctors have nothing but the best intentions and we will see some amazing benefits from this technology. Though they are naive to think that just because they plan for the rays to only work within short distances, that it will not be made or hacked to do otherwise. Limbaugh’s dream come true, perpetual porn.

J.Viewz – Smooth Criminal


is the internet making us lonelier, audrey hepburn, corporate kings – they works hard for da money

before the internet


Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?

Social media—from Facebook to Twitter—have made us more densely networked than ever. Yet for all this connectivity, new research suggests that we have never been lonelier (or more narcissistic)—and that this loneliness is making us mentally and physically ill. A report on what the epidemic of loneliness is doing to our souls and our society.

[  ]….Over the past three decades, technology has delivered to us a world in which we need not be out of contact for a fraction of a moment. In 2010, at a cost of $300 million, 800 miles of fiber-optic cable was laid between the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange to shave three milliseconds off trading times. Yet within this world of instant and absolute communication, unbounded by limits of time or space, we suffer from unprecedented alienation. We have never been more detached from one another, or lonelier. In a world consumed by ever more novel modes of socializing, we have less and less actual society. We live in an accelerating contradiction: the more connected we become, the lonelier we are. We were promised a global village; instead we inhabit the drab cul-de-sacs and endless freeways of a vast suburb of information.

Hasn’t being with other people always been a trade-off. In the best circumstances you get human warmth, sympathy, sometimes emotional intimacy, fun, shared experiences that become the nostalgic memories of old age. We also give up part of ourselves. We sacrifice part of who we are in order to establish some peace, some agree-ability. There are always a few that thrive on conflict, but most of us do not like contentious relationships. Even among our closest friends sometimes our moods or priorities don’t match. There was or never should have been an expectation that the internet would smooth out the complications that follow any sustained interactions with others.

We know intuitively that loneliness and being alone are not the same thing. Solitude can be lovely. Crowded parties can be agony. We also know, thanks to a growing body of research on the topic, that loneliness is not a matter of external conditions; it is a psychological state. A 2005 analysis of data from a longitudinal study of Dutch twins showed that the tendency toward loneliness has roughly the same genetic component as other psychological problems such as neuroticism or anxiety.

I’m not so sure about the basic thesis that we’re lonelier than ever or that loneliness per se is something we need to work on. It can be debilitating at its worse, yet the average amount might be something to embrace. Privately, aspects of our lives like loneliness, lack of popularity ( she also touches on shallowness) have always been part of the human experience. It has always been the case that publicly one did not go around professing loneliness. That was fine to express in a novel, poem or song lyric, but public confessions of loneliness implied a flaw, a lack of virtue even. You must lack some inner strength, some quality of character or perhaps lack of faith, if you are lonely. This went hand in hand with the pressure to walk around like a perpetually happy clown. If you were unhappy you must not possess the kind of mind set that makes for happiness. Though you could be as tragically unhappy as you like in your plays, biography or other artistic expression. The more tragic and unhappy, almost the better. You served society’s need for socially acceptable catharsis.

Why did they send me so far and so lonely,
Up where the moors spread and grey rocks are piled?
Men are hard-hearted, and kind angels only
Watch o’er the steps of a poor orphan child. – Charlotte Bronte. Jane Eyre, Chapter 3.

And he broke into a long string of complaints. When he accepted the post of manager, he understood that he would have been allowed to reside in Paris, and not be forced to bury himself in this country district, far from his friends, deprived of newspapers. No matter! he had overlooked all that. But Arnoux appeared to pay no heed to his merits. He was, moreover, shallow and retrograde—no one could be more ignorant. – Gustave Flaubert. Sentimental Education, Chapter 9.

My father’s impulses, never under his own controul, perpetually led him into
difficulties from which his ingenuity alone could extricate him; and the
accumulating pile of debts of honour and of trade, which would have bent to
earth any other, was supported by him with a light spirit and tameless
hilarity; while his company was so necessary at the tables and assemblies
of the rich, that his derelictions were considered venial, and he himself
received with intoxicating flattery. (shallowness and self delusions) Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. The Last Man, Chapter 1.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils,
Beside the lake, beneath the trees
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. – William Wordsworth. I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.

Behind the Scenes of the Julia Louis-Dreyfus Photo Shoot

For the photo illustrations for this week’s profile of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, we asked Louis-Dreyfus to channel Audrey Hepburn — but with a twist. You’ll notice that in each of the three film publicity stills we recreated — from “Funny Face,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” and “Charade” — something is awry. The idea was to put Louis-Dreyfus in these iconic poses that she (comically) can’t quite pull off.

I cannot post those photos here for obvious reasons, but I do have an original of Audrey Hepburn.

Audrey Hepburn 1953 (copyrighted image). 1953 was the year after she made Roman Holiday and the year before she made Sabrina.

CEOs at top companies earned 380 times the average worker’s income in 2011

The AFL-CIO has released its CEO Paywatch with 2011 data. So how do CEOs stack up against ordinary workers? Well, the average CEO of a company on the S&P 500 Index earned 380 times the average American worker’s wage, with average CEO pay having increased 13.9 percent in 2011

CEOs in a merit based society such as ours work 380 times harder? Intelligence – by way of technical, scientific or management skills have value in a merit based economy. Thus these 380 people are the smartest people in the nation?

Factory Child Bean Stringers 1909. If we could only get rid of child labor laws, environmental laws, get rid of health and safety regulations, just get gov’mint outa our lives  – the USA could return the paradise we once were.

Ill Wind

This piece is composed by Harold Arlen, arranged by Benny Carter (1942), transcribed by Dick Domek and was performed live by the University of Kentucky Jazz Ensemble directed by Miles Osland at the 2007 UK Band Spectacular. It features Angie Ortega on alto saxophone.