Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bad Quotes

To manage a business successfully requires as much courage as that possessed by the soldier who goes to war. Business courage is all the more natural because all the benefits which the public has in material benefits comes from it.
-Charles F. Abbott

Catholic doctrine and discipline may be walls; but they are the walls of a playground.
-G.K Chesterton

It's alright for the navy to blockade a city, to starve the inhabitants to death; but there is something wrong, not nice, about bombing a city.
-Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris

A mere forty years ago beach volleyball was just beginning. No bureaucrat would have invented it-
and that's what freedom is all about.
-Newt Gingrich

Nobody in the game of football should be called a genius. A genius is somebody like Norman Einstein.
-Joe Thiesman

Friday, January 31, 2014

                                                                    Brad Neely

Names I've Found Difficult to Pry Apart; Thinking Two People Are One or Thinking Two People Are Eachother

Marlee Matin + Mary Matalin

William Gass + William Gaddis

Eve Sedgwick + Edie Sedgwick

Richard Sennet + Daniel Dennett

Rosa Luxemburg + Ethel Rosenberg

Louis Auchincloss + Louis Althusser

Andrew Solomon + Andrew Sullivan

Michael Kelley + Michael Kinsley

Richard Belzer + Richard Meltzer

Arthur Laffer + Alvin Toffler

Paul Valery + Paul Verlaine

Montaigne + Montesquieu

Al Capp + Andy Capp

Tanzania + Tasmania

R'Akiva was inspired to begin his Torah studies at the age of forty when he observed how water could wear grooves into solid stone after years of constant dripping.

Forced into a life of abject poverty, R'Akiva and his wife were homeless and took shelter in a hay stall, but she remained loyal and supportive, insisting that she was ready for any sacrifice in order for him to become a scholar. Once he said to her, "If only I could, I would have an artisan create for you a gold tiara in the form of the skyline of Jerusalem."

R'Akiva studied under R'Eliezer ben Hyrkanos and R'Yeshoshua ben Chanania and returned home after twelve years. As he approached his home,  he heard an old man chiding his wife: "How long will you be the widow of a live man?" She replied selflessly: "If he were to listen to me he would remain even longer in his studies." R'Akiva immediately turned back and devoted himself to Torah study for twelve years.

Upon his triumphant return home, R'Akiva was escorted by his 24,000 students. His wife went out to greet him in simple clothes that indicated her poverty. Unaware that she was his wife, his students sought to deny her access to their great teacher. Said R'Akiva, "Allow her through, for my Torah and
yours is really hers.

Akiva's love and appreciation for his wife's dedication to him is given vivid expression in his aphorism: "Who is wealthy? One who has a wife whose deeds are beautiful".

Friday, January 10, 2014

Inverse relationship between well-being and inequality in American history. The peaks and valleys of inequality (in purple) represent the ratio of the largest fortunes to the median wealth of households (the Phillips curve). The blue-shaded curve combines four measures of well-being: economic (the fraction of economic growth that is paid to workers as wages), health (life expectancy and the average height of the native-born population), and social optimism (the average age of first marriage, with early marriages indicating social optimism and delayed marriages indicating social pessimism).

Friday, December 20, 2013

What We've Got Here Is a Failure to Combobulate

                                                              dart docs

                                                         chronic blushing

                                                         ascetic hedonism

                                                        medieval pet names

                                                       marx on the civil war

                                                      ethics of moon mining

                                                      the erotics of irishness

                                                   m.i.t. guide to lockpicking

                                                  mapping the machine zone

                                                constructing the shitting citizen

                                           contrastive focus reduplication dump

                                          diminutive catastrophes of clownplay

                                      the annoying foundations of digital freedom

                                     a case study of unsuccessful fan mobilization

                                     self-expression via a denigrated cultural form

                                    valentines day march of the dancing horseheads

                            automatic detection of service-initiation signals used in bars

                         traditional masculinity, alcohol and shame in finnish metal lyrics

     April 17, 1975, the day the Khmer Rouge triumphantly marched into Phnom Penh, marks the moment the absolute contingency of the world was revealed to the city's residents.
     Before, these residents had unconsciously assumed that urban life would carry on as normal, regardless of which faction won the civil war. Indeed, they cheered the victory of the Khmer Rouge, innocently thinking the new peace would be an unproblematic continuation of the old. This quickly proved to be a false assumption when they were forcibly evacuated from the city, with the seemingly eternal fixities of society, money and markets suddenly eliminated in the new anticapitalist utopia of Democratic Kampuchea....In this the victims of the genocide occupied the same epistemic position of Russell's tragic chicken who was misled by its "crude expectations of uniformity" to expect the farmer to continue to feed it indefinitely into the future:

          The man who has fed the chicken everyday throughout its life at last wrings
          its neck instead, showing that more refined views as to the uniformity of nature
          would have been useful to the chicken.

The existential question this raises for us is thus: are we the contemporary equivalents of those urban residents of Phnom Penh on the morning of April 17, 1975, blithely expecting our ways of life to persist indefinitely into the future, all the time unknowing of the Chaos lurking underneath the seemingly stable foundations of our existence?

-Alvin Cheng-Hin Lim

Thursday, December 5, 2013



Following the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire the New York State Legislature created the Factory Investigating Commission to "investigate factory conditions in this and other cities and to report remedial measures of legislation to prevent hazard or loss of life among employees through fire, unsanitary conditions and occupational diseases."

How did businessmen and business groups respond?

"We are of the present opinion that if the present recommendations are insisted upon...factories will be driven from the city, labor will be compelled to accompany them, factories, tenements, and small houses will become tenantless with the final result of demoralization in tax collections by the city.
- Resolution adopted by the United Real Estate Owner's Association

"[These changes in the fire code will lead to] the wiping out of industry in this state."
- Spokesman for the Associated Industries of New York

"This condition is depreciating the value of real estate, restricting its marketability, and driving manufacturers out of the City and State of New York."
- Resolution adopted by the Board of Governors of the Real Estate Board of New York.

"Many owners will be so financially embarrassed by the great expenditure made necessary thereby that great numbers of buildings will be forced into foreclosure or otherwise sacrificed."
- The Realty League

"You must relieve [New York's] real estate from the terrible yolk of oppression which has been throttling it for some years past..."
- Charles F. Noyes, "who represents owners of store and loft buildings in Manhattan"

"The businessmen of this country who have made and saved money should no longer be supervised, criticized, or controlled by men who have neither made nor saved it."
- State Superintendent of Banks Eugene Lamb Richards

"Thousands of factories are migrating to New Jersey and Connecticut in order to be freed from the oppressive laws of New York State...The owners of real property are becoming terrified by the number of laws which have been enacted...You can no longer distinguish the real estate owner by the smile of prosperity, because his property is now a burden and a liability instead of a source of income. To own a factory building in New York City is now a calamity.
- George W. Olvany, special counsel to the Real Estate Board.

"We have been legislated to death."
- James T. Hoyle, Secretary of the Manufacturer's Association

"No new laws are needed."
- New York Times


Saturday, November 23, 2013

* Tacky Souvenirs of Pre-Revolutionary America *



"When we embarked on recording the LP, which took many painful years, two band members quit over it. It was okay as a piece of a live show, but to make it the next LP was not acceptable. Also, I remember having to cajole some of the engineers we worked with. It was very hard to explain that LP before it existed. To walk into a recording studio and hand them a Bruce Springsteen single and say     "put this on tracks one and two"....It was a hard sell."


  "I remember the process - the money, the recording sessions, the creative decisions - as one of the most grueling creative experiences of my life. Ironically, reviewers all seemed to think we made it in one night after a couple of six-packs."


    "The legal consequences never came but we pretended they had. I felt everyone wanted us to be punished, and once they thought we had been, they'd leave us alone. And that's exactly what happened. We got two calls and I never responded. We were nothing...it wasn't worth their while"

                                                           Color My World With Pigs
                                                               Star Spangled Banner

                                                            Acting Like the Rich

                                                                Fake Dancing

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Curse of Development

We can state the root cause of the Dwight-Phyllis dynamic as follows: the depth of any transaction is limited by the depth of the shallower party. A trivial example: if you speak English and French, and your friend only speaks English, you will be forced to converse in English. Psychological development is more complex and continuous than the acquisition of multiple discrete languages, but the same principle applies...

If the situational developmental gap between two people is sufficiently small, the more evolved person will systematically lose [a match of wits] more often than he/she wins.

This is the curse of development. Here's a picture: when you develop psychologically, and leave somebody behind, your odds of winning get worse before they get better...

At the level of abstraction that we are concerned with, all theories of developmental psychology- Freud's, Piaget's, Erikson's, Maslow's- say roughly the same thing about arrested development: you are born Clueless and clue in fits and starts. Bits of you get stuck and left behind at different points, and eventually you exhaust your capacity for real change and stall... That trail of developmental debris and eventual exhausted stalling is your particular pattern of arrested development...

1. Your development is arrested by your strengths, not your weaknesses.
2. Arrested-development behaviour is caused by a strength-based addiction.
3. The mediocre develop faster than either the talented or the untalented.

An alternative way of looking at these three laws is to note that defense mechanisms emerge to sustain addictions even when the developmental environment that originally nourished it vanishes....overperformance is caused by arrested development around a strength, which has been hooked by an addictive environment of social rewards. Mediocrity is your best defense against addiction, and guarantor of further open-ended psychological development...

We can now explain why you are likely to lose in the Curse of Development Zone...

1. The less-developed person does not know what he/she does not know and is typically attempting to operate from their regressed comfort zone of strength, which to you represents a zone of unrewarding mediocrity that you are attempting to leave/have left behind. This lends your opponent confidence.

2. Your knowledge is fresh, unstable, and not yet ingrained as second nature. You are acutely aware of, and anxious about, your beginner status at your new level. This makes you lack confindence.

3. To win through persuasion, you must teach (a superior-inferior transaction) without first reversing the default unfavourable status relationship (you: not confident, low-status, he/she: confident, high-status).

...A rule of thumb in the teaching profession states that to be an effective teacher at a given level, you need to have studied five years beyond that level. This has nothing to do with subject-matter expertise and everything to do with trying to exit the Curse of Development zone.

-The Gervais Principle III